It’s that time again for me to sum up my month of reselling. This post has certainly been a work in progress for over a week. I actually wrote it in bits and pieces in between sourcing, bookkeeping, and spending 12 hour days running around after my daughter who has finally mastered running away from me when I call her and climbing stairs. I finally have a little bit of time to crank out the last portion of this post which is long overdue.
I do apologize if this post seems scattered. It will combine a lot of what occurred during the month of October along with my student loan progress and a few goals that I have going forward. I’m not sure if I’ll be around to post much this month, so consider this post my way of making up for the potential lack of content.
As I preface in all of my income reports, the figures that I report below are from part-time re-selling (anywhere from 2 to 10 hours per week) — although I did put in more hours during the latter half of this month. My first and full-time job is my family and my home. Re-selling is something that I do on the side to help make accelerated payments towards my student loans. I have no intentions of turning this into a full-time career — I just want to pay off my loans and enjoy a little treasure hunting while I’m at it. With that in mind, if you can dedicate full-time hours to re-selling, your numbers will in all likelihood be higher than those that I report on this blog.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s jump into what happened in October…
I feel it is best to start this post with how I spent a portion of the month of October. Being that it is Q4, I have resumed dabbling in retail arbitrage. Well actually, I’m doing a bit more than “dabbling.”
During the last half of October and into the first week of November, our family went on vacation. To be clear, this was a working “vacation” for my husband so a good portion of his time was spent working on campaigns. When he wasn’t working on campaigns, we were out sourcing…and sourcing…and sourcing some more. That’s right. I have resumed doing something that I swore off for the longest time: retail arbitrage.
Once we were done sourcing, our nights were then spent catching up with family and ended with de-stickering, labeling, packing, and shipping everything that we sourced that day. This was the first time ever that I actually packaged and shipped everything I purchased within 24 hours — for 5 consecutive days in a row. Usually I purchase inventory and hold on to it until I have a decent sized shipment, but we were focused on getting things out of the house and into the warehouse as quickly as possible.
I wasn’t expecting to do much sourcing while on vacation (but I did pack all of my necessary FBA supplies) and I certainly never imagined that my husband would jump on board like he did. It was really fun to have him by my side with his own scanner and scouting app as we moved through aisles in lightening speed. Once the vacation was over and we returned home, things returned back to normal with me operating by myself. Although, I will say that he has helped me prep and ship my items when he isn’t too tired after working all day.
I’ve included this tidbit in this post because as we get further along into Q4, the way I usually source for items (thrifting, estate sales, etc) has dramatically shifted towards buying items from retail stores. Additionally, knowing how I spent the latter half of October and early part of November will help make sense of next month’s numbers and also my student loan progress for this month (October).
There is not much to report on the eBay front. I only sold two items this month and they were the exact two items that I sold last month, so for the sake of time, I will not include them (or a breakdown) in this post.
My goal for November is to try to list *something* on eBay. To be quite honest, I’m sitting on a lot of worthwhile inventory, but the process of getting it listed stops me dead in my tracks. It is much easier for me to just scan a barcode and place items in a box as I do with my Amazon inventory as opposed to cleaning items and prepping them for photographing, finding a way to photograph items with an active child in the background, then edit/crop said photos, and finally create a listing. I’m pooped before I even get started.
…I need some motivation and since I’m running low on funds to purchase Amazon inventory, that might just give me the kick I need.
There is so much that happened on the Amazon front that I am not sure how I can fit it all into one post.
Let me start with some great news: I am proud to report that I *finally* met my goal of selling at least 200 units in a month. If you remember, I set this goal back in April. I came pretty close during the month of May, but not close enough. Thankfully, the items that I did source at the beginning of October helped to push me over the 200 items mark.
Now that I met that goal, I know that I can do even better during November and December. 🙂
In terms of overall sales, they were slightly better than last month. Let’s take a look at the numbers…
I sold 220 items in October and surpassed the previous month’s numbers by 30 items and $869.49. I hope that things continue to go up from here.
Here is a look at my fees (Amazon’s cut) for the month:
This month I received $2088.93 in deposits from Amazon. For accounting purposes, that number only reflects deposits into my bank account up to the last day of the month. Any deposits that were pending or en route to my bank account at the end of the month are not included. Instead, they will be reflected in next month’s income report.
In Other Amazon News…
Last month I mentioned that I was working on setting myself apart this holiday season by getting approved to sell in a few gated categories. I’m proud to report that I am now approved to sell in the Clothing category and the Shoes, Handbags, and Accessories category. 🙂 It was a very tiring (and sometimes frustrating) process, but I got through it.
I’m not sure if I will make a post about getting approved in these categories or not, but I will say that it took 2 weeks for me to be approved to sell clothing. Once I got through that hurdle and I understood what was causing me problems, I was able to get approved in the Shoes, Handbags, and Accessories category in less than 6 days.
If you are looking for a way to set yourself apart from the competition, I highly recommend sitting down and applying to a few gated categories that you’re interested in. You CAN do this on your own if you read the guidelines for what Amazon requires.
Student Loan Payoff Progress
Major changes occured during the month of Ocotber in regards to my student loans. Going forward, my student loan payoff progress may look a little different.
Now that Q4 is in full swing, I have put a temporary stop to making any additional student loan payments outside of what is automatically debited from my account each month. That means that the extra $1,500 payment that I was making will now be invested into inventory for the holiday season. This decision didn’t come easily, but it was something that my husband and I discussed and settled on while on vacation.
When my husband asked me what my goals were for re-selling on Amazon, we realized that if I’m going to grow, I need more capital (and taking out loans is NOT an option). Prior to making this decision, I never reinvested my earnings back into inventory. I pulled everything out and the bulk of the money went towards my student loans. I had a set amount of money that I allowed myself to spend each month and I never really grew beyond that because I continued to increase the amount of my student loan payment. Although I set aside money early on for Q4, the bulk of it went towards purchasing the large lot of books from the estate sale back in August. When I told my husband how much money I wanted to earn during the holiday season, I began to see that my goal was not feasible if I was only working with a max of $500 per month.
Instead of paying Sallie Mae (now known as Navient) an extra $1,500 in October, I only made my regularly scheduled payment and re-invested that $1,500 into inventory. When I mentioned sourcing while on vacation, that is where the $1,500 went — and it was money well spent / invested.
I am not sure how long I plan to re-invest my extra student loan payment into inventory. So far I’ve already seen a 100%+ ROI on what I spent last month and it’s only the 2nd week of November, so I may continue to roll a large portion of those earnings into inventory until the end of December — or maybe even January. This is something that I will continue to update on as time goes on.
As of today, this is where my student loan balance stands:
There are three (3) loans that remain and I need a little over $8k to knock them out entirely. I don’t know what December holds, but I would like to net enough profit to completely eliminate two (2) of those loans — although getting rid of them all by December would be my ultimate goal.
In other student loan news, I am proud to report that my credit report now shows another student loan as being paid in full! 🙂 After knocking out an entire loan last month, my regular monthly payment also decreased by $56.00 (from $179 to $123/month) and my credit score increased a few points as well. I just love those added perks of getting rid of debt! 🙂
Goals for November
I have two goals for the month of November:
- Sell at least 400 units
- List at least one box of items on eBay
I believe that these are very realistic goals. As I type this post, I’ve already sold over 100 units in the first 8 days of the month of November. I believe that I can keep on this trajectory with Q4 in full swing.
As for the second goal, I began boxing my eBay inventory before we left on vacation so that my work space would be less cluttered when I returned. I separated a great deal of inventory into banker boxes with the intention of listing one box at a time once I felt the urge to resume selling on eBay again. With this new goal that I’ve set for myself, I want to list one entire box — starting with my banker box filled with Legos. I’d estimate that there are 12 boxes of inventory to be listed. Some boxes are filled with perfumes from estate sales and others are filled with electronics, ink cartridges, and other valuable knick knacks. I just need some motivation…
I’ve got another busy month ahead of me. I have easily surpassed putting in 10 hours per week working on FBA. Now that I’m sourcing retail stores, I have to find a way to keep my day organized. I never realized how much work this is compared to browsing thrift stores or attending estate sales and library sales. Retail arbitrage involves more work from a logistical point of view. Depending on the store, I have to organize ads/sales, coupons, price matching, routes (to determine in what order I hit stores), and then once I’m inside the store, I find that I’m making numerous mental calculations about ROI, determining whether to buy an item based on rank vs. # of active sellers and their inventory, etc. Things just aren’t this complicated with other methods of sourcing where you don’t have as much money on the line and you can afford to go after the longtail and wait for the sale.
Despite all of this, I’m continuing on with retail arbitrage and I look forward to seeing my numbers grow by leaps and bounds in November.
I do hope that the Q4 rush has kicked in for you as well and that you are taking advantage of the numerous opportunities out there — and believe me, they are out there and if you are willing to step out of the box (or rather, the “toy” box filled with hundreds of other sellers) you will see that the opportunities are plentiful.
Until next time,