2020 had every prospect of being a great year, and in some respects it was. Mostly though it was a fully fledged cluster bomb that impacted everyone in some form.
I have been listening to the Tony Robbins book Unleash The Power Within lately which I have found quite insightful.
And one part of the book he mentions strategy and goes on to contrast this with the metaphor of making a recipe. As resellers many of us possess the basic ingredients, that is, the knowledge of how to buy and sell something to make a profit. Assembled in different ways but more or less the same.
If you aren’t following a recipe or sampling your food during cooking there’s a good chance it is going to end up tasting like crap.
I saw a few examples of this over the course of the last year that some don’t seem to have any actual strategy or the strategy was not well thought out.
How can you know what you were doing is working without some sort recipe and then tasting the food?
So what’s my strategy for 2021 then? Well 2020 was supposed to be the year of the turtle and you can read that rather large blog post here if you like for some comparison. The gist of it was that I wanted to slow things down a little bit to spend more time with my little one and improve my sourcing and listing habits.
Time definitely got busy this year as the little one got older. This was evidenced by my struggle to complete the monthly summaries which I ended up having to give up just purely for the time fact it was taking to create them. At the end of 2020 which was one of my goals (that took all year to do) was to streamline my process tracking. The tasting of my own recipe sticking with the metaphor.
Finally this Dashboard is up and running with December 2020 being the first trial month already pushing out some interesting insights. Having this kind of information makes it easy to work out where your time and focus should be going. In my case in December I spent way too much time I’m sourcing activities and not enough time on the listing. This is left me with a lot of items to list a list again same as last year.
In many ways I’m almost starting from the exact same place as the beginning of 2020 with the only two key differences being I now have a storage unit and I have basically automated my tracking workflows for all eBay sales and time tracking.
Get Rich Slowly 2021 Reselling
My mission statement for this year:
- Clean up time leakage.
- Conduct efficient sourcing.
- List on average 5+ items per day.
- Invest in other peoples time.
- Always put in the work.
This is a two-part approach between managing existing processes and then also looking at others that can add value and reach and time.
A good example would be to continue to improve the storage unit set up and layout including the creation of a specific packing table area and custom light box set up for listing. I have intention of creating a lightweight tubular steel set up that can be installed (and later removed) fairly easy for low-cost. There’s a lot to be said for having everything in its place and being able to find it when you actually need it. This has been far less of an issue since moving to the storage unit but still on the odd occasion I have an instance where I can’t find some scissors or sellotape or something like that which holds me up.
Once I get the listing box setup perfectly I am sure there will be a marked increase in throughput. As I am recording time, number of items listed I will be able to measure this improvement.
As an added bonus listing picture quality will also increase and also allow easy photography of larger items. Side note: Larger items are not usually an issue but not being able to do this easily adds another barrier to the listing process (have to take item somewhere else to photograph currently).
The next part is straight forward. Just get more items listed. Nothing other than a habit needs to be formed here.
Additional Listing Exposure
Much as eBay promoted listings offer a paid way to get more eyes on items listed I have (in conjunction with @CaptainOpShopNerd (Insta) been working on automating new listings to social platforms.
One platform is already completed and working well. Will seek to improve this over the course of the year. If it can be automated and isn’t too much trouble then this really could be a big boost to traffic and possibly sales.
This year I fully intend to make good on a concept I’ve already touched on before being sticking close to home and visiting the shops that I know consistently provide good returns.
I plan to do one big mission each month with the Aussie VHS Thrifter. In 2020 it became apparent that these are actually usually productive and we had some big days combined with minimal spend and some great returns.
As well as learning things along the way from each other there’s also the benefit of doing all the sourcing in a focused block of time.
We have a mission coming up down south regional in the next week and I also intend to finally push out my reselling item sheet of things that I’m looking for and get these to stores. I’ve used business cards in the past but haven’t really had much success or callback but there’s nothing to lose with these Op Shops because they are so far away.
Pprint some A4 sheets and basically tell them I’m looking for bulk buys.
In this way it might still make it potentially worth driving the four hour round trip to pick anything up.
I do have online sourcing as a viable sourcing method as well however I still have a tonne of items to list so this is on the back burner for now.
Don’t be so greedy
This year I really do need to get some cash flow moving. It is quite apparent after the listing challenge I set for myself in September I have a lot of inventory value tied up not doing anything. This combines money that’s actually been spent to buy the items (cost of goods sold) and also the potential profit.
This year I am going to be far less greedy with some of my returns just to generate that turnover of stock and up cashflow. There should be a couple of benefits to this one of which will be increased sell through rate (which the eBay algorithm will love) and then there’s the actual cash flow as well is currently needed to help support an expanding young family (mine for clarity haha). I won’t be making as many 10x sales but as long as my hourly rate is still better than that the day job I’m quite happy to do so.
Divert some cash flow into other assets
It’s become quite apparent that my limiting ceiling of time really has been reached.
I was already aware of that which was why I transitioned into using subcontractors to help me with clothing listing. I have a finite amount of time and I’m probably not going to be able to get any more for a little while without some severe family issues resulting.
Life is all about balance and I feel like I’ve got the balance pretty well spot on at the moment which the notable exception of health which needs addressing.
This then leads to an interesting question. How to continue to grow the business without quitting my day job?
For many the end goal is to leave behind the 9-5 a job they hate and go full time. A lofty goal well worth aspiring to.
My situation is a little different.
I work in a job I actually quite enjoy, it pays well and its close to home. It’s taken many years to find such a thing.
For the moment giving up that along with its incumbent security it provides for my family does not make logical sense. Part of the design of this business was to ensure my own income stream for later in life and to ensure I could always call on reselling when needed, not relying on anyone else and be removed from other elements of workplace discrimination in later years such as ageism.
This doesn’t necessarily mean I still can’t grow, indeed I looked back at Jan 2020 for some comparison. Sales were up and total listed stock value was up over 30%. Even on my part time basis the business is still growing slowly.
So back to the question then, how?
I have thought about this for sometime over the last few months. If time is limited (which it is) then it makes sense to get others to work for me. Obviously I have started with subcontractors but even that is also semi finite with throughput tied to sourcing the items to put through this process as well as turnover the stock being listed in this manner to help pay for the subcontractors.
Investing in other peoples time
The more I thought about time the more I realised the sole point of this is actually making my money work for me, not me work more for money.
After some of the immediate family cash flow has been met and fixed by eBay in combination with a revised budget I will be looking to start taking a large chunk of eBay cash flow and diverting it into the stock market.
With the stock market people elsewhere in a business are putting in the work and time which I don’t have. If money from the eBay reselling business is invested wisely the experience will be positive and provide access to growth that I cannot achieve with Reselling without quitting my day job. I have had a fair bit of experience with the stock market over the years having made and lost a substantial amount of money for most people’s perspectives. I am still learning everyday in this realm and I am not proclaiming to be an expert by any stretch.
This was one of the sticking points of having so much inventory not listed, something which I am often guilty of. Sure I might be able to take a $10 item and turn it into $100 but if it’s not listed it’s not making any money and in fact any value is slowly being eroded.
The point I am making is that the step to investing here has been thought through and considered to provide growth by using other peoples time.
Over the next few years this will be the general concept.
Once I’ve gotten on top of the death pile then sure I can go out and spend money on sourcing and reinvest into the eBay business to keep things turning over (and growing slowly). The idea is not to have any death pile at all. This will be the motivation to get everything listed promptly. Other than the monthly sourcing mission with the Aussie VHS Thrifter, no more sourcing until the death pile is sorted.
Should I track here what I buy? Let me know your thoughts. Could be an interesting reflection in coming years to see what sort of decision this was. Let me know in the comments.
Health And Wellbeing
This one is pretty straightforward. Nothing much is changed in this regard I had grand plans at the start of last year to really knuckle down and look after my health. I started off pretty well and then Covid19 hit and things sort of went out the window and routines got mucked up in and I didn’t really take advantage of some of that time as well as I could have.
Towards the end of 2020 was much the same with holidays coming up I kinda gave up on caring as much.
This year is about getting back on track and preparing for my upcoming journey towards old-age. I’m still young 38 don’t get me wrong but I’ve talked about this before we are planning for health now that relates to health later is a very good idea for both health and financial reasons.
I’ve got a new regiment of super foods to consume coupled with various vitamins and minerals.
The remedy to repair the damage is:
- Do exercise
- Eat better
- Sleep better
It’s only the first few days of 2021 and already I’ve finished two books which to be honest I am quietly impressed by. I spent a lot of time last year listening to podcasts, many many podcasts. As a result I accrued several audible credits which I plan on putting to good use over the coming months. I have already downloaded six books with these credits ready to roll through. A lot of these are self-help or focus in someway around life improvement/business.
2021 is shaping up to be an exciting year.
Although the only metric I have locked down is the 5 listings a day I have a feeling that even my turtle growth plan is going to reap excellent results.