St Patricks Day eBay March Profits 2016

March 2016 Profits – Minimalist Lister

Dollar Flipper Profits 19 Comments

The first quarter of the year is over. Did your sales come in like a lion and go out like a lamb? Or were they more steady, like my March sales?

For any new readers, I post my numbers every month. This is an effort to keep myself grounded. If you’re interested in my older monthly update posts, check them out here.

St Patricks Day eBay March Profits 2016

I didn’t get to go to a parade this year. But I was the only person to wear an obnoxious green shirt at work!

Let’s preface March’s numbers with the following: I have not been hitting my listing goal. This has consequences, but they’re not as bad as I thought they would be.

I listed a total of 7 items in March. 7! My goal would have been to list 60. What got in the way? Family. Work. Life.

The usual.

March 2015 vs. March 2016

Mar-15Mar-162015 YTD2016 YTD
Blog Referral27.710.0027.7137.53
Sales836.42676.95 2,740.301,950.62*
Shipping Income92.5926.97 155.4450.91
Sales Tax Collected0.
Returns-84.990.00 -170.98-113.98
eBay Fees92.9396.01 298.46279.31
PayPal Fees30.9224.29 99.9669.27
Shipping Costs147.3681.35 419.61287.54
Cost of Goods Sold70.6980.00 255.3180.00***
Mileage35.0830.62 58.3053.99
Travel Expenses0.
Utilities25.3516.57 76.0548.86
Amazon Fees13.6914.6837.5332.32
Office Supplies58.370.0079.020.00
Office Expense0.000.00374.940.00
Other Expenses0.000.0023.7595.00
Taxes and Licenses0.000.000.0034.98
Profit / Loss387.34348.12982.54897.46**

* The sales for 2016 are nearly $1,000 less than in 2015. We’re 1 quarter into the year and have almost a 3rd less in sales. At a quick glance, I would make me assume that I’m not going to hit any goals this year. But make sure to look at the second note.

** I’m only $100 less in profit than this point last year. In 2015, I had over $6,500 in profit. It blows my mind that I can almost take a full month off from listing and be at nearly the same place as I was last year.  I’m only off by about 3-4 sales worth of profit. Crazy!

*** Uh oh. I bought some inventory! I really love buying stuff, and I’ve been on the fence about unloading most of my material that I haven’t listed unless it’s worth a lot. Inventory management is a two headed coin. There’s the stuff you have already listed (I’m good at this part) but then there’s the black hole of things you need to list. I just can’t seem to get into some of the stuff that takes a lot of work (whether it’s hard to ship, needs cleaning, etc.). I’m not around for our community yard sale this year, so there goes a great opportunity to get rid of some duds.

Overall, the most important difference between 2015 and 2016 to this point is the spending. My wife and I have found this is true in our personal lives, so I’m not sure why it’s surprising that it translates to our eBay side business. When we don’t spend as much money, we can sell less but still make the same profits. It sounds so obvious but again, I need to keep hitting this home to myself. Every time I go off buying when I haven’t been listing, that’s profits that I’m eating into.

Not Listing, but What Else?

What have I been doing on these “days off”?

Mostly it has been family related stuff. My girls wake up early, and if the baby is awake at 530, I’m not going to spend time photographing eBay items when I can be laughing with my infant.

I’ve been a little more focused about writing consistently on the blog. I don’t like staying up late, so the writing has to occur in the morning.

If family isn’t enough of an excuse, my 9-5 job kind of feels like one. I’ve been put into a stretch position and have gotten new responsibilities. I’m learning a lot, but that comes at a mental cost. I just don’t have the reserves to go non-stop at work and then do the same at home. I think my mental muscle group just isn’t up to snuff!

Even though I haven’t been listing consistently, but I’m still meeting my 1-day handling time. The luxury of having put in a few solid months of listing consistently last year has let me coast. I’ve definitely seen a drop in sales during this time. Instead of the usual ~30 items per month, I’ve only sold about 15. But it doesn’t seem to matter. I’m still making money, and I can handle shipping an item every other day.

2nd Quarter Crossroads

I feel like I haven’t really made any progress since last month, and maybe have taken a step back. I’m going to have to focus on listing at some point soon. The inventory in my garage is hanging over my head, and I don’t like that feeling.

But what are my options? Here’s the best that I can come up with:

  1. List in the morning – but might have to write here on the blog a little less. This doesn’t bode well with me.
  2. Lower the listing goal to make it more manageable. Another short-sighted goal. I think I need to get better about writing on certain days and listing on others. A consistent sleep schedule will help with this!
  3. Continue with the same listing goal and keep using the “workarounds.” The way I handle this now is that if I end up playing with my daughters in the morning during the time I would have been listing, I take credit for it in Beeminder. What’s the point of listing and selling on eBay if it comes at the cost of family time?
  4. Really think about the goals for this year. I kind of put them in a gray area as I knew that there would be adjustments with a new baby. And I’m still trying to figure all of that out even though we’ve been doing this for 6 months now! I think my older daughter is taking more and more attention at the same time as the younger one is too. I feel like I’m back at the “something’s gotta give” state, but I can’t see what I want to remove.

Looking at the next few months, I’m not sure that my listing will be able to improve much. We have a lot of traveling plus a wedding. All of those weekends lead to less free time. I am taking some extra days off around those weekends, so maybe I can pull off one of the maniac Mondays again to get through a few piles?

In the end, all of this money is still letting us do things around the house that we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise without having to lower our monthly savings, which we don’t want to do. I need to focus on that and remember that instead of all this muck around the sides.

How was your March? What about your first quarter? Better than last year?

P.S. All of the winners of the tradu beta were notified. If you weren’t one of the lucky winners, don’t worry. Kevin will still be accepting people in the future, so make sure to sign up for a chance to test out the application!


Image Credit: alans1948


Comments 19

  1. Great post man! This has been my worst quarter in the past three years. Like yourself I have a full time job and a family so “days off” are never really off. I’ve tossed around the idea of listing from my phone during down time at work but I prefer to list from the computer so it’s uncharted territory for me.

    Between work, family, household duties and trying to make time for fitness and everything else I’ve fallen way behind on my selling. It’s easy to kind of beat yourself up for “slacking” but I try to remember that it’s a part time gig and I can pick it up and put it down as needed. Anyway keep up with the writing, I really enjoy your posts and approach to reselling. Thanks!

    1. I had a good March but I put in a lot of effort into listing so I know that paid off. Sold 97 items and profit was around $2,200. The last few weeks I really slowed down listing due to family stuff and traveling but I rode the wave from my earlier listing. In response to your commenter John, I would encourage him to give the mobile listing a try! It is so, so much easier and faster than listing on a computer. The only thing it doesn’t have is a spot to put in UPC or MPN code so sometimes you have to go back to the computer and add that. I can fly on my phone and yes I use my downtime at my real job to list. I have my pictures already on there and my notebook with my measurement notes and it makes it super easy to list from anywhere.

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        Wow! I’ve only used the mobile app once or twice for a quick listing. It was neat to list something right from my car.

        I haven’t made it routine though, and that’s mostly due to the camera. If I were able to get the photos from my phone to look as good as photos from my DLSR, then there’d be a big driver to do it.

        Granted, I don’t want to always be on my phone! I’m on it enough as is.

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      Thanks! It looks like you’re in the same boat as me. Maybe the issue is that I have been wasting some other time that I was spending doing quality work. I need to reign that in a bit.

  2. It might be hard to juggle work, family, and household duties. I think family will always come first. You can always get a new job but it’s pretty hard to get a new family. 🙂

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  3. Hard to argue with your point about family vs work. Except I’m totally going to anyway! 🙂 It violates the QS First principle:

    I think a better solution is to just dial your Beeminder graph down such that family and work aren’t in conflict. To restate the QS First principle, my reasoning is that you want your graph to be accurate.

    Other than my little quibble there, this post is amazing. So cool to see all the numbers and progress!

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      You make a good point. I made sure to include this in my boilerplate caveats, so I did plan it. You’re probably right though as the graph is definitely not accurate.

  4. Jan and Feb this year sucked..but March was awesome at about $1800 in sales. Up over 200% from the previous month. Chris, I just have to say. You guys are doing so great..with your savings rate and all. You really don’t need ebay or the blog…rethink your goals about these 2 things as they’re obviously causing you some stress. Enjoy this time with your family (guilt free)!

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      You make a great point. I’m thinking about going down to one day a week for posts, at least for a while. Or maybe taking off a whole month but focusing on listing instead. Hmm, we’ll see.

      The savings rate is definitely part of the plan, and that’s the hard part for us. We see a lot of things we want to improve around our house but also don’t want to crush our savings rate, so we do eBay and blog (not that this has made me enough money yet). I’m going to chew on this a bit more.

  5. Great Post! I have yet to do my figures for first quarter yet…and I don’t have any from last year because I didn’t keep track (whoops)

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      Remember, we’ve all started there. If you’re under 20k in sales, the IRS doesn’t get notified. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t report anything, but hopefully it was just stuff from around your house that you lost money on.

  6. It’s great that you share your monthly report! Something inspirational for the rest of us to keep an eye on. And you know, I’ve done some minor ebay selling, but you’re definitely inspiring me to get more serious about it. I’m sure you mention this somewhere else on your blog, but do you purchase products through Aliexpress at all? I’ve just started playing around with that as well.

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      I haven’t. Alliexpress/Alibaba is a different market than what I’m looking to sell at. If you’re interested in getting started on Amazon, check out the e-Commermce Momentum podcast. They talk all about selling at a much higher level and how to expand through Amazon channels. I’d rather do the higher profit one-off items than trying to make up for it in volume.

  7. Great post Chris.
    I think we are conditioned to consider it a failure if we are not constantly increasing sales and profits etc.
    I don’t think that’s the case. Your holding your own and that is a success!
    Keep your chin up. 🙂

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      Thanks Bill. You’re 100% right. Just as Margaret below said, it’s hard to see how well yourh’e doing when you notice that you aren’t increasing your profits while others are. I’m still making money and also trying to adjust to changes in our family. Others aren’t even acknowledging that anything’s wrong!

  8. Any side money is good money. So don’t beat yourself up too bad about falling slightly short of last year. Nice work.

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      Appreciated! Yeah, I need to keep things in perspective. Comments like this help a lot.

  9. Pingback: Honeymoons, True Love, and Yet More Buzz | Beeminder Blog

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