Working From Home
Back in 2007 I was relocated to Des Moines, Iowa. My fiancé was in Houston and I was miles away on assignment with Uncle Sam. I was bored to tears. I would go to the bookstore and read books four hours at a time. Read entire books cover to cover without paying for them. Put them back on the shelf and just walk out the store. What’s the point in buying the book? I read the whole thing at the store.
Now before you start reporting me to the cops just know I posted what I was doing on Twitter and the author of one of the books reached out and punched me. Check out this response from Tim Ash, author of Landing Page Optimization.
But what does this have to do with working from home? Everything. You gotta have resources. Sitting at a bookstore, I came across a book that was too good to just read and put back on the shelf.
It was about selling on eBay. Now, today everybody and their goldfish is selling on eBay. But back in 2007, it didn’t seem like too many people were selling (at least compared to today).
Without going into too many gymnastics, here’s what I’m getting at. That book on eBay was my GPS (or roadmap if you prefer) on how to sell on eBay. The book was called The Unofficial Guide to Making Money on eBay.
The author didn’t pull any punches. She held you by the hand and you just followed everything she wrote and you started making money on eBay. Sure as shoot’n that’s what happened. I think my sales reached $1,000 a month at one point from eBay alone.
I turned into a human hamster whenever someone placed an order. I would wrap, label, and ship products after work. Then repeat the process once a week.
Even sold some Post-it Notes and one time went to Goodwill, found some pants off the rack for about 2 bucks and sold them on eBay for $16. I had to check to see what kind of pants they were. They were called The Limited.
I didn’t know what The Limited was but went back to Goodwill looking for pants labeled The Limited and bought some more from $1.50 to no more than $2.50 and those puppies sold from $11 to up to $16 a pop. My goodness. I get goose bumps remembering those days.
Hold the phone.
Just remembered a key lesson about selling physical products.Write this down because this is a writer downer. You don’t make … hold on this needs to be bold type.
“You don’t make money when you sell. You make money when you buy.”
Did you catch that? Here’s what that statement means. Whenever you see a product that you plan to sell later…the first thing you need to know is how much you can sell it for.
Never ever buy a product that sells less than what you paid for it. If I remember correctly the goal is to sell the product for 80% what you paid for it. You’re trying to work from home and the only way to work from home is to bring in more money than you spend.
This next part is about how a service member in IRAQ wanted to wring my neck after he ordered a gift for his girlfriend.
I used to buy products from all over the world and sell them for a profit. One day I came across a drill sergeant doll of R. Lee Ermey. You know, the Marine drill instructor from Full metal jacket, “Didn’t mommy and daddy give you enough attention when you were a child?!”
Man, those things sold like hot cakes.
One day I got an order and shipped it. About a week later I receive an email from a guy accusing me of being a scam artist. I was confused because I always made customer service a top priority which is the real key to making money with physical products. Amazon would give me an Amen for that one.
It’s true. I would send thank you cards to the people who ordered from me on eBay. Customers started encouraging other people to order from me to enjoy the experience. People left reviews encouraging others to buy from me just for the experience. It was a trip.
Anyway back to the Soldier in IRAQ. Now this is 2007 and a service member is contacting me accusing me of being a scam artist. I didn’t mention I in the military as well. Instead I tried to understand what made him think I was a scam artist. He sent me a message saying he ordered a drill sergeant doll for his girlfriend and she never received it. Immediately I remembered the doll in question.
Thankfully I sent tracking with all the shipments. Found the tracking number and found out the doll was stuck in transit. Forwarded the tracking number to the service member with an explanation.
Received an apology. He told me he is stationed in IRAQ and said, “Man it gets stressful over here at times. I’m sorry.” I remember telling him there was no need to apologize I appreciate what you’re doing for our country. That was a memorable day on eBay.
eBay is a good place to get your feet wet working from home. They introduced me to Paypal which is still my preferred way of receiving payments.
As I’m writing this I haven’t sold on eBay in quite some time. Today I work from home as a virtual assistant which we’ll discuss later.