What’s up Nerd Nation? Back from a month away from Le Blog with an update from Operation Get Off Your Butt. While I haven’t been blogging, I have been a busy unit. The finishing touches are being put on the Nerd Bunker as we speak and I’m embarking on a new adventure in e-commerce. If you’re interested in hearing about my journey from frequent (“wayyyy too frequent”–The Wife) eBay buyer to hopefully successful eBay seller, read on…
So, if you know me, you know I like to plan. And then I plan some more. Then I plan just a bit more for good measure in case the first two plans weren’t enough. I’ve written at length on my tendency towards analysis paralysis and in no endeavor of mine has that problem reared its head higher than in my efforts to become an eBay seller.
If I had a dollar for every time I bought something and said “Hey, I can sell this on eBay,” I wouldn’t need to sell stuff on eBay. Yet in my 13 years with an account, I’ve listed precisely nothing. Nada.
Before our house fire, I had a bunch of stuff that I intended to liquidate. Comics, books, games, etc. that I had lost interest in and planned to turn into cash money. Of course that stuff went up in smoke and so went the eBay dream.
As I rebuilt my nerd empire, I ended up buying quite a few duplicate books, comics and graphic novels. I’d be at the Library book store or Barnes & Noble and think, “Do I have this or am I remembering having it pre-fire?” Usually I err on the side of “better get it just in case.” Between my brain starting to shrivel up as I hit my forties and the haste to rebuild before the 2 year time-limit to file for insurance reimbursement expired, I got some doubles–And even, I’m embarassed to admit, a few triples.
So, this little stack of stuff in my closet grew until one day, my lovely wife wandered by and asked, “Uh, what are you going to do with this stuff?” My answer, of course was, “Sell it on eBay.” Duh. Probably needless to say, she countered with a skeptical, “When?” Ummmmmm…soon?
Like millions of other couch potatoes, we’ve been watching American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, and now Thrift Hunters on TV for awhile. The concept is pretty simple. Buy it low and sell it high. The American way. Watch enough of these shows and sooner or later you’ll say, “I could do that.”
As the goal of selling online percolated in my skull, I checked the Web for eBay-related podcasts and stumbled upon eBay Scavengers. If you are thinking about getting into the game, I highly recommend it. The show is produced by two couples who sell online full time and make a nice living at it. I’m not looking to ditch my career anytime soon but an extra $500-$750 a month would be pretty nice. Of course since I can officially retire in eight years, I wouldn’t mind having this to fall back on as I sail into my golden years.
A couple months ago, my wife and I had a long talk about getting into the business. For me, the most important thing was NOT to just wing it and hope for the best. If you know anything about eBay, you know that negative feedback can be a killer. Personally, I’ve never left a negative feedback even though I’ve had about five or six transactions that absolutely warranted it. But I know a lot…a whole lot of people out there don’t share my restraint. I deal with unpleasant people in my job. I don’t want to deal with them in my spare time.
But obviously you can’t dig a hole and hide in it if you want to make some dough in this business. So what I decided was that if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right. I’m treating it like a real business. In that vein, we’ve invested in a postal scale, a camera tripod, a mannequin (for t-shirts), and various quality packing materials. And I’ve been researching like a maniac. Podcasts, blogs, forums, Reddit…I’m everywhere Baby. And I’m determined to excel at this.
Just a week ago, I received an item from an eBay seller encased in a Cheez-It box. A heavily taped Cheez-It box, but a Cheez-It box nonetheless. I’m not going to be that guy. I figure that if I treat my buyers like I want to be treated, I’ll do alright. Sure the occasional wacko will breeze through my eBay life, but I’m going to do everything to minimize the chances of that happening.
At left is the packing station I’ve set up in my garage. Recycled boxes from work (because buying boxes at Office Max is Ex-Pen-Sive), USPS Priority Mail supplies, Book mailers from U-Line, bubble wrap, my scale and such all fit into a fairly small footprint. I’m picking up a small folding table tomorrow on which to do the actual packing.
This weekend, if it’s the last thing I do, I’m listing my first items. Hopefully, the eBay app on my iPhone will be cha-chinging day and night as my sales add up. I’ll be back soon to talk some more about my strategies, mistakes, and successes. Until then…stay nerdy my friends.
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