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December Month-End “Business” Update

December 25, 2011

Before I get started today, I want to wish everyone a very happy holiday season.  I hope you are all treated to some good times with friends and family over the coming week and that you’re also able to enjoy a collectable gift or two along the way.

*****

So here we are, 2011 is all but done, and with its completion comes a lot of reminiscing on the year that was for most people.  I have been posting these month-end updates on the “business” side of my hobby all year long, with quarterly reviews added to the mix in March, July, and September.

Since today is the regularly scheduled day for that month-end “business” post and December marks the end of the final quarter, it’s time to do a recap on the year as a whole to see how I did when it comes to my resolutions for 2011, as well as my goals and objectives for the year.

As an aside, for a great template on conducting your own annual review, visit Chris Guillebeau’s blog The Art of Non-Conformity.  Not a collecting related blog by any stretch of the imagination, but a great one for those interested in pursuing their passions and one that I enjoy reading very much.  Using Chris’ Annual Review template is on my to-do list for 2012.

With all of that said, here’s the year in review for my “business” goings-on in 2011.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Have my listings account for 1% of all hockey card listings on eBay.ca

NOT ACHIEVED – A casualty of my eBay Store subscription downgrade, I am actually down to only about 200 total listings on the site at the moment.  I was not willing to incur massive financial losses because of the downgrade just to achieve this goal, so the reduction in listing was an absolute necessity.

This is a goal that will have to be re-attempted in 2012, but I don’t see being able to raise my store subscription to its former level until into March or April in order to achieve that, so until then it’s prepping listings in Turbo Lister for when that day comes.

Increase my eBay Store sales by 10%

NOT ACHIEVED – Barring an absolute miracle between today and the 31st, there is no chance I’ll even match last year’s sales (both in terms of volume of items sold and revenue generated), let alone exceed 2011 levels by 10%.  Again, a casualty of the store downgrade, something that was entirely unforeseen when I set out these objectives at the beginning of the year even though I should have seen it coming.

Another goal that will need to be re-attempted in 2012.

Have 10 articles worth of blog posts completed in advance and ready to post.

PARTIALLY ACHIEVED – This has been the case for much of the year; not quite up to 10 articles that are 100% complete and ready for posting, but a handful that fit the criteria (~7 that cover the upcoming holiday season since I cannot be sure I will be at a computer each scheduled posting day) and literally dozens more that just need to have jot notes and ideas turned into sentences and paragraphs.

I have so many of those, in fact, that I have outlines for more than half of the 104 articles I plan to write in 2012 banked and ready to be written.

Ensure that 100% of my items have a picture included in the listing.

ACHIEVED – This goal has technically been achieved since August, but that was through somewhat artificial means; fewer listings in my eBay Store meant fewer scans needed to be done to achieve this goal.

Well that artificial accomplishment is no more!  Last week I finally finished scanning all of the items for which I have saved past listings and/or prepared new listings for in Turbo Lister for when I can return my store subscription to its former level.  When that day comes, I’ll have thousands of cards listed and each of them will include an image!

Do all of this in an absolute maximum of 17 hours, or 10% of my time per week. 

ACHIEVED – Like I said in September’s 3rd Quarter review of these goals, I do not maintain a detailed time log of when I work on hobby-related activities, but some very basic math tells me that I have easily accomplished this goal.

Roughly an hour each weekday morning, a couple of lunch hours during the work week, and about three to five hours combined on weekends that I actually get around to doing some work on my cards, “business”, and writing, and I come in well below my target maximum of 17 hours a week.

I come in so far below on the whole for the year that I actually wonder how much more progress I could have made on my hobby had I been closer to the 17 hours I allotted for myself at the outset of 2011.  Perhaps this an area to explore moving into 2012 and perhaps even a basic time log might be of use in helping measure how well I’m using my time overall, not just with hobby-related matters.

RESOLUTIONS

Buy only what I need for my specific projects or what will benefit me financially by flipping items through my eBay Store.

ACHIEVED – This is a pretty easy one to achieve when all that I do with my collecting budget is spend it on items I need for my projects or I buy items that I feel confident I can flip for a profit in my eBay Store.

Maintaining a narrower focus for my projects, exercising a great deal more restraint than I have in years past, and doing my homework on items that I think I can resell prior to buying actually them have helped in sticking to this resolution.

Have there been some flops on the flipping side of things? Absolutely!  But the fact remains that every purchase was made with the guiding principle of this resolution kept in mind and because this I feel comfortable that I achieved what I set out to at the beginning of the year.

List new items in the store every week of the year.

NOT ACHIEVED – It was rather difficult to list new items when I was focussing my attention on doing the exact opposite for the latter six months of the year, so needless to say this one wasn’t met.

Get pictures posted in as many of my listings as possible.

ACHIEVED – As noted in the Goals and Objectives above, I am now at 100% of my current and former listings having an image included.  No future listings will be posted without a picture being a part of the listing.

Do not miss a single post on this blog.

ACHIEVED – Today marks 117 consecutive articles posted without missing a single one and articles 118 through 124 are all but ready to go as well.  All I need to do is schedule them for posting in WordPress and I’ll be almost halfway through achieving this goal for another month.  As always, look for new posts every Wednesday and Sunday next year!

Do not let my hobby, or the pursuit of my goals related to my hobby, interfere with my personal and professional responsibilities.

ACHIEVED – By taking advantage of the fact that I am an early riser and much more productive in the AM hours, I get most of my hobby-related work done very early in the mornings before my wife is even out of bed.  I also use my hour of lunch at work to catch up on bookkeeping work and writing posts for this blog.

Combined these two blocks of time leave my evenings free to do other things, my weekends unoccupied, and my work time untouched by anything related to collecting or working on my “business”, making this resolution one that was easily achieved.

*****

Even though I missed out on achieving a handful of the objectives listed above and couldn’t quite stick to a couple of my resolutions, I still feel that the year was a success as a whole  It just wasn’t quite the success that I had envisioned it being when 2011 got started.

The most troubling part of the year for me is that I really didn’t make much progress in achieving my overall, driving force of a goal for my hobby, which is to have it be 100% financially self-sufficient.

For the first six months of the year I was actually doing quite well in my pursuit of that goal, but as I have documented on a number of occasions here on this blog, the latter half of the year has been a major challenge as a result of some unfortunate happenings with my eBay Store.

Those shortcomings serve as good lessons learned from this year and help shape the approach that I will be taking in 2012.

Look for an overview of that approach, complete with my goals and objectives for the coming year in just one week’s time.

Until Wednesday, happy holiday and all the best in your collecting pursuits!

Ryan

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