Matt Rauert has been selling on ebay since his college days and in 2012 he made the move to a full-time, ebay seller. That means he gave up his real job and made his living by selling on ebay. He is married to Melanie and they have five young children. Melanie helps out a little but her primary job is a full-time, stay at home mom.
This all sounds familiar to me.
And I love it.
Matt has donated some of his time to answer questions about his journey and what has helped him succeed, obstacles he’s had to overcome and more.
Ebay User ID: thegreenbureau (See his store here )
Take Home Monthly Pay: $5000-$7000
Not included in the written interview I asked Matt what his goal was over the next few years and it is to triple his pay and production. Knowing Matt I would be shocked if it didn’t come true.
If you have any questions for Matt, don’t hesitate to ask him in the comments.
Here We Go.
Ladies and Gentleman…
Matt Rauert aka thegreenbureau
1. What are the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome to achieve your success as a seller on ebay?
For me, the largest thing is making work a consistent priority. Self-employment allows for so much freedom with one’s time and it’s my tendency to spend time doing things that I like, rather than things that need to get done. Initially, it was the mid-week morning round of golf, now it’s frequent taking the afternoon off to take my family to the zoo or run errands. The lifestyle is about balance, and that’s probably been the biggest struggle for me.
2. Do you have daily, weekly or monthly listing goals? (New Listings) If so, what are your goals?
I do set goals for listing, but the goals change depending on the type of item I’m listing that week, other (personal) things that need to get taken care of, etc. I try to list 150-200 new items, each week. I don’t always make that goal, but it’s a goal nonetheless.
3. How often do you shop for inventory and where do you source your inventory from? What strategies for shopping give you an advantage over others?
This is something that has changed over the years for us. When I initially started doing eBay full-time, I would source 2 or 3 days a week, when the best (cheapest) prices could be had on inventory (clothing sale days). I would then spend a couple weeks getting everything I had sourced listed. This worked ok, but earlier this year I “discovered” the art of shopping more frequently and getting the better items that won’t ever spend much time on the floor of a thrift store. Since the approx. time it takes to get an item from the source to listed in the eBay store is basically the same regardless, I’ve found that by spending a little more on the initial item and pricing considerably higher on the backside, there’s considerably more money to be made that way. Now I source more like 10 days a month for a couple hours each of those days.
We source our inventory from a variety of sources but an estimate would be: 90+% from Goodwill, 5% other non-profit thrift stores & garage sales, 5% eBay auction sniping & other odds & ends
As far as strategies, I think that my experience is likely my most valuable asset. Over time, it becomes easier and easier to spot luxury fabrics, quality tailoring, etc. without having to know every single brand that you may come across. I also stick to the same general type of item, so I’m not often pulling guesses on what something might be worth.
4. Tell me about an item that is commonly overlooked by other people at thrift stores or garage sales that you purchase regularly and is a steady selling item for you?
This is probably the easiest question you’ve given me: plus – sized women’s jeans in “box-store” brands. Women’s / plus sizes in jeans sell very well. Gloria Vanderbilt, Liz Claiborne, Old Navy come to mind as some of the brands that are easy to spot in the thrift stores and all of them will sell for $15-20. If you can buy for $1, ship for less than $6, often there’s about a $10 profit on every pair and they never last more than a couple weeks as fixed price items. Always check for piling between the legs and other damage closely, but almost always a really easy sale.
5. Tell me one ‘tip’ you would share with a new seller or an existing seller who was trying to grow their business?
If it isn’t listed, it can’t sell. For most sellers, the sourcing is the easy / fun part and it’s very, very easy to get swamped in unlisted inventory if you aren’t careful. List, list, list!
6. Even as a successful seller, what do you struggle with the most in your ebay business?
I would revert back to my answer on question number 1 for this. Balancing the freedom that this type of work allows for with enjoying the freedom is the biggest struggle for us.
7. On the flip side, what is one of your strengths that helps lead to your success?
My father taught me many things, and one of them was that work hard, but keep the end in mind. I can recall many times in my life I’ve accomplished something, but because of short-sightedness, I did it the hard way (or the hardest way imaginable ;). Age has provided me with some prospective to see the goal and, if the path to the goal looks obstructed to find another way to it. Being able to work through issues and having the flexibility to change course when necessary is a great strength.
THANK YOU MATT FOR YOUR TIME! I know that everyone can benefit from what you shared and I look forward to hearing more from you as you continue to grow your business.
As a reminder, if you have any questions for Matt please fire away in the comments.
DES MOINES THRIFT STORE UPDATE:
If you missed the Des Moines thrift experiment, you can read about it here. Here are the updated totals:
Week of 1/25-1/30: 7 items sold, $229.93 in sales, Average Price – $32.85
Complete Updated Totals: 44 items sold, $1385.90 in sales, Average Price – $31.50
Profit to date: $986.37
Items Remaining: 41
Stay tuned for weekly updates.