Preparation eBay Family Starbucks

Preparation – a little goes a long way

Dollar Flipper eBay Tips, Musings 6 Comments

Preparation is helping sustain my eBay cash flow, even if it’s not as high as it used to be.

As I stated in my April update, these past few months have been a whirlwind. My family traveled a bunch, we had some health issues, and we’re finally getting back to normal. Somewhat at least.

When we returned from traveling, our 3-year-old revolted during bedtime and wake up time.  She was getting down at a reasonable time, but I’m sure part of this was her trying to get back into a routine.

Our little one wasn’t sleeping well either. My wife and I slept in because we were up so many times throughout the night, and then we were rushing in the morning! The problems compounded.

There were tears. There were threats of bringing our older child to daycare naked. It wasn’t pretty. Don’t judge too much. Other parents can appreciate the fun of dealing with an upset 3-year-old.

Now, as anyone with small children know, you always have ups and downs. And some weeks are worse than others.

My wife and I took a step back and realized that we jweren’t putting her in a good chance for success. She’s 3. I’m 30. As Louis C. K. said, if you’re arguing with a 3-year-old you’ve already lost (SUPER NSFW LANGUAGE!).

Preparation eBay Family Starbucks

Hah! I remember when I had a living room that looked like this. It was pre-kids. Now there are toys EVERYWHERE and a 3-year-old in tears!

The instant we said “this is more our fault than hers,” it completely changed our perspective. Instead of sleeping in, we woke up on time. Instead of juggling the morning routine and our daughter, we finished and could focus on her. Instead of rushing her out the door, we could have a calm discussion and had some buffer.

Our whole demeanor changed and that was with a little bit of preparation.

Preparation helps with eBay too!

As I’ve shown so far in 2016, my sales have been lagging behind 2015. I have not been listing at all for the past few months, and instead, I’ve been focusing on family. Family events, traveling, and sickness. It’s all coming first.

Have eBay sales stopped?


I’ve continued to sell, albeit at a trickle instead of the usual flow. My numbers are down, but my life is up.

How can I keep up the selling when life is in the way?

It’s all about preparation, and yes, if you were wondering, I am an Eagle Scout. I live and die by ‘Be prepared’, and the work that I’ve put into my eBay side hustle is paying dividends now.

My eBay process (shippingspreadsheets, and storage tubs – oh my!) is completely flexible, and if I don’t focus on the first part – the listing, the rest of the process doesn’t care. I’ve put in all the work by getting items up and listed on eBay already. They continue to sell, and I continue to ship.

There’s a lot of tools and material that I have in place that can help. Most are on my Resources page.

Having all these materials (bags, boxes, tape, a scale, label printer, etc.) on hand makes things so easy and manageable even if the rest of my life is chaotic but fun.

Tax tracking is the same type of story. I’ve automated tracking of expenses using GoDaddy Bookkeeping, but other resources are out there.

The group from provided a handy infographic of common expenses for online sellers. Tracking these helps you to reduce your taxable income from selling online. has answers to some common questions for online sellers, calculators, and blog posts. The checklist has the the most common expenses. When you’re in the thick of selling and haven’t been tracking, it’s too easy to miss. Online Seller Checklist US Tax Center

Much prettier than any of my crappy drawings! Full size download available here.

To any new sellers, being this prepared does not happen overnight. Getting yourself ready to handle a shipment on the fly is a long process. I save most of the boxes that come into my house. I used to have to make a run to Office Max or Lowes to find a box that would fit, and now I buy them on Craigslist when I can. It gets better with experience, and you will have some tough times with it. That experience isn’t free even if I can try to help you along the way. You may even have to eat the cost and not make any money on a sale. It sucks, but it happens. You’ll learn from it.

Last week, reader Marci from Parsley Vintage set me straight. I quipped “who would want to ship an umbrella”. If you have the right box to ship an item, it makes all the difference. Marci’s preparation made shipping a breeze.

Image Credit: normalityrelief


Comments 6

  1. Thanks for the shout out Dollar Flipper! I wish I could say I always was 100% prepared but unfortunately it doesn’t always happen. I do think with experience comes wisdom and I am so much more organized than I used to be. Like any good reseller worth their salt, I get very excited when boxes come in the mail, or people save them for me, or I find a nice stack! LOL.

    1. Post

      No problem! Wisdom is definitely a big part of it, or to put it another way, screwing up and then trying to not make the same mistake again is a big part of it!

  2. I’ve been selling since 2012 and I’ve never had to purchases boxes. I had a whole bunch I would save from my business, sometimes hubby would bring some home and we’ve recently found that Menards has awesome boxes. Whenever we are there, we pick a whole bunch of them up. Love them. They are now my favorite. Very good condition, sturdy and always seem to be the perfect size for my items (I do a lot of box modifying..LOL).

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      I had buy them when I first started. I’m much better now but it’s definitely a learning experience.

  3. I loved your post because I can totally relate! I have a 2 year old and a 5 year old, so life is definitely hectic and only getting more busy with tball games, school, etc. My sales have suffered, but I also needed a bit of a break. I was getting burn out from eBay, and I would much rather spend my free time with my kids. I am starting to get back in the swing of sourcing/listing, so hopefully I will get some good sales!

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      We aren’t at the sport level yet. A few years. Hopefully I can find some youth volleyball! Extra money is always tough. It’s great to have but hard to come by. It also takes time to get which seems to be everyone’s most valuable resource.

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