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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:

(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 for some great monetary wisdom... see you there!

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