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Toward Self-Sufficiency: Goal-Setting

January 16, 2011

Today’s post, the sixth of eight articles in my Toward Self-Sufficiency series, deals with the importance of setting measurable goals to work towards.  Previous articles from this series can be found at the following links:

Establishing a Focus for my Collection
Selling on eBay to Achieve my Goal
Utilizing an eBay Store
Customer Service
Cheap and Easy Marketing


Back on January 5th I posted an article with five New Year’s Resolutions that I had made for myself for 2011 as it pertains to my hobby of collecting sports cards and memorabilia. 

In general terms, those resolutions amounted to: restricting my buying activities only to specific projects; listing new items in my eBay store regularly; posting pictures to every single one of my listings; sticking to my pledge for posting articles to this blog; and not allowing any of this to interfere with my personal and professional responsibilities.

While these resolutions are good in terms of setting an overall path to follow for the year ahead, they are only general in nature and provide no way measuring my success (or lack thereof) over the course of the year.

I have learned over time that I prefer to work toward goals that have numbers attached to them.  Achievements just don’t seem to sound as good to me when they aren’t quantified.  What good is a goal of “increasing sales” if the desired increase isn’t identified?  You could get away with thinking that a few extra dollars equates to a successful year, when on the bottom line it looks like stagnation.

I also find that in order to remain motivated over long periods of time to achieve my goals, I need to be given targets to aim for that will not come to me easily.  For me, the idea of working towards a goal that I know in advance will be achieved seriously limits the sense of reward that I feel upon completing it.  Achieving a goal that you know has required your best effort is what is truly worth the work.

Because of this, none of the goals that I have set for myself in 2011 involve a quick fix, I have intentionally made them challenging.  They will all take time, effort, and commitment in order to achieve them, and there is a distinct possibility that I may not be able to achieve a few.  

But that’s exactly how I like it, because it gives me the chance to prove myself wrong, reduce the reasons to doubt myself.

So with that said here are my top 5 goals for 2011.  Hopefully I’m writing a “year in review” post next January that provides nothing but positive news! 

  1. Have my listings account for 1% of all hockey card listings on  At any given time I have found that there are between 550,000 and 600,000 items listed in that category.  With just over 4,000 items of my own listed right now, that means I will need to list in the neighbourhood of a minimum of 2,000 to 2,500 new items this year after taking into account the fact that I will be selling items throughout the year as well.  50% more items over the course of a year?  Why not?!
  2. Increase my eBay Store sales by 10%.  My December Sales report has yet to come through on eBay as of the day this article was posted, but through the end of November my sales in 2010 were already 101% more than in 2009.  Definitely something that I am excited about, but also something I realize I am likely never to repeat.  A more modest, yet still challenging increase is in the cards for 2011.
  3. Have 10 articles worth of blog posts completed in advance and ready to post.  This post puts me at 19 for 19 when it comes to meeting my pledge of posting new content every Wednesday and Sunday without missing a post.  Included in those posts are three that I made sure were posted on the scheduled date even though I was honeymooning in the Dominican Republic.  While I have been successful in fulfilling my promise thus far, I have noticed since returning home that I am not finishing the latest articles as far in advance as I would like.  Because of that, I am going to work to have content stored and ready for posting 5 weeks in advance of the date a post is actually needed in order to ensure that I continue to stick to my pledge.
  4. Ensure that 100% of items have a picture included in the listing.  Since the day I started my eBay Store, my mantra had been to simply list as much as possible, as soon as possible.  Because scanning cards and editing the photos is a very time-consuming process, literally thousands of cards were listed without an image included.  While this strategy has helped me establish a nice amount of items on eBay, I fully recognize that the lack of a photo has also hindered my ability to further increase my sales. 
  5. Do all of this in an absolute maximum of 17 hours, or 10% of my time, per week.  With only 168 hours available each week, nearly a third of which I spend asleep, time is scarce in the first place.  As a (still relative) newlywed who is planning on buying his first home and starting a family in the not too distant future, my time is going to be even more scarce than it has been in the past.  This means that I will need to manage my time especially well in 2011 and I need to do this in a way that does not impact my personal and job responsibilities.  I plan to dedicate an hour each weekday morning, my lunch hours at work, and a couple of hours early in the morning on weekends to ensure that I do not create disruptions in other aspects of my life.

While I have a number of other goals associated with my hobby planned for 2011, these five will be the main measures of my success or failure in building the “business” that will allow my hobby to become completely self-sufficient financially. 

My hope is that the achievement of the goals I have outlined above will be the driving force behind achieving that ultimate goal in 2011!

What goals do you have for 2011?  How do you keep yourself motivated and on task in your attempt to achieve them?

Post a comment, find me on Twitter (@bb_bros), or send me an email at bb_bros[at]hotmail[dot]com.

Until Wednesday’s 2009-2010 Upper Deck Ovation Series 3 Retail Review, all the best in your collecting pursuits!



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