Closing Up Shop to Streamline the Process

When I’m not working over 40 hours a week at work, I have a couple of side hustles going on.

My most successful one is selling cool stuff to the cool people who make up the vintage motorcycle community.

If you’ve been following along, you know that I sell my products through 3 avenues; Etsy, eBay, and a website.

If you didn’t know, now you know.

Somewhat surprisingly to me, eBay has historically been the best outlet as far as sales go, closely followed by Etsy, with the website lagging far behind.

Sure, eBay and PayPal charge roughly 13% every time I sell something, but I’d rather have 87% of something than absolutely nothing.

When all is said and done, I get charged about 7% whenever I sell something on Etsy.

It’s about the same for my website that I use Shopify to host.

I’m an Operations Manager at work so efficiency is what I’m all about.

But that’s not what my business has been about lately.

In a perfect world, my website would have the most sales, followed by Etsy, with eBay holding a small percentage of my sales.

Unfortunately, it’s been the complete opposite. In fact, I haven’t had a single sale on my website since December 2016. There was a point in time when I had low inventory so that explains some of it, but still.

From a time commitment standpoint, Etsy and eBay are basically on auto-pilot. It probably took about 5 minutes per item to list on these sites. The most time-consuming part was taking pictures of some items. I got lucky on others and just used the stock pictures that my supplier uses. Score!

Whenever a listing expires, it take less than a minute to relist so that’s the only kind of maintenance that I have to do.

Once an item is listed, the only other large time commitment I have to put forth is printing out paperwork and shipping items when they sell.

That’s pretty easy.

The best part of all is that I do absolutely no marketing on these outlets. It’s a side hustle so it’s not my main income so this set-up works well for me.

The time commitment to list items for sale on the website follows the same process as it does for eBay and Etsy but the marketing for the website takes up a lot more time.

We have a blog on Tumblr for the business that has over 18,000 followers. This is where I do most of our marketing. I also experimented some on Pinterest and Instagram. I made some leeway on Instagram but it wasn’t efficient enough as it still didn’t result in any sales.

There is a direct correlation between traffic and the amount of time I spend marketing on Tumblr.

Traffic and views are great, but they don’t mean much since they’re not resulting in sales.

So as a recap, the outlets that I spend the least time maintaining are the ones that have 100% of my sales over the last 4 months or so.

Talk about being totally inefficient with my time!

To make matters worse, I’ve been spending my money inefficiently as well.

Because of the number of items that I sell on eBay, I don’t pay anything unless I sell something.

If I don’t sell anything on Etsy, I only have to pay 20 cents per item listing to have an item up for sale for up to 90 days. I’ll pay this all day long!

But even if I don’t sell anything on the website, I have to pay $30 a month just to keep the website up and running.

So, yeah, I’ve been paying $30 for the last 4 months just to make no sales through that selling avenue.

Yup…$120 for absolutely nothing.

My side hustle is relatively small so wasting this kind of money is a luxury that I can’t afford.

I’ve been totally inefficient with my time and my money so that’s going to change.

Logically, it’s a no-brainer but emotionally, it’s a different story. It’s difficult to close up shop even though I’ll still be selling through other avenues.

I thought I’d definitely need a website when I started the business late last year. I still feel like I need a website to be “legit” but the numbers don’t lie.

They’re all pointing to one course of action:

I need to close the website to become more efficient with my time and money.

So that’s what I did a couple of weeks ago.

It hasn’t been too bad. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on much and I’ve been more productive with the time that’s been freed up as a result of not dealing with my online store and marketing efforts.

I’ll probably create another website in September or so to take advantage of the holiday season which is a popular time for this side hustle but we’ll see what happens.

Sometimes, less is more.

This is one of those times.

* * *

I sell old books using BookScouter. I sell stuff on Etsy and eBay. I used Shopify to run my old online business. I make some money by taking pictures of my grocery receipts with Ibotta. I’m Marc the Shark , this is the Self Employed Movement, and yes, these are affiliate links.

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2 comments

  1. Sometimes it is hard to make decisions like that from an emotional standpoint, but like you said, the numbers don’t lie. Sounds like you made the logical decision. Best wishes for success with eBay and Etsy.

    Like

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