Sunday, 10 February 2013

a long and quite educational success story......

Hello Blog! It has been a while.

Just a post to talk about the things I have been up to since the pause of my studies in November.

Great news I have been feeling loads better recently and I'm positive I will make a full recovery.

So what have I been up too. Well.... its a long and quite educational story, there is lots that any reader could learn from it so I shall begin.

In November I temporarily left university as you may well know, I found myself Jobless, moneyless with bills to pay and a family to support.
I worked out that I would be ok until after christmas. So I decided that after christmas I was going to go into business for myself and earn some cash......

One problem.... How?....I needed to find a way to make money....... fast.

I am going to write a money making guide afterwards that may help students who are skint and are desperate to make money, They probably wont like what i'm going to tell them though, but there are a few rules many of which I learnt whilst at university. I have made a few mistakes on my quest.
 I will tell you though there is no such thing as EASY MONEY, making money comes with its own price tag.... more on that in the next post.


The first thing I thought of (and this is a bit obvious) is something I could sell and make a profit on.
I read a few money making guides and all of them had one thing in common. They clearly stated that you should SELL WHAT YOU KNOW!

What do I know? art? there really is no market for that sort of thing in the online auction place, Unless its rare, signed by the artist, who is famous.
I have tried to make money on my art in the summer I sold a few ink sketches for 40 quid each, but that was just fluke that someone saw it and liked it. This was not an option for now.

What else do I know? Im a collector of my little ponies and vintage toys, I know them really well.
I was on the right line now but here is where I made my first mistake.

I looked online ( I should say that I did some extensive research) into the market for this kind of thing and found that the best selling ponies where the custom hand made plushes (cuddly toys) They were going for about 100 to 150 quid.

So I sold a vintage toy online to make some money so I could buy the material and started planning the concept, the pattern and all of that.
These cuddly toys sold because they were an accurate representation of the character that they were meant to represent.

I started trying out the pattern for these toys. My first one was a disater and out of proportion, the second was better but still not right.
I made 5 different patterns altogether and with each one I made they looked better and better.
Unfortunatley it took me 2 days to make them, cost 5 quid to make and I was really having trouble shifting them.
So I decided to move on. It just wasnt worth it. The time it took and the small profit, I would be lucky if I made enough money to live off....

So what went wrong?

1. I should have used some old cheap material to practice on first... but I was too eager.
2. I should have made sure that the design was correct and that the pattern would make a toy that was an accurate representation of the character...... before I made it.
3. I didnt know anything about making toys.... I knew the product... but not how to make it properly.
4. My reputation for selling this kind of thing online was zero. The people who were making the money had a decent rep because they had been doing it for ages and had sold many.

If its any consolation I am now very very good at making cuddly toys because of  all the mistakes I made. It took a month of practice and making before I got this good.. doing it every single day.

I didnt make a loss though, which was good.

I knew vintage toys! I had some spares upstairs that I had bought for about 30p online and I had restored. I have been doing it for years so I know what works.

So I took some really nice pictures and put them on an online auction.
Verdict. They still didnt sell very well.

More research was needed.  I looked at my competitors items for sale and realised that they were running a business by having a buy it now price. If the Collector saw the item on auction they would try and get it cheap... on a buy it now there is always a chance that someone else could pay for it straight away and you would miss out.

So I tried it. I bought some more vintage toys for dirt cheap on line did them up, took some very nice pics, gave a highly detailed description, offered to combine postage if the buyer bought more than one and listed them for a buy it now price of 14.99.

and they sold... for 14.99. each.  The rarer ones sold for more about £25 the less rarer ones about £9

This is cheaper than alot of other peoples stuff and my pictures are better too.

So I bought loads more, I decided that I wouldnt spend more than 99p on a vintage toy. That way I could make a decent profit.
After a month I had built myself a decent reputation and I had customers who had bought things before contacting me and asking for more things.

Which I was happy to sell to them. After the first month it is going really well. Im even managing to save some money.

My best customer is a primary school teacher from london called Barry! I made alot of money this week. It sounds good but its not all its cracked up to be. There are pros and cons which I will discuss in the next post.

I am getting out of it what I put in. I am able to look after my family and not claim benefits and that really does alot for my confidence.  I am now not worried about money because I know I possess skills that allow me to make it. Most of those skills I have learnt in my adult education.

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