You would think that after selling on EBay for 6 plus years the answer to that question would be a resounding yes. But self-doubt is a part of life and perhaps it even serves a purpose if we can keep it in check. And as I am feeling a bit of the self-doubt bug right now I will endeavour to find some silver lining in my current gloomy outlook.
The reason for my gloominess you ask. Well I believe that it mostly steams from my underwhelming sales numbers of late. The feeling is compounded by the fact that I am trying to grow and not just maintain my business. It is sometimes a difficult line to tread to keep an eye on your sales but not to loose sleep over them. And so with some trepidation I will face this nagging fear and really examine the numbers for the last two months.
The first bit of news is actually good. Looking at July's numbers and comparing this year to 2011. My unit sales are up 58% and my profit per item is up 1.4%. Comparing August to August the numbers are: unit sales up 14% and profit per item is up 33% over last August. I guess if I left it at that it would sound pretty good. But the down side is that July units sales were down 15% from the average of the rest of this year and August unit sales were down 19%. There is more good news in that my average profit per item for July and August was actually up from the average of the last 6 months. 13% in July and 8% in August.
I used these fancy formulas to calculate my numbers.
Percentage increase = (new amount - original amount) / original amount X 100
Percentage decrease = (original amount - new amount) / original amount X 100
I am sure that this just seems like a big jumble of numbers that you can slice and dice in an infinite number of mind boggling ways. But now that I have forced myself through the exercise I do feel a little bit better as the news wasn't all bad. I do also have to remind myself that the summer months are usually slower and that we are heading into the holiday season which should bring an increase in sales.
That is if I can get myself to get some listing done! I haven't been very good lately about feeding new items into the system so it isn't that surprising that my sales were also a little slow. This is undoubtedly a big contributor to my self-doubt. I know that I should be listing more but I do find it easy to get distracted by other things.
I have read that one secret to success is to state your goals publicly and while I do agree that this is probably a good idea I am not sure that I am at a point where I know what my number goals are. What numbers should I concentrate on? Should I have a listing goal? A sales goal? Should these goals be based on number of units or dollars? Should I work on incremental percentage increases? Should I have a year end goal, a monthly goal a weekly goal? I fear that I should have answers to all these questions but I also fear that it would be easy to get bogged down in all of the numbers and become deeply depressed when I missed my targets. Sometimes (in fact I would argue that most of the time) it is better to keep working on the revenue generating work ie: listing & sourcing new items than it is to worry about how all of your numbers are stacking up. Don't get me wrong I think it is important to track how you are doing but when you are a one person enterprise sometimes you have to forget all about the numbers and just buckle down and do the work.
It's a balancing act that sometimes makes me wonder if I have what it takes to grow my business and be successful. For now I will continue, accepting that I will do somethings wrong and that there will always be new things for me to learn.
And now I will try to take my own advise and go do some listing!!