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Month-End Business Update – 2010 Year in Review

January 30, 2011

Even though 2010 has now been past us for nearly a month, I decided to leave my “Year in Review” for my “business” until this post so that I could properly compile and review my information, as well as take a bit more time to reflect on the year as a whole.

All told, 2010 was a year of massive change for me, but ultimately was a great year for me in almost every aspect, whether it be professional, personal, or related to my hobby interests.

From a professional perspective, I made the extremely difficult decision to leave my job with Jays Care Foundation, the charitable arm of the Toronto Blue Jays, back in May to take a job much closer to home.  While I miss my former coworkers, miss being a part of the positive impact the organization had on kids in need, and miss the excitement of being involved in professional sports on a day-to-day basis, my current job has worked out very well for me and affords me much more time to dedicate to friends, family, and of course, my hobby and all that comes with it.  This change was a great example of experiencing some short-term pains for some major long-term gains.

On the personal side of things, the most notable event of 2010 is one of the most significant I will experience in my life, as I was married in August.  The day turned out perfectly, with the forecasted rain holding off until well after our ceremony on the waterfront.  Nearly six months later and we still have many of our friends telling us on a regular basis that the reception and party that followed the formal part of the day made our wedding the most fun that they have ever been to.  Makes all the hard work worth it!

Finally, when it comes to looking back on my hobby of collecting sports card and memorabilia in 2010, I feel as though it was the year in which things really seemed to take off for me.  On the collecting end of things, my collection is more focussed, better organized, and better displayed than it has ever been. 

Moving forward I have a much clearer picture of the direction my collection is heading as well, which should help keep things moving in a positive direction in pursuit of my goal of a financially self-sufficient hobby, as I have contained my arbitrary spending habits and now approach my expenses from a much more strategic point of view.

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The positive aspects of my hobby in 2010 were also particularly true of the “business” that serves as the engine driving my self-sufficiency pursuit.   The career change that I mentioned I had made back in May has allowed me to dedicate much more time to my hobby than I could in the past.  With my collection now being better organized and catalogued, a lot of the extra time that I have been afforded since the second half of the year went towards developing my “business”. 

As a result, I am now closer than I have ever been to having my unwanted cards and memorabilia fully fund the acquisition of items that I do want as a part of my collection.

Major highlights, achievements, and accomplishments on the “business” end of things for the year included:

  • Delving into social media through Twitter (@bb_bros) and Facebook early in the year;
  • Reaching eBay PowerSeller status in August;
  • Launching my website, www.bbbros.ca, in October;
  • Launching this blog on November 14;
  • Selling more than 1,400 items through my eBay store; and
  • Increasing the gross revenues of my eBay Store by more than 100% over 2009 figures; and

Below, I have included a graph that illustrates the improvements I have been able to make on the sales end of things over the past two years. 

2010 certainly saw some wild fluctuations in monthly sales when compared to the fairly steady numbers seen in 2009.  While I know of the reasons behind a couple of the noticeable peaks and valleys experienced in 2010, seeing them in this format was concerning to me. 

Consistency is very important to me since it allows me to know what I can expect.  Having a good handle on what sort of income I can anticipate from the store will be essential in getting to the point of solely using my sales income to fund my collection.  While the occasional month with figures that exceed the average is more than welcome, finding a way to limit the massive drops that I encountered on a couple of occasions in 2010 will need to be a priority in 2011 to help keep me on the path.

What is very encouraging about this graph, though, is that the average monthly sales figures continue on an upward path rather than levelling out.  Growth is definitely a good thing!

This positive news outlined above, though, should not imply that 2010 did not have its challenges as well. 

Major changes made to the eBay Store fee structure both threatened the financial viability of my store and increased the amount of work that I will need to put in to ensure that this is the best option available to me in pursuit of my goal. 

Learning how to create and update a website, finding time to maintain my bookkeeping records, and devoting enough time to writing for this blog have also been added to the mix this year, each of which increases the complexity of the operation.

But I like a challenge.  A challenge is exactly what this has been, exactly what it will continue to be, and exactly what keeps me motivated to keep going.  The fact that my ultimate goal of financial self-sufficiency continues to get closer and closer to being realized reassures me that my hard work is being put to good use.

I cannot wait to see how things turn out in 2011!

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On Wednesday I will be posting an article that looks back on one of the more questionable card sets I have ever come across with my first Reflecting on Collecting piece.  Articles in this category will take a look back on some of the things that have especially piqued my interest in my 20-ish years of collecting. 

Be sure to check it out to find out which set I will be talking about!

Also, as will always be the case on the day the Month-End Business Update is published on this blog, today I will also be sending out my monthly eBay Store Newsletter to those who subscribe to it through eBay.

Included in the Newsletter are previews of upcoming sales, auctions, and special discounts exclusive to Newsletter subscribers.  You can sign up here to get in on the action.

Feel free to get in touch any time by posting a comment, sending an email at bb_bros[at]hotmail[dot]com, on Twitter (@bb_bros), or on my Facebook page.

Until Wednesday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!

Ryan

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