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Business founders/entrepreneurs

Buying and Selling/Good Weeks and Bad Weeks?

7 replies

salvagethisandthat · 25/10/2021 22:32

I am planning to start a small on-line business for particular vintage items. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be a main income stream. It's flexible and fits around dc and appeals to me as I have a particular interest in these items (so is more hobby based).

Having said all this, I want to make a success of it as it is something I've wanted to have a go at for quite some time and would like earnings equivalent to a couple of days a week. I am building up a collection of items and plan to launch when youngest dc starts school (next September). I don't have great confidence or a lot of self belief (working on this) so my question is...do you have good weeks and bad weeks i.e. when buying things and equally when selling things and how do you encourage yourself that you will find more great finds if you are having a particularly lean week. I am learning all the time...learning to look for the value in an item, learning to look for damage etc. It is a steep (but enjoyable) learning curve. Fortunately, the outlay is not big (and likewise usually, but not always are the returns). Anyone found they made a number of mistakes when starting out and had to keep their morale high/not be their own worst critic? I don't have a lot of support in real life and this is obviously a sole venture so I am interested to hear stories about the journey other people have made in the above respect. Also, I guess having the courage to give it a try in the first place.

Anyone?

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delilahbucket · 26/10/2021 10:37

It's often more bad months and good months than just a week. I have had an awful summer, six months of not earning enough to cover my outgoings and living on savings I built up last year during a very good trading period. I've been doing it ten years, I know my products aren't the problem, and it took a certain level of confidence to keep going this year. Thousands have given up, which is better for me as there is less competition. You have to have the experience to carry you though the lean times and you get to know that the peaks and troughs happen at the same times, so for me it's February, May half term and August/September when I'm quieter. You have to keep pushing forward during the quiet times. I use it to freelance, develop new products and also get some downtime.
Is there any reason you can't start now? Why wait nearly another year of you are already buying stock? You are going to get to the point where you have money tied up in stock and if it then doesn't sell, what next? I set up a part time business without any problems when my DS was a baby into toddler years without any childcare.

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salvagethisandthat · 26/10/2021 13:01

Sorry to hear you are having a quiet time of things delilah and I hope things pick up for you soon.

Why wait nearly a year? Good question delilah and a fair point about having money tied up in stock. Some of it (if not a lot of it is to do with confidence). I'm actually receiving therapy at present but have only really just started. I suppose, that's the question what next if it doesn't work (this way I'm still hopeful). I haven't really thought of a plan B for earning income, I think I'm getting massive pleasure from creating this (so far fantasy) shop.

I think because I don't make a product as such, I am reliant on sourcing them (which means there is no guaranteed source) only previous evidence that items turn up sooner or later. As I've not actually sold anything, I am not yet able to identify any peaks or troughs though I can't identify anything that would influence particular sales patterns (Christmas maybe?)

I suppose on a practical level, it does take time to stock the shop - sourcing, photographing, write ups (not repeat items) and with the allotted time I have currently (dc has a huge amount of time off pre-school with various bugs this term), I just don't want to add to this - answering queries, postage and packing though I am pretty sure this is another excuse. I'd rather have five clear days to play with. I'm prone to overwhelm too (might ask GP to investigate ADHD) so don't want to add any further stress just yet. All credit to you for setting up your business having a baby/toddler that takes a lot of inner resource.

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delilahbucket · 26/10/2021 13:26

Things are better now, consumer confidence seems to have returned 🤞.

You definitely need to work on your confidence. It takes balls of steel to run a business. If you're struggling with confidence to get going, you won't stick it out when it gets tough, and it will get tough. You'll have a bad day and a customer will really upset you, you'll get a string of returns that are just change of mind, it will go quiet, you'll have something expensive lost by a courier, your computer will break down. There's so much that will knock you and you have to be able to dust yourself off and crack on. I always say I'm nothing if not resilient. I often wonder why I'm self employed, it must have some perks!

So far you've given me a huge list of reasons why not to start your business. In a year's time, you'll have added a load more to that list and you will have a load of stock you need to shift. If you're not selling, stop buying it. Consumer markets are funny things and they can turn in the blink of an eye. What you think will sell now could be very different in a year.

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salvagethisandthat · 26/10/2021 13:44

Thanks for your feedback delilah. I really enjoy doing this as a hobby so it is not a total loss. I have set myself a limit re. stock and then once I've reached this, I have told myself I either launch or stop buying.

I am actually hugely resilient and have faced enormous challenges in the past. I do have the tenacity to keep going when times are difficult. But fortunately, I am not dependent on an income stream so don't have to view it as a make or break situation with at least eases the stress. I want it to work obviously as it will enhance my self confidence no end and I would much prefer to be self employed.

You'll have a bad day and a customer will really upset you, you'll get a string of returns that are just change of mind, it will go quiet, you'll have something expensive lost by a courier, your computer will break down.

Thought about this and these are a lot of the reasons I'd rather have more time not less. I want to improve my ability to emotionally/mentally process things that go wrong and having a bit more time on my side will help this. I could do with a support buddy and might look into this as we have business support groups locally. There's no doubt, I will give it a go. It's just a question of when.

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mayblossominapril · 26/10/2021 13:47

I both make items and buy items to sell. My quiet times of year are from may to September, if it nice weather people are out and about not online shopping.
I would soft start so you can iron out websites glitches, postage issues. If you are only selling on your own website you’ll need to sort seo out and all the social media stuff. If you are using eBay, Etsy you need to try them out and see what works.
That seems like quite a long list but it’s fairly straightforward. I use eBay as it’s good at driving sales and you don’t get many people cheating you with the type of products I sell and it’s easy to list products, I also have my own website.

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salvagethisandthat · 26/10/2021 14:14

Thanks mayblossom. I am planning to use a combination of Ebay and Etsy (to avoid overwhelm) will pick one and start there. I am tinkering with a website in connection to another hobby I have and I may well have a link off that site to these platforms. 'Overwhelm' seems to be a key thing for me not necessarily resilience as I have loads of this...hence the slow approach. I am a strong organiser and creative and have completed a couple of big projects which have taken a lot of tenacity. Yep, it's overwhelm and the sense that 'everything' is going to go wrong/destined to fail/judged by others in a negative light which inhibits me (such as receiving a poor review) and something I am currently trying to work on in therapy.

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doadeer · 29/10/2021 20:12

Join the etsy Underachievers group if you want to sell on there. It's super helpful

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