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Harsh Dose of Reality

March 13, 2011

On February 27, I posted my regular Month-End “Business” Update for the month of February.  It was an abbreviated edition due to the fact that my wife and I moved in to our new house the day before, but in that posted I listed a number of lessons that I learned over the course of February related to the “business” side of my hobby.

That first lesson stated that I learned to never assume that the pace of sales from one month will continue into the next.  The reason that I titled today’s article, which is based on that lesson, “Harsh Dose of Reality” is because that is exactly what I got by the end of February when it comes to the pace, volume, and total dollar value of the sales generated through my eBay Store.

January was an incredible start to the year in terms of sales.  What can only be described as a surge in sales allowed me to spend relatively freely and add a fair amount of cards to my collection (check out some of the January additions here) and by the end of the month I had not spent as much as I brought in. 

One month in to the year and it appeared as though my pursuit of a financially self-sufficient hobby was well on its way to becoming a reality.  Unfortunately, the true reality has set in over the 40 or so days that have followed the end of January. 

Back in my January Month-End “Business” Update, I stated the following after examining and displaying the stats for my eBay Store in 2010:

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.

Disappointingly, it appears that over the course of January I completely ignored the trends present in the graph I included in that post.  January proved to be one of those anomalous months when it comes to sales and rather than spending at levels that follow my historical sales data, I (re)developed some questionable spending habits and bought new items for my collection at a rate that assumed the anomaly was going to become the norm.

For whatever reason, I strayed from my attempt at careful spending habits, having assumed that I had remedied the peaks and valleys issue after only a single month of sales in the new calendar year. 

I do not yet have statistics from eBay to fully verify my February and March sales totals, but I know from a simple look at my store and my Paypal account that sales have returned to regular levels and have done so much more quickly than I have been able to rein in my spending.  Any of the progress that I made in moving toward my self-sufficiency goal has subsequently been eliminated.

While this is not a topic I like to address on this blog (I would much rather talk about some success I have had in pursuit of my goal), I do so in the hopes that it serves as a lesson learned and a reminder, both for myself and for any readers who are actively pursuing a goal similar to my own.

Thankfully for me, this has all happened early enough in the year that I believe I can get things back on track quickly.  The next few months will be crucial since the NHL off-season is quickly approaching and sales tend to slow during the summer months as peoples’ attention is on things other than hockey.

Do you have any strategies when it comes to buying and selling on eBay that you think might help push me closer to my goal?  If so I would love to hear them.  Get in touch on Twitter (@bb_bros), Facebook, by e-mail at bb_bros[at]hotmail[dot]com, or by posting a comment.  All advice is welcome!

For now it’s back to unpacking boxes in the new house and trying my best to get more items scanned and listed in my eBay Store.  Until Wednesday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!


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