Thursday, April 18, 2013

Is It Really Making Money?

By Susan Wilson, MBA

Money is an advantageous instrument.  It’s magnificent to make money and a hobby or small enterprise can be a fun way to bring more in.  Hopefully, one of these start-ups can go big and we will have arrived.  At what point does the small become big enough to manage?  As soon as there is money involved.  This is the lesson my friend Ron learned with EBay.
It Starts With a Great Idea
Ron had a couple of collections, tired of them, and decided to sell stuff to make room for his other collections.  He started shipping out boxes a couple times of week, and enjoying it.  Next thing you know, he’s heading out on buying trips around the state to find more treasures.  Now, he’s receiving packages a couple times a week. 

Is it Making Money? 
The gambler will always share stories about their wins, but we rarely hear about the losses.  Sound familiar?  He went to the estate sale and found a $250 item for $10 and sold it in one day.  Did those Dancing With The Stars ferret outfits not sell like you expected?  Perhaps they are tax-deductible donations to the local pet shelter.

Keep Track of Everything
When you start your new adventure, write down specific goals.  Make them big enough to justify the effort you have decided to take. 

·        How many items do you want to list and expect to sell each week?

·        What is the initial amount of investment? Use cash, not a credit card.

·        What margin of profit do you expect?

·        What expenses are their besides listing fees, packaging materials, shipping, mileage, shopping for new items? 

·        Maximum storage space to use and cost of inventory?

·        When and how will the profits (if any) be used?
Now, Figure out the Money

Start tracking expenses and income right away.  You can do it on a computer spreadsheet or in a notebook if it’s not too many.  Make sure this is a profitable enterprise, not a hobby.  If your intent is to make money, make sure it really is bringing in a profit.  Total it up at least monthly to see how you are doing.  If you used any credit cards to start out, pay them off in full as soon as possible.  Profits should be used as planned – hopefully for an emergency fund, towards a large purchase, or to invest.

How is your adventure doing?  Share your experiences here.  Learn more about taking control of your money at