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My 2012 State of the Union Address on eBay

Updated on August 27, 2013
Tools of the Trade--The Portal to eBay and HubPages
Tools of the Trade--The Portal to eBay and HubPages | Source
Plaza Starbucks in Walla Walla--Where I've Made Many an eBay Listing
Plaza Starbucks in Walla Walla--Where I've Made Many an eBay Listing | Source

My Very Own Stump Campaign

It's late in the day in 2012, and Romney and Obama are getting ready to square off. The plaudits, promises, and slings are rapidly and furiously slicing through the autumn air as America prepares for yet another significant political battle.

With no disrespect to the presidential candidates, I am neither invested nor interested in what either of them has to say.

Please note: I do not suffer from apathy.

Rather, I thrive on individualism.

A little over a year ago, just before my 59th elliptical trip around the sun, I threw in my rat race towel. I had had it with an economy that coerced men to be geographically apart from loved ones in order to maintain employment. I had long resented myself for being in such a predicament, in large part due to poor choices made over a lifetime of struggling.

To right my ship 's course, I did the one courageous thing I'd ever done in my life.

I asked God to deliver me from an earthly hell, and then I leaped over the proverbial cliff of despair.

And as I plummeted downward at the speed of light, just before impact, I remember saying, "God, you better catch me!"

Get Motivated!

Recap of the Last Year

After heart-to-heart conversations with my wife, I returned home in late June of 2011.

I'd decided to not waste my time trying to find work in the local area. Grateful for the opportunity to have had decent work for a season in the greater Seattle area, I was nevertheless determined to build my eBay business, something I'd been working at on a part-time basis since early 2001.

At 59 years of age, my body was falling apart from chronic severe sleep deficit, sleep apnea, lack of adequate medical, dental, and optical care, and hours of standing on a concrete floor as well as working around the tremendous heat of the powerful ovens.

Thankfully, my wife had been professionally employed for thirty-five years in the local area, and we could scrape by with one and a fraction of an income while I diligently nurtured our online business.

I didn't have a formal business plan. Basically, all I wanted to do was to match what I was making at the bagel bakery. Customary to what we hear about what an average time span might be for determining whether a business will succeed or fail, I set three years as a time frame to accomplish my basic goal.

Friends, I'm halfway there after fifteen months. I'm thankful and happy for the progress I've made, and there've been some additional blessings as well. Let's take a look at some of the things we modified and accomplished with God's help...

  • We expanded our product line by adding the following niches to our fly tying hooks--magazines; books; vintage and contemporary print ads; vintage (art and photo) prints; collectible tins; collectible figurines; porcelain and ceramics; vintage art; antiques; postcards; photographs; and a few others
  • We added alternative sites to our campaign--Etsy, Yardsellr, Amazon, Craigslist, eBay Classifieds
  • We expanded our reach by selling for others on a commission
  • We scour the local and regional areas several times a week to acquire more inventory--yard sales, garage sales, porch sales, estate sales, thrift stores, consignment shops, and liquidation centers
  • My wife opened up her own Yardsellr account and made her first sale on October 8, 2012
  • I began using my personal blog to promote our product line as well as that of my sister who also sells on eBay
  • I began writing for HubPages in February, 2012, developing a solid eBay niche
  • I researched and began applying a rudimentary application of social marketing sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
  • I voraciously read books, eBooks, blog posts, and Hubs specializing on eBay, online entrepreneurship, marketing, SEO strategies, and personal finance
  • I developed solid relationships with a core group of fellow HubPages writers
  • I promoted local businesses and institutions--in part to gain market exposure and in part to have solid content.

One of the nice bonuses was already mentioned above--the fact that my wife loved what we were doing on a part-time basis so much that she opened her own Yardsellr account.

In addition, we've gained more of a presence in our local community, supporting on a win-win basis the local church, civic, and private business groups that sponsor ministries helping the less fortunate, especially in this turbulent economy.

There are also business perks such as the many tax deductions we can claim to offset expenses; new affiliations with bankers, investment advisors, and other financial personnel; and a gradual increase in entrepreneurship strategies and skills.

Above all, we're locked into a lifestyle now that we truly believe we can continue engaging in for a good amount of time after my wife retires from her job. In other words, it's a business we won't be retiring from any time soon, God-willing.

Finally, I believe one of the best things I enjoy about what I'm doing today is that my two passions next to love of God and family--selling on eBay and writing for HubPages--are complementary of each other.

Plaza Starbucks in Walla Walla, Where Caffeine Fuels the Hubs
Plaza Starbucks in Walla Walla, Where Caffeine Fuels the Hubs | Source

What's Ahead for 2013?

Obama and Romney, God bless them, are each promising a great deal to the American people for 2013-2016.

I'm not following suit, Instead, I'm just keeping things simple and listing a couple of goals I have in mind for our eBay business this coming year.

  • Submit formal application to eBay requesting permission to become an eBay trading assistant
  • Apply for a drop shipping account; if I can't utilize it with eBay due to a potential conflict with the limited allotted time for uploading tracking information, I will utilize it with alternative online sites such as Yardsellr, Craigslist, Amazon, and others
  • My wife and I will expand our buying campaigns to include out-of-state trips
  • Contract with wholesale outfits in China

Our eBay Shipping and Receiving Department
Our eBay Shipping and Receiving Department | Source

Epilogue--October 10, 2012

It's D-Day, Karen Hellier 's D-Day, and I (yikes!) still have four Hubs to complete in satisfaction of her Ten Hubs in Ten Days Challenge.

Funny...I should be pulling my hair out at this time, but I have an incredible sense of peace. Like there's no doubt in my mind that I will have the tenth and final Hub finished by 11:59 PM tonight, with a minute left to spare to finally exhale a huge sigh of relief.

I leaped off a cliff, and I landed...

Right smack dab in this very moment of time.

Sweet!

I am at peace. I will get the job done. I am strong, and I am capable, and I am a survivor.

My life is good. And I am loving every single minute of it...

Comments

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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Bill!

    I can really relate to things you've shared about the urgency of time. That said, it's never too late to get started with eBay. I see how Bev is such a tremendous helpmeet in regards to your writing, as I am sure you are with her, so this eBay thing--just as it is with my wife--can be a great "couples" love project, if you will. April and May really sucked for me, but when I checked the graph from last year, the same "seasonal" thing occurred. It has to do in part with demographics--what I'm selling; new competition because of eBay's newbie-friendly platform (always a good thing, this competition); time of year; etc. From June on, it gets pretty interesting.

    My friends, Rog and Bev, in Olympia started late in life with eBay and are doing well, from another friend's report. If there are thrift stores in your area, as I'm sure there are, as well as estate and yard sales with the occasional family heirlooms and other "treasures," you have an endless source of inventory. I've seen the most unusual things selling on eBay--our Pacific Northwest has a lot of pioneer memorabilia, old toys, pioneer journals, photographs, etc. My hub about ten best things to sell on eBay might be helpful, too. You wrote a terrific blog post recently about the significance of niche writing, and I'm following your advice and pounding out a steady stream of eBay articles this coming month...that's the plan, anyway, that four-letter word being something else that billybuc has advocated in a past hub or two...PLAN. Thanks for stopping by and browsing through a couple of my older hubs. Your loyal support and willingness to connect mean a great deal to me. TTYL, buddy!

    Joe

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Joe, you have me thinking about this eBay thing...I know there is money out there but I don't have a clue how to start....I guess by reading hubs like this one.

    I think I know what I'll be doing this weekend besides yardwork. :) Any words of advice will be greatly appreciated my friend.

    Aloha,

    bill

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @rajan jolly

    I am honored that you not only came by to read my hub today but that you followed up and found your eBay India website. Remember, feel free at any time to contact me with any questions, comments, or updates on your own eBay success. I would be tickled pink to find a hub you'd written about successfully selling something organic and nutritious on eBay. : )

    Have a great week, my friend!

    Joe

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    Very inspiring read as all of your hub are! I just checked and we do have an eBay India website. I'll be checking it out thoroughly to get acquainted with this business as well as reading more eBay related articles before taking the plunge.

    Have a good day my friend and keep inspiring us.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @chwwalker

    Thank you so very much for dropping by to read my Hub and for your kind and thoughtful commentary.

    Actually, I don't have any one Hub or link listing my specific listing criteria or the eBay resources I used. But I can tell you that a casual search on YouTube, if you and hubby have not yet done so, will provide you (as it did me) with a great deal of information. Keep searching for eBay-related Hubs of mine--I've written a few--while I realize they're more anecdotal in nature, you'll be able to glean some pointers from them. I also want you to know that your specific questions are always welcome. Don't know if one is still able to send a private message to another Hubber, but if you and your hubby know of a way, then by all means, contact me with your questions, and I will be glad to help out in any way I possibly can.

    Generically, I think it's important to have the following:

    a) 10 or more positive feedback ratings;

    b) a combination of auction and Buy It Now listings;

    c) at some point, an eBay store;

    d) 99 cents auctions to draw traffic to your eBay site (and every now and then, you SCORE with one or more of these);

    e) scheduling the listing of auctions between 5 - 10 PM (optimal times);

    f) doing the brunt of auction listing on Sundays and Thursdays, avoiding Saturdays;

    g) a blog to market specific items or niches that you're selling.

    I'm reluctant to post a link here due to my lack of familiarity with the specific HP rules regarding such, but a certain little birdie told me that if you were to google hawaiian odysseus + blogspot, you might find some interesting posts.

    In summary, I'm more of a motivational/inspirational than a "How To" writer. For the latter, I highly recommend a visit to your favorite library. Just about every major library has an eBay section...if not, books or this genre are easy to find or to request as inter-library loans.

    You can also check out what's available online.

    Hope there's something in the above message that might be of some help to you.

    Have a wonderful rest of the weekend and a great week as you rise to the challenge of working for the best boss in the world--YOU! : )

    Aloha!

  • chwwalker profile image

    Christina Walker 5 years ago from Utah

    What an inspiring story! With the way the economy is going, entrepreneurship is the future. I'm so glad things are working out for you, hawaiianodysseus. I recently left my full-time job to set up shop as a freelance web copywriter, so I totally understand what it really means to jump over that cliff.

    My husband has been trying to sell some things on eBay with some success, but it could be better. Do you have a hub or article linking to all those "selling on eBay" resources you said you devoured? Or maybe a hub/article with the best practices and marketing tactics that have worked well for you?

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @wetnosedogs

    Thank you so much, wnd!

    God is good, and with His help, I've managed to get unstuck and find some healthy momentum upwards!

    I'm blessed, too, that my wife is so supportive of my efforts and has even "come on board," so to speak. She's having so much fun that now she just can't wait for retirement from the mainstream world so she can do the online selling full time.

    Your sincere interest in what I'm able to share on HubPages motivates me to no end. Thank you for your encouragement and support!

  • wetnosedogs profile image

    wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

    Sounds like you are doing splendidly and really hope it continues for you and now your wife on yardsellr. I would love to do more on ebay and just quit my day job. It's a huge dream to just quit that job. I was also thinking of amazon, and you know me, it'd be books. I wonder if I would have any chance though since amazon is huge already with books. I am sure it won't hurt to try.

    Always happy to read your hubs. Your writing is encouraging and telling on how you are learning more about writing, etc.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @xstatic

    Pizza boxes! Now that's a great idea! Good luck with this venture. Please let me know how it turns out! Again, Yardsellr is cool because they don't charge any seller fees. If you incorporate the price of shipping into your item, and state in your title and/or listing description that it's FREE SHIPPING, more often than not, buyers will be responsive.

    Of course, Amazon is fairly generous to sellers regarding the estimation of shipping fees. I just don't know how long items sit before they're noticed. That's the ticket to generating sales--traffic!

  • xstatic profile image

    Jim Higgins 5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

    Actually, I have not made any sales yet and have listed only a few records, but, I was thinking that pizza boxes would be the right size, and was going to see about buying some. I also think that there may be an article about shipping them that I googled once.

    There is another site called discogs (I think) that I ran across, but they want extensive listing info and 8% too.

    Thanks for the offer!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @xstatic

    I've sold fly tying hooks on Amazon a couple of times, but I have not had any sales in other categories. Perhaps I'm not doing something quite right in terms of marketing in accordance with Amazon's protocol, or the things I'm selling are adding to the glut of similar items.

    I'd be really interested in learning about how you're doing with the vinyl records niche. When you make a sale, how do you package your item to best ensure its arrival in one piece at your customer's destination? A lot of the thrift stores here in Walla Walla carry superb vinyl records, but I'm unfamiliar with the niche and even more concerned about the packaging and shipping. That said, I am always eager to learn.

    xstatic, I will be so happy to answer any questions you have about selling on eBay. You have an open invitation to tap my brain any time you have an inquiry.

    On another note, have you heard about the recent Supreme Court case--to be ruled on this Fall--regarding a young Thai college student who discovered that textbooks sold in his country were so much cheaper than the same books sold here. So he brilliantly had his family ship books to him here...and eventually directly to his customers...and in a short time, he was grossing over a million dollars a year. A publisher, disgruntled by the Thai man's success, filed suit. Now, people have always been able to resell copyrighted materials under a special trade clause. Well, this lawsuit puts that "grandfathered" clause at risk, and it would affect eBay sellers as well as all those who sell on alternative sites.

    I'm certainly hoping for the best with this case.

    Thank you for stopping by, and have a wonderful Friday and weekend.

  • xstatic profile image

    Jim Higgins 5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

    I am getting inspired about this Ebay thing the more I read of your tenacity and market savvy. You are a prolific and gifted writer as well. I have a seller account on Amazon trying to market vinyl lp records. Have you done any of that yet?

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, Chris! I believe your wife and children are behind your diligent efforts 100% as well.

    I'm making it a point to read all of your Hubs in the next thirty days. Having engaged in this challenge as well as your midnight challenge a few days ago, I was able to read some of your writing and was blown away. Thanks for sharing...in more ways than one! Incidentally, I really feel good about the the newbie eBayer Hub, and that was spurred by your interest and suggestions. Aloha, Chris, and have a good night's rest! We both deserve it!

  • profile image

    chrisinhawaii 5 years ago

    Inspiring! I too am plunging to my death...I mean...to financial freedom! The dead are financially free, are they not? LOL

    I think it's so wonderful that your wife not only encourages and aids you in your endeavors, but that she also has decided to roll up her own sleeves and jump in there herself. Awesome! Good luck to the both of you!