January 2019 Summary

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In comparison to the December 2018 summary report, January went fairly well with increases to all metrics currently being tracked. The pipeline continues to be built out slowly with the total dollar amount listed now standing at $15,889 on 421 active listings.

I achieved sorting out the dreaded death pile of clothes that I had been putting off. I sorted out my lighting and learned some more lessons about that being:

• Use the same sorts of lights, my cat knocked over one of the bulbs I had for the lighting setup which I replaced with another bulb. Unfortunately, I used a warmer light source which meant several of my listing photos had a yellowish to orange hue often around the item. Most of the time I was able to edit this out by use of eBay light filters but still, painful. Needless to say, once I noticed this I immediately changed out this bulb with a nice bright one to match.

• The second was that the way in which I actually take the photos with my phone can cause me delays when adding them to the listing. It is really annoying having to go into most photos and spin them around to the correct orientation. This has occurred from taking the photos in a vertical phone position. By changing the phone orientation of the way I take photos this will reduce this time sink significantly.

Lastly I switched to using the square lens for all photos where possible. These photos will look better on thumbnails and mobile devices where 80% plus of eBay traffic comes from. A side benefit of this is that I can reuse these photos to cross promote or as content later on social platforms such as Instagram.

The Death Pile

This month I successfully managed to smash my death pile to then create an entirely new one with new purchases, curtesy of my Marie Kondo shopping binge.

The new pile is full of January’s inventory purchases and now becomes February’s mission to get up and listed and turn all these great finds into actual usable cash.

My upcoming scheduled annual leave day will be spent attempting to take all photos and then begin the task of listing, which will be spread over the rest of February.

The Stats

You can see the difference in this months listing stats down below.

This month was a huge improvement on the prior month, which, wasn’t really much of a struggle, to be honest. That said, however, sales were only just up (by 2) but net profit was up vs the prior period meaning the margins are getting better. Sales dollar amounts were also up on less number of items sold (which is good), this is a direct result of listing more clothes. This is definitely the direction that I want to be trending.

Sales over the month were again sporadic but most days had at least one sale come through and one day even pushed $300+ in sales on a couple of items which was nice.

Listing Strategy

I thought it might be useful to document how I am getting these listings up. I am thinking about upgrading the store which will allow up to 1500 listings a month. 1500 listings still seem like an age away but I have a simple goal to help get me there. Plus I will quickly be at my max 600 listings within the next 2 months.

If I list a minimum of 5 items per day over the course of the entire year this will amount to 1825 items which will give a buffer to offset all the items I will have course be selling during the year. It’s a rough guide but will get me most of the way to my goal.

Anyway, the way I chose to end up tackling the death pile was to batch process the whole lot. I spent my annual leave day for the month simply taking photos and recording measurements on A4 sheets of paper, wrapping each item in a freezer bag and placing into a labelled bin until each was full whereby logically I would move onto the next piece of paper and bin number. Although on the surface the could seem extremely boring I timed this to occur during the course of a few NBA games and transitioned between watching the games and then taking photos and completing measurements during timeouts and half time breaks. I found this to actually be quite a pleasant way to spend the day.

At the end of the day I was left with 4 full containers/bins totally full with pictures taken and ready to list. This meant that the following days after work I could simply come home and get listing and slowly work through the photos until they were all done. It was surprising how this simple step removed a lot of the barriers to actually getting listing to start with. Often I would find that getting 5 done was a breeze and I had multiple days where I went between 8 – 20 listings whilst still getting to the gym and getting some cleaning done around the house. I definitely feel like this is sustainable for me longer term.

Feedback On The Inventory Storage System

The listing of my death pile in January became the testing ground for how well my inventory system was going to function as I found that I was selling some items only a couple of days of getting them listed (a real motivation to get them up!). Anyway finding these items was a breeze, the SKU was filled in while completing the actual listing itself so once an item sold the SKU told me exactly what storage container/bin the item was in. No more guessing. I have an excellent memory but I am so glad I have got this implemented now as it will allow me to scale whilst minimising time wasted looking for items when the time comes to get them shipped.

As a back up I also kept the A4 sheet of paper that I was using for recording the item details such as measurements and taped this to the front of the bin. This way if I happened to be looking for something in particular and the computer wasn’t on I could still identify what was inside each container/bin.

Auto Hot Key

Nothing to report for auto hot key improvements this month other than what I have currently running is working well for the most part. I still find myself waiting on eBays servers from time to time which can affect the script running totally by itself through the whole process but I have added a pause button which when pressed at the correct time eliminates this almost entirely. I suppose I could just increase the times in between clicks but I don’t want the script taking extra needless time. Using the pause feature allows me to be as efficient as possible.

Business Improvement Ideas to Explore in February

February has 2 main objectives.

• Attempt to spend a little more than normal to take full advantage of the Marie Kondo effect. (See future blog post)

• Attempt to win a DYMO 4XL Label Printer on an eBay auction currently running. I have been having issued with my WiFi printer for a while now.

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