Posted in New Year, Sales, Social Media, Virtual Assistant

A Thirty Day Review with Assistance

Today marks 6 weeks from the day I hired my first Virtual Assistant.  There have been some ups and definite downs.  While my experience will probably be different than others in the Reselling Community, mine might be helpful nonetheless.

  • I hired 2 virtual assistants and a ‘real’ assistant.  One was assigned to list on my smaller Ebay store and Poshmark, the second was to list on my larger Ebay store and the third was to package and ship.  Today, I have one virtual assistant taking care of 2 Ebay stores and one shipping assistant.
  • The first virtual assistant was not a ‘fit’ for what I needed.  He charged a higher fee and could not complete the work on time.  He tried to appeal to me on a personal level as to why his work was unsatisfactory to the point that I was actually emotional and drained when I let him go.
  • I also found out that no one outside my country could access Poshmark.  I have not found a VA in the United States willing to be paid $1 a listing.
  • This past week, my virtual assistant listed 90 items in 14 hours for $57.  63 cents a listing.  My shipping assistant receives $2 per package.
  • Here is my math:  One pair of Levi Jeans sells for $20.  I purchased it for $2, Listed it for $1, packaged it for $2, Ebay and Paypal receive  $3, and shipping is $6.30.  Profit is $5.70 or 29% profit.
  • My total listings in one month went from 200 to 500.
  • According to Ebay, my sales have increased the past 30 days by 89% in my smaller store and 169% in my larger store.
  • I ended every listing that was not clothing so that my stores looked like a clothing outlet and not a thrift store. All items that did not sell within the 1st week are placed on a 20% off sale.  All items not sold in 30 days are auctioned off beginning at .99 with $6.30 shipping.
  • All of this sounds wonderful, and it is.  I am so grateful each morning and cannot wait to begin working.  Nothing is perfect and there have been some pitfalls.  I (me personally) need to catch up my assistants and sales.
  • I am working longer hours each week.  Monday, Tuesday, 1/2 Thursday, 1/2 Saturday and Sunday.  Each day is from 7am to 6pm.  I am either photographing,  entering information on a spreadsheet, or desperately seeking the sold item that needs to be shipped.
  • I did not change my inventory system that is not detailed enough to handle 750 items!  My house might qualify for a Hoarders Episode simply because every wall has boxes of inventory against it with words such as Women’s jeans.  Some are boxes of clothes that have been photographed and in the spreadsheet.  Thankfully, because I have kept up with sourcing, there is only a small ‘death pile’ box.
  • So today, #JewelsForThePauper is officially closed.  The phone and computers will be shut off.  All inventory taken out of boxes and sorted into brands and sizes.
  • Some other day, I will be clearing out my original office (decimated when our college graduate moved home for a few months) so that my business can continue function.

Hiring assistance (assistants) was definitely needed in order to grow my business.  For the most part, it has gone smoothly and I am happy with the results.  I just forgot adjust my inventory system to catch up with the growth!

Excuse me while I shut this computer down for the day …….

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Posted in Fees, Sales, Virtual Assistant

Should they stay or Should they go?

The past 8 days have made me ask this question.  In fact, I have asked this question several times a day for those 8 days.  Should I fire my virtual assistants and search for 2 more.

When I worked in the corporate world of Retail Grocery, I had to fire people.  I would have to go through all of the disciplinary steps of warnings, write-ups, suspensions, etc.  Honestly, I thought it was so that they quit instead of being fired, this no unemployment.  Now I believe it gives the manager time to review options and reflect on if they can do an intervention instead of having to go through the task of interviewing, hiring and training.

I have 2 Virtual Assistants.

#1 has a full grasp of the English Language.  He works quickly and is very efficient.  He has even given me idea on how to photograph my items better.

#2 has good grasp of the English Language.  His work is flawless.  I can tell that he really needs this job and will do just about anything to make me happy.

Sounds great?  I have the perfect virtual assistants!  But wait, there’s more.  Neither has put up 60 listings a week and neither has worked 15 hours a week.  While my invoice at the end of the week is $60, my sales will not support this for very long.

I am literally holding on to 120 listings that I have photographed and outlined because they are around 90 listings behind.  My inventory can’t be put away efficiently because it is in limbo.

I have discussed this with them in Hangouts and both have said they will get right to it.  I will see 6-12 listings each go up, then nothing.

Today, I will go through my spreadsheet and make sure I have all my facts straight.  Then I will tell each that the 60 listings a week are nonnegotiable.  If not completed by noon Sunday my time, I will be hiring 2 more and not sending any work their way.  Change the password and move on.

I have compassion for these two and know they need the money.  However, I have a plan.  It is to grow this business by hitting the maximize listing number.  Their actions are not conducive to my plan.

End of story.

#JewelsForThePauper

Items Fit for a Queen

But

Priced for the Pauper

 

 

Posted in Auctions, Free Shipping, Shopping trends, Social Media

Shopping Instead of Watching

The weekend has finally arrived!

The furniture is rearranged , the house is clean, the food is prepared, the table is decorated and you are READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!

Actually, you aren’t.  You are ready to see friends, eat more than you should, find a comfy spot on the couch, watch the overpriced advertisements and shop online.

WHAT?

A report done last year by Amazon said that 48% of those watching the Superbowl will have their phone out and shopping.  Spikes in traffic are during pregame, commercials and halftime.  If you guessed that people were buying game gear, you would be late to the party.  That was two weeks ago.

After reading the summary, my take was that people were shopping with their emotions.  Whether the advertisements were doing it or not, I have no idea.  If you are a reseller on platforms such as EBay, Etsy, Postmark and Instagram, keep this short list in mind while listing the next few days.

  • Valentine’s Day
  • Mardi Gra
  • Easter
  • Spring clothing and accessories
  • Cruise and Resort wear

I saw a lot of questions on whether or not to end one day auctions before, during or after the game but did not find any reliable data.  It is a bit of a risk, considering the extra fee you pay on EBay for short auctions.  If I had something worth a lot with a designer label, I would take a leap of faith.

As for me, my sister and two virtual assistants I am going to maximize all new listings from Friday morning until Sunday night.

Monday morning, I will ask who won, what the score was and were there any fashion faux pas during half-time show.

#JewelsForThePauper

Where everything is Fit for a Queen

But

Priced For the Pauper

 

Posted in Auctions, Fees, New Year, Shipping, Sourcing, Time Management, Virtual Assistant

Go Do – Musings on #GaryVee

If you have never heard about the phenomenon – Gary Vaynerchuk – I invite you to Google his name and listen to what he has to say or buy one of his four books.  What is he?  He is a Day Trader of Attention.

Yesterday on Instagram, he had a screenshot with encouragement that became my wallpaper for the day and I found myself repeating it over and over.

Stop Thinking

Stop Pondering

Stop Strategizing

Stop Debating

Go Do

These past two weeks, I have been terrified to do just that.  I had a plan but my fear was that I would fail.  So what, right?  Wrong!  Failure would mean that my family’s budget would be blown, I would have a very disappointed assistant that needs the money, I would have two other virtual assistants with nothing to do and might put me at the bottom of their workload, I could lose my business completely from bad feedback and Below Standard Rating, not to mention the embarrassment and a lot of inventory.

I am not a success story, yet.  I am seeing  results after implementing my plan and I want to share it with you.

  • I hired virtual assistant #1. They list on EBay Store #2 which is Top Rated Plus.  I pay them $4/hr, they have completed 101 listings and I have paid $80.
  • I hired virtual assistant #2.  They list on EBay Store #1 which is Below Standard and on Postmark.  I pay them $5/hr.  I did not respond to complaints quick enough and I couldn’t keep up with the 1 day shipping.
  • I hired my sister to pack and ship at $2/order, as well as photograph at $1/clothing piece.
  • I have started 3-5 auctions each day on items that did not sell after 30 days.
  • I have sourced 100 clothing pieces and 30 from my ‘death piles,’ each week to be listed.
  • I have stopped looking at profit and only the number of sales because I am focusing on my sell-through rate.
  • Each item has a cost of $16 max   .  That is $8 shipping, $2 packaging, $3 sourcing, $1 listing, %2 fees.  I am comfortable accepting $20.  Period.  No more computing profits.  This is about product movement.
  • I am going to do this until April 30th.  Sales die off after that date.  If they don’t, I will keep going!

Yesterday, my sister shipped out 16 packages.  She has 3 more today.

Last Monday, I shipped out only 10 packages.

I thank Gary Vaynerchuk and several YouTubers for giving me the ideas, strategies and the desire to continue the Hustle.  It is hard some days, because our work is solitary, most of our family members don’t understand what we are doing and 30 characters of feedback are not always warm and fuzzy. We are our own cheerleaders.

One day, I will have a selfie with #GaryVee.  One day, I will meet Nicole, Craigslist Hunter, Lindey, Chad, Ronny, Jason and Natalie and thank them for their content and encouragement.  Until then, I’ll just keep hustling and Go Do!

#JewelsForThePauper

Where every item is Fit for a Queen

But

Priced For the Pauper!

Posted in Inventory, Taxes, Time Management, Uncategorized

Time to do Inventory!

The word ‘inventory’ sometimes conjours up memories of the past, depending on what is on your resume before you left the rat race and became your own boss.  I was in retail grocery, so mine is coming to work in the dark, before the store opened.  I had massive amounts of caffeine of every form, in each hand.  Once there, my handy notebook had last month’s Inventory, a spreadsheet to fill out, my bills for the month, calculator and pen.  The picture above is how much inventory I felt I would be counting, when in fact it was much less than that.

Disclaimer -The advise I am giving is from my personal experience.  I am not an account nor a financial advisor so please seek one out because what you read in the internet is not always accurate.

I do inventory once a year.  I’m not running an Anchor EBay Store, but am spread out on EBay, Etsy, Poshmark and Amazon.  I have listed and unlisted inventory.  Thankfully, I do not have a storage unit, but I can honestly say that my inventory is in 5 rooms of my 3 bdrm, 1.600sf home.  So, my inventory count will take one full day and I am allowing myself a pajama day!

Here are some general tips that will hopefully make your inventory day easier:

  • Clear out an entire day in your Happy Planner to do this.  This is something you do not want to start, stop and start again.
  • If you start Monday morning at 8am, your ending day should be Sunday at midnight.  Anything you have sold from midnight and throughout the day should be counted as unsold inventory.  This is so you and your accountant are not confused on your count.
  • You need to know the amount you paid for the item.  As reseller, most of the time we usually can remember where we found the item and what we paid for it.
  • The best way to decide how much your items are worth is through sold comps.  This is especially true if we have a relationship with the item. Do not romanticize on how much you would love to sell the item for.  Force your fingers to do the walking through Google.
  • If you decide you are going to throw away the item or donate, you do count this item in your inventory.  Remember, what you had at midnight is what you are counting.  Just be sure to write down your total of items thrown out or donated so that you can claim that on next year’s taxes.
  • Today is NOT the day to change where you put things or change your tracking system.  I know it sounds like killing two birds with one stone.  The only thing it will kill is you, after you forget if you counted this item or not.  Focus on one thing.
  • Be prepared to be amazed at the items you find and either forgot you had or realize it isn’t listed for sale.  This part never frustrates me as it is like a secret sourced stash that you can list on a rainy day.

I would love to know if any of this helped you to prepare.  If so, leave a comment.  If you have been enjoying these blogs, just press the subscribe button and you will be notified when I put new content up.

#JewelsForThePauper

Where Items are Fit for a Queen

But

Priced For the Pauper

Posted in Sourcing

TJMaxx & Plato’s Closet

This BOLO is very time sensitive.  While it won’t be news to my world-wide followers on Instagram, it might be for my regional followers on Facebook.

For the last couple of weeks, YouTube and Instagram have been blowing up with haul videos and outrageous finds.  Since I was going to be in my closest metropolitan area yesterday, I decided to follow-up.

The first is T.J. Maxx is having a Yellow Tag clearance sale.  I believe it happens twice a year and it is the lowest mark down.  The ‘rumours’ I had heard were true.

One example was Prom Dresses.  They had one circular rack with around 50 in different lengths and styles.

I was very close to purchasing a gorgeous chrome halter gown from Laundry by Shelli Segal.  The retail price was $525 and it was marked down to $17.  The dress was in mint condition, the tags were crisp and all there.

I did not buy it because it was a size 6. I focus on larger sizes 14-26w.  There was only one that fit the bill but it had fraying on the hem and missing the original tags.  It was $295 down to $5.00.

Plato’s Closet is having their twice a year clearance.  When I was there yesterday, prices were 70% off.  Saturday, they will be 90% off!

Much to my delight, they had several Plus Size items New With Tags.  They also had a lot of shoes 9-12 sizes.  The best part is that you did not have to go through every rack in the store.  All of their clearance was in the front of the store and on separate racks.  What a concept!

I purchased two items.  The first was Levi’s 580 Tall and Curvy Boot cut in dark blue.  It was New With Tags 18W with an MSRP $54.99 and I bought them for $4.00.  Comps on EBay are $50 so I will price mine at $45 free ship.

The second was not new with tags, but is trending.  It is a jumpsuit by Toxik3 in a size 3X.  It is a button up floral, with straps and ruffles and elastic ankles.  I purchased this for $4.  There are no comps on EBay in Plus Size so I will list it at $40 free ship with best offer.

Let me know if you also went and what you found in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you!

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#JewelsForThePauper

Where everything is Fit for a Queen

But

Priced For the Pauper.

Posted in Time Management, Virtual Assistant

Where are you going and How to Get There

I am a You-Tube Junkie.  I learn so much from other resellers that have done what I am doing.  They have become my Co-workers in a job that can be very lonely at times.  One reseller said something last week that I wrote down and eventually helped me to make some decisions going forward.

“I wish we had 48 hours in a day, but I would still work 40 and sleep 8 hours because I love this so much.”

It is a game, a puzzle, a recipe with many ingredients that put together in Different portions can lead to success.  Others need to be removed to be more successful.

In the last week, I’ve made lists, researched, made a plan and acted.  Hopefully it will bring back extra hours I have lost and increase my income.

 

  1. I wrote down two lists.  One was what I love or hate doing.  The other was what must I do myself or what can be delegated.  I used these two lists to help me decide what I would be comfortable with changing.
  2. I researched the cost of delegating these activities that are necessary for my business.  I am a perfectionist that will need to supervise closely at first to ensure that things are getting done with the same quality as if I were doing them.
  3. I took all that research, combined the lists, crunched the numbers and I came up with a plan that I can live with emotionally, time-wise and money-wise.
  4. I reached out to the people I felt comfortable with, gave them the proposal and as of last night, it’s all a go!

The changes in my business plan:

  • I closed down my Amazon Merchant Fulfilled store.  Sourcing low-cost books and selling them with a huge fee and increasing shipping prices, for miniscule weekly deposits only created a “library” in my home.  The space they are taking up can be filled with fast-moving stock.
  • I called EBay and got a listings increase on my second store.
  • I hired my 1st virtual assistant last week for the 1st store and it is going well.  I am interviewing a 2ND assistant for the 2ND store.
  • My 1st virtual assistant will be doing 90 listings a week.  My 2nd will be doing 30.  This means I will need to have a minimum of 120 items a week that are placed on a spreadsheet and have pictures.  It also means I will need to source more.
  • I contacted my sister/best friend and asked if I could hire her to ship packages twice a week, and take pictures once a week.
  • Etsy and Postmark will take a backseat for a little bit while I grow EBay.  There are no monthly fees to worry about, so it wont cost anything more.

To say I am relieved, is an understatement.  I have been under a lot of pressure lately and felt there was no room for fun.  The problem was not enough hours in a day.  It was not delegating responsibilities.

My path seems crystal clear… at the moment!

If you have comments or suggestions, just leave them below.  If you really like this blog. Smash the subscribe button!

#JewelsForThePauper

Where everything is fit For a Queen

But

Priced for The Pauper