The quick and easy new way to sell your things online.

Do you know how to sell things? You should. Because sooner or later, everyone needs to sell something. It might be as simple as Girl Scout cookies, that ugly couch from college that knows too much, your home or your car. Selling is an essential element of commerce. Businesses live or die based on their ability to sell.

But if you run a household or are an aspiring Minimalist, you need to be able to sell too. Because at some point you are going to find yourself in possession of things that you just can’t use. You probably have some tweener items squatting in your home right now that are too nice to throw away and too nice to give away.

I did. As a marketing professional I was very curious to find the best way to sell such things. So I performed my own experiment. I tested three different channels. I tried selling in-person and online. I also tested a new platform. The results were surprising. Like Macaulay Culkin-using-aftershave surprising.

The Garage Sale

We recently moved into a new home and had some things that didn’t work in our new space. It was nice stuff.  But it was Bruce Jenner-ish in a Caitlyn Jenner world. The people we bought our house from also left a few unique items in the house that were more them than us. So they had to go too.

Our subdivision was having a whole-neighborhood garage sale. We were garage sale virgins. But we decided that the Westchester Lakes All-Neighborhood Garage Sale would be our first.  However, our first time wasn’t the greatest. It rained, which hurt traffic (the rain didn’t actually hurt the people).  We sold a lot of toys, clothes and decor. But we didn’t sell our bigger furniture items. Which was what we were most interested in offloading.

The Digital Experiment

When the final bell sounded on our garage sale we still had a bedroom set, a formal chair, an end table, a large doll house and a set of bar stools that needed to go.

So we moved to Plan B.

I decided the best option was to post our things online. I have sold many random things on Craigslist. Including a car, a swing set and 5 counter tops.  But I was curious about how significant some of the new Sell-Your-Stuff-Here platforms had become.  So I decided to have a sell-off between Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. I called Pay-Per-View to see if they wanted to cover the rumble. They declined.

I started with the bedroom set. There was a white dresser with mirror, end table, headboard, footboard and side rails. I posted it with the same photos and same description on both sites.

Craigslist

IMG_6713The posting on Craigslist was good. I used their mobile app. It was quick, clear and easy. It didn’t take me long to get it posted. It generated three inquiries the first day.  I had 12 people respond to the Craigslist posting over 3 days. I was very pleased. Craig and his list had lived up to my previous expectations.

Facebook Marketplace.

This was my first time using The Marketplace.  It walks you through a 4-step process that makes it moronically simple to list your items. My post was live in no time. But what came next was a total surprise.

Almost immediately the responses flooded in like Harvey in Houston.  I had 48 responses in 48 hours. I responded to each inquiry quickly, and had to determine how to prioritize the request to see the items.

That was actually my biggest problem. Because the first person needed 24 hours before she could come see the bedroom set. Then she didn’t show. And neither did the second in line.  The 3rd came but it wasn’t quite what she wanted for herself (it was really more of a kid’s bedroom set, and she was looking for a set for herself).

But the second person to come see the set snatched it up and we were done.  I was able to declare the buyer on The Marketplace and signal that the item had been sold with just 2 clicks.

Following that Joey Chestnut-like feeding frenzy, I posted the doll house, chair and end table on the Facebook Marketplace too. All of them sold within 24-hours with serious interest across the board.

I had listed the bar stools twice on Craigslist over the past 12 months and they didn’t sell.  I listed them for a significantly higher price on the Facebook Marketplace and sold all five for my asking price, with 2 backup buyers to spare.

IMG_6716
This doll house that also moonlights as a bookshelf was snatched off the Facebook Marketplace in minutes for $30.
IMG_6720
This classic end table was snatched up on the Facebook Marketplace on day one.
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These oak bar stools came with our house.  We had previously listed them on Craigslist twice.

 

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I bought this sweet green chair at a garage sale 13 years ago for $15. I sold on The Facebook Marketplace for $25.

The conclusion

The Facebook Marketplace is a force to be reckoned with for online selling. Both individuals and businesses should take notice. People are already spending a ton of time on Facebook.  So sellers are fishing where the fish spend their leisure time. Whereas Craigslist is where the fish swim when they need an end table.

The Facebook Marketplace could be huge. It may be Facebook’s equivalent to QVC or The Home Shopping Network, or bigger. So the next time you have something to sell go where people are killing time and are happy to find a killer deal.  You’ll be happy you did. As for me, I am just happy to have my garage back before the snow flies.

Two questions to refocus your career every Labor Day.

Happy Labor Day!  I’m honored that you took a moment to read my blog today. Because as you read this, the last hours of summer are sprinting through the hourglass. You would probably be better off using this time to soak up some sunshine. Either way, that healthy summer tan is going to start fading at sundown. Sorry. I’ll try to make this brief.

Labor Day is for you.

Labor Day is YOUR national holiday. It is a day to honor the work you do. Yes, you!

According to The US Labor Department (Labor Day’s Parents), Labor Day constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Good for you, Worker Bee! Have some honey! Take the day off. Eat a hotdog, drink a Miller Lite and blow off some steam by throwing some bags in a hole.

This is a great time to reflect on your career.

Labor Day is also the perfect day for your annual career evaluation. It’s like a mammogram or prostate check for you career. Only you get to keep your clothes on, if you want.

Careers are long and complicated journeys. Along the way we often become so consumed with our daily work that we don’t think about the big picture.

It’s easy to focus on the days and lose site of the career.

I took the time to chart my ideal career course at the beginning of my journey. If you haven’t done that yet, do it today. Determine all the things you want to accomplish in your career AND what the end looks like.

I had a vision for my entire career from the starting blocks. Luckily for me, my wife Dawn always seems to know when it has been too long since I have revisited my career map.

At those times she poses these two simple questions:

  1. Are you where you want to be?
  2. Where are you going next?

These questions have been extremely helpful to me over the past 15 years. Here is how they can be helpful to you.

6 ways these questions help your career.

  1. They remind you that you have a career plan (if you haven’t written yours down do it now).
  2. They make you cognizant of the passing of time.
  3. They remind you of your valuable accumulation of experience and abilities.
  4. They remind you that if you want to accomplish everything in your plan you need to keep moving.
  5. They help you rise above your current day-to-day work to see your entire career and how much of it is yet unwritten.
  6. Most importantly, they are a scary reminder that if you don’t start writing the next chapter, there will be no next chapter. There will be no rising drama. There will be no cray-cray challenge that tests your fortitude. No great triumph. Your career story will end on this chapter. That is perfectly acceptable if you have accomplished everything in your plan. I have not.

You just read the critical part of the post. Feel free to go enjoy some sun now. If it is raining or nighttime as you read this, I baked you some more blog cookies below.

My last 3 Labor Day evaluations.

On Labor Day 2015 I was deep into my plans for starting my own advertising agency. My career evaluation was full of excitement and potential. But only if I followed through with the plan and plunged into entrepreneurship, which was the next square on my Career Candyland board game.

On Labor Day 2016 I had launched my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, and had already worked with 8 clients. I was learning. We were growing. I was on course.

Today, Labor Day 2017, I couldn’t be happier. I love what I am doing. I love what we are building at The Weaponry. I have a great team of full-time, part-time and some-time coworkers.  I love the clients we have been honored to help. We have now worked with 20+ great brands in the United States and Canada. This is the most exciting and rewarding chapter of my career. But I wouldn’t have gotten to it if I had not regularly pondered where I stood in my career and where I wanted to go next.

So each year, at Labor Day, as you enjoy the tribute to your labor, take a few minutes or a few hours to ask yourself, what’s next for my career?  Find the next step towards the type of success you’ve always wanted.  Take the steps that add new, more interesting chapters to your life story. Don’t just coast through each year trying not to get fired. If you stop evaluating long enough it becomes too late. The game is over. The book is done. And no one wants to read it. But if you chart your progress and refocus every Labor Day, you’ll have a book to be proud of. And I can’t wait to read it.