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Friday, February 22, 2013

Pimp My Hundred Bucks - Part Seventeen

This week I took the mincemeat of my mangled emotions and made meat patties.

In my last blog I explained that I was left bruised and ego-impaired after I posted a link to this series in a Public Forum… of course I should have expected that when the title of my post read, “How to turn $100 into $500” when in fact I haven’t quite done it yet, and am doing it rather slowly… hence the mince meat I felt like as I entered into the new week.

Probably because of despair or perhaps because a friend shouted me a subscription to World of Warcraft, I only managed to list twenty new items this week, keeping my stock at about the 300 mark for the past seven days…

Nevertheless, it didn’t mean I was not busy with other things pertaining to this titanic task. For one thing I did not abandon the Trademe Message Board entirely, but have rather started a few random threads so that people will note me as a trader of interest and check out my stock. Threads like, “Hey has anyone ever been abducted by aliens?” or “So, why is there no religion category on the message board” which sparked over 500 comments in only 4 days! Yep, message boards are fun. Here's a link to some of the message boards I've been "message bombing" lately, but sorry if you’re outside New Zealand and Australia you won’t be able to view them because Trademe hasn’t discovered the global community yet…

Another thing is I’ve been managing my account from my PC now that I actually have a PC, which has been pretty good and in the future will help me to list way more items in a shorter period of time. All of my listings so far have been via texting on my iphone, which makes you want to throw your phone at the first person who walks through the door at the end of the day.

Also I applied with Trademe for the Pay Now option which means at some point in the near future customers will be able to purchase items from me using their credit card –without the need of Pay Pal which is just awesome in my book. Unfortunately this will incur a small fee of about 1.64% of every payment made to me that way, but still it could potentially mean more customers who shop for convenience.

The last thing I’ve been doing a tad differently is that recently I have been setting the Start Price for new listings at $4 instead of the usual $3. My reasoning wasn’t so that I would make an extra dollar every time I sold a book, but rather because a significant number of the books I sell each week come from Fixed Price Offers. These are the offers you send to individual customers when an auction closes but does not sell. Often I will have potential customers watching an item but not placing a bid either because they forgot about it or because they like to torment me. Anyway, Trademe gives you the option to send said watchers a special onetime offer before relisting the item. I found that when my books were only $3 I couldn’t afford to offer such customers anything special as $3 was the absolute lowest I could sell them for! At least now when someone has been watching an item that was originally listed at $4 will react with a “Wow, this guy is now offering me the book for $3! That’s like a whole dollar cheaper than it was before, I HAVE to buy it.” And so he/she does. So they get a bargain and I get the exact amount I actually wanted for the book in the first place. I’m not sure if this is an ethical issue, the small voice in the back of my head says it’s just business. What do you think?

Unfortunately in my recent despair and/distraction I somehow managed to delete a whole bunch of the listings I sold recently from the “sold” tab of my Trademe account so I have spent the last several days convinced that I had not made a profit at all. Quite literally my left hand did not know what my right hand was doing as I said to my wife this afternoon, “I haven’t made a profit this week, this isn’t going as well as I thought” and then sent her a telepathic sad face with a colon and a bracket symbol “: (“ through the atmosphere in our living room, but I think she could tell by the look on my face that I wasn’t particularly happy about it.

But then I sat down to write this blog and as I did my accounting, or what passes for accounting in my feeble and limited understanding of the procedure, I discovered that I was thankfully wrong!

Normally this is where I would list the books I sold but because I deleted a big chunk of them I’ll have to dispense with the cliché and just tell you that I sold 18 books for $68.50 making a profit of $39.25 when all is said and done…

Finally remembering to include the $20 I invested in Bonus Bonds way back in the Beginning Time of this misadventure, I now have $344.17 with only $155.13 to go until I can shout for joy and say, “Yes!” while making a fist and looking like I’d just done something really amazing and personally fulfilling. Chances are we will have a new Pope before that happens.

To think that only a few blogs ago I was saying I might only have three weeks of this to go, more like three weeks on a planet with a 28 day week!

Finally I won't be purchasing new stock this week, I'm still trying to list all those sci fi books from two weeks ago!

So until the next time we meet, your homework is to hover over the “Like” button and click it at least one hundred million times, or failing that once will be enough. Also for extra credit you can leave me a comment and say something encouraging like, “Hey man, you’re really cool, I like what you are doing here and am going to post a link to your site on my own site that gets like a million views a day and tell everyone that they have to visit your site because it’s like totally rad.” Yep, that’s the kind of comment I want to get!

Until next time, I’m off to listen to some Enya or something.

Click Here to read Part Eighteen in this series!

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

For some great money related articles please visit workingathomeinternet.com for some great monetary wisdom... see you there!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pimp My Hundred Bucks - Part Sixteen

I was struck by a deep thought this week while listing some books that were well, books for ladies. You know the sort, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Bridget Jones’ Diary, that sort of thing. If I was dealing with a movie we have a description here in NZ that fits the type of film your female partner might drag you to, it’s called a “chick flick”. But if you can call a hopeless sob story involving unrealistic romance with a man that most real men would want to punch in the face a “chick flick” then would that make the paperback version of such a story a “chook book”?

I was thinking along those lines when I realized to my dismay that Trademe have no category for such a book, and seeing as I had recently been donated a box load of the things (thank you donators, they’re awesome!) I was forced to list them under “general fiction”.

But that wasn’t the only thing that upset me about my favourite online trader this week, because it was on this site I found myself the centre of a virtual but brutal attack on my cyber character…

You might remember that recently I purchased 100 sci fi books from a chap who gave me some pretty nifty advice on selling books online. One such piece of wisdom led me to explore the Trademe Message Board where there are multiple forums for other users to discuss pretty much anything. The seller had told me that on weeks when he posted in the forum he would often sell more books so I thought, “why not?”

So there I was in the forum for General Discussion where most people seemed to be talking about pretty much nothing (one person even wanted to know if other users preferred apples over nectarines) so I thought why not jump in with an almighty splash?

So I began to type in the subject line: How to turn $100 into $500 using Trademe.

Over the next eight hours I suffered from an acute case of “oh no what have I done?” as I got hounded and berated by over 50 comments tearing my little enterprise, my ego and moral standing to shreds. I could not believe it; it knocked the wind right out of my sales (Pun accidental but I’ll keep it there so you think I’m witty).

I was accused of being unoriginal – although I was never trying to be really.

Most commentators assumed that I was cheating the tax system – although I never said anything even remotely like that.

I was mocked for earning less than the minimum wage – although for me that wasn’t an issue.

Now that I’m reliving it I can see some of the comments clearly in my mind:

“Good one mate, you’ve just painted a target on your head for the IRD”

“He’s probably on the benefit”

“You idiot, not only have you just admitted to everyone here that you’re cheating the system but you’ve written an account of it on your blog for the IRD to read about”

I was, for want of a better word, flabbergasted. I had genuinely wanted to share my experiences with the Trademe community, and of course attract attention to my listings on the side, but on the whole I thought most of the people in there were great big meanies.

There were a few people who stuck up for me, and I even got two new Facebook fans in the process so it wasn’t all bad, and the odd person threw in a piece of advice which was nice. I was going to post some of it but alas, the link got removed on account of my not reading the message board rules beforehand, providing external links is a big no no in Trademe land, apparently.

But I just wanted now to address some of the things above that I was charged with, the main being the issue of tax! You see, I don’t talk about tax in this series for two reasons. The first and foremost is that it is a very boring subject that I don’t know much about, but at the back of my mind I’ve always known that sooner or later it will be something that I will have to deal with, which is the second reason I haven’t spoken about it – I just haven’t crossed that bridge yet. But rest assured, when I do my tax return at the end of this tax year I will declare my profits, and then I’ll blog about it and bore you all to death with the details...

The other issue is that of how much time I am spending on this against how much I am getting paid. To that I would say, fair enough if what I was trying to do from the beginning was start the perfect business, but this whole thing started as a challenge to myself, to see if I could turn $20 into $100! Then when I succeeded at that I was having too much fun to stop so I gave myself a new challenge – turn $100 into $500. It has NEVER been about creating the most viable business model, nor was it ever intended to be a How to Get Rich Quick scheme. I don’t care if it takes me the rest of the year to reach $500, as long as I’m having fun along the way and you people are enjoying watching me fail… er, I mean succeed!

In short I don’t care. I don’t care if all I have to show for this week’s efforts is $21.70 (which I’m afraid is the truth). I’m only focused on my goal, to get an extra $500 in my wallet that I wouldn’t otherwise have had.

But who am I kidding, it is turning into a business and I have found myself pondering different ways to increase my earnings to justify the time I spend on the buying and selling of second hand books. In the beginning it was only a couple hours a week. This week I listed nearly a hundred books and it’s a miracle I’m not suffering from a repetitive strain injury from too much texting considering I list items with my phone!

Finally, what I am trying to achieve with the blogging of it all is to encourage people that no matter who you are or what interests you have, you can take a simple $20 and turn it into something much bigger. In my case that’s currently $284 and over 300 books listed on Trademe!

Don’t let anyone tell you that what you are doing is a waste of time, because as far as I’m concerned you could make a hundred thousand dollars a year but if you hate what you are doing, that’s a far truer waste of time. There is no minimum wage if you’re having fun earning it and at the end of the day, the time I spend on this isn’t even close to the amount of time I used to waste on the Xbox earning ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

The next day, after dreaming that I filmed the most amazing UFO display of all time only to discover that it had vanished from my phone before I could upload it to YouTube (seriously, that’s exactly what I dreamt) I noticed that there was a new spike on my blog’s hit rate and I followed the link in my stats to a new thread which read something like:

“What happened to the thread about turning $100 into $500?”

It was with some trepidation that I read through the comments that suggested the IRD had caught me. But finally, by now, people seemed to have caught on to what I was trying to do here and I have since had some nice comments from the goodies in this drama – so thanks guys, I hope you keep reading!

Here’s the link to that thread if anyone (within New Zealand) wants to join the fray:

http://www.trademe.co.nz/Community/MessageBoard/Messages.aspx?id=1210905&topic=5

(sorry I'll have to fix the hyperlink later)

Now for ourselves and for this time of meeting, this week I sold:

When the Lion Feeds by Wilbur Smith - $3
Bonkers by Michelle Holman - $3
Beyond Good and Evil by Fredrich Nietzsche - $7
The Iron Lance by Stephen Lawhead - $3
The Mystery of Mercy C lose by Marian Keyes - $6
Black Notice by Patricia Cornwell - $3
No Heroes by Danny O.Coulson - $3
The New Testament CEV - $3
Gridlock by Ben Elton - $3
Voyage of the Dawn Treader - $2
Sharon Osbourne Extreme by Sharon Osbourne -$3
Edgar Allan Poe – Selected Tales - $4


Giving me a nice big juicy $43 to put in the old Dog Ears account, meaning, as stated above I now have $284.92 to show for my efforts and only $215.08 shy of breaking open a bottle of extremely cheap champagne, or maybe a can of coke will do.

To be honest, after last week’s awesome leap forward, this week’s earnings aren’t that much to write home about, let alone a blog about, but the show must go on and I’ve noticed a great many of those “chook books” that I’ve listed are attracting a fair bit of interest, which makes me quite possibly the only man I know who will go to sleep tonight greatful that someone is writing this sort of stuff.

So until next week, please press “like” and if it helps, pretend you just read that Harrison Ford has been announced as actually being in the new Star Wars movie, which is also true. I’d press “like” for that a hundred times over!

Click Here to read Part Seventeen of this series!


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

For some great money related articles please visit workingathomeinternet.com for some great monetary wisdom... see you there!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pimp My Hundred Bucks - Part Fifteen

What an awesome week. Seriously.

Last week I felt like I was the Star Ship Enterprise at the end of Wrath of Khan, disintegrating in the atmosphere of planet Genesis in response to a very dramatic and heart rendering self destruct sequence.

The nerdy Sci-Fi allegory will make sense later.

When I last wrote I had a profound sense of having performed at my business like a hedgehog on a dinner plate. Never the less, as the old saying goes – Time and Chance happens to us all!

No longer do I feel I have the business acumen of a rhinoceros, not after making my first $80 in a week so far!

But I’m flying ahead of myself…

Today I drove north to the lovely town of Whangaparaoa (pronounced fung-a-po-row-a) to collect the 100 Science Fiction books that I purchased to the bitter music of buyer’s remorse last week. But the despair I felt at overstocking last week melted away after having just sold a personal record number of books this week so as it turns out, buying all that stock in the long run could have been a result of myself being caught in some kind of temporal time loop in which my future self purchased those books for me, knowing what small fortune was about to come my way.

After a lovely drive to this beautiful part of Auckland I arrived at the books seller’s home only to be greeted by a man wearing one of the coolest Dr Who t-shirts I have ever seen, even better than my Dalek Pajama top! Already this guy has ten points for professional attire in my book! But then he takes me to his garage where out come three large boxes of pristine condition assorted science fiction novels! I think I must have swooned! I found myself checking for drool while no one was looking…

Ok so that part about the drool isn’t true, but the thing is I’m a nerd, an in-the-closet trekkie and by way of confession, when I was younger the end credits of Star Gate used to make me cry a little.

But moving right along I’m going to find it hard selling these books which I would gladly keep for my own book shelf, but I have a goal to reach $500 and lay this mission to rest!

I also found myself resisting temptation again today when the Dr Who wearing book seller man showed me hundreds of well kept books under his house, one group of 500 books which he told me he currently had listed for $220 on Trademe… I have found myself many times today wondering would it be wise to lay my hands on that stash… but again I must focus on my goal of $500, after all that is what this series is about… and yet, I can’t stop myself from wondering…

I couldn’t believe my “luck”, although I do believe in providence, when a customer wrote to me after purchasing a book and asked for a bulk deal on ten books she had her eye on so I gave them to her for $35! And so, over all, this is what I sold:



Sickened by Julie Gregory - $3
Return of the King by Tolkien - $3
Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov - $3
Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes - $3
The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck - $3
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan - $4
James Clavell’s Gai-jin - $3
People of the Earth by Michael Gear - $5
As I lay Dying by William Faulkner - $3
Macbeth - $6
The Adrian Mole Diaries by Sue Townsend - $6
The Gilr Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King - $3
The Lost World by Michael Crichton - $6
x10 Assorted books - $35

Thus making me $86!

My wife just pointed out to me that that represents $4,472/year if it was your average weekly earnings! I’m happy with that!

All things considered, taking into account listing fees, success fees and postage I’m left with $263.22 – Back past the halfway mark and well on my way to that $500, in fact if I can repeat this week’s success I could have this show off the road in three weeks! But I had best remember what I said before about Time and Chance and not count my chickens before they hatch!

On another note I learned this week to be careful about what I complain about! Last week I complained that I was getting nearly 200 hits per day and a thunder storm of spam in my comment streams. Well, the very next day my hits soared back down to less than 50 a day… but personally I’ll take the $80 over my 200 hits any day!

Finally I should probably mention that my $20 worth of Bonus Bonds performed… well, actually they didn’t perform at all, again, in the last prize draw (which is done the first of every month) so that $20 is just sitting there… come to think of it I should include that figure in my weekly total… why haven’t I been doing that? Oh that’s right, I’m new at all this…

In any case, now I’m going to go and try really really hard not to spend $250 on 500 books!

Until next we meet, please share this post, please click on the “like” button and imagine a fairy is being born or that another Star Wars installment is in development with every click…


Click Here to read Part Sixteen in this series


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

For some great money related articles please visit workingathomeinternet.com for some great monetary wisdom... see you there!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pimp My Hundred Bucks - Part Fourteen

I would like to call this entry, “The Art of Going Backwards”.

I knew this week wasn’t going to be a good one. It’s the end of the Summer Break here in New Zealand and scores of children and awkward teenagers are flocking back to school while parents, myself among them, have returned to their jobs with wild abandon (yeah right)... in other words not many people are thinking about reading at the moment and my stock has had a lonely and boring week on the shelf with the fleas…

That’s right, fleas! After returning from my glorious holiday in Oz we found our house had become occupied by the blood sucking kangaroo of all parasites, the flea, and for some reason they seem to love the room that I keep all my books in! I can’t seem to put a paperback away without becoming the dinner to at least 8 of the things dining in the all-you-can-eat restaurant of my legs!

I’ve tried a bug bomb, but having been exposed to all that literature seems to have made them intelligently cunnning and they put on their little gas masks just in time to survive my attempts at mass genocide!

Of course that’s just silly, but I have more fleas than customers right now and it’s depressing me!

But at least I have more books than fleas!

Currently I’m enjoying the pleasant view of more than 222 books listed on Trademe and more than 350ish in stock! What? 350ish? How did that happen?

Enter Buyer’s remorse…

I’m afraid I broke what has been a cardinal rule throughout this entire venture thanks to the little subconscious part of me that likes to wreck everything and press the self destruct button whenever I get bored.

And that’s just it, I have become bored. Turning small amounts of money into bigger amounts of money can be very exciting, but when you lose momentum and the going goes slow, it can suddenly go dull and before you know it you’re thinking about that box of 100 Science Fiction books some guys selling on the internet for only $90 and you might, like me, just press the “bid now” button in the hope that someone just might outbid you because you know that it’s probably a dumb idea…

But then you don’t get outbid and before you know it you’ve just bought 100 books at .90 cents each, which actually is quite good but that $283 you had worked so hard to earn all of a sudden shrinks by $90 and you’re left wondering, what on earth did I just do that for?

The cardinal rule that I broke was that up until recently I only replaced that which I sold in any week by two. So if I sold five books this week I would purchase ten to replace them with. In so doing my “business” has grown naturally and manageably. In this way I grow with the beast, matching its new claws with the whip of my experience, but when I make drastic decisions like this one, manipulating its genes with the growth hormone of a hundred more books, who knows what Jurassic Park like disaster could befall my goal?

So you see, fleas are the least of my worries right now, because this week I only sold eight books and have replaced them times ten plus! Have I committed financial suicide? I feel like Jack with his magic beans, all I can do now is list them and hope for a bean stalk to grow. Except I know from experience how very hard, or rather time consuming, it is to list 100 books! Not sure about magic beanstalks though.

This week I sold:

What I didn’t learn in School but Wish I Had by Jamie McIntyre - $4
Two Sixes by Max Brand - $3
The Dead Zone by Stephen King - $3
The Ice beneath My Feet by Diana Patterson - $5
The Good News Bible - $8
Deep Six by Clive Cussler - $3
Warlock by Wilbur Smith - $5

Giving me only $39 to brag about. Not that I’m ungreatful of course!

So when all is said and done, accounting for listing fees and success fees and considering the massive amount I just blew on a bunch of nerdy science fiction books I am left with only $204.26, thus proving that I am a master at the art of going backwards.

Of course there is the old adage to hang my despair on, that sometimes you need to go backwards to go forwards and let’s not forget the other gem, that more often than not you will need to spend money to make money. Who knows, maybe I’ll fob them off at $5 each and reach my goal way sooner?

On the other hand, while my bank account travels backwards my blog site has been enjoying a record number of hits in the past few weeks! Seriously, I’ve gone from 40 or so hits a day to about 180 hits every 24 hours and while I’d like to say it’s because my blogs are just brilliantly awesome, it’s actually more likely because I’m getting spammed by people whose English is almost as good as a carrots!

Here are some examples from the week just gone, I’m sure you will enjoy them as much as I haven’t:

“Very shortly this site will be famous among all blogging and site-building visitors, due to its nice articles” – Anonymous

“Nice post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I am inspired! Extremely helpful info particularly the last part J I take care of such info much. I used to be looking for this certain info for a very long time…” – Anonymous

“Hi to all, how is the whole thing, I think everyone is getting more from this website, and your views are nice in support of new users.” – Anonymous

“I’ve learn some just right stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot effort you set to create any such magnificent informative web site.” – Anonymous

“I’ve been surfing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before” – Anonymous

You get the picture! There were about 50 more, although I might be hyperbolizing in that point a bit. Most of these comments would have been awesome if they didn’t come complete with links to utterly unrelated web sites!

Anyway, I guess I just mention that in the hope that in the weeks to come I will get some actual real comments to counter the weight of all the fake ones!

Until next time, please hit the like button below, this will have the same effect on my ego that squeezing the little basket ball on a 90’s pair of rebooks would have had!


Click Here to read this series from the beginning!

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

For some great money related articles please visit workingathomeinternet.com for some great monetary wisdom... see you there!