Tag Archives: Business

One Year Later

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It’s been one year since I quit my job to work for myself! I’m so excited that I’ve had a very successful year even with a difficult economy and slow sales as challenges I faced.

If you want to work for yourself, do it today!  All it takes is extreme drive, motivation and a will to succeed. You’re going to have nights where you work until 3am and weeks without a day off, but I’ll tell you that it’s worth all the struggle for the feeling of being your own boss.  I’m still figuring out the kinks of having a small business, by no means do I know it all.  But, if you start now you can do anything you want to do.

When I started my business I thought it would be what I’d do full-time.  I worked on it for 6 years while working a full-time job and going to school.  Those 6 years paid off giving me skills that have helped me come this far.  If you put in a little effort to your dream everyday, you’ll be surprised how quickly the dream will arrive.

Another important thing to always consider is keeping faith about your goals. Don’t ever doubt yourself or think you can’t do it.  Always imagine yourself as already successful, having everything you could ever want. Those things will quickly follow if you put forth the action of being thankful for them ahead of time.

I hope that everyone in our country is able to do as I have for the last year.  Working for myself has allowed me to find myself again, to be happier and healthier. It’s strengthened my relationships with my fiancé, family and friends.  And most of all….it’s given me confidence that I really can do anything I set my mind to.

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Taking Good Photos to Increase your Sales Numbers

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It’s a  well-known fact that photos are a key piece when selling an item online.  Photos can sometimes make or break your sale. If your goods can be photographed with good lighting and interesting angles you’ll have a better chance of selling your item at a high price than if the photos are out of focus or poorly angled.

Below are some tips that will help you when taking photographs of items you put in your online stores.

  • Use Natural Lighting – Natural lighting is the absolute best way to show all details of an item.   I find that early morning and late afternoon are the best times to get bright lighting for your items.  Many times you can place them next to a window that gets a lot of sun to take advantage of natural lighting.  It also helps you add interesting shadows to your products.  The second best thing to natural lighting is Halogen which has a bright glow that doesn’t glare too much.
  • Take a million pictures of your item – Ok, maybe not that many! You want to have a good choice of photos to choose from when listing your item. Sometimes they look better on the camera than they do on the display so don’t cut any pictures from your camera memory as you take them. Wait until you can check them all and pick from the best. With sites like Etsy you only get 5 photos to upload for each listing so taking a ton of pictures really increases the chances of getting those excellent shots.
  • Use Photo editing software to make your products more interesting – Photos online tend to be all the same. Dull colors are a common theme among products on both Ebay and Etsy.  By using a photo editing software and adding effects to your pictures, you can increase the chances that people will zero in on your photos out of the million others out there.  I love using Picnik.com which offers a ton of free functions and lots more if you want to pay for the premium version. Some of my favorite effects are lomo, increase brightness, cross process and adding seasonal banners. I have found sales really increase when doing this and all I have to do is add a note stating “first photo was edited and colors may not match actual item.”
  • Use a plain and simple background with nothing but the item in it – People want to see what they are buying and a plain background is usually your best bet for increasing sales volume. It keeps photos uncluttered and keeps confusion down about what’s included in the sale.  A light box is surprisingly cheap when purchased from eBay. They work great for photographing small items.  Using a light-colored wall and a mannequin is best when photographing clothes.

I hope these tips help you increase your sales volume! If you have any other tips please feel free to share them in the comments so others can learn from them.  Below is an example of a photo that I’ve edited with Picnik. Don’t you love the Christmas lights?!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Tips for improving your customer’s experience this holiday season

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Traditional Japanese wrapping cloth,furoshiki,...

Image via Wikipedia

The holidays are a great time to really shine with customer service.  Online selling is a demanding job so you want to stay on your toes when interacting with customers.  Here are some things that will really make you shine and keep customers coming back.

 

  • Gift wrap items in tissue paper and add a ribbon. This really makes a package sparkle. It helps a customer see that you cared enough about their item to take special time wrapping it. Tissue paper is available fairly cheaply if you go to the 99 cent stores or places like that.  Also, if they were going to give the item as a gift you already saved them a step by wrapping it.
  • Send a free extra for large purchases or those over $50.  People love to get something for free.  By including something extra you’ll show the customers that you really appreciate them.  They will remember your shop and definitely be back to buy more.
  • Ship the same or next business day payment clears.  People hate to wait for their purchases. By shipping the same or next business day you can cut down the shipping time and make sure customers get their items in the time frame they think is reasonable. That frame is smaller than it was a year ago!
  • Always be friendly.  I can’t stress this point enough. You will deal with mean or unfair buyers, I promise this. But, by not falling into their emotional trap you can stay calm and take care of business. They will be much more responsive to you and if anything goes wrong, much more willing to work out problems.

 

I hope these tips help your profits this holiday season. I try to practice them in all seasons. The holidays are a good time to focus on building up these incentives for your customers. Feel free to share any tips you may have in the comments below.

Why you should be on Ebay and Etsy….right now!

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Image representing Etsy as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

With all this recession talk, it’s pretty normal to want to close up your wallets and tighten up finances. All the news talks about is how people aren’t spending.  To me, I think that the best way we can stimulate the economy is to help each other out.  We need to simplify while still fulfilling our desires to have more.

Ebay and Etsy allow us to do that.  They provide venues for people to be their own bosses, removing some of the constraints of not knowing how secure you really are in that job.  Online stores are a lot of work, but they also provide you with the tools to see what you can do well, what you are knowledgeable about and best of all, how you can help other people.

One great thing about my work is that I get to provide a really cool item to someone, usually at a much lower price than retail, and then I get to see how happy it makes them.  Many times buyers will write saying how pleased they are, how they didn’t think they could get such a fabulous item for such a low price.  Sometimes they just write to say thanks for being so nice.  It’s those moments that make online stores worth it.  Yes, you get some crabby people (maybe they are having a bad day/week/life) but even those are too insignificant to take away from the joy the happy people who buy from me receive.

The other great benefit is that once we help each other make money we enable each other to spend that money.  When a seller has a great month, do you think they are tightening up finances?!?  Nope!  We spoil ourselves!  We go shopping, we eat out more and we enjoy our lives because we can do so much more! (let’s face it, fun costs money most of the time).

I worked for 6 years full time and did Ebay part time, opening my Etsy shop this January.  I think if you put the right amount of time into your work, not pushing too much, that you too can feel more freedom by having an online shop.  If you are crafty or know vintage well, check out Etsy where fees are significantly lower than Ebay.  If you have a lot of pricy electronices, jewelry, clothes – go see if Ebay is a good fit for you. Both venues have a very active marketplace.  If you don’t want to deal with the hassle, I bet finding a local ebayer to sell your stuff for you isn’t too hard either (wink, wink).

Online stores are amazing.  They show you every side of business.  You’ll learn a lot and make some mistakes but they are so worth it.  You have no idea the personal and professional growth that online stores help you accomplish….the only thing you have to do is remember your goal.  Not the money! No, no, no.  Helping one another out. It’s ok if you have to appease a mean buyer by issuing a refund or if you get a little frustrated when you can’t communicate your point of view to someone over email.  Those times will be few and far between once you have sold for a small time.   Believe me, I’ve dealt with the worst….buyers do get a little crazy sometimes.

Step out of your box ~ Go on ~ Open that online store!

So far so good….

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Well, it’s been 4 months since I quit my job to do online sales full-time.  I have to say, I’m liking it a lot!  Even with the hard parts this feels so right.   I love the personal freedom and space that I have gained.  It’s also made focusing on school a lot easier.  I will say though, I don’t think it could have been this easy without 6 years of Ebay experience before jumping in.  That experience has meant so much in making my business a success ~ being profitable for the first 4 months of business isn’t bad right!?!?

I think that if you have a dream you want to work on, you should put everything you have into it now!  Don’t wait until you have “the time” to work on it. Find the time, make the time. There are other things in your life that are so much less important than following what your true purpose is.  First, you have to stop flying around this world so much.  You don’t have to do it all, you don’t have to be it all.  What you do need is to know what you want ~ what your purpose is.  Meditation, self growth books and yoga are great ways to quiet the world and focus inside yourself.

One of the most beneficial things I’ve found to help me was to take TV out of my life. We still Netflix but having cable TV gone has made things so much simpler. There is a lot more time in a day!  TV had been such a fixture in my life that I never thought I’d be able to remove it.  Now that I have, it’s amazing the things I can do in a day.  Getting up early is also a great way to find more tim

Camp Happy Face Mascot

Image by emdot via Flickr

e in the day, of course that means going to sleep early too!

Find something that is wasting time in your life today ~ remove it and replace it with what you always wanted to do.  If you want to read more, exercise more, work on a skill or craft….those are the things you need to focus on.  Your mind is incredibly attuned to your life purpose.  Listen to it and take the distractions out of your life.

I wish everyone could feel the enjoyment I have of working at home or just simply doing what they love. We were born to be free creatures loving, sharing the wonders of this amazing world.

Resale Heaven

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There is a place that we all want to visit ~ where prices are cheap and there is no limit

There is a land for us all ~ value is priced fairly and you never have to make a call

Many say eBay, others write etsy and for some the amazon giant if you may

Resale is this magical land that I refer to ~ it’s a place of magic, of wonder and new

You’ll be amazed by the things you find, by the value that items have after they are left behind

Won’t you join me in the crusade to recycle our earth? Can you try, if just once, to wear something that hasn’t just been birthed?

Open your heart to resale, cut out the retail

The glory of resale ~ how it helps us

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Ever since I was young, my parents instilled a respect of all things pre-owned.  We lived on garage sales, thrift stores and hand-me-downs.  Though I wasn’t too happy about this when I was young, I am very appreciative now.  I have a good understanding of used items and the potential value that they hold.

Resale is not only fun, it helps our communities and encourages recycling of goods.  I am proud to say that my business is both community oriented and environmentally conscious. Not to mention in line with my personal goals of living “green”.

My products have no packaging other than the tissue paper wrapped around them.   The tissue and paper mailers I use are both recyclable.  There usually is no waste since all items can easily be donated or sold in bulk without losing a significant profit due to their low-cost already.  There is no need for a warehouse since inventory is revolving and never held more than a few months.

In addition to the benefits for the world, resale helps people find joy in someone else’s junk (we all know the old saying).  Items made over 20 years ago tend to be of higher manufacturing quality which provides them with a longer life.  There is no need for people to be purchasing new items every year just so they have something new.  Much of what we need/want has already been created for us.  We just need to change our mindset on needing something that is new as opposed to “new to you”.  In fact, some of those items are better for us than the new items in that they carry positive emotion from the previous owner who loved it.

Say yes to resale!

  • It encourages recycling and reuse.
  • It cuts down on waste in manufacturing activities as well as packaging.
  • You wouldn’t believe the positive emotion you can receive from an item that has traveled the years.

My dream, is for a country of ebayers.  We don’t need as many retail stores as we now have, they are polluting our beautiful nation and minds.

Simplify, buy pre-owned!