I just got my 10,000th positive feedback point on eBay. I am so excited! What a huge milestone for me. It took 7 long years. This past June at eBay Live they asked all the power sellers with over 5,000 to stand up and then all of those with over 10,000 to remain standing — Mo and I had to sit down. I can’t wait for next year’s eBay Live in Las Vegas to remain standing!!! It was a long time coming but now I have a yellow shooting star by my name. I am thrilled. I am taking the entire office out for an expensive dinner (that would be me, mo, my kids and my mom!)
I hope you all had a great holiday season! And that your eBay experiences were all wonderful. In this ezine I will be talking about how to get along without an assistant — Mo is on vacation and I am freaking out! I also discuss some great lessons I learned with an expensive china set. So, please read on!
This e-zine is published every other Tuesday.
December 27, 2005 Volume I, Issue 14
- How to live without an assistant
- To Sell at Auction or in your eBay Store?
- Next eCourse
How to live without an assistant
I know, I know, I am super lucky! I am seriously realizing it this week because Mo (Maureen), my assistant, is on vacation. I didn’t realize all she does for me. This eBay business is a lot of work and can get confusing. Especially, if you are doing it all yourself which I imagine most people are. My hat is off to all of you!!
All I have to do is find merchandise, photograph it and list it on eBay. It takes me about 20 hours a week to do this for 100 to 150 items. Maureen does all the paperwork (checking in money), answering questions, re-listing, ordering shipping supplies, and actually shipping everything. I have realized it is a tough job to be Mo! She does all this in about 30 hours a week. She is amazing!
Here are Lynn and Maureen at this years eBay Live in San Jose. Pictured with Russ Grove (President NuMarkets), Jim “Griff” Griffin (eBay Spokesperson), Lynn, Jesse Melton (NuMarkets) and Maureen (Assistant extraordinaire).
Here is what I have learned and want to pass along to those of you who don’t have any extra help. You must have a routine or you can make mistakes. Here is my routine when Mo is not around. I do all my writing up, photographing and listing during the day. In the early afternoon, I check in all my Paypal payments and checks that have arrived. Then I pull all the items to be shipped. I try to pull all the items before it gets dark, because my office is not very well lit and if I wait until nighttime, it is hard to find the correct items. Then, I do my wrapping and shipping in the early evening and at night. During the day, I check for questions every hour. Customers really appreciate getting a quick response to a question.
The biggest thing I learned this week was to do my actual packing at night. The first day Mo was gone, I was running around all stressed out trying to get everything packed and out for UPS. Our UPS driver, Rick (who is awesome), usually shows up between 2 and 3 pm. It was making me really nervous. I found that when I packed at night, I could take my time and know that I had all evening to finish. I became more calm and much more productive. It is so fun to put out all those packages first thing the next morning and know that you have all day to work on other things—like listing items & making money!
Another tip for many of you is to hire some part-time help. It could even be a high school or college student, a husband, a wife or a friend. There are so many different tasks involved in selling on eBay that it really helps to pass off just a few of them (or even one) to a helper. Here are some ideas of tasks to delegate. You can pay by the hour or by the job:
1. Re-listing items at auction or in your store
What is great about this is that it can be done from anywhere — your helper can do this from their own home — Just give them the I sell sheets with the changes marked. Mo does all my relisting from her home. Make sure that the person you have doing this work is very trustworthy. You will have to give them your eBay password.
2. Checking in auction payments
Again, this can be done from anywhere. Maureen fills out all the I sell sheets at her own home — noting what sold, for how much and to whom. Then she checks my Paypal account and marks all that are paid. She brings the stack of sold sheets with her the next day and starts pulling items. Make sure that you can trust the person you hire to do this work. Your Paypal password is not something to share with just anyone.
3. Answering Questions
This will probably have to be done from your place of business because most questions require you to look at the item. You could still hire someone (even a family member) to take care of all the questions on your “My eBay” page and to answer all the “My Messages”. It really helps to have this taken care of!
4. Packing and Shipping
This is a big one and if you can hire someone to do it for you, it will really free you up to concentrate on getting more items listed on eBay. I try and add on $1 to $3 to every single item that we ship. This adds up to about $1,200 per month. This money goes to pay for shipping supplies and also pays for quite a lot of Maureen’s time. I highly suggest that you consider this.
To sell at auction or in your eBay store
I learned a very valuable lesson this December that I want to share with you. I bought an expensive set of Stangl Town & Country China for $500. I found the set through an advertisement in the “Antique Trader.” The couple that owned the set lived in Northern California so we agreed to meet in Anaheim when I was at Disneyland for my daughter’s 7th birthday. They drove about 6 hours to meet me and I thought that paying a little extra for such a nice set was worth it since I didn’t have to pay shipping. The pieces added up to about $2,500 on the replacements.com web site. I figure that I can get about 30% of the Replacements prices on eBay so I was hoping to bring in $750 for a 50% profit.
My brother and I drove from The Disneyland Hotel to meet Flo and her husband at about 7 pm. They were staying at the Ramada and were out front when we arrived. They were darling and gave us warm hugs. It reminded me so much of the way my grandmother used to do business. Buying out of the “Antique Trader” and meeting so many nice people. Flo and her husband thanked us so much for buying their china. “Finally someone who can appreciate fine things and are willing to pay for them” said Flo. My brother helped me load the car and we drove back to our hotel with boxes and boxes of china!
I couldn’t wait to get home and put the china up for sale on eBay. I have been working hard to raise my average selling price on eBay and buying nicer items is one way to do this. I listed them on December 13th and used 7 day auctions like I always do. I broke the set out into 42 auctions all starting at $9.99. I learned a tough lesson–that ending auctions that close to Christmas is not always such a good idea. Many people are not shopping for gifts that close to the day and people buying pieces for themselves would not be looking at all. Pieces that should have sold for close to $50 and $75 only got up to $26.
Out of the 42 auctions I sold 24 items for a total of $442.29. I was almost breaking even. I had 18 items left and instead of re-listing them at $3.99 (like I always do and taking such a big risk), I decided to put them in my eBay store at higher fixed prices. This was such a great positive learning experience! One day after listing the items in my store I sold 2 bowls for $39.99 each and another small bowl for $19.99. And a day later I sold 3 salad plates for $14.99 each. Now I was at $587.23! The other items that I have left add up to $235.00 and I am confident that these will also sell in the next few months. That will bring my total to $822.33—well over my estimate of $750—making me a 64.4% profit.
It was very interesting for me to notice that the highest that any item went for at auction was $34.41, but the bowls I sold at a fixed price in my store sold quickly at $39.99 each.
The moral of this story is this, if you have a lot of money invested in an item, a fixed higher price in your store may be the way to go. A lot of buyers like the buy-it-now fixed price because they are assured of getting the item and it is immediate gratification for them. On the other hand, if you don’t have a lot of money invested, it can pay off to put the item up for auction at a low starting price ($9.99) and let the auction dynamics take over. The auction format works best when you have an in-demand unique item.
However, as many of you know, it is like playing the lottery. Some weeks an item will sell for nothing and one week later it can go for a lot. I bought a Wham-O Magic Window toy for 50 cents at a garage sale. When I did my completed auction research on eBay, the most that they sold for without a box was $34.88. Mine sold for $56.55 on December 16th!
As a side note, one reason this went so high was because it had the original stand. As you can imagine many of these little stands would get thrown out. The lady that bought it was thrilled and left feedback saying, “Just like I played with when I was a kid.” As I always tell you guys, people are buying their childhoods. Don’t forget this when you are out shopping!
First eCourse of 2006
I am very excited to start teaching again and my first eCourse starts up again on Monday, January 9th! The best way for you to get up to speed on eBay is to sign up now for my e-course! Listen to what my students are saying about it!
‘I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the work you have put into this course. I taught at the College Level and you are one of a very few who knows how to transfer knowledge into learning -hallelujah’!!! – Cauleen Viscoff, Canada
‘My goodness, what a home run you hit with this week’s lesson! It is so full of great information that I had to go over it several times. You are an outstanding teacher; I have put some of your lessons to use this week and that saved me a few costly mistakes. Thanks again for giving us such valuable information.’ – Margaret (Peggy) McIlvain Texas
‘Just wanted to let you know I am really enjoying the lessons. As the Young people would say, you have really ‘turned me on’ to this eBay thing.’ – Shirley Jones, Texas
Don’t miss the first class of 2006 ! It is time to put your New Year’s resolutions into action.
There are still a few spots left at the early bird special. Don’t miss out! To sign up now click here. To find out more about the course, please click here.
Happy Buying & Selling! Lynn
For more great eBay tips and stories, visit my web site at:
Please contact me with any questions or suggestions for future issues. I would love to hear from you Lynn@TheQueenofAuctions.com
Lynn is an experienced eBay Power Seller, author and teacher. If you want to know the eBay tips, tricks and tools that Lynn uses for buying and selling at online auction click here.