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…..

Working vs “Not” Working

OK, since I have been “jobless” for nearly 4 months now… I feel that I am entitled to write this post now :)

Oh well, I am not exactly jobless but you get what I mean… I run my own online business full time now… besides taking care of things at home. Kids are still at the nanny.

Let me tell you…. it has been a blast! For working mothers who are contemplating to be WAHMs, I truly recommend it. It can be frustrating at times… but the pros much outweigh the cons. Or perhaps I am tired of the corporate world? Hehehe…

What are the pros? For starters, my hubby can enjoy home cooked meals for dinner almost everyday…. hehe… of course there are some days where I want a time out too! Thus we pack dinner or eat out. But I will cook something simple for dinner almost everyday. Saves money and much healthier!

Yes, kids are still at the nanny which means that the amount of time spent together with them is still the same… no matter whether I am working or not! But the difference is this…. if the kids are unwell or need a visit to the doctor’s or even if they would like to go swimming in the evenings, I could accommodate! By just rearranging my time…. With a full time job, it would be difficult. Well, beware, this does not mean that you put in less effort in your work at home… you still need to do what you need to do. Just that it is easier to arrange to do it at maybe 10pm at night? Instead of 6pm when it is time to prepare and cook dinner?

Of course, you could arrange your own time out too! Maybe you would like to avoid the weekend crowd and long queues at the local shopping mall? No problem! Just got during weekdays! Need a massage and a facial? No problem! Just rearrange your time!

Still not convinced? Or maybe you are asking now… what are the cons? Well, it is discipline, discipline, discipline! Rearranging your time for some leisure or other commitments does not mean that you neglect your business. It just means that… rearrange time. For some, it is difficult if there is no one to look over your shoulder, following up on your progress in your job. You need constant supervision and attention(affirmation) that you are doing things correctly from your superior.

If you are running your own business, there will be no one to tell you whether what you are doing is correct or you are on the right path. YOU and YOU alone decides that. How much money do I want to invest? How much time do I want to spend doing this? Is the effort worth it? Is there a better way to do this tedious job? How do I improve efficiency for this time consuming task? YOU and YOU alone have to ask yourself all this tough questions and answer them. No more discussing with boss and see what my boss say and follow his lead. No more fixed $$$$ every month, whether I do the job well or not…

Oh, wait, did I mention $$$? Yes, I did… You have to get used to the idea of not getting a fixed amount of money every month. When business is good, you get more. When it is not so good, you get less. And sometimes, it is a lot less…. that you find that you might need to eat grass that month!!!!

Oh.. don’t worry!! I am not eating grass… all thanks to my hubby!!! Hehehehe… so I guess pre-requisite to going full time as WAHM – a supportive hubby is a must!!! No joke!!!!

Well, some people might also miss the camaraderie in the office. Working at home can be lonely at times. But I find it therapeutic. Perhaps I am a loner/introvert at heart and feel most comfortable when I am alone…. :) But well, this can be remedied. Ask your ex-colleagues out for lunch or dinner :) and catch up the office gossips.. Or maybe reconnect with long lost friends whom you can never find the time to contact when you were still working?

So, for me, I think besides the $$$$ part where I am still getting used to, life has been a blast! I felt more relaxed and not so tense. I wake up in the morning looking forward to the day…. This has to be good for my health (psst.. another pro.. hehe)

So, what are you waiting for?