If I could choose one of my major character flaws, it would be that I read too many books. Not that reading is a bad thing...but I tend to gather dozens of self-help books on my nightstand and my bookshelf. When I am in a funk or am solving a problem, I am much more likely to go and read a nebulous self-help book looking for a "cure" rather than just dealing with my crap. Not only that, but I have the added fun foible of foisting all of books off on my wife, insisting that she read them, and double-insisting that she listens to my crack-brained ideas that I'm now sure will fix all of our problems. The main reason for this is probably that, when it comes down to it, very few self-help books stimulate more than very temporary change and almost none of them will change your life/business/relationship/etc. for the better. The books on this list, however, are not like those books. These books make the very short list of volumes that I return to again and again, have read several times, and have had a MASSIVELY postive effect on my life and my business' bottom line. Without further ado here are the books that I would highly recommend to every eBay seller, Amazon FBA dabbler, or any connoisseur of home based business:
Every time I go to Walmart I see women wearing stained sweats, socks with sandals, and carrying a Louis Vuitton tote. Or a Channel purse. Or Prada...take your pick. At least, that's what they wold have you think but, if you are one of these people, let me tell you a secret....Noone believes your bag is real! The plasticy shiny fake leather, the fraying strings, etc. You don't look high class, you are a poser and, believe it or not, carrying a fake designer bag makes you look even poorer than carrying a normal Walmart purse...
We've all been there, you find an awesome seller on eBay, spend some time looking through their store and then...lose them forever. This has been a source of frustration for me many time as I've found and lost other sellers that I want to buy from, follow, or even just stalk their sales! Luckily, eBay makes it very simple both to find sellers through search and to keep tabs on them through either following them or saving a search with their name.
So if you are stuck, let's answer "How do I find that eBay seller again?!"
During our first year on eBay, we had 1,048 sales. eBay quickly evolved from a way to get rid of a few things around the house to a part- time business which makes us more than my full time job. The road hasn't been smooth, however - during the past year we've had huge sales, slow times, some returns, and even a suspension. Through it all, we've learned from our mistakes and bounced back to push profits higher than ever! Here are the 5 most important lessons we've learned from selling on eBay:
For the past year or so, our blog post on How To Refresh Your RSS Feed on eBay has been one of our most popular articles. It was a super easy way to give your posts a quick boost in search results and increase your sales through exposure. That is, until the 24th of June 2018. We have known for awhile that the RSS Feed function was going to die "sometime in late June" since the release of the 2018 Seller's Update but it was still a blow when it finally disappeared. We say "disappeared", but the reality is, the only thing that disappeared is the ability of seller's to see and manually refresh their feed. According the the Seller Update, RSS Feeds are either outdated or will automatically be taken care of for sellers. So what to do? Our vote is to not worry about it! There are other things you can do that will have the same effect as refreshing your feed!
Why did refreshing your RSS Feed work?
If you have been around the business world for any length of time (or read many self help books), you've likely heard of the Pareto Principle. More commonly known as the 80/20 Principle (also, The Law of the Vital Few or the Principle of Factor Sparsity, depending on what circle you run in), the Pareto Principle started as a simple observation by a French Economist named (surprise!) Vilfredo Pareto. He noted that, in most situations, 80 percent of the effects were a result of only 20% of the causes - or, in other words, you get 80% of the output from only 20% of the input.
Now that you've heard of it, you'll start noticing the Pareto Principle in every facet of your life. (In other news, the experience of first learning a new word or some bit of information and then seeing it everywhere is called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon). For example, in a classroom or meeting, 20% of the people will give 80% of the comments. You can make your house look 80% cleaner by picking up 20% of the mess...etc. However, the most interesting observation for us comes from applying the Pareto Principle to finances and work, specifically reselling on eBay. In any given business, 80% of the profits come from only 20% of the products. This results in several fascinating bits of information that we can apply to make more money in less time.
To illustrate our points, we chose one of our medium-sized eBay accounts that is pretty close to what the average part-time or new full-time eBay seller is doing. Between 800 & 900 active listings (mostly clothes and shoes with a few hardgoods mixed in), 200-250 sales per month, around $8,000 in sales, and roughly a 40% profit margin. We input every single one of our sales for the past 90 days into a spreadsheet (yes, it was as tedious as it sounds...all in the name of providing helpful information!) and found the following:
Record Keeping and Tax Time for eBay Sellers (plus the best free eBay tracker spreadsheet for new eBay Sellers)
**Before you read, it has to be said that we at ResellingRevealed are not accountants, tax advisors, or anything of that sort. We're just sharing our experiences and you can take them for what you will. If you have questions regarding taxes, ask a professional.**
We regularly see the question posed in eBay seller groups, on facebook, and on instagram, "Do I need to report my reselling income to the IRS?" Yes, yes you do. In fact, if you sell on eBay for the purposes of making money, the IRS will classify your hobby as a business, no matter how you view it (also, if you buy with the intent to resell you need a business license, but that's a story for another time). Whether you make a single dollar or a whole lot (or even lose money), you run the risk of getting audited and owing the IRS if you fail to file.
Our first year as part time sellers led to an atrocious tax season for us. We had just acquired a business license after already selling for a few months, and had no idea that we needed to be keeping all our receipts (let alone tracking our driving miles, etc). After hours of digging crusty receipts out from underneath our car seats and combing through our bank statements, we were finally pretty confident that we got it right. However, the experience left me with two lasting impressions: If you have to pay taxes on something, you sure as heck better take it seriously if you want it to be worth it, and you also better keep meticulous records. The real reason that we encourage people to keep records is not simply to protect themselves from auditing, but to maximize their deductions. Most small business miss out on thousand of dollars worth of deductions because they are simply unaware and don't track them.
If you have been selling on eBay for any length of time, you'll know this feeling: ever piece of clothing starts looking and feeling the same and every time you look at your deathpile you die a little inside. Not only that, but you can't bring yourself to list things that you know are valuable because it's so boring! Now, we're all for pushing through the boredom and just getting stuff done, but when we get ultra tired of clothing it's always nice to know we can simply switch gears a little bit, avoid clothing for awhile, and make just as much money! Come and join us on a trip to the wonderful land of hardgoods!
So, the first question we have to ask ourselves is, what the heck are hardgoods?! Well, for our purposes here, hardgoods are any non-clothing items that can be sold on eBay. Backpacks, appliances, electronics, cookware, books, games, collectibles, and what have you. While clothing is a great way for people to start out with (since there's so much of it) it's worth noting that anyone who makes a lot of money reselling on eBay either switches predominantly to hardgoods or lists clothing in extremely high volumes (often with hired help). While it's not practical for most people to source only one or the other, we hate to see people limit themselves to clothing and miss out on all the hardgoods profits. If anyone sources their goods mainly from thrift stores and encourages sticking to one type of item (shoes for example) you can rest assured that they are leaving tons of money on the table. Choosing to stick with only one item is super great if you're lazy however as it assures that you can simply stagnate instead to learning and growing. Assuming that you're interested in kicking butt and taking names, let's continue!
Are thank you notes your best defense against negative feedback?
A few months ago, we received two negative feedback within a week's time. Since we aren't mega high volume sellers, this hugely affected our feedback and, frankly, scared the crap out of us. All of a sudden we had 99.5% positive feedback - not bad, but not what we wanted. What was really discouraging is that both negative feedback should have never happened (in my opinion, of course...). The first one came from a buyer who didn't read the description (the jacket was tailored) or look at the included measurements. Of course, the jacket didn't fit. Great. The second came from an honest oversight on our part. The jacket was missing a button, which was apparently very offensive to the buyer. A full refund didn't spare us from her feedback.
The truth is:
If you have 100% feedback, you are lucky enough to have not had any psychotic buyers.
So, what to do?
Well, we figured that reminding people that: 1. we're actually human and 2. that they have another recourse besides negative feedback, would get us what we were looking for (no negative feedback that we didn't deserve). So, after using the cards for 6 months or so, here are our thoughts:
My wife and I are a young couple, still in school, and doing our best not only to make ends meet, but to excel! We feel like we have so much to offer and can kick this world's butt if we can just get on our feet. Join our journey!