Initially, when I sat down to write this months summary I was feeling like the month had been a bit of a failure, to be honest, as the monthly cash flow ended up turning negative. However, as I reviewed the last months summary for reference I realised that I actually got quite a lot done in the end with massive increases to active listings and dollar value listed.
Novembers Improvement Focus – Listing Photos
Last month I wrote about improving the listings photos quality in November.
This remains high on the To Do List.
However, I did indeed focus on photos in a different way this month and took action to find a better way of transferring them from my iPhone to my computer without having to plug in and download them through windows (which is not user-friendly at all). I did some research and came up with using Google Photos. I created an account and went to work taking a massive batch of listing photos only to discover that I then had to wait for them to upload to the cloud before I could then redownload them again to use for listings.
The big night of listing I had planned one evening ground to a halt instantly.
The next day I discovered that whilst connected to Wifi (at work) that these photos were uploading to Google Photos at almost 5-10x the speed when compared with at home. Yes, work has a very good connection, but 5-10x? Something did not seem right. I went home, ran an internet speed test and was dismayed when the results showed 12mbs download and only 400kbs upload! It was the 400kbs upload speed that was killing this process. The next day I modified my internet plan to the next tier up for an extra $10 a month and now uploads are at 12mbs. I should have done this earlier. Now I can batch photos and upload / download them ready to be inserted into listings in minutes.
All this might seem counter-intuitive initially but it actually works quite well. Why not use your phone to make the listing seems your already taking the photo you might ask?
Well, I decided against this mainly because:
- Typing on the phone is much slower than using my auto hot key script on the computer.
- Creating a new listing through the eBay app can be slow at times, waiting on the eBay backend.
- All the photos have to upload to the eBay app and save before I can move onto the next item. (This has gotten better with the new app but I still end up waiting)
I also realised that this new speed would also improve my listing speed with less time waiting for photos to upload and save into the listing itself. This has made a huge difference in the end as it is the step where my Auto Hot Key eBay listing automation stops.
Whilst waiting for the photos to upload I can now select (and check) the correct category, compare the price is accurate against other listings and then be pretty much done with the listing. Total time for each listing can be around 3 minutes on average (remember I already have the photos batched and ready to go at this time).
You can see the difference in this months listing stats down below.
I crushed my listing for this month compared to last. Total combined active listings rose from 274 to 392. That is an increase of 118 or a 43.06% increase! Not bad!
The total $ value amount listed also rose dramatically from $10500 in October to $13737.23 worth of items listed. That is a value increase of $2873.23 and 27.36% for the month. I have to be pretty happy with that.
Sales were definitely better this month compared to last averaging 1 per day.
This month I spent $521.75 on inventory and got some great items. You can see a sample of my sourcing day this month here. Unfortunately, I also went a little bit too hard on this and ended up pushing my cashflow negative for the month.
I did not meet the goal for the month obviously but the additional inventory will serve me well over the coming months.
This month I had scheduled an annual leave day like usual and spent the entire day out around the city sourcing items. The budget was $160 for this mission and should see a return of $1000 eventually. The full mission can be reviewed in the post here.
This month I ended up spending a lot on inventory. Definitely too much but sometimes its hard to walk past a bargain. For example, just a couple of days ago I went into a Vinnies and they had 2 really nice ties for $2 each and a HUGE set of fantasy books all going for $1 each. I should be able to get at least $5 a book profit MINIMUM on average so it was like having $150 just sitting there…
Anyway, being that I would actually like to start hitting my target of $200 profit minimum per month I have decided that I will try the following:
- Use the annual leave day this month for listing or business process improvement/development.
- Have a “No Buy” December, meaning just that, do not spend any money on inventory this coming month. “No Buy” November had a better sound to it but I thought of it too late Of course!
It is coming up to Xmas anyway so more time with family is good.
I still have a heap of items to get listed.
The profit for the month will hopefully exceed $500 (with no inventory costs) which will make up for November!
The other thought I had is that post-Xmas (January) should be a great time to pick up some of those “unwanted gifts”.
On the Xmas theme, I decided to modify my handling time back down to 1 business day in the middle of November in the hope of spurring some additional sales leading up to Xmas. At this time I cannot say that I have noticed much of a difference, to be honest.
Auto Hot Key
I continued to work on Auto Hot Key during the month adding a couple of hotkeys which manipulate text in some way. These were mainly to streamline day job work processes but are still applicable at times during listing. Examples include:
- Auto capitalising first letter of each sentence. (Auto)
- Change a whole text string so that each words first letter is now capital. (On a Hot Key). I use this for my eBay title within my Auto hot key GUI.
Example: “Change A Whole Text String So That Each Words First Letter Is Now Capital.”
- Change a text string so that selected word(s) are UPPERCASE. (On a Hot Key)
- Insert a bullet point (On a Hot Key). I had to spend a lot of time working with excel in the last couple of weeks and there wasn’t an easy way to insert a bullet point that wasn’t instant! This was super handy.
- Delete the first few characters of a string and replace with a bullet. This was to replace numbers with a bullet point so I did not have to waste time renumbering multiple lists I was working on (and continually changing). I had hundreds of cells to modify so this was awesome to get working. (On a Hot Key)
I will post all the code in use for these in my next Auto Hot Key post.
The 20 Year Business Book
So this month I made it a side mission to revisit my published book after listening to a Pat Flynn Podcast. Basically, everything I could have done wrong to initially market my book I did! Not surprising there… I learn best from making mistakes.
The main points which glaringly stuck out to me were the cover design, where the advice was, if your book is very different from all others in the same category it will turn people off. Mine was extremely different in contrast.
The other was the description which I also revisited and refined.
As part of the whole process, I also decided to review the entire manuscript and run it through Grammarly to check spelling, punctuation, grammar. I was staggered with the results, to be honest. I ended up fixing several errors I cannot believe were not picked up in the first place edit!
This tool when writing is like having 3 editors at once working for you. It won’t get everything perfect (as it is still AI learning) but it really is powerful. Where was this when I was at university?!
This is the new cover below, I encourage you to check it out if you are looking at alternative incomes or not relying on a 9-5 job heading towards retirement.
Business Improvement Ideas to Explore in December
The main Business idea I have in December is to review the inventory storage system. So far it has been working ok but it is beginning to unravel a little with items left haphazardly Which are beginning to pile up. It is time to reorganise again with scale in mind. I am quickly approaching 500 listings and am seriously looking at going to 1500 next year (the next store tier). Judging how my space currently looks with 400 items I need to address this sooner rather than later!