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Monday, October 8, 2012

Pimp My Hundred Bucks - Part Two

For the past three to four months I have been indistinguishable from Julie Andrews in the opening credits of “The Sound of Music”. As I leapt from week to week, from one small success to another, it was as though I was the young head-strong nun dancing in the hills, crushing the daisies under my careless feet, singing, “The Hills are alive, with the smell of money…. La lah ah ah…”

Then I reached the top of the hill having made the Hundred Bucks for which I had been climbing.

In my elation, and perhaps pride, propelled by stronger ambitions I threw myself at the next hill before me, on top of which rests, hopefully, a greater figure of $500.

But as the song says, what are we going to do about Maria? Because this Maria is not wearing the right shoes, has no climbing experience, and didn’t notice at the outset just how rocky and jagged this new hill would quickly become!

Last week I set forth my various intentions regarding how I was going to transform my new found hundred into $500 and here’s the mess I have got myself into…

I spent $30 of that hundred at a local school fear (Freudian slip, I meant “fair”) and purchased something in the vicinity of 40 books (I still haven’t counted them!) I spent another $10 purchasing second hand books from a local op shop and added them to the dusty piles…

I then undertook the harrowing task of actually listing the books, a feat yet to be completed! The best I could manage was between 10-20 listings a day starting last Monday, meaning that by yesterday I had 107 books listed on Trademe.

Throughout the week certain realities began to sink in. I started experiencing entrepreneurial vertigo. The grim realization of “overhead” reared its ugly head and the potential flaw in my plans became apparent - newly imposed listing fees.

I “knew” that this was coming of course. But there is a difference between abstract knowledge and actually experiencing it. The difference being that experience actually hurts.

In a nut shell, once a Trademe user goes over 50 listings, the Trademe site considers the trader to be a “heavy user” and so automatically charges a 10 cent listing fee for every item over and above the first 50, which for me meant that out of the 107 books I listed last week, I spent $5.70 on listing fees.

This is completely new to me. I felt the pain of money evaporating as if I was a vampire caught naked in the sunshine. All my hopes of making it to $500 in the near future farted like an untied balloon released in the wind.

So what? $5.70 doesn’t seem that bad, you may say. Well, to begin with no, but all week I’ve been dreading the consequence of losing ten cents every time a book doesn’t sell. Put in another light, today I relisted the almost 50 books which did not sell from last Monday’s listings, costing me close to another $5. And those are just the listing fees; I also have to take into consideration success fees and promotional fees. So you can see that if I don’t sell enough books to cover these fees on a weekly basis, the business model I used in my last series, to turn $20 into $100, is not going to work this time around.

Insert sad face punctuations here - :(

But the small spark of hope in the freezer of my despair is trying to ignite my optimism by squeaking various possibilities into my ear…

Between last Monday and today I only successfully sold three books. We’ll look closer at those soon. You might remember from the last chapter of Pimp My Twenty Bucks that New Zealand is now in the middle of the School Holidays. Over the past few months my experience has taught me that Holidays always hibernate my sales. In fact in the week leading up to the holiday I seem to do better than normal until bang, dead calm.

Although this can’t be proven I have this theory that people prepare for the holidays by buying a book and then during the holiday itself they are too busy reading it to bother with buying any more…

I told you it was a spark of optimism.

I cannot keep myself from telling you that I have felt like that Icarus fellow from Greek Mythology, who made wings with wax but in his pride flew too close to the sun, causing the wax to melt, resulting in his splat-worthy demise. I got my hundred and went to town, swept up as many books as I could and propelled myself into handling a “business” the size of which I was not ready to handle. When I was trying to turn $20 into a hundred, my stock grew slowly, and the experience was like my favourite teacher in primary school, who incidentally was named, Mrs. Money!

But now “Mrs. Money” has been replaced with the nameless nasty teacher from my childhood, the one who took my lunch off me because it was too unhealthy, the one who called me a “disgusting little boy” in front of the whole school assembly because my sinus troubles offended her ears, the one who made us do yoga! I’ve often wanted to go back in time and give her a piece of my adult mind, perhaps this enterprise is my chance?

So anyway between last Monday and today I sold:

Harmonic 695 The UFO and Anti-gravity for $6
The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley for $4
Phineas Fin by Anthony Trollope for $3

Giving me a total of $13.

I still have the $20 I set aside for “investing” in Bonus Bonds, it seems obtaining them online is rather difficult if you don’t have a printer, but that’s a boring tale of procrastination I won’t bore you with.

I have $15.86 left in my Trademe account.

So all up I have $48.86 to show for this week’s efforts.

Normally my tactic would be to replace the books I sold this week with twice the amount I sold, but because I still have books left over from my stock binge last week which have yet to be listed, I’m not going to cloud my efforts with any new stock. I want to focus on trying to get the rest of my stock listed before next Monday.

Another thing, which should relieve the stress of listing fees for at least this week, of the 107 books I’ve listed over last week I will only be relisting the ones that closed this morning, that’s about 50 or so books. The reason is that I just wanted to get all the new books “into the system” so that I can relist them all at once next Monday, so as to avoid overlaps and possible migraines.

I’ve thought extensively about where to go from here. I could drop my listings down to 50 books and continue to reap the benefits of not paying listing fees. But the road to $500 will be a slow one.

A devious option would be to use my wife’s Trademe account as well as my own and abuse the system, but I will not do that. If I’m going to succeed it will be through honesty. I’m operating on the principal that in life you reap what you sow and I’m not prepared to reap the wages of cheating.

I could keep 50 items listed on Trademe and open up an account on, or or even eBay, spread out my stock across multiple platforms? This could very well be a possibility in the near future.

But in fact, what I am going to do is intentionally keep going as I am, even if it means losing what remains of my hundred. This might seem like a stupid thing to do but I see it as “purchasing experience.”

I need to thoroughly learn where the pitfalls in this enterprise are, and that is something I’m willing to pay for. After all, Mr. Failure and Mrs. Mistake are the parents of Success; Success is the child who will not repeat his parent’s follies.

I hope that people are going to be cheap enough to start Christmas Shopping for Second Hand Books!

In any case, if I do, “lose” what remains of my hundred this does not mean the end of my goal to turn $100 into $500. The blog will go on. After all, I still have my stock, and one way or another it will continue to sell.

So will I have more than $48 next week or less? The bets are on…

Oh yeah, one other thing – my last intention.

In addition to investing $20 of my hundred and continuing to list books on Trademe, I hope to have compiled my last series, “Pimp My Twenty Bucks”, into an eBook by November. So please, write that down on your list of possible presents for people who like this sort of thing. Just thought I had better get some advertising in…

Don’t forget to click on the “like” button below as part of a social experiment to see how many people will do so because I’ve asked them ever so nicely to, pretty please?

Click Here if you would like to follow my progress on Facebook!

Click Here to read this series from the beginning!

Click Here to read my awesome last series, Pimp My Twenty Bucks

Click Here to view my Trademe Listings

Click Here to read Part Three in this series

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