(Return of the Mack) Come on (Return of the Mack) Oh my God (You know that I’ll be back) Here I am (Return of the Mack) Once again (Return of the Mack) Pump up the world (Return of the Mack) Watch my flow (You know that I’ll be back) Here I go!
Love that song and hope it is now stuck in your head!
It’s been awhile (a loooong while) since I’ve done a Reseller Summary and there is a good reason for that, simply, I don’t have a lot of time with everything going on in my life, the day job, part part time reselling and the bubba. The data entry was fine as already part of some of the process but the time to get all the sales entered and then all data nicely formatted did take some time, probably minimum a couple of hours each summary, before I write the summary post! This is time that now could be better spent on critical activities like actual sleep… I joke, sort of.
Recently though I was lucky enough to enjoy a single planned day off tacked onto the back end of the weekend (my favourite kind of break, the three day weekend). I had planned to do some sort of eBay work on this day mainly to have a crack at catching up from all the stuff that I’ve found from the two Garage Sale Trail days, maybe list a few things etc…
With some fortuitous timing I got sidetracked talking to a fellow reseller named CaptainOpShopNerd (See Instagram) and we got brainstorming about automation and some ideas that he had been working on himself. After a little while thinking about this I decided what he was suggesting I could probably have a crack at getting done within this day off and to be honest a welcome detour from some of my least favourite aspects of reselling. I fired up the computer and set to work.
There were two simple ideas:
(Note: The full process of all the automation will be covered in another huge post.)
Idea #1 Automate eBay Sales Record
This was the data entry step that I hadn’t gotten around to previously which resulted in me having to data entry to generate figures for the previous summaries. I knew it was possible to automate this through eBays API but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. After speaking with Captain I thought at the time if I could get this working then maybe I could bring back the summaries with figures! This part was actually pretty straightforward and as usual should have done it agggggges ago. This process was completed by using a platform called Zapier and creating a Zap (The platform name for a set of process flows steps) which takes the Sales data from a paid status eBay sale, formats the data how I want and then adds to my Googlesheet.
I get an eBay sale now and it is automatically entered as a line item in my Googlesheet with fees, postage and cost of goods auto calculated. No more data entry.
Idea #2 Semi-Automate Reselling Time Tracking
I wanted to see live data, a monthly summary was great but its not quite the same as being able to see live progress and adjust my time focus if needed. I wanted to see listing rates per minute, $ amounts listed, how much I had spent for the month sourcing, fees, cash flow, etc…
Most importantly I wanted to see that true $ rate per hour to see if my reselling activities are working better than the day job.
To do this I needed a better way to track time. Previously I was doing this by using a google form which worked fine but I also found it a bit clunky in my process flow. An example would be getting to the storage unit and listing a few items. At the end of almost every session I would go to fill out the google form and be like ah when did I start again? This happened quite a few times and resulted in inaccurate times obviously.
This issue came up in conversations with the Captain and I posited that surely there was a way that an app could be used instead, start time, stop time, done?
Turns out after some research there are plenty of apps that track time but only a few that would interface with Zapier.
In the end I went with an app called Harvest. Getting this working took far longer than I would have liked and I learned a couple of little issues that can be created when working with Zaps and Googlesheets.
Within Harvest I created separate tasks for Sourcing, Listing, Packing and Shipping.
An example of my listing process is now:
Select the task I am doing in the moment (listing).
Complete x amount of new listings and then when finished hit stop on the app.
The total time is automatically entered as a new line item in my Googlesheet against a listing activity.
There are some other neat little tricks which can be done using harvest as well but I’ll save those for the large blog post.
December was everything that I hoped it wouldn’t be this year, slow, erratic and under performing. I had a sneaky suspicion that my physical location would actually work against me (Perth AU) with most of Australia customers residing on the East Coast and postal speed decreases experienced by AusPost.
Sure enough, in the lead up to xmas my sales were definitely down against some of the previous months.
The sales data in the Dashboard along with the fees, COGS, and shipping are all automated and live now. (With occasionally a shipping element needing a tweak or an addition to a VLookup Table when an old store item sells). I have moved to business policies now so don’t expect to have too many of these instances. The business expenses are still pulled in from a Google form and I still want to have a copy of the receipt for accounting and auditing purposes.
Its evident from the Dashboard above that I was a bit slack on listing this month however those figures are not truly accurate with some crossover observed as the listing element was only tied in for semi-automation towards the middle of the month. Nonetheless I was well aware that I should have been pushing a little more. I should note however that some of that time does include setting up a few bins for my helper, the listings and value of which wont be reflected until next month. (I have about 40 drafts almost ready to go).
An average of 2.8 listings a day is still pretty low and something that I will be looking to significantly increase throughout 2021.
As shown in the Dashboard above I spent up a little bit this month. It seemed like everywhere I went simply had good deals about. I know when I am spending a lot in a month I am effectively spinning the wheel, that is, investing a lot back into business inventory which is likely going to sit around for sometime. The problem I have is with limited time available I am having trouble getting the throughput to make spending this sort of amount of money worth it, by this I mean having money tied up in stock that’s going to sit.
On the plus side of this months spend (and in conjunction with the Monster Garage Sale trail hauls over the 2 days in November) I really don’t need to be out sourcing for a while.
Check out a December mission with the Aussie VHS Thrifter from early December.
Cashflow and Gross Profit Per Hour
The gross profit per hour is using net amounts, that is after fees, shipping, cogs, etc… I’m still calling it a gross amount because it does not (currently) account for tax still to be paid.
I was interested to see where the GPPH ended up for this month, being I had spent so much time sourcing Vs Listing and Packing I knew (from seeing the same occurrence previously in other summaries) that the rate was going to be pretty poor against some stellar previous numbers. The result was $35 GPPH which I am definitely OK with with the amount of time invested. If you make $35 per hour, that is the equivalent of a yearly salary of $69,160 which is a decent rate for a part time job on your own time frames.
I expect to do basically 50% less sourcing next month so would expect to see this number go up. By focusing on getting more items listed instead of sourcing I also would expect to sell more items. Both should have some positive flow on effects to both the GPPH and cashflow numbers. Now that I have listing recording semi-automated I am excited to see the true reflection to these numbers in the months ahead.
Cashflow was positive for the month but still pretty weak on account of the inventory spend.
Whats the plan for next year? Good question, I have a few strategic ides to implement for 2021. I’ll be covering these in an upcoming blog post in conjunction with an appearance on a live YouTube Stream on the 8th Jan 2021.
My primary focus for January is:
To get as many items as I can listed. With basically no sourcing occurring I expect to see some awesome figures come out of this months efforts.
There will be another sourcing mission with Robbie Hollywood (Aussie VHS Thrifter) at the back end of Jan 2021.
A mini goal is to get all remaining clothing items processed by my helper. This should be around 75-100 items. There is a lot of potential profit tied up here.
My last post was all the way back in May and I said I would investigate a storage unit.
Well in June I pulled the trigger on that and got a little 3 x 3 unit at a new facility which had opened up just up the road.
It’s a 5 minute drive from the house and also on the way home from the day job without really requiring and time lost in a detour.
Did I mention there’s 3 Op Shops within a 2 minute drive? It’s a good spot.
As an added bonus due to the new opening and trying to attract tenants the first two months were at half price so this became a very good deal.
I can’t explain the sense of relief of getting all of the stuff out of the spare room and at various points around the house and out of the back shed and collate everything into one spot. The house now is the house and functions as it should. I know for sure that my wife appreciates the disappearance of clutter.
It was necessary with bubbas arrival I just didn’t realise just how much.
I can fully seperate eBay and home life (physically anyway) and there’s some great mental peace from being able to come home after being at the storage unit and just focus on family time.
It quickly became apparent after a few weeks of moving in there that potentially I needed even more space. The way I had it set up it was functioning okay but I found myself constantly shifting boxes around and around and around to try and either fit sourced items into the unit or to find stuff to pack to ship. It quickly became frustrating and my brain which loves patterns was screaming at me that this wasn’t working efficiently or effectively.
So two months later at the beginning of August I upgraded to a new 7 x 3 unit right on the corner tucked out of the way with an odd shape of a rectangle which then tapered down to a point making a small triangle (see photo below). I was able to set the small triangle area up as the workspace for taking photos and packing stuff and as soon as I had done this I already knew that it was gonna work quite well. Luckily for me, the facility was still running the startup promotion and by upgrading I was able to get an additional two months at half the price again making a total of four months half price in a single year. I’m assuming this probably isn’t supposed to happen but I will take it nonetheless.
The extra space made all the difference. I was able to segregate box’s into their own little areas by type.
I was able to setup a dedicated spot for packing materials and a workstation. (See below). This area will be custom built out over the next year with some assistance. More on that later.
Note the use of the lights. They run on batteries as power is only down the hall and available during office hours which is a bit restrictive for use. These little lights do the job for now.
Over the next couple months I spent a decent amount of money on inventory and preparation for a big Q4 including my largest lump sum purchase of some 300 Japanese manga books.
And although I had all my listed items stacked in boxes that were fairly easy to access I found that the death pile was slowly creeping across the floor and had serious potential to quickly get out of hand. I decided at the same time I brought the books that I needed to make the investment for the future now and finally get some racking. Like a shark I was going to grow to fit into the surrounding environment, might as well have some good structure to it.
I was able to find a few local deals on both Facebook marketplace and gumtree for racking. It became a question of whether I wanted to go for heavy duty warehouse type setup or a simple Bunnings type set up. In the end I decided to go for the Bunnings type setup with the caveat that I wasn’t going to pay Bunnings prices.
I had seen several racks in the past that people wanted to get rid of on Marketplace and Gumtree so knew would only be a matter of time before I could find a good deal in my area that would suit.
In a cruel twist of fate the following day after deciding this I actually went into the local Bunnings and they had a rack fully put together on clearance for less than half price. Brilliant I thought, this is meant to be it’s a sign, I went to the counter and asked about the rack and was told that I had missed it by mere minutes.
Later that night I ended up searching on Facebook marketplace and came across a business which was closing down nearby and managed to buy 4 racks at $80 each. This later turned into 6 racks after a person had bought 2 from the same person but later did not show up. I took the Ute and a rubber mallet (essential) and dismantled and then reassembled all on the same afternoon. This took longer than I had anticipated even with the rubber mallet making swift work of disassemble/ reassemble.
Everything is now on racks with plenty of room to spare.
The death pile has turned into a death rack. And in it’s highly different form instantly provided some motivation to get stuff listed. For me, something about seeing what’s in front of you versus what’s on the floor and hiding under things in bags and boxes that are basically out of sight out of mind was a strong motivator.
There’s still a long way to go with this setup but the bones are there now. It turns out I have a connection that can help me get further new racking at a deep discount to retail. Next on the list will be a dedicated packing station.
There’s still some vertical space that requires some careful planning and design. Slow moving and fairly light items like games and puzzles would be perfect to tuck away up high. For now these reside in a new spot on the top shelf.
Things have changed a lot in only a few short months and at times it’s often felt like I’m not seeing the growth I was hoping for.
It took me a while to see that expansion of infrastructure is also growth and a necessary precursor to sustained long term growth which is where the medium term goal is. There is also a time component to achieve this which must be spent at some point.
If you haven’t already, maybe it’s time to think about a storage unit?
I needed a new mouse upgrade desperately as my productivity was suffering badly.
A few years ago I brought a Dell Alienware setup that at the time it was the higher end of the range. It came with a gaming mouse as well which to be honest I never really took advantage of.
I Actually Wore A Mouse Out…
Anyway, after a few thousand hours of gaming in my favourite world of Diablo this mouse had started to show its age particularly the left click hack and slash special button. The clicks were still clicking meeting it’s warranty promise of over one million clicks guarantee but clicking and dragging was painful sometimes working extremely hard against me. There were multiple times when this dodgy mouse almost cost me a hard-core character death which would be devastating after 100 hours on a character.
It was actually listing on eBay which finally convinced me it was time to buy a new mouse to obtain a productivity upgrade. At times when listing books I need to grab the ISBN to add to the listing (to prefill the listing). I currently use an Auto Hot Key (AHK) hot key which opens the snippet app and then the idea is to quickly take a snippet of the ISBN, reduce the window size of the eBay window which allows me to type it in seeing the ISBN in a neighbouring window. Easy process until actually trying to take the snippet with a dodgy mouse. At times it would take two or three times to get it. Eventually I worked out I could actually use the right mouse button to get around this but alas this mini work around does not work in other apps I often use such as Word or PowerPoint.
It’s the type of problem that in the moment its annoying but not insurmountable, so what, it might take an extra 10 seconds on the occasional listing. That by itself was not the catalyst, it was all the other apps that really caused me to take action. Trying to create graphics using office products and not being able to easily click and drag to draw a simple rectangle was downright frustrating.
So this weekend just passed I ventured out into a nearby physical chain store specialist in office products. Alas I can state that the Coronavirus has not improved WAs abysmal customer service. Turns out I should have ordered from Amazon and saved myself a little bit of money. My impatience cost me $10.
What To Buy?
Initially I considered buying another gaming mouse but gaming’s not a huge priority at the moment with a new bubba so I went for practicality with a mouse that has 8 customisation buttons to really apply my hot keys I have already worked on.
I brought the Logitech 910-004792 Triathlon Wireless Mouse M720 and as is always the way immediately wished I had done this sooner, the mouse was set up in less than two minutes and another couple to install the Logitech software allowing the button customisation. Mapping my existing AHK hot keys took only a few moments.
I used an existing key sequence that I already had set up previously using AHK to open the snippet app and instantly create a new snippet and mapped it to the mouse side front button.
For now I have the mouse side back button I mapped another AHK hot key which opens up my custom google To Do List form in chrome. So handy. I think of something, one button press and I’m typing it in and submitting and then its gone out of my mind leaving me to get back to focusing on what I was doing. I love this already.
Some other examples of using the gesture button to create 4 different actions:
But Wait! There’s Still More.
After exploring the Logitech interface further I was actually surprised that the mouse can also do all sorts of powerful operations such as opening apps etc…
As an example (Refer above picture) I could have the same button open the snippet app using this interface to do it instead of my AHK hot key. It won’t be able to set it ready to take the snip like the AHK script can but its still most of the way there.
Get It Done, Now.
If you haven’t already tried mapping some of your mouse buttons to custom actions I strongly recommend it. Even without further augmenting with AHK you will still get a massive productivity upgrade.
On some chance you are still using a seven dollar legacy mouse with the wheel and two buttons you are way behind, spend some money (tax deductible for business) and invest in a quality mouse which can elevate your productivity to new levels.
Welcome to the first Reselling January 2020 summary. This year’s going to be epic.
Straight up if you have read these summaries in the past you will immediately notice a difference in how the figures are presented. I’ve spent a bit of time massively improving some internal systems which as an added bonus spit out these nice summary figures which can be tailored to analyse a number of different business aspects.
In the Year Of The Turtle post regarding goals I had left things somewhat vague other than a minimum listing target. After creating the reporting dashboards I decided to set up my own personal scorecard and give myself a grade each month. For now the grade is based on the overall goal to pay off my investment property in 5 years or less, after which the rent proceeds from this house should allow me to take things semi full time while allowing epic amounts of time with bubba.
Realistically I need at least $1000 net each month to be applied across to the investment loan. To succeed fully this will need to be even more but I have five years and this seems like a great place to start.
So therefore for 2020 the score card will be set like this with totals for the month:
$500 or less: D – Colour Red. If I end up here for the month I probably stuffed something up badly like overspending on either inventory, other expenses or subcontractor costs.
$500-$1000: C – Colour Orange. I would call this range the OK range, not great but towards the top end heading towards the $1000 mark is close to where I’m gunning for.
$1000-$1500: B – Colour Yellow. Minimum target met but a little bit like a B at university, have put in some solid work but could still be improved upon.
$1500-$2000: A – Colour Green. At this level consistently the goal will be easily achieved and ahead of schedule.
$2000+: G – Colour Gold – A throwback to the primary school gold stars. Above this level for this year will make me very happy.
All of the above will have either a + or – added to the grade as well to define which side of the range the result sits on. For example a C- would be $500-$750 where as a C+ would be from $750-$1000.
Also to note is that the total net figure will also include recovered cost of goods sold. I have already outlaid thousands of dollars over the last year and a half on inventory, it Is time now to recoup some of my initial investment here and move it across to the investment property.
So without further ado, behold, January’s figures:
A couple of notes:
The store value and total listings is compared against October 2019 values as I did not calculate Novembers and Decembers due to time prioritisation commitments with the new bubba.
The other business expenses for this month are definitely out of the ordinary and include additional shipping associated with the bush fire relief (covered further below) and the purchase of a couple of office supplies including a new desk. All tax deductions of course.
I am aware that this is 30 days and that January has 31 days, this for me is a rolling scorecard and at the moment I don’t feel like I am deriving any extra value from spending the extra time to go back an modify formulas for one day. If anything the results will always be a little better than what is posted.
The Magic of Tracking
This month I started logging time in the interest of continual business improvement. I think it will be very useful to be able to reflect where tweaks could be made to improve profitability or identify potential time sinks in all areas of the business. Indeed there was an interesting discussion on The Australian Resellers group page recently on just this question – What defines a part time seller?
This month across all aspects
of sourcing, listing, packing and shipping I have spent:
28 hours for the month which equates to 7 hours per week which in my view is definitely part time.
It was a very slow start for January, closely I suspect (hope) due to lack of free available funds by many people contributing towards the ongoing bush fires.
Looking back against Jan 2019s figures of $723.15 net on 30 sales against 421 listings with a total listed value of $15889. The Jan 2020s results have been, in contrast, quite average considering I have just popped over 1000 active listings with more than double the total store value.
However, considering that I sold 0 high value items, (that is anything over $100) for the entire month I guess I should actually be pretty happy with this result.
Another factor which may have played a part could be the non-existent listing in December effectively flowing through into early January.
A Failed Sales Run
Tried to run a store sale with a rule, 15% discount on all orders over $40. This would have been my largest sale dollar amount to date and after I created the Sale + Markdown event only 1 listing showed in the sale initially! I check back 2 days later and there were 7. Well below the 326 that should have been in the sale…
I actually followed this up via an eBay chat and was informed that, if the same items were in the previous sale that has just ended then they would have to wait 5 days before being automatically added to the new sale… My previous sale had been 8% storewide so this was definitely true.
Something to keep in mind for future sales.
Changing The Store Name
I finally got around to changing the store name and updated the cover and icons with the new icon set. I’ve listened to Pure Hustle Podcast a lot and distinctly remember them saying with their interview with Sell Quick Ship Quick that it wasn’t a good idea to make huge sweeping changes across the store. Sure enough there was a slight lull but picked straight back up afterwards.
Business Fun For A Great Cause
It was my great pleasure along with the support of my wife and good friend from work that we were able to support 2AussieThrifters and their live YouTube bushfire donation fundraising event with a painting and drawing respectively being put up for auction and raising over $300.
This took place on the 12th Jan 2020 over several hours and featured fellow resellers live from around the world coming together and offering their own items up for auction on the live stream with all winning bid amounts being applied to one of 3 different charities, all of which are directly involved with the ongoing bushfires across Australia. Together as group the total raised was a massive $12,000+ for the cause.
You can see the replay on the YouTube link below, skip to 4 hours 35mins 30secs to see my appearance along with my beautiful wifes Painting and friends drawing.
January Business Improvements
A reorganised packing station is working well, being able to find things easily unsurprisingly leads to improved efficiencies with packing and shipping times.
Buying stamps in bulk has led to some notable improvement with time savings by not having to go into the actual post office.
Setup a new tracking system for the business which will pay dividends in both visualisation snapshots of the business and record keeping for both analysis and tax purposes. I’m still tweaking various workflows but am pretty happy with how it’s come together. Come tax time I will be able to have everything for the year organised very easily which will be in sharp contrast to last financial year where it took hours to get everything organised.
Previously providing the monthly updates were quite time consuming, with the way the tracking system is setup now I can get a snapshot at the months end accurately and extremely easily. All of the figures you see in this months report are from the dashboard of this system.
More on this system later in the year as I believe it could really help others across a number of different areas. Will spend the next few months with further testing and making it even better.
Finally got around to completing the business cards and getting them printed. One afternoon I was, for want of a better word, inspired and just sat down and smashed the whole design out. 2 sided, gloss finish, 100 cards for just under $40 delivered. One side with the usual stuff like logos and contact details, the reverse with a segmented list of reselling items I’m looking for. As previously written about I know most of the local managers, I cannot really see any downside to handing these out, especially when I already have so much stock on hand. Lets see how much sourcing comes to me over the next 6 months. The cards themselves came back from the printer and the text was slightly blurry due to the font sizing. Not totally unreadable but needs fixing for the next run.
So far I have used them twice, one when talking to a staff member in a Vinnies and the second time I handed one to a guy I know quite well at a local Salvos. I am being super selective where handing these out. I think its important to make sure those relationships are firmly established before attempting this. One of the reasons for starting to actually roll this out is that after some reflection it is becoming increasingly clear that sourcing from some of these larger chain stores is becoming an inefficient use of my time. If I get a couple of calls in 6 months about this it will be worth it I am sure. Guess will see how it pans out.
Also it is critical to note that I am NOT doing this at all at the local “honey holes” I spoke about during my 2020 plan, the items I find at those shops are already awesome and cheap to boot. Don’t shit where you eat.
Well this area was supposed to be non-existent, as previously stated I have heeeeaps of items sitting in the death / money pile. But like many a reseller, I broke my own rule and took some sourcing opportunities where they were effective use of my time.
I had a small mission on
December 31st 2019 which was actually quite fun as the stores were
empty owing to New Years eve. I recommend going sourcing on this day, staff
were friendly, places were empty. Thoroughly enjoyable. In my mind this was
technically still 2019 so I wrote this off as my last hoorah at the time.
The remainder of January featured some truly selective sourcing. The following are about as efficient and effective as I think I could possibly get (aside from digital sourced with delivery). I spent a grand total of $157 on a massive 115 items in only 7 hours. This is part time sourcing truly at its best. I estimate there’s easily well north of $700 in value.
I had to visit the local tip one weekend on the direction of my wife. Whilst there I took the opportunity to peruse the tip shop they have as this required no extra time to do so. I actually left my wallet at home thinking I wouldn’t need it, always the way. After quickly looking around I came across a good condition Gilbert Rugby body armour set and several vintage PC games. I’m guessing someone had thrown out a big box of these and the guys at the tip had rescued them. Anyway, I had $10 in my pocket, so when I walked up to one of the guys and said how much for all this? I was fully expecting to have to put a few things back. Today was my lucky day however and $10 took it all including over 20 vintage games (all later determined in good condition aside from a couple of broken cases, 1 was a bootleg), the Gilbert gear and a vintage QLD drink holder from the 70s, 80s or 90s (determined from a combination of the phone number and the use of Golden Fleece on the holder (a vintage petroleum brand). For a visit that had to happen (going to the tip), I was very happy to walk away with well over $400 worth of resale value (20x$20 games, excludes the drink holder and Gilbert Rugby Gear). So far I have sold one game for $20 and the drink holder for $45. Well into the money here.
Next time I’m bringing more cash money.
I finished work one day
having to go to a shop to buy some items (work related). It was on the way home
and literally around the corner was a clearance outlet, less than a 1 minute
20 minutes spent and came away with a couple of tennis shirts, 3 hats (including 2 Guinness flat hats) @ 50c each, and 5x 8 Track Tapes! These blew me away, first time I have seen them in physical form – ever. Anyway they don’t appear super valuable but should return an easy $10 profit each. I cherry picked the best 5 of 10 available.
The day job resulted in a reconnaissance mission down south through some country towns. Conveniently through towns I have been meaning to get to for a long long time as obviously being so far out, fellow resellers are in much lower numbers and therefore potential treasure likelihood increases.
I utilised my lunch break to peruse a couple and was not disappointed coming away with some bread and butter items along with a couple of gems such as an ACME Sydney 2000 hat and a Pokemon 1996 Bum Belt Bag (Fanny Pack – American). Prices were very reasonable to boot.
I wrote about my local “go to” Op Shops in my 2020 goal post The Year Of The Turtle. One Saturday I needed to get out of the house and have some introvert time alone to recharge. After a 5 minute drive I was happily browsing through a shed full of books on a “fill a bag for $5” mission. They also happened to have some bags handy so I found an oversized tote and set to work filling it up. After I had found all I thought would be useful I went inside only to be told that they were closing in 5 minutes. I quickly managed to find 2 pairs of shoes.
For 32 items I spent a grand total of $12.50 which included a $4 extra donation which was all the change I had in the utes centre console. There may have been some other treasures hiding in here as I actually ran out of time when the shop closed at 13:00pm…
On a Sunday there was a garage sale less than 100m from my house. I scoured my entire house and could only manage to find $4 in loose change. I considered not going as what could I possibly get for $4? However as it was so close I thought why not. I was pleasantly surprised with the prices when I arrived and I ended up buying my first ever NERF item, an elite pistol with a large supply of ammo. This had $4 on the bag when I saw it so I thought yes I can probably make $10 from that. As I went to pay for this however I spied a Magic The Gathering logo at the bottom of a stack of puzzles. This turned out to be a Plainswalker Board game and had $2 on it! Now I was torn as I now had to get the game but still wanted the NERF gear. I asked the lady if she would take $4 for both and she said yes…Cha Ching.
Began working through the death / money pile, spending the first couple of weekends of January heavily hitting taking photos for mainly books and media. It’s a good feeling to finally begin to at least start to get on top of it, particularly when it’s obvious there’s literally thousands of dollars sitting there ready to be sold.
My goal for the moment is simply to list more than 3 items per day on average and 5 per day as the stretch target. I’ll be honest I still struggled with this for most of the month but got pretty close to the stretch goal at 4.93 average per day. Finding time, an hour here or there can prove extremely difficult with the little one. It basically needs to be when she’s asleep so I don’t miss out on the magical life events.
I came across on Daily Refinement’s Insta feed an interesting poll that was run about listing which gave a nice summary breakdown, obviously the sample size is a little small.
I could list over 50+ items per day if I had all the photos ready and did nothing else for 10 hours straight – no interruptions. This little screenshot got me thinking what might be possible on a full time basis. I think I could achieve 30 listing per day on average and without burnout (which is a key consideration). This is based on 3 hour window of a larger 6 hour window. The other 3 hours being for sourcing and photos etc… Could work. Not really applicable for the next few years but interesting none the less.
Had a couple of low balling peanuts and stupid offers this month.
Had a lady buy a spoon only to send me a message asking if it had been used (listing was for used). Then afterwards sent me a message asking for an additional 50% off as it was used. Cheeky, then she spammed me with messages to cancel the transaction after I said I would be cancelling it!
One to add to the block list for sheer entitlement. Super annoying that this costs me that PayPal fee for interactions such as this.
Thankfully, that was the extent of negativity this month.
A new addition for these summaries but I am serious about getting my health in order this year after letting it go over the last couple. Afterall what good is making lots of money reselling if it destroys your health and relationships.
There’s a lot of data around about the increasing costs of healthcare as you age. I am looking to find ways and methods now to stave off poor health and disease later. Ideally I’d like to live past 100 with relative good health all the way. After all I have a little bubba to care for now. She is great motivation for getting my ass into gear.
The below chart illustrates some average costs by age group in USD for generic spending and also in relation to some common illnesses / diseases.
Its plain to see that the longer one can prolong exposure to age related disease the better from both a health AND a financial perspective.
So where to start then?
My initial goals are:
Sleep Better. I have already posted about sleeping better here.
Lose 20kgs for the year which is the first time I am documenting this number. This will take me down to 76kg a weight of which I have not been in over 10 years. So Starting weight of 96kgs.
Weight however, is not the primary focus, its about eating healthier, exercising effectively, spending more time with loved ones and living longer, the weight loss is a bonus from the process but a useful metric (one of) to be able to track.
For the month of Jan I lost 6.36kgs, yes 31.8% of my total goal already and not a bad way to kick things off, but a lot of that will be water weight and results from here on will slow to a crawl.
I expect the next months progress to be much slower obviously but this is a great start with some rather unexpected benefits resulting in a Reselling Secret Weapon, more on this in another post soon.
Plans For February
A new side project. January also birthed an idea for a Merch side project which I will be working on that relates to the reselling world. This will appear on my Insta feed (and here) when available. Might roll into March depending on supplier shipping.
Consider scheduling additional 3 day weekends with accrued annual leave, perhaps once a month where a single day can be dedicated to getting as many items listed or photographed as possible. I was actually doing this over a year ago before we received the news about the bubba whereby I then immediately began hoarding leave. These 3 day weekends are great to get focused blocks of work done whilst still feeling like you have a weekend!
Increase exercise for the Health mission, specifically adding a minimum of 20 Burpees to the daily routine in additional to the daily 100 pushups.
A video I have created providing an example of how I use Auto Hot Key to run multiple searches across different sourcing platforms executing multiple search terms. All in an effort to make sourcing just that little bit easier and more time-efficient.
This is a method to in effect have saved searches. One double click to run the script and open all search terms.
This is just a quick post on making selling things on Facebook marketplace a little bit more palatable. I’ve seen a bunch of social posts over the last couple of weeks where people have been getting frustrated with people basically wasting their time, and fair enough too. Unfortunately this is an annoying by-product of selling on this platform. It is definitely more of a buyers paradise compared against eBay and others. Indeed, whilst researching negotiating bots while writing this post I noted that: “Facebook Marketplace Waste Of Time” featured prominently in Google search queries.
As a seller, most of the time these messages will be coming to you on your phone, and because of this you want to be able to quickly respond and get back to whatever you’re doing. Time really is money, baby.
One way to improve your efficiency and decrease the amount of time typing replies is to automate some of them by taking advantage of keyboard shortcuts on your phone.
See my recent real life recent example below where a potential buyer has offered under 50% of what the original price of the item is selling for, a common low ball offer.
It begins with the standard incoming message – Is this available message.
Yes I reply and then I’m rolled the low ball offer.
You could (just like I have with $35) reply with a number that you’re after and then the conversation continues.
I had the feeling however after the initial offer and the $5 counter offer to $20 that we were never going to reach a deal as I was looking for $30 as my lowest price I would take. So I decided I needed to cut my losses here (time).
So I follow this up with that rather long paragraph and conclude the conversation. I certainly wouldn’t want to type this on the phone while out and about but I don’t have to as this whole paragraph is tied to a simple keyboard shortcut on my phone of 3 keys.
I simply type out “FBM” on my keyboard and out comes this whole phrase.
It’s an easy way to respond, take the emotion out of it and get negotiations done quickly. In the example Angela (the buyer) has even responded with a like. After all people can and often do change their mind. I have been experimenting with other phrases that could be used to try and speed up other interactions due to the amount of time wasting that can occur.
In this same real example I could have also responded with a price where I had an offer from another buyer for $30 (either real or imagined – in this case real as I sold to another buyer around the same time) with the below phrase. I would simply type $30 as the lowest price I would be prepared to take, make a new line and then type “FBMO” which would generate the following.
The above tells the buyer that this is the market price and implies I will not go any lower (which I won’t) and therefore ends the negotiation with either a “Yes I’ll take it”, a “No thank you”, or no response back at all which is obviously a no.
The other common phrase I would also set up is the initial response to Is this available? There’s been a few times where, after replying yes, this is followed with “where are you located?”. Now alot of people don’t often read the description very well, so people will still ask this question. Therefore why not preempt it by replying:
“Hi there, thank you for your enquiry, yes this item is till available. I am located in XYZ suburb. Would prefer a local pickup but depending on your area I also might be able to deliver (depending on the price)”
There you have it. Once you have this setup, all those messages won’t annoy, frustrate anymore.
If anyone has seen any function negotiating bots for Facebook market place let me know!
Back in the day you used to be able to search Facebook Marketplace for something, save search queries and then get notifications when new items were listed. I.E a saved search. This functionality seems to have been removed some time ago for unknown reasons (it was at the time of this writing anyway). Please let me know in the comments if this has changed again.
To get around this lack of functionality I thought it a useful time saver to be able to automate several FB Marketplace search queries to one simple double click to run all of them instantly using a super simple Auto Hot Key script. This concept could also be easily applied to any other platform, for example eBay or Gumtree with some tweaking.
So I double click the Auto Hot Key script icon on my desktop:
And the browser opens all windows at once each with its respective search query:
You need Auto Hot Key running on your computer to make this work. Applies to Windows running PCs. Available at: https://www.autohotkey.com/
Here is the code, it is super easy. First search FB Marketplace for what you are looking for. Then copy and paste the whole URL, into the script between “URL” as per the code below in bold italics. Then just copy this URL and modify the search terms to whatever you are looking for each time. Need a new search? Just add a new line. Save the script and your ready to go.
#NoEnv ; Recommended for performance and compatibility with future AutoHotkey releases. ; #Warn ; Enable warnings to assist with detecting common errors. SendMode Input ; Recommended for new scripts due to its superior speed and reliability. SetWorkingDir %A_ScriptDir% ; Ensures a consistent starting directory.
This month was, I think, a turning point in this side hustle business. It feels like I have taken some large steps forward and that all the groundwork put in over the last few months is finally starting to show good results culminating in the highest monthly profit (after all fees, shipping and COGS) of $812.05.
This month I took advantage whenever I could to get to Op Shops / Thrift Shops, most of the time on the way home. For the majority of the month, I managed to fit in a stop each day. This turned out to be both a blessing and a curse as I had a few days where I found some bargains but this contrasted heavily against others where I struggled to find items at a reasonable price and so wasted a lot of time just trying to find something. That said however over the course of the month I still managed to spend an additional $637.20 on inventory which conservatively should expand once sold out to over $3000.
I went on a sourcing mission one Saturday morning and travelled a bit further afield than usual with great results. It was comparable to probably being the most effective sourcing day ever so far with a combination of being in the right place at the right time occurring several times that particular day. At the first stop 2 mins from my house, I picked up specialist Monopoly sets of Dragonball Z and Adventure time along with mint condition Playstation 3 games. On the way home I drove past a Garage Sale sign and picked up an entire box of Manga books for $5.50 followed by a Harry Potter First Edition Deathy Hollows in fantastic condition for 50c. I then headed way south and made my target Op Shop with 15 minutes to spare before close. I picked up 3 Pairs Of Levi’s For $9, and an entire Tony Robins Personal Power CD Collection with the box For $6. This shop had no change or eftpos and the lowest denomination I had was a $20. So I was forced to find a brand new with tags Ben Sherman Vest (RRP $79.95), a pair of Jet Pilot board shorts and a couple of nice shirts to round out the difference. I was definitely on a high that day, it seemed everywhere I went there were bargains to be had. That $20 by itself from that one shop could turn into $300 – $400 By itself. For the day I spent just over $100 total.
Another day I hit a small jackpot in the last half an hour by again being at the right place at the right time and picking up a vintage Hero Quest game. That crazy story can be found here.
The House Update
I’ve been lapse with the house updates over the last couple of months. Other than a new oven being required there hasn’t been much to report. At a point during this month, however, I noticed that I hadn’t been paid rent from the rental property management company. I checked three or four times just to be sure as there had been no notification and sure enough, when I pressed them they made me aware that there was a problem. I had a mental list of major disaster problems that ran through in my head however it turns out it was a relatively simple one (be it also critical) that the tenant was no longer paying rent, was two weeks in arrears (behind) and had every intention of vacating prior to the end of the tenancy (lucky for me the remaining tenancy only had 2 months left till expiry).
Now originally this side hustle began as a way to augment paying this house off as quickly as possible and then this house would provide free cash flow. To date, this side hustle has been very helpful and I’m currently eight months ahead with mortgage repayments. I’m definitely less concerned about this unpaid rent than I otherwise might be were the situation different. That said it’s interesting to see the process unfold, whether it ends up going to court, whether or not I get my money owed back, and ultimately just how long that takes as well. Realistically, this is the whole point of having a property management company to help you manage situations just like this. To be able to remain somewhat disconnected makes it far easier to deal with and make decisions with most emotional influences removed.
Anyway sidetracked a little bit, in previous months I have talked about making months “No Buy” or “No Sourcing” months as I still have literally hundreds of items of stock I need to list. In previous months, (that is every month in which I’ve previously said just this), I have failed miserably in my restraint, often heading out on extensive thrifting/sourcing missions. This coming month of April is different because I actually need to make $600 in profit to help pay the mortgage on this property, something I should be able to achieve so long as I don’t procure more stock!
So the primary goal of April will be a “No Buy” sourcing month, well at least until I find another tenant anyway.
Sales have been definitely trending up and I’ve been keeping an eye on the seller hub watching the arrows against the previous periods of 60 days pretty much always in the green.
This month has a record profit of $812.05 and would have been even higher had I not had two returns which I have removed from the figures above.
The total value of all items listed has now crept over $20,000 which I am pretty happy with considering I only added an extra 61 listings. this equates to an average listing price of $38.87 per listing. It is quite possible that this figure will be even better next month as I have some bigger ticket items to get up and sold.
The cash flow for the month is a paltry $4.85 with the difference between profit – inventory being one off purchases of storage tubs and a Dymo 4XL Label Printer.
This month I have crashed through 500 listings with the relative ease. I’m not sure why that number held any power of any kind but I did prove a psychological resistance for a little bit. Aprils secondary goal is to get up to 600 listings which are the maximum amount I can have on my current store subscription (without incurring additional charges). The plan then is to reassess at the end of April and then if I decide to go ahead and push through 600 and power on towards 1000. I probably will.
A couple of small problems this month. I had two returns, one where a buyer was trying to say I sold a fake book, which was total rubbish of course. Currently this return is still ongoing. Is there really such a thing as fake books? I find this hard to believe. This will be covered in greater depth in a future post. At this point it feels like I am currently being scammed.
Another I accepted a return where a camera wasn’t working, I did state on the listing it was not tested. I was happy to accept the return anyway but I will see where that ends up with eBay and their view on an item not as described (INAD) because it is described as not been tested. I still might have to request any defect allocation to be removed on this one. Sigh. I suppose I learned my lesson, things I’m not 100% sure on, need to be labelled as for parts / not working and described as such. Still once I get this back I will still be able to resell again for profit.
Being that I was on a roll early on with some decent sales I decided to finally take the plunge and buy a Dymo 4XL Label Printer that I have been thinking about for a while. A suitable one flashed up one day on an eBay saved search I had set up for specifically this. As luck would have it I also managed to snag this whilst eBay was running its 10% off discount sale so I ended up getting the Label Maker plus five additional rolls of labels from another seller combined for $170ish dollars. I had a small problem of this label maker going missing in the post. The seller used Sendle a courier carrier which to be honest was super painful with no tracking on the listing initially. The Label Printer was late, the labels had already arrived. When tracking was provided after I requested it from the seller the item appeared to have arrived in the city but was stuck in a loop being checked into the depot each day it said for over a week. I had actually experienced the same problem before at my day job where I wasted a substantial amount of time getting in touch (on hold or being run around) with the courier company to find out where the delivery was (I am talking over a hour at least cumulative). I had absolutely no intention of wasting my time following this up myself, particularly as the buyer had made the choice to use a cheaper option to save literally a couple of dollars. Eventually, after opening a case for item not received the seller chased it up with the courier company and it finally appeared 3 days later, yay. I was pleasantly surprised when I finally opened it. The unit was in much better condition than what the eBay pictures had shown, maybe it’s the surface of it as I had trouble getting a half decent picture myself. And then as an added bonus inside the Label Printer was still a half full roll of genuine Dymo labels, which was odd because the listing specifically said no labels were included. $10 bonus right there.
I already have a smaller Dymo 450 so will spend some time getting these set up side-by-side. I use the smaller labels for other purposes such as labelling tubs and some items of clothing. Getting the Dymo 4XL set up was a breeze already having the Dymo 450, it was basically ‘plug and play’. However, getting the right print set up on eBay proved to be more of a challenge with Google leading me in the wrong direction initially with trying to find printer preferences through eBay itself. It turns out that simply modifying the scale and selecting the correct setting label type setting was perfect.
It’s hard to describe just how much of a difference this makes as far as productivity goes. The old printer was in a totally different room on the Wi-Fi network and often did not print initially resulting in me going to the other room and see no paper had actually printed. Then I would have to return to the computer in the other room and run the printer troubleshooter to spool the printer queue to get the printer to work. This also had the annoying side effect of reprinting the previous label as well meaning I had to be careful not to mix up the labels accidentally resulting in an item sent to the wrong person. Frustrating? You betcha.
Simply fixing this printer issue by using using the label printer has resulted in much smoother packing experience.
The labels stick on nicely on the satchels and I can now use them for parcel packages as well.
Auto Hot Key
The eBay script got a work out this month. eBay had modified its listing template again resulting in me having to retweak the script (again). Overall though the script is working better than ever now with very minimal errors.
I added on to the front end, to open a new tab and search for the item title (input from the GUI) on existing listings and then filter by Sold Listings (automatically of course) before running the rest of the script. This does help a little to some extent but results can vary a lot depending on how many keywords I use in the title. The more keywords the narrower the results. However, because the string has already been searched for in its own new window I can simply take a couple of words out of the title and search again for broader results. It’s definitely a quicker way to price research than how I was previously doing it, and I no longer have to copy and paste at all so I will take that as a win for now.
I still have been toying with the idea of automating the process of the item measurements through Sizely as well. I tend to use only a few types of templates (at this time anyway) so wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. Its not such an issue currently anyway as I can usually create the measurement image (through sizely) just before the last photo has uploaded to eBay.
Using a phone or other mobile device to input large amounts of text can be very frustrating and time-consuming. Small screen, even smaller letters that fat thumbs seem to miss constantly resulting in auto correct madness and constant clicking back to correct mistakes.
There is, however, a handy feature that you can use to massively speed up writing on mobile devices which can augment your productivity.
It is called dictation.
Applied in the right way and with a couple of other ideas (which I will get to in a moment) can increase your productive output tremendously.
The Art Of Dictation
I began experimenting with the dictation feature on my iPhone a couple of years ago after listening to a podcast by Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income.
A quick google search (listing multiple sources) implies that the average person speaks at somewhere between 125 and 150 words per minute. Contrast this with average rates of keyboard typing between 38 and 40 words per minute. Qwerty keyboard phone typing is even slower though this itself could be improved by using text replacement combined with GBoard (a future post to come on this).
So this data shows that it is in the realm of more than 4x faster using talking vs typing or texting. That’s a massive time-saving.
From a writers perspective, it’s also often easier to talk about the information that you are trying to convey. It is much harder to get those exact same words onto a paper page or onto the screen. The flow of your own voice is just, well, natural as you have to pre-arrange your thoughts before the words come out. This results in (usually) coherent ideas and information.
Faster content generation (with time saved) combined with effective ideas equals a foundation for success across many uses.
Using Dictation On Mobile Devices
The concept is simple, open your relevant note-taking app, hit the microphone icon on the keyboard and begin to speak at your phone in a clear, steady controlled voice and your speech will be converted to text.
The accuracy is still a work in progress (in my opinion) but it is getting much better over time. It is a form of machine learning software after all. I’m not even sure if the AI for the dictation gets better with me using it or people, in general, are using it.
What I do know is that it’s far quicker for me to dictate the bulk of an entire blog post then is to sit down to type it, far more natural too. I have dictated 90+ per cent of this entire blog post while walking around my living room simply talking to my phone.
Welcome to the future.
Augmenting The Effectiveness Of Dictation
Creating content at a rate of greater than 4x typing writing is brilliant, but there will be errors along the way which will need fixing.
Consistently having to go back and fix errors though can quickly ruin your creative flow.
By combining a couple of other techniques it is possible to skip some of the error checking (initially at least) and thereby increase one’s productivity output while using the mobile device.
An Example Of Creating This Blog Post
I use my phone primarily for notetaking and writing have been using an app called Bear Notes for this purpose.
I will use dictation for my blog post ideas to create outlines and the bulk of a draft blog post content within this app. Obviously being mobile I can do this whenever a great idea or concept pops into my head.
While using dictation, I will not bother to fix any errors as afterwards I will switch to my PC to finish the post (which is my preference).
I copy all dictation text from Bear Notes and send this to my email.
Switching to my PC at some time later, whenever convenient, I then copy and paste the draft into a new blog post in WordPress. I have the Grammarly Chrome Plugin installed so as soon as I do this all of the errors are immediately highlighted to fix. What I love about Grammarly is that it picks up sections of text which don’t make sense, not just simple spelling mistakes. Sometimes the dictation translation gets it quite wrong so this is important! Microsoft Word is also a good alternative to this.
This might initially seem counter-intuitive after all I am adding additional processing steps and using a PC, however, the additional time required is minimal and the end output overall is much much faster than trying to type the whole post on my PC from scratch.
So Many Applications For Dictation
How to get the most out of dictation will be your choice, anywhere you can type something on your mobile device dictation can likely be used, text messages, emails, comments on social platforms.
If you have never tried doing this before I suggest giving it a go. I am sure you will be amazed at the potential ways it can help you become more productive.