Your Biggest Online Branding Mistake & How To Fix It!

This post may contain paid affiliate links.

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If you have an online store and/or are a blogger/YouTube creator/social media influencer, then you are a BRAND! And developing and promoting your brand is the key to growing your business, however large or small that business may be. The bigger your brand, the more money you can make.

Why is branding important? Creating a “brand” shows others that yours is a serious endeavor. Not just potential customers, but also other companies. And if you are a blogger or YouTube creator, working with companies is a key part of what will help you bring in more income.

Branding is much more than just your actual site; it extends to all aspects of your social media presence. The biggest mistake I see people making is also the easiest to fix: Making sure your social media screen names match the site you are trying to drive traffic to. Whatever your main website it – your blog, Ebay/Etsy store, YouTube – you want to make sure that site’s name matches your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts.

If you do a Google search for “See Ann Save”, the first page of results is ALL of my sites. My blog, YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram….even my TeePublic store are all front and center. Anyone who has searched for me automatically sees that I am a legitimate “brand”, that my business is a serious one that they can trust to shop from or to work with. (Note that my Ebay business is separate; I don’t promote it other than sharing listings to Twitter and Pinterest.)

Figure out the sole name you want to be identified with. For me, it’s “See Ann Save”; thus, I’ve made sure that it’s my name across all platforms. Then change your screen names on all of your social media sites to match it. Editing screen names is easy, although some sites limit you to only one or two changes, so make sure you choose wisely from the start. Doing this is not only quick and easy, but it will dramatically help you grow your brand!

5 Tips for Dealing with the Ebay Summer Slowdown!

This post may contain paid affiliate links.

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If you sell on Ebay (or Amazon or Etsy), you may currently be experiencing the dreaded “summer slowdown”! I certainly am; my sales for June are quite a bit less than my August-May averages, and I anticipate July to be just as bad. While every seller is different (and there’s always that one person who loves to brag that they are having the best summer sales ever – bye, Felicia), most online retailers are experiencing slow sales.

Actually, ALL stores, both online and brick-and-mortar, have a sales slump in the summer due to families being on vacation and people spending more time outside. Folks just aren’t shopping much right now. If you are in the retail business – and selling on Ebay IS having a retail business – then dealing with slow summer sales is a reality you need to become accustomed to.

So how to you get through the summer slowdown? Here are my top five tips to deal with slow Ebay sales in June and July:

  1. HAVE A SALE! If you have an Ebay store, you can utilize Markdown Manager to discount your items in an effort to drive sales. Now, you need to be careful of this as if you offer free shipping, a sale can effectively wipe out your profits or even end up costing you money. However, if you know your margins and are confident that you’ll still earn a profit by marking things down, then even offering 10% off can help you move some inventory.
  2. ORGANIZE YOUR INVENTORY! Slow sales mean you aren’t bogged down with shipping, so it’s a great time to go through your inventory to better organize it. This also gives you a chance to make sure items haven’t dropped off and are no longer listed (I just found two things that somehow got deleted out of my store!). I’m currently in the middle of adding shelving to my Ebay storage room so that I can expand my inventory, which is giving me the chance to get better organized.
  3. PURGE STALE LISTINGS! If sales, best offer, and/or free shipping haven’t moved a listing that’s been up for over a year, it may be time to pull that item and donate it or sell it at a garage sale. While sitting on high-dollar items for awhile makes financial sense, if you have lots of under $10 things clogging up your store, now may be the time to purge them. Setting up your own garage/yard/tag/rummage sale (why are there so many different names for the same thing?!) is also a great way to bring in some extra cash.
  4. REVIEW YOUR MARKETING! If you aren’t utilizing social media to promote your Ebay listings, take advantage of the summer slowdown to devote some time to developing pages for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. All are free and easy to use; and sharing your listings to these sites is a great way to drive traffic to your store. And speaking of your Ebay store, use the downtime to freshen up your site by reviewing your categories and playing with keywords. Simply go to the “Manage My Store” section to see all of the tools available to spruce up your store.
  5. PREPARE FOR NEXT SUMMER! I always approach the summer months knowing that my Ebay sales are going to be slow. So if this is your first summer selling online, you need to take note of your numbers and start thinking ahead to next year. Once sales pick up in the Fall, you’ll want to start putting some of that extra money aside to get your through the slow months. Don’t blow all of your fourth quarter profits; save some of it so that next summer you have enough cash to not only pay the bills but to also source. Because while the summer Ebay sales are slow, June and July are the prime sourcing months. You want to make sure you have enough cash to grab the deals at the garage and church sales even if you aren’t bringing in much money.

How are your summer sales going? What are you doing to get you through until things pick up in the Fall? Hopefully you have the money to source, are getting organized for fourth quarter, and are also taking some time to enjoy the nice weather! For me, the summer slowdown means I get a bit of a break from work in order to be refreshed in time for the busier months ahead. 🙂

Need help choosing supplies to run your own Ebay business? Check out my Amazon Store to find everything you need!

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Looking for more help selling on Ebay? Check out my Ebay books:

 

PayPal Offering FREE Returns; How Will This Affect Ebay Sellers?

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I use PayPal for both my business (processing payment on Ebay orders and receiving affiliate marketing income), and I also occasionally use it to pay for my own online orders. So naturally I was very interested to hear about PayPal’s new program to pay for return shipping costs for buyers. The return shipping refund is available on up to 12 purchases per year and up to $30 on each return.

There are eligibility requirements on these returns (CLICK HERE to read them); as an Ebay seller, these are the ones that stand out to me:

The service does NOT apply to:

  • Purchases made in violation of the PayPal User Agreement or PayPal Acceptable Use Policy;
  • Immaterial or intangible goods and coupons purchases, and licenses for digital content and services;
  • Items for which the return by post regular mail, courier or any other regular shipping options or services is already paid for or being paid for by the seller or merchant;
  • Cash, traveler’s checks, tickets, credit or debit cards, or any other negotiable instrument;
  • Items that cannot be returned in accordance with the seller or merchant’s general conditions of sale (e.g. the seller or merchant’s authorized deadline for returns has passed, or the sale was a final sale);
  • Costs associated with loss, theft, or damage to the item when it is returned;
  • Items which are paid for wholly or partially in cash or any payment method other than PayPal; only the return shipping costs for items paid for entirely with PayPal may be refunded under the Return Shipping on Us service; and
  • Purchases made more than 150 calendar days prior to submission of the refund request.
  • The Service does not apply if you are able to benefit from or have already benefited from another type of return shipping refund service or guarantee with any other third party.

And then there is this:

Can a buyer use the Return Shipping on a service if the seller or merchant already offers a similar service? NO. The Return Shipping On Us service applies when a free return shipping or return shipping refund service is NOT offered by the seller or merchant. If the seller or merchant from whom you made your purchase from offers a free return shipping or return shipping refund service, you must use that service.

How does this affect those of us who sell on Ebay? For me, I offer 30 day returns on most items. For a buyer who simply doesn’t want the item (i.e. there is nothing wrong with it), they can ship the item back to me for a refund of the purchase price MINUS a 20% restocking fee. I do NOT refund the original shipping, nor do I pay for return shipping. It seems that, in this case, PayPal MAY pay for the buyer’s return; however, the original shipping and restocking fee will not be refunded; and I won’t be out any additional money.

If there was a flaw with the item that wasn’t disclosed in the listing, I accept returns for a FULL refund and also pay the return shipping. However, in these cases I usually just refund fully and let the buyer keep the item (unless it’s a very expensive item, but usually it’s a $10-20 piece of clothing). In this case, I cover the costs of a return, so a buyer would not be able to use PayPal’s service.

I did panic a bit when I first saw this new service, but after reading through it, I think that we as Ebay sellers won’t see any affect as our terms of service trump this offering. As long as you have a clearly stated return policy, buyers shouldn’t be able to use PayPal’s return policy to force you to take a return. And if a buyer is able to return an item on PayPal’s dime, you won’t be out any extra money.

What do you think of this new offering from PayPal? Are you worried about how it will affect your Ebay business?

 

 

Essential 5 Steps To Start Making Money On YouTube!

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While making YouTube videos is fun, it can also be a source of income. However, before you starting making money on YouTube, you need to do the following five steps:

Google Account: You can sign up for Google and to create a YouTube account HERE. The sign up process has you create a Google account, a YouTube account, a Google email, and a YouTube channel. To finalize the process, you will need to verify your account by phone.

Channel Name: Choose your YouTube channel name with care. Google usually prompts you to make it  your actual name, but you can choose anything you like (as long as it isn’t currently being used). While you may just be starting out on YouTube for fun now, you don’t want to limit yourself to growing your “brand” in the future. There are a lot of established, successful YouTube channels out there with names unrelated to their content because the people behind them never anticipated how their channels would grow.

AdSense Account: Once you have created your YouTube channel, you can monetize it by signing up for an AdSense account here: https://support.google.com/adsense/#topic=3373519. The AdSense process is a little more involved and will require you do go through several verification steps before you are approved to earn ad revenue.

Monetize Your Videos: Your videos must be monetized in order for them to start earning income. Monetization means you are authorizing YouTube to place ads in your videos and that you are agreeing that no copyrighted materials (music and video clips from TV shows, movies or other copyrighted sources) appear in your footage. To monetize a single video, simply click on the “Monetization” tab in the video information section. You can also monetize all of your videos at once by going to your “Video Manager” page, checking all of the boxes next to your videos, and choosing the “Monetize” option under the “Actions” tab.

YouTube Partnership: After you have created your Google, YouTube and AdSense accounts, there is one more step you will need to take before you can start earning money on your videos, and that is to become a YouTube Partner. Go HERE to learn about the current criteria for becoming a YouTube Partner.

To learn more about making money on YouTube, check out my book HOW TO START A YOUTUBE CHANNEL FOR FUN & PROFIT, which is available on Amazon’s Kindle. No Kindle? No problem, as Amazon offers FREE Kindle reading apps for computers, smart phones, and tablets. 🙂

The links in the post above may be affiliate links. Read our Full Disclosure.

How To Decide Whether To List Your Ebay Items at Auction or Fixed Price!

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One of the most frequent questions I get asked when it comes to selling on Ebay is whether to start an item at Auction or to put it up at Fixed Price. The answer varies widely depending on the item, so here are the guidelines I use:

Do a Completed Listing search to see what, if anything, your item has sold for recently. If you find that the item you are selling commands a steady price of, say, $50 on Ebay, then go ahead and list yours for $50 at Fixed Price. If you the item has sold for a wide range of prices, you may want to price yours in the middle. So if your item is selling from anywhere between $20 and $60, you may try pricing yours at Fixed Price for $40 to ensure a quick sale.

However, if you can’t find any “sold” results for your item or if you see that the item typically brings in a lot of bidders at Auction, you may want to try listing yours at auction, too. While you can run an Ebay Auction from three to 10 days, I personally prefer running Auctions for seven days. Seven days gives potential customers an entire week to find your item listing and decide if they want to bid.

As far as adding the Buy It Now option to auctions, I personally rarely do this as it costs extra, and I try to keep my Ebay fees as low as possible. If I have a good idea of how much an item will sell for, I just list it at Fixed Price rather than bother with the Auction as, again, I’m only doing Auctions for items I have no idea how to price. I don’t want to add in aBuy It Now price in case the bidding price would actually end up higher.

For more information regarding listing on Ebay, be sure to check out my book EBAY SELLER SECRETS: TIPS & TRICKS TO INCREASE YOUR SALES & MAKE MORE MONEY, which is available on Amazon’s Kindle! No Kindle? No problem, as Amazon offers FREE Kindle reading apps for computers, smart phones and tablets.

The links in the post above may be affiliate links. Read our Full Disclosure.

5 Tips To Easily Organize Items For a Garage Sale!

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Having a garage sale (also called yard sales and rummage sales) is a great way to clear out unwanted items and to earn a bit of extra cash. And while organizing items for sale may seem like a daunting task, here are 5 tips to make the set up process easier:

Take Time To Prepare: Give yourself a couple of weeks to prepare o you have time get your garage ready for your sale. Park your cars outside, push all other garage items to the very edge of your garage, hide items that won’t be for sale (my dad hangs tarps over his tools so that people won’t try to buy them…and believe me, people will ask about buying anything they can see), and set up tables.

Group Like Items Together: Make groupings of similar items such as books in one area, kitchen items in another, and toys in another. Make sure things are spread out, not piled on top of each other. Despite what those “American Picker” guys say, most people do NOT like having to dig through piles of stuff.

Get Creative with Space: If you run out of tables, put like items together in boxes and have them priced so that on the day of your sale you can quickly arrange them outside on tables. Do NOT just throw items out onto your driveway or lawn. Yes, I have seen this many times – clothes and stuffed animals for sale actually lying in the dirt!

Give Buyers Confidence: If you are selling electrical items, place them together near an outlet as people will want to test them to make sure they work. If you don’t have an outlet nearby, run an extension cord over. People will only buy items they are assured actually work.

Leave Space: Make sure there is enough space between tables for people to easily move around. There will likely be several people shopping at once, and they’ll only buy items they can access. The easier you make it for someone to pick up an item, the more likely they are to buy it!

For more information about how to hold a successful garage sale, be sure to check out my book GARAGE SALE GUIDE: HOW TO QUICKLY & EASILY MAKE MONEY SELLING YOUR USED ITEMS, which is available on Amazon’s Kindle. No Kindle? No problem, as Amazon offers FREE Kindle reading apps for computers, smart phones, and tablets. 🙂

This article contains an excerpt from my book GARAGE SALE GUIDE, which is copyrighted and my not be reproduced or copied without my written permission. The links in the post above may be affiliate links. Read our Full Disclosure.

Should You Start a Blog for Your Ebay Business?

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I often get asked if starting a blog to coordinate with your Ebay business is a good idea or not. For years, I did have a blog for my Ebay Store; but I rarely updated it and never found it to help drive sales. However, before you make a decision about whether or not to start a blog, consider the following points:

    • If you are simply looking for a basic website to promote your Ebay listings, stick to a free blog on a site like Blogger or WordPress, noting that on Blogger you can also place Google AdSense advertising and earn additional income.
    • Make sure the link to your Ebay Store is featured prominently on your site as the main goal it to get people to your Ebay Store to shop.
    • Include links to all of your social networking sites; and be sure to update them if any of them change.
    • Update your site at least twice a week with photos, information about new listings, or announcements of any sales.
    • Keep it light and fun – your blog/website should be focused on bringing paying customers to your Ebay listings.  Your Ebay blog/website isn’t the place to discuss controversial topics such as religion or politics.
    • Don’t let maintaining your blog/website overtake your first priority, which is actually listing and selling items on Ebay!

For more information about starting a blog for your Ebay business, along with how to use other social media sites to grow your reselling income, check out my book How To Use Social Media To Increase Your Ebay Sales & Make More Money, which is available on Amazon Kindle. No Kindle? No problem, as Amazon offers FREE Kindle reading apps for computers, smart phones and tablets. 🙂

This post contains an excerpt from my book How To Use Social Media To Increase Your Ebay Sales & Make More Money, which is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without my written consent. Links may be affiliate links; read out Full Disclosure.

Why Walt Disney World Is the Perfect Vacation Spot for Senior Citizens!

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Walt Disney World is for families with little kids, right? Wrong! There is something for all ages at the Happiest Place on Earth!

You may be thinking, “Why would a senior citizen even WANT to go to Walt Disney World? Disney is for kids. There is nothing for an adult to do there.” Oh, how wrong you are! The truth is that while of course Disney caters to families with young children, there is so much available for adults to do without kids. In fact, there are many attractions, shows, and dining experiences that appeal much more to adults than children.

What I love so much about WDW is that there is truly something for everyone. We have been multiple times, and we haven’t even seen a fraction of what is available. Instead of spending our time waiting in line to meet characters, my dad and I explore Epcot’s World Showcase. Neither of us is into thrill rides, so we don’t have to worry about standing in long lines for the big attractions, instead focusing on the easier-to-get-into shows and exhibits.

In fact, there is so much to see and do in WDW without once stepping foot on an amusement park ride. Food choices abound, meaning you don’t have to settle for chicken fingers and hot dogs. There are fun shops to explore around every corner as well as street performances, parades and fireworks. Plus Disney is one of, if not THE cleanest, friendliest, safest, and accessible places in the entire world for senior citizens to visit!

For senior citizens, a big issue when traveling is accessibility. Perhaps you or the senior you are traveling with uses a mobility aid such as a walker, wheelchair or power scooter. Maybe there is a need for a service animal or a special dietary requirement. Whatever issue you may think is preventing you from visiting WDW, you can rest assured that the Disney cast members have seen it and handled it thousands of times over.

The Disney resorts, parks, restaurants, and transportation system are all designed to accommodate guests of all abilities, including those in wheelchairs. I will talk more about mobility aids coming up later in this book, but don’t let needing a little help getting around stop you from visiting WDW!

Check out my May 2014 vacation vlogs to see how my senior citizen dad handles traveling to Walt Disney World!

As for what there is to do for senior citizens, I can guarantee that you will never be bored at WDW, regardless of your age. While many Disney attractions accommodate all members of the family, if rides don’t interest you, there are plenty of shows and other events to keep you occupied from sun up until sun down. My dad goes on some rides, but for the most part, we stick to the shows, most of which are indoors, air conditioned and with comfortable seating.

If you stay on Disney property, the resorts themselves offer plenty of amenities and activities. All resort rooms are well appointed, and every resort has handicap accessible accommodations. There are themed pools, spas, restaurants, and shops at every property.

If you love to dine out, Disney has over 100 full-service sit-down restaurants throughout their resorts, parks and the Downtown Disney area; along with quick-service counter service spots and snack carts. Disney can accommodate any dining needs you may have, including allergies or special diets.

There is no need to drive while at WDW, as guests staying on property have free access to the monorail, boats and buses that transport you to and from the parks, resorts, and Downtown Disney. Not having to drive is a huge reason why my dad and I love vacationing at WDW so much! My dad no longer drives, so Disney transportation takes the burden of driving off of me during our vacation.

Finally, if safety and cleanliness are of concern, you will find that Disney delivers on both. While you certainly don’t want to completely let your guard down anywhere, Disney World takes steps to make sure guests of all ages are safe and comfortable.

Why should a senior citizen want to visit Walt Disney World? Why not?! And for more information about visit WDW as or with a senior citizen, check out my book WALT DISNEY WORLD FOR SENIOR CITIZENS, which is available on Amazon’s Kindle. No Kindle? No problem, as Disney offers FREE Kindle reading apps for computers, smart phones and tablets. 🙂

This article is an excerpt from my book “Walt Disney World for Senior Citizens”, which is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced or copied without permission. The links in the post above may be affiliate links. Read our Full Disclosure.