Thursday, March 10, 2016

eBay Seller Success Story - Seller with Debilitating Arachnoiditis Shares her Strategies


My friend Tootie, a dedicated and talented eBay seller, suffers from Arachnoiditis but debilitating pain doesn't stop her. Read how she makes eBay work even as she deals with an illness that would cause most of us to give up.

I have been selling on eBay since November of 2013. My best friend and old neighbor convinced me to give it a try.  I started selling all of our "stuff" that we had accumulated around the house. To my surprise, I made TRS in January of 2014.

I became very ill in the Spring of 2011. I have had 24 surgeries in my life and 15 of them in the last 8 years since my son was born. I became medically anorexic, started losing bone mass, had some major intestinal issues requiring huge surgeries. I spontaneously broke three ribs all while working as a dental hygienist. I would go long periods unable to walk. I was in horrendous pain 24/7. Not just a little pain but burning hot pain that feels like red hot barbed wire wrapped around the feet, legs, back and upper ribs. It became too much, I had to give up my career of 18 years as Registered Dental Hygienist.  

No one knew what was wrong with me including me. Finally, in the Spring of 2013 I was diagnosed by my beloved neurosurgeon as having Arachnoiditis. I had never even heard this word before but I will never forget what he said, "This is the end for you, there is nothing we can do for you." With that being said, it began a bit of a relief and a nightmare all at the same time.  

Arachnoiditis is an incurable disease of the spinal cord or arachnoid meninge, sort of like a permanent meningitis. It is usually caused by trauma to the spinal cord either by surgical trauma or epidural steroid injections. (Which I might add are incredibly dangerous-I highly advise against epidural steroid injections for the treatment of pain).
I have been hospitalized more than 40 times directly related to Arachnoiditis. I am left unable to walk during flare ups of this awful disease. Therefore, the hospital keeps me days on end. As of late, I have been trying to get through these flare ups at home on my own but it is equally as difficult on me and my family no matter where  I am.  

I am constantly in pain, day in and day out. I am unable to sit long, stand long or do any strenuous activity even as simple as a nice brisk walk.  This is a new life for me. I spent my life as a pillar of health and fitness and now I am rendered completely unable to exercise or do simple activities I once enjoyed.

So as for eBay, I have to find a delicate balance. eBay is not physically easy at times.  There is a lot of bending, twisting, reaching, sitting, carrying. walking etc. Things most people don't have to think about. Because of these reasons I have to pick and choose when I work.  Basically, I work when I can. Ask any family member, if I am not bedridden, I am in the loft doing eBay. My 8 year old has threatened to ground me from eBay! 

I sell mostly clothing, and really anything I can get my hands on.  I have learned that there is a market for pretty much anything and eBay never disappoints me in what sells.I am on my own as far as the business goes.  My husband occasionally will pull an item here and there and might ship if I am hospitalized or bedridden. He will also model for me on occasion (which I really appreciate) For the most part I do everything on my own.

I "thrift" once a week on Tuesday.  Here in my valley we have a local swap meet (aka flea market possibly) many vendors come to one place and present their items that are available to purchase. This literally is my favorite day EVER!!! I am so sad if I have a flare up on a Tuesday. Not to worry, they also have them on Saturday and Sunday but I love my Tuesday swap!  Over the years, I have developed amazing relationships with these vendors.  Each one has their own niche of items to pick from making it a slam dunk each week. I have my favorite four vendors that I do business with regularly.  I get such amazing prices it is almost unbelievable.  I sometimes do trades with some vendors of my items that are not "eBay worthy" for things that I think will be a winner. I will let one of my vendors have a garage sale in my driveway twice a year and in return he gives me almost cost for his items. He is my most amazing vendor with an eye for dollar signs, he also has an eBay store.  He does most of his shopping at The Goodwill Outlet, the others buy estate sales, and storage lockers.

Currently I have 430 items listed. I worked super hard to get to 300 listing because I kept selling so much.  I finally made it to 320 in January and worked super hard to get to over 400 by March.

As of January and February I have profited more than $2500 and my sales are up approximately 38% this month.  I sold 87 items in February and have already sold 31 items as of today March 7.

As I mentioned above, I work when I can which is an added bonus of having an at home business. I think the best thing to do to get your business going is to sit down and list. I have one rule, I am not able to buy more inventory until I have everything I bought on Tuesday listed. I only have 50 square feet to work in so I think it is important to get organized and make a pile of the items you want to list and set a time frame for yourself to do them, and then do it.  Once you start doing it and accomplishing your tasks it get you more motivated especially once the sales start rolling in.  And, those of you who do not think the sales will come, trust me they will.  I have learned anything and most everything sells on eBay. 

My customers are my diamonds and I treat them as such. My store is not perfect nor are my photos but my customers are the reason my store runs, so I strive for perfection in customer service. In just a couple of years I have developed relationships with customers and have had several repeat buyers or people who periodically check with me for a special or unique item. 

ebay has saved my life in a way. It has given me my independance and self worth back after suffering the loss of my profession and health and fitness. Aside from my family, I have a new reason to live! I could have never imagined I would have a significant income from doing a job like this.  It's just a no-brainer. Like a shirt I recently saw, "Eat, Sleep, eBay, Repeat"......Seriously words to live by. I couldn't be happier with my new profession!


Visit Tammy's store here!

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