Finding a better, more efficient system

Yes, it is time to think of efficiency. Since going full time into my online business, I have increase my inventory. Also, I have more orders now than when I was doing this part time. It is high time to streamline things and have a workable and more efficient system.

But finding this system is challenging. There is no ready-made, off the shelve solution that I can adopt. Why? I guess because every person’s needs is different.

Now here is a list of what I need:

1) I need a good storage system (for home business) as my stock is mainly piled into plastic containers now. It is getting difficult and much time is spent in stock retrieval. Also, stock take seems to take forever.

2) I need a good inventory system (whether it is using plain old Excel file or some sophisticated system). This is because I am cross referencing my stock in ebay and also my online shop. It takes a lot time to keep the figures correct and updated.

3) I am thinking of expanding my business to selling in more ebay sites. I am only selling mainly in one ebay site now. But since I am doing it full time, I need to think of expanding and how to go about it. So, all the more that I need a good inventory system to keep track of stock. I can’t be selling “phantom” stock that I don’t have!

So, if anyone of you out there have a workable system that works for you, please do recommend it to me! Share share lar…. :)

Playing juggler… I am not!!!

Why juggler? Because that is how I felt the past week. Kids are home for nearly the whole week and I think I am really going nuts.

I think that I must be the worst mum in the whole wide world and I can’t believe that I am saying this… I am thankful that kids are going back to their nanny again starting next week!

Well, first of all the reason that they stayed home is because their nanny is off on a short holiday. And I thought since I am not “working”, I could juggle the kids and my business. I guess I took on more than what I could actually chew and swallow.

Tempers run short… OK, at least mine did… And hubby was really very patient with me and let my temper runs its own course… sigh… sorry about that…

But, I guess this goes to prove that I am just not ready to juggle kids with business YET!!! And I still need help with kids when I am trying to reply to queries, stock taking, planning out listings etc etc. I just could not concentrate with interruptions every 2 minutes… Mummy, how do you read this word? Mummy, mei mei is climbing the staircase! Mummy, do you know what is 1000 plus 1? Mummy, please hold my hand and teach me how to write. Mummy, I don’t know how to write….. and so on and on and on….

And yes, PLUS a toddler who insists to sit on my lap at my computer when I am trying to do some work, showing me she can help me reply to emails. Hmmm… should I be thankful that I got 2 enthusiastic helpers? After all, employers everywhere are looking for such employees who would go the extra mile rite?

Sigh… not to mention I need to rush to prepare their lunch and dinner. Plus washing and cleaning and tidying up the mess they make. And grabbing a few minutes here and there to check my emails, dashing off quick answers to most of them.

So yes, my business did suffer quite a lot this past week. It has slowed down tremendously. My stock is a mess. No time to take photos of new stock. My listings are down and I just hope I did not mix up my buyer’s orders last week. So, this next week, I will be playing catch up!

So, please don’t think too badly of me that I am not able to cope … and to mothers out there who are doing this juggling everyday, I salute you!

Hope that I will be able to master the juggling act one day…..

Are you suitable to work at home?

Since I resigned 4 months ago, I have been doing business online full-time. The thing is, I have started selling online for 2 years before I take the plunge to go full-time. And since then, many friends and colleagues are envious that I am now my own boss… well, literally… hehe….

I tried to tell these same friends and colleagues of mine that being your own boss is NOT a bed of roses. No need to feel envious. They would like to have the freedom I enjoy too. So, I did offer to some of them to teach them to sell online. They reassure me that they are really interested and ask me all kinds of questions on how to get started, how to get payments, what to sell etc etc… And so, I answered them again and again but till now… none of them every got started….

Are you surprised? I think now, the question would be, are you suitable to work at home? Are you suitable to be your own boss?

These friends of mine ask me to teach them how to sell online. But, when it comes to starting it off, everyone got their own reasons. It ranges from, I need to attend a cousin’s wedding, my kids are not feeling well, I do not know what to sell, I want to sell this but I do not know how to start, I am not computer savvy like you, I do not have transport, my hubby took the car, my kids will disturb me when you are teaching, I need to sleep at latest 10pm every night, I need to accompany hubby on this trip to the shopping complex….. ok, you get the idea.

People are actually paying for courses to learn how to sell online. And yet, here I am offering to teach for free…  All I can say is these friends of mine are not ready to become their own boss.

Let’s say, if their job requires them to come back that day itself to complete some things, otherwise they risk being fired. Do you think they will still come up with these excuses? Then, why do they come up with these excuses when it comes to their own business?

The problem with most of us is that we think that since it is our business, we should have more free time and flexibility with our time. This is true… up to a certain extent. There is no free lunch in this world. You have to be ready to sacrifice in order to start your own business.

When I started, I made lots of mistakes. Also, during the initial stage, I did not have anyone to guide me. I wasted lots of time and some money just to try things out. Until I met someone online in the ebay forum who is really friendly and helpful who pointed me in the right direction. Even so, I had to find out things for myself. In your own business, you can’t expect to be spoonfed. When you receive a piece of information, you need to act on it. Think about it. Do more research yourself and see how this piece of information affects you. Not just blindly follow or keep pestering and asking what should you do next (In a job, you could still consult your boss).

You need to allocate time to work on your business. It is definitely possible to start things off on a part time basis. But you need to manage your time wisely. I had many late nights. Mostly sleeping at about 1-2am in the morning, maybe 5 days a week. After getting the kids off to bed about 10am, that is when I start doing things related to my business.

You need to prioritize…. For me, when I need to make a decision between my job, business or family…. it is quite easy for me. First priority for me is always family. If my hubby can help me out on that, then it is great. If not then family is still my first priority. Second priority is my business. Last comes my job. So, let’s say I have this seminar I need to attend for my business and at the same time I have this function to attend in my job. Which should I go? For me, it is simple to make this decision… I will attend the seminar for my business. But I realise for some people, it is actually very difficult to make a decision as they have and always put their job as the first priority! Yes, even before their family.

So, if you think you are really suitable to work at home and be your own boss, answer the questions below honestly….

1) Am I committed to setting time aside EVERYDAY for my business? No slacking off….

2) Am I committed to grab any chance there is in order for my business to success?

3) Am I always making excuses?

4) If this is my job and I need to do it, will I still make this excuse? Or will I somehow arrange things so that I am able to achieve it?

Don’t feel inadequate if you are not the type to work at home and be your own boss. It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round….

Blog revived!

Yeap! I’ve revived my blog that I have created 2 years ago for my business. It is in blogspot and not in wordpress. Honestly, I prefer wordpress. However, Multiply have this cool feature (ok, maybe not so cool as it is already there for donkey years and I have just discovered it) that you can cross post with blogspot. So, this means I just post once in Blogspot and it gets replicated automatically to my Multiply!!! And since each blog has its own fans, I kill 2 birds with one stone here!

OK OK… after nattering for so long on this, I have not given you my blog URL yet… hehe… well, you can access it at http://sassezz.blogspot.com or at http://sassezz.multiply.com.

Basically, this blog will contain my forays into cooking and baking, with recipes and household tips to share. It is still starting up though and I am still beefing it up with lots of things… so please bear with me!

As I have spent the last 3 months figuring out how to build(or should I say customise?) my shopping cart (oh which by the way is accessible at www.sassezz.com) and finding the correct/best hosting provider… I need a short break.. but rest assured, my break will be short and will soon start putting lots of stuff into my blog soon…

If you like what you see so far, do follow me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/sassezz) . I will tweet whenever there is a new blog post or if I am running some promotion in my online shop!

So, come one, come all… visit my shop and blog and follow me on twitter!

Exasperating Buyers….

Sometimes, sometimes… I just want to scream because of exasperating buyers or potential buyers…

Hmmm… it’s either these buyers do not understand English or just plain dumb.

I’ve “met” buyers who clicks on “Buy It Now” and when I sent them an invoice, they claim that they did not know that by clicking “Buy It Now”, it means that they are committing to BUY the item. They think that it is to RESERVE the item. I mean, if it is meant to be reserved, wouldn’t the button be named as “Reserve It Now”?

Then there are buyers who change their mind again and again after they “Buy It Now”. They will write to you to apologize and then ask whether they can change a certain item with another one and then ask again on whether they can add on another one etc etc…. And in the end, they decided that their original purchase is the only thing that they want. Now, why am I not surprised?

Oh, and there is another breed of buyers too. This breed, they tell you that they want to buy a LOT of items from you and ask whether you give discount. Sounds familiar? Well, I will normally tell them to give me a list of items they want to buy together with the quantity they want and I will give them my best price. And so, they will compile a list. You see, I have many items and some are similar except in sizes and there is price difference for different sizes. And so, they come back to me with a list of items WITHOUT the size they want. So, I have to communicate with them asking them for the size. They will then return with the sizes but with strange quantities… Why strange? Because I might only have 2 lots left for a particular item and they wanted 3 lots. And these quantities are stated clearly in the listings. And so, I have to reply again explaining the situation… Hmmm… maybe they fail their mathematics and therefore can’t tell the difference between numbers?

But oh well, to be a good and accommodating seller, you just need to smile and deal with these buyers. After all, who knows, they might just turn out to recommend their friends who turn out to be your biggest buyer…. hopefully not as exasperating as them.