Being an eBay entrepreneur, you probably know how easy it is to lose track of time. You may be taking photos, listing an item, or one of the other endless tasks that we have to do. Do you keep track of your time and have you ever calculated how much you are making an hour? When I first started to seriously sell on eBay I didn’t keep track at all, and I would find myself at the computer all night long. I would carelessly work until 3 am without even knowing where the time went! I was curious at how much time I was actually spending on my eBay business and how much I was making an hour. I spent the next week logging all of my time at the computer, driving to find inventory, answering emails on my phone, taking photos for listings, creating descriptions, and everything else that goes with the job. I wrote down my start and end time, and when the week was over, I had a few pages of tasks that I completed and enough data to track what my time was worth.
To figure out what my time was worth, I used the method from the book, “The Simple Dollar”. It’s an easy read that kind of put a spotlight on how much I make. The method is quite easy:
I took the money that I made during that week on eBay
I calculated how many hours I worked doing all of my eBay tasks
Then I took my money earned and divided it by the hours I worked, and that was my hourly wage
At first it was sad. I knew that I was doing this to make money for the family, but it appeared that I was working a lot of hours and when I compared it to my eBay hourly wage, I wasn’t making much at all. Two things first came to my mind. First, I knew that I had to find a way to cut down my working hours. Secondly, I knew that I was just starting my eBay business and that it would get better as time went on. I started to research into time management and for ways to help me get my hourly wage up. Here is what I found:
1. Rescue Time: I used a piece of software called Rescue Time to figure out what I was doing while I was on the computer. It turns out that I was not productive at all. I would easily get pulled away from my task to check facebook, or to IM someone, or to do countless other non eBay related things. Rescue Time even has a feature that allows you to voluntarily block other websites other than eBay for a certain amount of time. You’ll be amazed at how you use your time.
2. Batching: Before, I would drive to a Goodwill store and if I found an item that I could make money on I would then drive home to list it right away. That may sound like a rookie mistake, but I was a rookie then. Now, I gather my Goodwill findings and continue on to my next store. Why waste gas money when you don’t have too. I also batch list once a week now. I don’t waste my energy in listing new items every day. This has freed up a huge chunk of my time!
3. USPS Pick Up – I was spending part of my day wasting time and gas driving to the Post Office to drop off my items. With the USPS pick up option, I now print out all of my shipping labels and have USPS pick them up.
Those were the three biggest items that I uncovered that were eating away at my time and making my hourly pay really low. Now after implementing Rescue Time, Batching, and using USPS pick up, my time is worth so much more! Not only that, I now have more time with my family, and that’s what it’s really all about.