Advertiser Spotlight~Stamps.com

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A couple of weeks ago, eBay finally got around to giving sellers the ability to ship their 1st Class International packages from home. It’s about time.

My first thought was YAY!!!!

I haven’t even been able to test it out yet, but I have used stamps.com twice since then to ship 1st Class International items that sold on other venues because paypal shipping doesn’t give it’s users the ability to ship 1st Class International packages from the comfort of their own home or office.

I’ve heard some people say  they really aren’t too convinced that is going to benefit them.

If you sell on Etsy, , , or any other online venue, is a convenient way to ship those 1st Class International packages from home.

It’s a HUGE time saver for me.  It fills out the customs form for you and  prints out on one label…….so unless you really look forward to standing in line at the Post Office and handwriting your customs forms, then stamps.com is a great option for you.

One concern I  hear from sellers (and this was a concern of mine when I started using stamps.com) is that you have to pay for postage using a credit or debit card, you can’t pay directly from your PayPal account……..but there is a way around that.  You can use your PayPal debit card to pay for the postage :)   That way, it comes directly out of your PayPal account and you earn cash back from PayPal too.

If you haven’t taken a look at or given it a try…….take a peek at it this week and see what you think.

Rachel

eBay Listing Strategy: Work on One Task at a Time

Most of the eBay sellers that I know are moms who work and sell on eBay, or moms who home school and sell on eBay, or dads who work all day and come home and sell on eBay.

Even Lizzie and I don’t sell on on eBay as our only source of income.  Both of us teach piano lessons, both of us have a child and responsibilities at our churches.  So, we know first hand the feeling of staring at a pile of inventory that needs to be listed and wondering “Where am I going to get the time or the energy to get it all done this week?”

Especially for newer sellers, the tasks can be daunting:

1) Finding inventory.
2) Cleaning it up.
3) Taking pictures.
4) Creating listings.
5)Answering questions/accepting offers
6) Shipping.

It all takes time, and until you really get a system down, sometimes it feels like it’s all more trouble than it’s worth.  I’ve been there.

I have been told on more than one occasion that I am the Energizer Bunny, but that’s really not true (you can ask Lizzie……when I’m at her house, I sleep in every morning :)   I blame it on jet lag, but she knows that’s not true…..sleeping is my favorite hobby.)

The only way I am able to get so much accomplished each day is that I am organized, I think ahead, am pro-active, and I do things one step at a time.

So, for example, today I’m teaching piano lessons all day, but I knew I’d have an hour break, so I brought some music with me that I need to work on and I brought my laptop so I could write a few posts during my break.

Every day when I get home and check the mail, I put the note in the mailbox and put the flag up for the mail carrier to come pick up my packages the next day.  I put everything I need to take with me in the car either the night before or have it sitting at the front door so I can have everything ready to go in the morning.  I don’t like to be rushed, or be behind, so I like to stay ahead.  That way, when something pops up in my day, it’s not a major crisis, I have time to stop and take care of it because I’m ahead on everything I’m working on.

As far as eBay goes, I rarely have a chunk of time big enough to sit down and do it all start to finish at one time, so what I do is stop at thrift stores between piano lessons, or while I’m running errands on Tuesdays. That evening, I take pics of my new inventory and upload them to my PC and then to photobucket.

Anything that needs to be cleaned up or fixed up before listing, I put to the side for now.

Due to my teaching schedule I don’t have time to list until Thursday night, Friday, and Saturday, so I have everything ready to go and on Thursday evening, I get the most important items listed (the ones that are the hottest sellers or the ones that I’m listing for higher amounts) then on Friday, I work on getting the rest of the inventory listed.

When I have time on Friday or Saturday, I clean up or repair the items that need a little TLC (although, I try to stay away from items that need TLC unless they’re going to bring a nice profit.  It’s not worth it to me to spend time cleaning up a $5 or $10 item.)  The items that I just cleaned up will go in the next batch of pictures that I take either over the weekend or on Tuesday.

I usually stop at a thriftstore either Friday or Saturday, take pics and then work on the listings on Monday.

This is what works best for me.  Everyone has to get into their own routine, but don’t pressure yourself into thinking that you have to take pictures, get items ready and list them all in the same day.  Divide your tasks up, do the prep work and then when you have time to list the items, it will go much faster for you.

Rachel

Time Savers For Online Sellers

I don’t know about you, but I like to make the most amount of money in the least amount of time.

Some parts of the process  take time to get done, and as I’ve gone along I find ways to make my process more and more efficient.  That way, I can list and ship out more items in the same amount of time and in turn, make more money.  Even if I find a way to save just a minute or two on each item, in the long run it allows me to list & ship more items, or have more time to relax :)

Here are some the things that I do to save time when it comes to eBay:

*Print shipping labels from home. I know that sounds basic, but there are lots of sellers out there who haven’t given this a try.  If you’ve never tried it, give it a try this week.  It’s as easy as clicking on “Print Shipping Label” and linking your eBay and Paypal accounts together.  You’ll also need a postal scale to do this at home.

*Schedule pickups from the USPS. I think this is one of my favorite time savers.  I cannot tell you how much I love setting my packages outside the door.  Since I ship out everyday (Including Saturdays, even though our local Post Office is closed on Saturdays, my packages still get picked up :) my Mail Carrier has given me a USPS bin to use for my packages.

It sits inside my front door and as things sell and are paid for during the day, I fill it up with packages.  Every morning, I set it outside my door and my carrier picks it up.  I’ve been doing home pickups for 2 years now and every day, I am thankful for the time it saves me.  No more running to the Post Office.

*Using peel & stick shipping labels. I used to always print my labels on paper and then tear off the receipt and tape the label to my packages.  About a year ago, I switched to peel & stick labels and I will never go back.  It’s so much faster to print of a label and stick it on the package than to print a label fold the paper in half, tear the receipt off, lay it on the package and rip off 4 strips of tape to secure the label.

Each peel & stick label I print saves me approx. 45-60 seconds per package I ship out.  When I came home from vacation this summer, I had 72 items waiting to be shipped and by the time I’d shipped everything out that weekend, it ended up being 80 items that were shipped out.  By using peel & stick labels, I saved almost 80 minutes in the process.

*Order shipping supplies online. I order all my polymailers, labels and bubble wrap from eBay.  Not only does that help support the eBay community’s economy, but it costs me less than purchasing them locally and they get delivered right to my front door.  No running out to the store to buy my shipping supplies.

*List similar items in the same listing session. I find it’s much faster to take pictures and list several items that are similar than to take pictures and list the same amount of different items.  WHY is that?

Because once you list one of them, you can click on “Sell Similar Item” and list the next item, making a few changes in the title, picture and description and your listings are done.  I can list a pile of 20 pairs of jeans in just an hour by using this method.  The same can be said for books, DVD’s, shoes, plush toys, etc.

*Goal Setting. I set myself a time limit goal when I’m listing.  I look at the clock and say to myself, I have to by off this computer by 11:00, I’m going to get this stack done by then.  By giving myself a listing time goal, I take fewer facebook breaks, and answer my phone less.  I stay on task and hurry to get the lisitngs done so I can move on to the next thing I want to work on.  99% of the time, I’m done by the time limit I set for myself, or within 3-5 minutes of it.

Leave us a comment with your favorite time savers.

Rachel