Understanding Performance Data

Are you using all the functions of you Seller Hub? Do you know what’s under the Performance Tab on your dashboard? Have you taken the time to understand the data eBay is providing you to help YOU run a better business? Yeah, me either. As I have talked to various eBay design teams over the past months I have asked questions about what this feature does or what the data from that report means and guess what!? I was poking around eBay’s You Tube Channel and found this 4 minute video that walks you through some of that data and reports available to YOU on YOUR account. I watched a section, paused the video, went to my page and clicked through and started playing with my data. Its pretty cool. You don’t have to be a numbers person to get it, but take a few minutes and watch the video, then start playing. I certainly don’t understand it all, but I do understand parts of it better than I did five minutes ago and if you want to run a business, you need to understand what this data is telling you.

Selling My Life…

Selling My Life – It Doesn’t Seem To Be Happening

I’m just about a year into this project and I’m about 10 months behind my imaginary schedule! I seem to always under estimate the time it takes to accomplish tasks. In the past year I have prepared my house for sale, lived in a house that was on the market for six months (if you’ve done this you know that you can’t really get anything done because you’re basically living in a museum and anything you do messes it up), packed up six bedrooms, three baths, an over sized garage and a storage unit full of inventory, moved to an unfinished home on 12.25 neglected acres, attended conferences and family gatherings, had visitors, traveled up and down I-17 more times than I care to count and managed all the daily tasks involved with selling online.  There’s one BIG thing missing from that long lists of accomplishments….getting stuff listed.

Megan enjoying a visit to the cute town of Williams, AZ along Route 66

Megan enjoying a visit to the cute town of Williams, AZ along Route 66

My 20 year old niece Megan is visiting from Idaho for about 8 weeks. I’m going to show her the ropes and teach her how to sell online. She’s been here for two weeks now and we’ve done A LOT of shopping and shipping. She’s been a great help and we are all geared up to get things moving on a regular schedule next week. We’ve got family visiting this weekend and we’re going to play. We drove about 10 miles to the town of Williams and strolled along the streets like the tourists that we are. I think we may even make a trip to the Grand Canyon tomorrow!  But next week we are all business! We’ve got pictures to take, Christmas stuff to sort and listings to get done!

 

 

Megan and her cowboy

Megan and her cowboy

The Laundry Room Decor

The Laundry Room Decor

I was determined to get all the decor from the laundry room listed and felt such a sense of accomplishment when it was done. The original idea of this blog was to post my listings every 4-5 days and give an update on the things that sold….well, when you’re not listings your personal belongings, you can’t blog about it. I’m determined to get my Christmas stuff listed in the next two weeks and am going to plot out a daily schedule to make it happen. I’m hopeful with Megan’s help (she really is a FABULOUS helper!) we can get stuff photographed and listed and I’ll have some great items to post and perhaps even some sales. In the meantime, here’s some of the Laundry decor that has sold already. I’m surprised at how much some of it sold for….but HAPPY I didn’t just dump everything at my local thrift store.

Here are some of the items I sold from my laundry room.

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Vtg Antique Large 11″ Primitive Wooden Canning Press Masher
Sold for $19.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Galvanized Small 8″ Wash Tub Laundry Room Decor Kitchen Outdoor Garden
Sold for $14.99

Laundry Tub Washboard Clothes Line Pins Bubbles Wood Sign Room Decor Sold for $34.99

Laundry Tub Washboard Clothes Line Pins Bubbles Wood Sign Room Decor
Sold for $34.99

Laundry Service 25¢ Washboard Laundry Room Decor <br>Sold for $24.99

Laundry Service 25¢ Washboard Laundry Room Decor Red Rustic

Sold for $24.99

Miniature Ohio Star 6" Quilt Amish Heritage Collection Designed Anna M Dezendorf Sold for $14.99

Miniature Ohio Star 6″ Quilt Amish Heritage Collection Designed Anna M Dezendorf
Sold for $14.99

 

 

Life in Sherwood Forest – Update

I haven’t really taken the time to write much about life in the mountains of Northern Arizona. I moved here about six months ago to live in an investment property my mom and I own in hopes of selling it. The property sat unfinished, empty and for sale for several years. We decided about 18 months ago to put the money into it and make it habitable in the hope that would help it sell.

I’ve been living here since April and haven’t really unpacked much. Since I’m planning on selling of nearly all my personal belongings, there really isn’t a need to unpack and find a home for everything.  I got the essentials set up fairly quickly…the kitchen, one bathroom, a desk for the computer & printers, a shipping station, etc. There wasn’t really a need to unpack everything and create a big mess to have to work around and I was very hopeful that with some luck the place would sell quickly.

There is a huge “For Sale” sign on the side of the house with my number on it. We get about five or so calls on it each week. We’ve had it listed with several realtors over the years, it’s listed on Zillow and Craigslist and the sign on the side of the house seems to generate most of the interest…lots of interest, but no serious buyers.  The house has been for sale with that sign for so long that all the regulars know exactly what I’m talking about when I say “it’s the white house with the reddish roof and the for sale sign on the side”. It’s quite the conversation starter!

In June we were contacted by a family responding to our Craigslist post. They were interested in the property but were very up front about what they were facing. We’ve got the property listed for $449,999 (about $200k under value) but the type of loan they were getting maxed out at $417k. They had some financial troubles and wouldn’t be able to make an official offer until late August and wanted to know if we would work with them if they liked the house and wanted to move forward. We agreed we would. They are a family with six kids; some of them adopted. The father works in the medical field and they moved to the area about a year ago. The parents and two of the older kids came and looked at the house and property and fell in love with it. We communicated with them weekly and we quickly became impressed with the tenacity this family had. They worked through every obstacle that was placed before them. jumped through every hoop and satisfied every request made of them by their lender. This was long and tedious process for them, but they hung in there!

The family was getting close to having all their documents lined up so they brought everyone out to see the property. They have three younger children ages 5-9 or so, two of them boys. They seemed to be excited about the possibility of this becoming their home. They staked out their bedrooms, explored the property and were excited about being able to have lots of animals with plenty of room for them to roam around. We began to be excited for these two boys and visioned them exploring every inch of the 12 acres….we really wanted this family to make this their home.

A few weeks later we got the pre-approval letter and knew they had the financing all lined up…not an easy task for them, but they managed. We were cheering them on, waiting for them at the finish line. We had a close date nailed down and just needed them to make an official offer and open escrow.

A few days later we got an email letting us know they were having a hard time finding affordable homeowners insurance…no problem! I went through the same thing and knew how to help…I had them call my agent. Unfortunately, my agent wasn’t able to offer them the same plan I had because of their financial situation and an INQUIRY (not a claim, just an inquiry for one) they had made earlier this year. Homeowners insurance was going to cost them about $2800/year and that was more than they could afford.

We were heart broken. We had grown fond of the idea that a family with six kids would be able to grow up on the property and not some investor that would turn it into a money making rental for the local tourist economy. We decided to make one more offer to the family….we offered to pay $5k towards the first two years of their homeowners insurance. They had worked so hard and were so close to the finish line that we couldn’t imagine them giving up now, we wanted to offer them a life line and hoped they would accept it.

Sadly, for whatever reason, they decided not to and walked away. It’s been a little more than a week and we’re still sad we couldn’t help to make it work out. We respect them and their decision and hope that another family with just as much love and tenacity will come along and fall in love with the house and property like this family did.

In the meantime, this Southern California girl is preparing for a real winter and what will probably be a shock to her system.

eBay Open 2016 – Vegas Here I Come!

eBay Open 2016I’m leaving first thing tomorrow morning to drive to Vegas for another eBay event. I attended my first eBay Live event in Denver, CO, May 2012 and it changed the way I looked at my little hobby business selling on eBay. I quickly learned that with a few minor adjustments, some hard work and dedication, I could make this into a full blown, full time, income producing business! And I have.

I’m super pumped up to be able to meet in person so many of the people I’ve worked with on the various eBay support teams. I love helping out and being able to provide feedback based on my experience and needs. eBay totally rocks!

If you can’t make it this year, plan on it the next time around. While there’s a ton of fun happening, there’s also a great deal of learning going on and even more networking.

It’s late, I need to ship and pack and I’ve got a million things to get done in the next 3 hours. I plan on posting at least one blog while I’m in Vegas so in the mean time, here are a few of my favorite things from past eBay events.

If you’re going to be in Vegas, post a comment and be sure to say hi!  I’d love to meet any blog readers that will be in Vegas.

eBay Radio June 2012. Great event that allows networking on a smaller scale. This year eBay and joined up with eBay Radio and they are doing the Vegas event together.

eBay Radio June 2012. Great event that allows networking on a smaller scale. This year eBay and joined up with eBay Radio and they are doing the Vegas event together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I drug my mom to this event...mostly so she could understand what it was I was doing and to spark an interest in her selling online as well.

I talked my mom into going to eBay Radio with me…mostly so she could understand what it was I was doing and to spark an interest in her selling online as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

eBay President Devin Wenig at the We Are eBay 20 Year Celebration - September 2016, San Jose, CA

eBay President Devin Wenig at the We Are eBay 20 Year Celebration – September 2016, San Jose, CA #DevinWeniglistenstosellers

 

Some of the awesome eBay swag we got in our registration bags. The big surprise for all of us was a $100 eBay gift card. It was like getting our registration fees back! #eBayRocks

Some of the awesome eBay swag we got in our registration bags. The big surprise for all of us was a $100 eBay gift card. It was like getting our registration fees back! #eBayRocks

 

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The food is TOP NOTCH! This was the most delicious desert EVER! All the food is provided in the registration fee and eBay did not skimp! #foodtodiefor

 

Networking...I can't say it enough, you go to these things to NETWORK! This is a pic of the name badge of an eBay Employee. I had a question and an idea and somebody lead me to Scot. He was in line getting his lunch and we stood and chatted for about 15 minutes before we found a seat and continued our conversation . Scot is a Senior Development Manager and after about 20-30 minutes of chatting I apologized for keeping him from eating his lunch. When he responded "I can eat anytime, this is far more interesting" I knew I was talking to the right person! Our conversations continued over email and Scot helped put me in touch with several different teams that work with sellers. It has been an AWESOME connection to have. #networkingmatters

Networking…I can’t say it enough, you go to these things to NETWORK! This is a pic of the name badge of an eBay Employee. I had a question and an idea and somebody lead me to Scot. He was in line getting his lunch and we stood and chatted for about 15 minutes before we found a seat and continued our conversation. Scot is a Senior Development Manager and after about 20-30 minutes of chatting I apologized for keeping him from eating his lunch. When he responded “I can eat anytime, this is far more interesting” I knew I was talking to the right person! Our conversations continued over email and Scot helped put me in touch with several different teams that work with sellers. It has been an AWESOME connection to have. #networkingmatters

 

These events are always fun to meet up with all our eBay Online 'Stranger Friends'. This is just a small number of members from Jason T. Smith's Facebook Group, The Thrifting Board that I help admin. It's fun to hang and talk shop with people who are just as passionate about selling on eBay as you are. #networkingfacetofaceisfun

These events are always fun to meet up with all our eBay Online ‘Stranger Friends’. This is just a small number of members from Jason T. Smith’s Facebook Group, The Thrifting Board that I help admin. It’s fun to hang and talk shop with people who are just as passionate about selling on eBay as you are. #networkingfacetofaceisfun

 

eBay knows how to throw a PARTY! I've been to several of eBay events and when they say Thursday night is party night, they are not kidding! I can't put my hands on the pics I took, but one of the stages had an artist there with drop clothes everywhere, a canvas on a rotating easel, buckets of paint and he went to town! It was fascinating to watch and this was one of paintings. eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar. #networkingisntallwork

eBay knows how to throw a PARTY! I’ve been to several of eBay events and when they say Thursday night is party night, they are not kidding! I can’t put my hands on the pics I took, but one of the stages had an artist with drop cloths everywhere, a canvas on a rotating easel, buckets of paint and he went to town! It was fascinating to watch and this was one of the artist’s paintings. eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar. #networkingisntallwork

 

I've said it before, this is one of my all time favorite eBay photos. eBay then and now. Founder Pierre Omidyer and current President and CEO, Devin Wenig, #networkingprovidesamazingopportunities

I’ve said it before, this is one of my all time favorite eBay photos. eBay Then and Now. Founder Pierre Omidyer and current President and CEO, Devin Wenig. #networkingprovidesamazingopportunities

Life in Sherwood Forest

Sherwood ForestI was downloading pictures from my cell phone to my desktop and realized how many different pictures I’ve taken of the new place but I haven’t taken the time to write about this phase of my journey.

I left my big beautiful home in a master planned community that was selected as the Best Master Planned Community in the state of Arizona four of the 13 years I lived there and ranked in the top five communities since 2003 and moved to a 3600 square foot, not yet completed home on 12.25 neglected acres in a rural part of the county. What was I thinking and why did I move!?

01Well, this home is an investment property my mom and I own. We have been trying to sell it unfinished for several years with no luck. About 18 months ago we decided it would be best to fork up some cash and get the inside habitable…meaning completed enough to get a certificate of occupancy, but not finish it completely. We got a great contractor that did the work on a shoe string budget (and with a generous friends and family discount) and managed to get walls painted, the well house built and well water connected to the house, the kitchen done, one of the three bathrooms 02completed, doors on the bath and bedrooms, flooring, electricity turned on, propane tank hooked up, etc. We just have a few minor things to complete before we have the inspector out for our final inspection. I’m living here full time and enjoying the wonderful 80′ porch, cooler temps, crazy weather and nice summer breezes. My mom comes up from the valley and will spend 2-3 weeks here, heads home for 2-3 weeks and then comes back up. Its a nice and easy three hour drive from point A to point B.

Here are a few of the ‘before’ pics. The wood burning stove and radiant floor heaters are the 07only heating source for the house. My mom was skeptical these two things would be enough, but having lived here during some cold Spring nights, I can say that the two do supply enough heat to warm the house.  It just took a bit of trial and error to figure out how to keep the stove going and we were in business!

 

 

 

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This is the loft that over looks the living room. We put up a pony wall and it makes for a nice space away from all the activities downstairs. I’m using it now to store some eBay inventory and am trying to get it organized…it’s a S-L-O-W process.

 

 

 

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This is a shot just inside he double french doors, that wall will later become the kitchen bar. On the other side is the stove and a whole lotta counter space. It’s a nice spacious kitchen that I think needs an island, but we haven’t put one in yet.

 

 

It’s been quite the Dr. Doolittle adventure as well. When I first moved up here I came home after being gone for a weekend, went to light a fire in the stove and a bird flew out! I managed to catch him and show him the door, but when I went back to the task of lighting a fire, I discovered TWO MORE in the stove! I caught one and let him free but the other got out, flew to the highest window in in the house and was doing his best to avoid capture. My mad bird catching skills kicked in and I managed to get the little guy out the door and back with his buddies.  That happened several more times….we really need to get that screen on the vent.

Bird 1 Birds 2-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on the adventures of living in Sherwood Forest. To be continued……

 

 

eBay’s Promoted Listings

Promoted Listings Graph 2

 

Have you checked out eBay’s promoted campaigns? I watched a very quick eBay for Business periscope/FB Live with Griff two weeks ago and created my first campaign while listening to the broadcast. I went back and created 23 more in the next week or so. Takes just a few seconds and generates sooo many impressions and clicks. And in my case sold 12 items to the tune of $360. If you haven’t taken the time to check this out, do yourself a favor and make the time.

UPDATE: Click here to listen to a segment I did on eBay Radio on February 7, 2017. eBay Radio, Show 670, Segment 2, How to Use Promoted Listings and Boost Your Sales!

 

  1. From your Seller Hub Page, click on the MARKETING tab at the top.
  2. Click on PROMOTED LISTINGS.
  3. Click on the blue CREATE A NEW CAMPAIGN button at the bottom of the page.
  4. Click OK on the annoying ‘quick tip’ pop up box that will pop up EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. 🙂
  5. Click on a Store Category along the left side of the page.
  6. A list of eligible listings will appear in the box to the right of the store category list. Not every item will be eligible. At this point, only listings with quantities greater than one (or listings that ever had quantities greater than one) will be eligible and listed.
  7. Click the circle with the check mark at the top of the list to select ALL listings or scroll down and select individual listings. When selected, the circle will turn blue.
  8. Click on SET AD RATE on the right side of the gray bar at the bottom of the page.
  9. Slide the green check mark along the bar to select which ad rate you want. I started all mine out at 5%.
  10. Click on REVIEW on the right side of the gray bar at the bottom of the page.
  11. Highlight the default campaign name “Campaign 1” and enter your personal Campaign name. I named mine based on my store category “Disney”, “American Girl”, “Halloween”, etc. You can set campaign start and stop dates here, but I left mine blank so they start immediately there are no end dates. This can be edited at any time. You can also use the green toggle switch to turn a campaign on or off at any time.
  12. Click on LAUNCH on the right side of the gray bar at the bottom of the page.
  13. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Wasn’t that EASY!?

You don’t pay per click or impression, you pay a percentage WHEN/IF and item sells. What’s the percentage you ask? YOU get to decide….anywhere from 1% to 100%. For my first round of campaigns I chose 5% because I wanted to see how much traffic that would generate. Let me tell you it generates A LOT. I started the bulk of my campaigns eight days ago and I have 285,760 impressions, 4,195 clicks, 12 items sold and $360 in sales generated. I paid $26 in ad fees for all that…what a deal!

Promoted Listings 7-1-16

 

Right now only multiple quantity listings (or listings that were once multiple quantity) are eligible for the campaign but eBay will be rolling out single quantity listings in the future. Programs like this are a massive undertaking and eBay needs to roll them out in stages to make sure everything works well. So far I’m loving how quick and easy it is to set up and how fast I’m generating sales. I also love that we only pay the ad fee IF we sell an item that was promoted. THANK YOU! eBay.

Here’s the link to the Facebook Live post with Griff and Shefali.

Are Your Photos Loading Sideways

SidewaysDoes anyone else have the problem of your photos loading sideways when listing? I’ve been having this problem on and off for a few months now and I think I’ve finally figured it out. After a lot of googling and reading computer stuff that’s waaay too technical for me, I’ve learned that it has to do with embedded orientation tags. I’ve played with various cameras, iPads, iPhones, etc. and was still having to rotate pics when I uploaded them to my eBay listings….slow and tedious and very frustrating! Turns out that all photos are encoded vertically….even if you take them horizontally. Who knew!?

The photo software on your computer may flag your picture so it displays it as a rotated image, but eBay doesn’t read that flag, so eBay displays the photos the way the data was originally encoded. Frustrating and time consuming to edit during listing. You can edit the photos using eBay’s rotation tool, or you can do what I did last night, find a true image editor to rewrite all the image data before you upload to eBay.

One post suggested downloading the free software Irfanview, so that’s what I did. There are a lot of settings you can select or deselect when saving an image; I just made sure “Reset EXIF Orientation tag” was selected and I saved all my existing pics with this setting and uploaded with no problem. Then I wanted to figure out the correct orientation on my phone so I could take pics without going through the editing process (since I THOUGHT when I took the last batch of pics that holding my phone the way I was holding it would get me photos with the correct orientation, but didn’t).

iPhone Pic OrientationSooo, while sitting in church last week waiting for the service to start, I held my iPhone 6 in the horizontal position with the round home button on the right and the volume buttons on the bottom and took the first pic (which is the correct orientation), then I rotated the phone vertically with the home button on the bottom and took pic #2, rotated with home button on the left for pic #3 and rotated with home button on the top for pic #4. When I got home I uploaded the pics on my computer and then to a mock listing and Pic #1, in horizontal position with home button on the right wins! I’ll be taking the next batch of pics holding my camera this way and will be all set!

This has been beyond frustrating for me to figure out and I was so happy when I did last night. I hope by sharing what I learned you’ll avoid some frustration and be able to get your listings done faster!

Back in the Saddle Again!

back-in-the-saddleI’m back in the saddle again and listing like crazy. I think I’ve finally hit my eBay and listing stride! I had a great weekend of fun but was also able to get a great deal of work done and I’m happy to report I have officially listed some personal stuff from my house!

It’s been hard to get to it because I had these piles of other things that seemed to get in the way. I did get some larger items listed in hopes of selling them off quickly and getting them out of the way and that worked. Then I had a basket full of lip balm that I sourced after Christmas that I wanted to get sorted and listed. Then there was that basket of shorts and summer tees staring at me every day and well, you get the picture!

117_3453I managed to get a bunch of that “have to do” stuff done and I was actually able to get the decor pieces from my laundry room listed…yeah me! This is what my laundry room looked like and while it was fun to collect the pieces and put it together over the years, when I packed it all away to move I just saw dollar signs. I decided to create a new store category “Laundry Room” just to keep all the decor together and organized and that seemed to work well. I’ll probably do that for some of the other rooms and collections as I prepare to list them. Click on the “laundry Room” link above to see all the fun stuff I managed to get listed.

But that wasn’t all…I was on a mission and that mission ended with 106 new listings!

I hate, hate, hate listing clothes!  I hate taking pictures, measuring, describing, just all of it. But the problem with that mentality is that clothes are such a great revenue source that it’s hard NOT to list and sell them. So when I stumbled onto a bunch of Danskin athletic shorts for $1-$3 I scooped them up and bought about 100 pairs. And guess what….I got those photographed and listed this weekend too..YEAH ME AGAIN!

AG BoxesBut I didn’t stop there…I was on a roll. I had a few things I was selling for some girls I know and I wanted to get them listed, off my desk, and put into inventory. I also had a box full of these same items that I sourced off a local Facebook group and another bag a friend had given me after Christmas. These are long tail items that are quick and easy to list and I wanted to get them photographed, listed and out of the way. You’ll never guess what I was so anxious to get listed….EMPTY American Girl Boxes. Yup, you read that right! I’ve been selling the boxes that my niece’s American Girl dolls, clothes, accessories, furniture, etc. come in and they have been raking in the bucks! I’ve got two nieces that were into American Girl dolls from the time they were five until they were about 13 or 14….and they have quite the collection of American Girl stuff. I’m not sure when or why I started listing these boxes, but I’m sure it started on a whim, one of those “let’s list it and see if it sells” experiments. Well they did sell and my older niece made over $1,000 selling her empty boxes over the years! She earned that much money selling TRASH!  How crazy is that!? My AG Empty Box inventory was waaay down and I manged to take pictures and post most of the ones I have to list, but I’m not done yet…that’s the first thing on the ‘to do’ list in the morning. I estimate I’ve got about 60 more to get listed and it is my goal to get them all done tomorrow…wish me luck!

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