Easy Money on Ebay?
By KL Bohn
Ebay was only two years old when I discovered it.
A friend I worked with was also starting to sell on Ebay at about the same
time, and we exchanged ideas and experiences constantly. Since we were
already working together on our Ebay ventures, we decided to combine our
resources into one company and grow it while we were still both working our
regular job. We found our niche selling technical books and manuals as our
little company began to grow and prosper. Our co-workers at the company we
worked at during the day came to consider us the "Ebay Experts". We were
answering questions about online auctions on a daily basis, but one coworker
had the same comment every day.
"Hey, show me how to make easy money on Ebay!" he would ask. It became a
standing joke between My partner and I that usually came up around two or
three in the morning during a marathon packing or email answering session.
One of us would look at the other and mutter in a disgusted tone "Yea, Easy
money on Ebay.."
In January of 2002, we had more sales, and more auctions running than ever
before. We were looking at 100 to 150 auctions a day closing, and enjoying a
sell-through rate of close to 75%. Our shelves were piled high with books
and manuals, the shipping area was well stocked with supplies, and we were
ready for long hours of fulfilling our orders.
Then, as if fate stepped in to see just what we were made of, a huge ice
storm hit our part of Oklahoma taking out large sections the electrical
grid. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that online
businesses can do without many things, but electricity is NOT on that list!
On the third day of the blackout, we were able to learn from the radio
(battery powered) that it wasn't just our area, but over HALF the state of
Oklahoma. Worse yet, the damage was so extensive it was going to be at least
TWO WEEKS before power was restored! A quick calculation and we almost
panicked. We would have over two THOUSAND AUCTIONS END, and no way to
contact the bidders! If we didn't keep up with the sales, payments, and
shipping on a daily basis, we were in deep trouble... We couldn't imagine
what a mess it would be in TWO WEEKS!
The fourth day into the blackout, I made an executive decision. I grabbed
the company checkbook, and headed for our closest Lowe's Home Improvement
center (about 70 miles away..). The little roadtrip turned into quite the
adventure. Strange thing about a massive blackout is gas stations can't pump
gas without electricity, and you are burning gas while you are driving
around looking for a gas station that was open for business. I was running
on luck and fumes before I finally found a station and filled up. With a
full tank of gas, I made it to Lowe's and purchased a generator. We
assembled the generator in record time, put oil in the engine and then
realized... Uh Oh, we need gas for the generator. No local gas stations were
open for business, and we didn't want to risk another road trip. Using an
old trick I hadn't used since I was growing up on a farm, we were able to
get enough gas out of my pickup truck to fuel up the generator.
The little generator fired up on the first pull, and with the help of a few
extension cords and power strips, we had a computer network up and running
at My partners house. It was then we made another interesting discovery.
Cable internet connections do not work without electricity. I had a DSL
internet connection at my house, so off we go with a partially charged
battery in my laptop to test my internet connection. SUCCESS! DSL works off
the phone line power so it was still functional. We made a quick drive back
to My partners house to tear down the computer network and load the
generator, then back to my house to set it all up again.
At 4:30 the next morning We had the network online and a couple of lamps for
light. We were self-contained, and open for business. Now we could get to
work, and so we did, for the next straight 48 hours. We had a pickup truck
load of packages ready for the post office when it hit us, "Is the post
office open?". A quick phone call ( by the way, cell phones and cordless
phones are useless during a blackout. The simplest plug-it-in-the-wall
phones work great.) found us with another problem. Our local post office was
closed (no electricity there either.) They did tell us the regional USPS hub
had power, and was open 24/7. The bad news is, the regional hub was 75 miles
away in Oklahoma City!
Meanwhile, back at the fuel issue... We were relieved to discover that two
local gas stations had rented generators and were open for business. We
gassed up and headed for Oklahoma City. With the load of packages on the way
to customers and most of the other urgent tasks completed, we took a much
needed break. We shut down the network and use the generator to power an
electric griddle and make a hot meal. The little generator wouldn't power
both at the same time without throwing it's breaker.
For the next two weeks, that poor little generator ran constantly keeping
the computers running and the shipments going out, the questions answered,
and our customers happy. Every other day I would make the 150 mile round
trip to the USPS hub in Oklahoma City, stopping on the way back to fill the
gas containers for the generator, and fuel up the truck for the next trip.
One evening we took a short break, and stepped outside for a breath of fresh
air. We noticed something different.... THE STREET LIGHTS WERE ON! I ran
inside and tried the lights... ELECTRICITY!
I went next door and asked my neighbor how long the power had been back on.
"Oh, about four or five hours..". We had been so wrapped up working in our
self-contained office, we hadn't realized the power had come back on!
With our ordeal behind us, we couldn't resist the temptation to elebrate
with a cold beer and a toast...
"Here's to "easy money" on Ebay!"
KL Bohn is an Industrial Engineer with a passion for technology and
Ebay was only two years old when I discovered it quite by accident. 7 1/2
years, and over 85,000 transactions later I'm still hooked on Ebay as a
seller, buyer, and shareholder.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/