donating, money

Selling Your Stuff

I used to sell a lot online; this was when I was an undergrad and needed all the pennies I could collect. I would sell old textbooks on half.com (RIP – that was the BEST site to sell on), and I sold a few things on eBay that took off in the last few minutes of the auction, much to my broke-student relief!

Since then, I haven’t sold much online. I used to list a lot of books on PaperbackSwap, but that’s a fair trade, not selling. When it comes to getting rid of things, I would rather get rid of them immediately instead of have them lurking around a week in hopes they sell. I try to match my items with the best donation center, like taking books to the library and baby clothes to Catholic Charities, who gives them to families for free.

I had a few days with no projects on the task list, so I decided to take time to list a bunch of items I had around the house. I had planned on donating them, but I thought they might be worth something to someone. A Squirrel Girl figurine, for example – just donating that might be a waste because they might not know what it is. Why not list it for a couple of bucks?

I ended up listing 31 items over 2 days. It took about 15 minutes to list each item, from photographing it and measuring it, to writing about it. I tried to write funny, engaging descriptions because I’ve seen auctions go well because of the writing. I wasn’t trying to go viral – I just wanted someone to want one of my things and bid on it because they liked the overall tone and wanted to buy from me over someone else.

Three items sold from my first day of auctions. Three out of thirteen. Not great.

Three more sold the next day. Three out of eighteen. Even worse.

I thought it was better than nothing – I wasn’t working those days, so at least it was something. You could say that I made about $70 on those days, for about 10 hours of work (listing, packing, shipping).

Then… the post office. I don’t know if I got ripped off, or if ebay shipping estimates are just totally off, or what. But I spend almost $45 on shipping! This majorly cut into my profits. I still made about $30 on junk I was going to get rid of anyway, so I’m trying to see it as free money. But I put so much work into it… just not worth it.

For me, it’s just easier to donate what I don’t want anymore. I know I paid money for it, but I got my use out of the item and don’t need it anymore, so what little I actually lose on it is fine, because I get peace of mind. I know the item is not cluttering up my house anymore, and hopefully it goes to someone who wants it. I will probably list a few more specific things, like camera accessories, but otherwise I’ll just donate the bulk of my unwanted items.

Have you had good luck selling things online? Is it worth the time and effort you put in?

money, working

Photography

Photography has been my passion since I was young. I used to take tons of film pictures, filled albums, owned a band photography business, and even had an application ready for art school… but I got cold feet. I didn’t think I could make photography happen for me, so instead of sticking with it and trying, or even just keeping it as a hobby… I quit.

It was sad. I was sad.

Within the past few years, I have picked photography back up as a hobby, and am now turning it into a business. I have watched videos on how to actually learn my camera, because I am purely self-taught. And by “self-taught”, I mean I picked up the camera, figured out basic settings, and started photographing what moved me. And it’s worked for me, but I feel like to get anywhere, I need to know what I’m doing.

Hence studying my camera, settings, the technical side of it, and the business side of it. I’ve been self-employed and worked freelance for years, so I can do the financial side and the taxes. But the marketing and the clients and all that jazz is totally foreign to me.

I’m excited about Allison and Her Camera. I wish I knew when I was in my early 20s that being a photographer, and not just a wedding photographer, was possible. I wish I had found some encouragement to follow what I loved, because I would be so much farther along now.

But you can’t go back, and you can’t change anything. So now I just have to hustle and work hard and learn all I can. I want to make it happen, so I can. And I will. Everything has been happening this year, happening quickly if you realize it’s only April.

This doesn’t have much at all to do with money, or possessions, or anything like that. You could delve into it and make it about that – about digital photos over printed photographs on display. About owning a camera and lenses versus renting them. I can twist anything into being about money and finances. But for this… I didn’t want to. I wanted it to be purely about my passion for photography and my drive to make it happen for me. So it is.