July was a steady month that had significant deviation from the norm with a huge reduction in inventory purchasing as part of “No Buy July” and some severe time restrictions.
I took part in the listing challenge that @2aussiethrifters laid down at the end of June and this helped keep listing somewhat consistent each week and briefly pushed through 800 listings. This was made much easier by limiting sourcing and I was so close to completing the whole month without doing any whatsoever. I came unstuck in the final days when visiting a couple of Op Shops to find baby related items (for the impending little one). My reseller brain took over and I could not help but see items that I knew would easily make money, so much so that all of the baby items being purchased would easily be free. The resellers curse at it again.
And yet, even with the above minor purchasing slip up (if I can call it that, I had a massive score detailed down below) this months results still managed to top last months resulting in a new record profit of $1765.45 and positive cash-flow for the month of $1605.45.
I spent a large chunk of time this month completing and submitting my tax return including getting some further advice from the accountant which will set up this coming year to enable next years return to be completed much more efficiently.
It was nice to get that done but impacted on several hours of what would have been listing time. You can read the 2019 Tax Analysis post here.
No Buy July And The #HustleOfTheWeek
“No Buy” July was excellent, I got a bunch of old stock listed that had been sitting around and I found myself heading home after the day job and be pumped to get some listings up. Going straight home also allowed some extra time to take quality pictures while there was still some decent light in the afternoon.
Like I said earlier I did break my rule but I had a solid reason. Later in the month I had a fantastic day which just kept getting better so I just rolled with it. To kick it off I was rewarded with a $200 voucher from work for good work performance which was a nice surprise. After work I decided that I had therefore qualified to end my “No Buy” July early (I have heeeeaps of stuff still to list…) and call past a couple of op shop’s on the way home.
The first one was a nonevent with a couple of generic bread-and-butter items. The second however I managed to find, finally, something that I was really stoked with. I came across a whole clothes basket full of posters. They caught my eye because one had been unrolled and glued to the window displaying a fantasy style scene. I check listings and solds on eBay and there’s quite a variance but they should fetch at least 10 each and they are all part of a set so would be able to sell in groups also. Anyway, the sticker prices were a mess and there were so many different ones (stickers) I could not actually tell what they wanted for each one. The basket had $4 on it in several places, the posters themselves have 3 different prices $8, $25 and $20 (this one being the original price). They were all from the 1970s and I guesstimated there were about 50 in total. Anyway, I ask what the price was to a near by clerk and he didn’t know, goes and gets his manager and asks. She comes back and says $2 each and I was like “Ok, what if I I was to buy the whole lot”, you know the old Frankie Fritz bundle trick (American Pickers reference). She pauses for about 5 seconds then says $25 for the lot. I stay cool and agree (while freaking out internally), head to the register to pay immediately where she tells me they are all old store stock. Oh yeah, I didn’t mention they are all sealed with the wrapping still. I get home and count them out and turns out I was waaaay off, there’s actually 93 in total.
At $10 each there’s almost a $1000 right there and I think I can get more easily if I’m patient. And of course I only need to make about 5 listings with multiple amounts available.
Lastly to top it off, right at the bottom of the basket is a small vinyl trim floral pattern roll, made in Canada still in its original packaging. These are super hard to find apparently and if I sell this for just $25 which should be easily achievable , the posters were free.
So I ended up spending $160 for the month which works out to be roughly 10% of the cash flow and I am totally ok with that. Over the last few months after reviewing the numbers this seems like the sweet spot to maximise profit when factoring in sourcing vs time vs money, for now anyway.
Listings were up, sales were up but the total value listed isn’t increasing by much. This leads to a bit of a conundrum. As a part timer, I am reaching the limits of time that can be allocated without ruining other parts of my life. My wife actually made the comment a couple of times this month that I seem to have found a good balance. So then, what can be done to improve things from here?
Focus on higher value items with larger returns. Seems instantly logical but unless you are looking at the numbers how will you know. My recently created new spreadsheet tracks additional metrics such as Return On Investment (ROI) but also Gross Profit Per Hour (GPPH). It’s the gross profit per hour which is the interesting metric as once time is factored in it becomes easy to tell if a particular item is worth picking up. A good example are board games, they sell and I have sold some nice ones but the time taken to list and then ship is far more compared against say a book or a DVD. Once this is factored in (time) it can become apparent that I would have made more with an hour at work. Profit is still profit yes, but focusing on those higher value items is critical when extreme limited time applies.
Spend less time sourcing but still get sourcing done. How? Source online and get delivered. Thinking about this, if I spend 2 hours driving to some thrift shops on the way home from work I will likely find some items. I am guessing that if I spent an hour looking online I could probably find some items to flip and then have an hour spare that can be used to list. I have had some success with this to date so will continue to put more of a focus on this.
Lastly, get some more listings up! Again I’m running into constraints as I have sold almost as many items that have been listed. So ideas to get around this? Get some help. There are always certain aspects within jobs that people hate doing. For me its taking photos of clothes. I don’t hate it per se but its definitely not my favourite activity involved with this type of business. So then, logically, I can outsource this to someone local to take some quality photos and measure up batches of clothing. Will start looking for someone suitable and see what happens.
What Else Got Done This Month
I did end up modifying the “Thank You” labels to add some style to these labels and now I am actually starting to get feedback come through with positive comments specifically on packaging so I guess it is definitely helping. You can never quantify it but I feel like this will help reduce the amount of returns and problem buyers over the longer term.
Still yet to get into the YouTube space. There hasn’t been enough time available to make this happen yet. Considering using Instagram in the mean time.
Still to make and distribute the business cards.
The focus for August is split into 5 distinct areas.
- Continue the listing mission. I definitely noticed a pickup in sales related to the increased listing activity on the back of the July Challenge. At the very end of July I slacked off over the course of a week and surprise surprise sales dropped straight off into the first week of August.
- Reorganise inventory to maximise space utilisation. I have a bunch of inventory stored in a couple of bookcases which is a legacy from the early days. I need to get all of the items stored here re-stowed into the bin system. By doing this I will be able to fix items which were Pre-SKU and simultaneously increase inventory storage space.
- Sort The Business Card. This one should be relatively easy to get done. I plan on perhaps getting out and doing some sourcing later in the month (depending on sales) and really need this card to be able to hand out.
- Increase knowledge on precious metals and jewellery. There are literal gold (and silver) mines out there. I’ve been doing some research on expanding my knowledge into this area.
- Find a part time helper to get some scale.
And do all of this while working every weekend for the month at the day job. 100% commitment.