That Kat Radio Podcast 27 Juggling the Jingle Season with Diva Dawn Ralston

By That Kat | September 4, 2015

In this episode, Kat spoke with Diva Dawn Ralston about getting ready for Q4

Diva Dawn Ralston has been selling on eBay for 8 years, is an eBay Top Rated Seller with over 4,600 positive feedback and manages an eBay store with over 2,500 unique listings.

Using organizational skills honed in her prior accounting, paralegal and media careers, Diva Dawn has created an online business that is flexible and functional. She has mad skills in time and project management, controlling paper clutter, bookkeeping and organizing inventory and spaces.

In the first segment Dawn and Kat discussed the Power of Q4, Setting both Business and Personal goals for the season and keeping your expectations grounded in reality and not perfection.



In segment two topics discussed were: how to set up your business now for success in Q4, Getting your Inventory in order for Q4, using Social Media, Setting up a shipping station and hiring and training help.


In segment three Kat and Dawn talked about taking stock with your family to determine THEIR priorities for the season, things you can do NOW to maximize your time in Q4, shopping ahead, baking and holiday photos and cards.



In our last segment, we discussed learning how to say, “No,” Enlisting help, giving up control and letting go of the guilt of trying to do it all.



Inventory Lab

Dawn’s Facebook Group

Dawn’s Website

Juggling the Jingle Season

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Stamps.com

You can follow Kat on TWITTER, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. Read the blog on ThatKat.com.

Purchase one of Kat’s books on Amazon. Kat’s Sales Tax Book or Ultimate Guide to Savings by Store.

Join her Facebook Group to be notified of upcoming shows.

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eRated Launches WordPress and WooCommerce Plugin

By That Kat | September 3, 2015

eRated, the leading global trust certification for ecommerce, today announced the launch of its trust plugin in WordPress and Woocommerce, the world’s most popular ecommerce platform powering 30% of ecommerce stores.

 

“We know that every new shop owner struggles to build a reputation for trustworthy product delivery.  Using eRated’s plugin, WordPress and Woocommerce merchants can now import their feedback and reviews from other platforms to their own shop – cutting to a fraction the amount of time it takes for buyers to trust shop owners,” said eRated CEO Boaz Cohen.

 

eRated offers WordPress and WooCommerce merchants the following features:

 

 

Vintage clothing shop owner Rebecca Gabriel said, “I noticed a difference in sales immediately after I was able to import my Amazon reviews to my shop via eRated.  People know the eRated certification and now first-time buyers know they can trust me instantly.”

 

About eRated

eRated is the global trust authority for ecommerce. eRated boosts buyer trust in shops and shopowners by allowing merchants to import their reputation from other platforms like eBay and Amazon. Using a universally recognized score, eRated bolsters trust and confidence by showing ratings and reviews from all marketplaces and social networks the merchant has previously transacted in. People want to buy from merchants whom they trust. eRated makes it easier to trust others through a simple and seamless Woocommerce plugin and helps online shops become trustworthy from day one.  For online shopowners, trust turns window-shoppers into buyers: http://www.eRated.co

 

Contact:

Boaz Cohen

+972528411037

boaz@eRated.co

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PayPal Introduces New Way to Get Paid

By Kate Hornsby | September 2, 2015

Nasce PAYPAL Here
Yesterday, PayPal unveiled a new way for its members to get paid. Instead of providing the email address associated with your account or having to direct someone to a shopping cart page for them to buy something from you, you can simply provide the person with your PayPal.Me link.

PayPal states on their blog that this new method is a “free, simple and personal way for you to request money from anyone across the globe.” Since it’s a link, people can easily remember it and can pay you quickly without having to jump through a bunch of PayPal’s hoops.

The really neat part is that you get to personalize your link. As an example, if I had mine set up – it might be paypal.me/Kate or something like that. Keep in mind though, that at the moment I don’t have an account set up, so if you really want to send me money and try to use that as a link, it might actually go to someone else named Kate! o_O

If you are interested in having this type of unique personalization for your link, it’s probably best to go ahead and set yours up fairly quickly. I suspect that the more common names will get snapped up in the same way that Facebook names were when they first allowed people to start personalizing their Facebook pages.

There is a little caveat to this new method of payment, however. While PayPal touts this as a “free” way to collect money from friends or colleagues for something like buying a cake for someone’s birthday party or to repay someone when you borrowed money, this “free” part is not entirely true. If you use your link as a personal account, then yes, there is no fee. If you use your link as a way for people to pay you to for services or goods, then you have to set your link up as a PayPal Business Account.

Take note that you do have to pay the appropriate fees when you use this service as a merchant. Another small thing to remember is that if you have a PayPal Business Account, the link can only be used to receive Purchase Payments. This means that your friends and family will have to find another way to reimburse you if they owe you money.

You can read more about PayPal.Me here.

Do you have a PayPal.Me account? Leave a comment below.

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The Coming War Against “Contract Employees” Part 1 of 2

By That Kat | September 1, 2015

cliffIt’s amazing to me how many significant new legal and tax developments take place during the summer months. Each year, while most of us are baking on a beach, walking through the woods or treating ourselves to truffles at a trattoria in Taormina, lawmakers and judges are quite busy making disruptive changes to our world.

Two summertime developments are especially worthy of note:

 

For the past two decades, employers have been playing fast and loose with the rules distinguishing between employees and independent contractors, creating a grey area known as “contract employees”. If these two decisions signal (as I think they do) a new era of stricter enforcement of these rules, the good times for America’s small businesses are over, and your Big Mac or Whopper is going to get a lot more expensive.

Let’s review the basics. If you have people working with you in your small business, they fall into one of three broad categories: partners, employees and independent contractors.

“Partners” share in the profits and losses of the business. Companies don’t pay or withhold taxes on payments to partners, and cannot direct or control their activities. Partners have no rights as employees. If they withdraw from the company, they may receive payment for their stock but don’t qualify for unemployment benefits.

“Employees” receive a regular salary or hourly wage, and qualify for benefits. They work a regular schedule, dictated by the employer. Companies must pay and withhold taxes on their wages. They also have lots of legal rights, including the right to unionize. In return, companies get to direct and control their employees’ activities in the workplace. If they are fired, they qualify for unemployment benefits.

“Independent contractors” work on their own schedules, often on a project basis. Companies are not required to pay or withhold taxes on amounts paid to contractors, but cannot direct or control the contractors’ activities – the contractors get to decide what projects they will work on for whom, and when. Independent contractors have no rights as employees. They cannot unionize, and they don’t qualify for employee benefits. If they are terminated, they don’t qualify for unemployment benefits.

So how do you tell the difference? Rather than give a straight answer, the IRS uses 20 vague and ambiguous “criteria” in determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor (www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Independent-Contractor-Self-Employed-or-Employee). Add to the lack of clarity the fact that the IRS in recent years has lacked the staff to audit aggressively, and it’s no surprise many small (and large) business owners feel they have “carte blanche” to treat all their workers as independent contractors – even key executives who work 50 hours a week and more.

The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) decision awarded $4,000 in expense reimbursements to an Uber driver who claimed she was an employer of the popular social media driven taxicab service. Uber argued that it did not exert any control over its drivers’ hours, but the FTB found that “by obtaining the clients in need of the service and providing the workers to conduct it, [Uber] retained all necessary control over the operation as a whole.”  The FTB compared an Uber driver to a pizza delivery person, who in a prior case was held to be an employee of the pizzeria notwithstanding the fact that the delivery person was required to provide his own car and pay for gasoline and insurance.  The FTB went on to note that the driver’s work was integral to Uber’s business, for without drivers to provide transportation services to passengers, the business would not exist.

The FTB found conclusive evidence that Uber was, in fact, involved in every aspect of the operation:  Uber vets prospective drivers, requesting drivers’ personal banking and residence information, Social Security numbers, and conducting background and DMV checks.  Drivers must register their cars with Uber, and Uber requires that the cars be less than 10 years old.  The passenger pays Uber a set price for the trip, and Uber pays the drivers a non-negotiable service fee.  Only Uber may negotiate a cancellation fee with a passenger who cancels a trip, and Uber discourages its drivers from accepting tips.  On these grounds, the FTB found that drivers are Uber’s employees rather than independent contractors

Uber has appealed the FTB decision in federal court, as its very business model is under an existential threat. But the principal thrust of the FTB’s reasoning – that a worker’s ability to schedule her own hours by itself does not make her an independent contractor – is likely to stick.

More next week . . .

Cliff Ennico (cennico@legalcareer.com) is a syndicated columnist, author and host of the PBS television series ‘Money Hunt’.  This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state.  To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our Web page at www.creators.com.  COPYRIGHT 2015 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO.  DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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That Kat Radio Podcast 26 Wholesale Selling with Elizabeth Harding, Ryan Reger & Nate Johnson

By That Kat | August 31, 2015

In this episode, Kat spoke with Elizabeth from Inventory Lab, Ryan Reger from Wholesale Suppliers Database and Nate Johnson from Proven Wholesale Course

Elizabeth Harding is the Learning and Development Coordinator for InventoryLab, an inventory management, listing and accounting program for Amazon sellers. Her background is in corporate training and development which combined with being an Amazon seller for 4+ years brought her to InventoryLab. She primarily sells wholesale right now and still dabbles in retail arbitrage from time to time.

Elizabeth stressed the advantages wholesale has in the area of building relationships with your suppliers and the difference in computing your profit margins.



In segment two Kat discussed her views on selling Wholesale and her recent experience at the ASD tradeshow in Las Vegas.

 

By God’s grace, Ryan and his wife, Melane, have built successful businesses on Amazon, eBay, and their own website. Ryan‘s true passion is helping others build their own businesses and he is accomplishing that goal through his four books and his growing consultant business.
Ryan talked about the various ways to get into wholesale: Tradewshows, his Real Wholesale Sources book, the new database he has built with John Bullard, Jr. and getting the list of vendors from a tradeshow you can’t attend to contact.


 

 

Nate joined his wife Robyn Johnson selling on Craigslist in 2011 with $100 taken from their emergency fund.  Together they have sold hundreds of thousands of dollars on Ebay and over a million dollars on Amazon.  This has allowed Nate to leave his corporate job, build their business, and spend more time with their 2 kids.   Nate specializes in creating and optimizing Amazon listings.

His wife Robyn is also a contributor to the popular Proven Amazon Course.

Nate talked about the advantages of wholesale over arbitrage such as the ability to scale, the possibility of payment terms with your suppliers and the ability to better predict and prepare for inventory and sales.



 

wholesalesuppliers.ryanreger.com
http://www.inventorylab.com/?utm_source=thatkat&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=thatkat

http://BestFromtheNest.com/ThatKat

http://ProvenBundlesClass.com

http://ProvenWholesaleClass.com

http://www.Facebook.com/BestFromtheNest.com

 

http://www.bubblefast.com use “ThatKatRadio” to get 10% off your order

http://Stamps.com

http://Stamps.com

You can follow Kat on TWITTER, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. Read the blog on ThatKat.com.

Purchase one of Kat’s books on Amazon. Kat’s Sales Tax Book or Ultimate Guide to Savings by Store.

Join her Facebook Group to be notified of upcoming shows.

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Selling 101: What makes for a good product?

By Kate Hornsby | August 28, 2015

Amazon Packaging
Pick up any book about selling on Amazon and the first thing you will usually read is about the importance of finding a good niche to sell in. A niche can be almost anything from products for fishing to vintage clothing accessories.

Unfortunately, if you initially start out the process of selling on Amazon by looking for a profitable product niche, you are most likely not going to find the right items to sell. Instead, you are going to become completely and totally overwhelmed by all the data and information that is out there. This will not only lead to information overload, but since you don’t know the ropes yet, you will more likely than not, end up purchasing a variety of products to list that may or may not sell.

Although you will want to eventually create your own brand and carry a variety of products in your chosen niche, initially it can be a lot more profitable to find one or two products that are well-researched with a high potential of selling for a good return on your invested money.

Identifying these products isn’t always easy, but here’s three things to look for:

Can be sold for at least 20 percent or higher than your buy price. While some sellers don’t mind making as little as 5 or 6 percent off of an item that they are selling in heavy volume, choosing an items that will sell for 20 percent or higher generally ensures the best return on your investment. In fact, some sellers won’t even consider an item that they can’t get at least 50 percent or more for as a return on their investment. It usually takes a lot more research to find these types of items, but it can be well worth it, especially since you don’t have to work nearly as hard as you do when you are selling multiple items at a smaller return.

Smaller and lighter. Selling smaller items that are lightweight, not only costs less to ship, but they are generally easier to package and much easier to store. If you are sending them to an Amazon warehouse, they also don’t take up as much space, so there are less storage fees for cubic space used than you’ll have to pay for all those bigger, clunkier items.

Will sell for $9.99 to $200. Although there are profits to be made by selling products both over and under this amount, $9.99 to $200 is generally considered a “sweet spot.” This is because anything over $200 generally requires a good deal of capital to get started and anything under $10 means you have to have a significant volume of sales to bring in a sizable amount of income.

What guidelines do you use when purchasing products to sell on Amazon? Leave a comment below.

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How to succeed when you’re the boss

By Kate Hornsby | August 26, 2015

The Boss

Starting an online business sounds like the perfect ticket to the good life. After all, you get to set the rules and decide when you want to work. Unfortunately, some online sellers struggle as business owners because they aren’t really prepared for the reality of operating their own business and have trouble changing their mindset so that they can succeed.

If you’re the one in charge and you’ve been struggling, here’s some ideas to get your business goals back on track.

Have a plan. A lot of sellers stumble into the online business without really having any solid plans in place. That’s okay if you’re a hobby seller or just selling on eBay or Amazon part-time, but if you want to be a full-time seller you need to have a plan with both reasonable and measurable goals. You also should have a fallback plan (sometimes known as “Plan B”) in case things don’t work out the way you thought they would or (even better) an opportunity arises that you weren’t expecting.

Take some risks. One of the biggest problems that new sellers tend to have is that they are often unwilling to take a risk. This doesn’t mean jumping in with both feet without considering the consequences. What it means is that once you have weighed out the options and believe that the outcome is going to be positive, you’ve got to go ahead and move forward. As an example, if you realize an item is hot, you’ve done your research (very important!), and you have an opportunity to get into the market, you need to be able to “pull the trigger” and buy the items even if there is a little bit of hesitation that wants to hold you back.

Realize there’s a lot you don’t know. A good boss is always learning. No matter how good your online business is doing, there are always ways you can make it better. Attend conferences, join groups and forums, or simply read some new books or material on online selling. The market is always changing and as a seller, you need to be on top of those changes.

Create some structure in your life. When you first start an online business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. This is especially true if you’re the only one that is around to do it. Finding a time management system that works is essential to not only keeping yourself organized, but to help you stay focused and not get too burnt-out. Take some time each day to go over your to-do list and make sure things are going as planned. If you find yourself getting too far away from what you are suppose to be doing, this will allow you to make adjustments to get yourself back on track.

What steps have you taken to help yourself succeed? Leave a comment below.

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Whatever You Do, Don’t Get Sick!

By That Kat | August 25, 2015

Like alCiff Ennico Headshotl Baby Boom geezers, I really think that I will live forever, that I will always be healthy, that I will be able to work productively and creatively into my 90s and beyond, and that I will always look like I did back in the 1970s.

I really don’t feel my age, and I certainly don’t act it. But a number of recent events have convinced me that the ravages of time are slowly catching up with me.

My Dad warned me about this. A star high school athlete, he once told me that when you’re young, “your body does whatever you tell it to do. You order your body to ‘jump’, and it asks ‘how high?’ You tell it to stay up all night working – or partying – and it gives you a crisp salute and a ‘yes, sir’ in return.”

“But when you reach a certain age, your conversations with your body become more of a negotiation. You tell your body to do something, and it says ‘well, okay, I can give you that, and maybe I can give you that, but that one over there? No way!’”

Faithful reader, I have reached that certain age.

I never used to get sick. Okay, maybe a cold once in a while, and seasonal allergies (to anything green that blossoms between March and November), but nothing that would ever stop me from doing whatever I wanted to do. As a student, I never missed a day of school. And I can count on the fingers of no hands the number of days I have missed working the past 25 years.

Until a couple of months ago.

I woke up one morning in late May having difficulty breathing. Since it was peak allergy season, I didn’t worry about it. But later that afternoon, I started coughing – a raspy, “smoker’s hack” that wouldn’t go away. My temperature soared to 103 and I took to my bed, sleeping for more than 24 hours solid – something I haven’t done since college.

That was bad enough, but then came something worse: laryngitis.

I can hear some of you laughing already, “a lawyer with laryngitis? It just means he can’t bill by the word as usual.” Har-dee har har.

But this was no ordinary 24-hour laryngitis – this sucker wouldn’t quit. For five days, I was unable to speak above a whisper, during a week in which I had:

• scheduled five speaking engagements for local business groups, plus a lucrative keynote speech for a major trade show in New York City;

• committed to hosting a live webinar for a local university; and

• scheduled lengthy telephone conversations with several law clients to review documents for their fast-moving business deals.

Needless to say, I couldn’t do any of the above without vocal cords, and despite my best efforts, I ended up ticking off some people. I was able to find substitutes for some of the local talks, and the university let me postpone the webinar. But the trade show speech revolved entirely around me: the company running the show was promoting my presence – not my topic – as a key draw. They weren’t happy when I canceled on less than 24 hours’ notice, leaving them with a huge hole in their agenda and lots of dissatisfied people who signed up for the event specifically to hear me speak. Leaving a client in the lurch is not a career-enhancing move for a professional speaker.

And, of course, my clients aren’t going to postpone their business dealings because their lawyer is croaking like a bass-baritone Andy Devine (unless you’re a Baby Boom geezer, you will have to look him up online). Time kills deals, and if it weren’t for the Heaven-sent gift of e-mail (I never thought I would say that in this column) I probably would have been staring down a malpractice action from somebody.

As a solo entrepreneur, especially with a “portfolio career” of income-generating activities (such as practicing law and speaking professionally), you can’t afford to get sick. We all plan (to some extent) for our eventual demise, and the smarter among us carry disability insurance so we can pay our bills if we are clobbered by a serious injury or long-term illness.

But most of us don’t have a “contingency plan” for ordinary setbacks that put us temporarily out of commission – like an attack of laryngitis during trade show season.

As the Baby Boom generation faces its 60s and 70s, we may well have to keep working to stay solvent, and of course “we’ll all be rockin’ in our wheelchairs” (Roger Daltrey, The Who, 1969), but we have to face reality and make adjustments to our business plans to account for our (hopefully slowly) diminishing physical and mental abilities.

For me, I’m spreading my projects out more over time (so a sudden short-term illness will require fewer schedule adjustments), megadosing on Vitamin C, and exercising daily. And putting together a list of fellow small business experts who can “pinch hit” for me on the podium if laryngitis ever strikes again.

Cliff Ennico (cennico@legalcareer.com) is a syndicated columnist, author and host of the PBS television series ‘Money Hunt’. This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state. To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2015 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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5 Ways to Make Your EBay Listings Mobile Ready

By Kate Hornsby | August 21, 2015

an evening playing 'smartphone' pub quiz with the exeter twitterati!

If you don’t think that the holiday season is quickly approaching, just visit one of your local department stores. Halloween stuff is already out on the shelves and last night I even saw some Thanksgiving decorations for sale! What this means for you as an eBay seller is that it’s time to make sure your store is all neat and spiffy before the holiday rush and that includes making sure that all your eBay listings are mobile ready.

Mobile ready” is a phrase that has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years as more and more buyers turn to their smartphones to make their purchases. In fact, would you believe that 52 percent of all eBay transactions are done through a mobile device? That’s a lot of sells and that number is only going to get higher.

While eBay takes care of a lot of the “mobile ready” stuff for you, such as letting you take photos for your listings with your phone’s camera and even using your phone to create your entire lisiting, there are still some things you can do to make sure your listings look their best.

Keep your layout simple. I confess, I have always liked to center my listings so they appear in the middle of the page when you view them. I actually like that it makes the listings look like advertisement flyers. Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate as well to mobile devices and can actually make it hard to read your listing. Instead, align your copy to the left side of the page and use a size 14 font so the lettering is big enough to read on all those small screens. Also – keep away from colored backgrounds and use black for your text.

The shorter the better. Although you need to make sure you get all the important details in your listings, such as any type of flaws the item might have (stains, cracks, tears, etc.), avoid long-winded descriptions about your item. Use bullet points to emphasis the important details and remember that less (wording) is always more.

Forget the HTML. Although HTML can make a listing really stand out on a desktop or laptop, it just doesn’t do the job when you are viewing a listing on a mobile device. In fact, it can actually make you lose a sale because there are very few people that want to have to “pinch” and scroll through a listing because of all that coding that isn’t displaying properly.

Use the photo gallery for your photos. One of the things I always liked about Auctiva was that it put your photos right into your description area and really helped to describe the item. Unfortunately, the majority of buyers won’t scroll that far down to see the photos, so you need to place all the ones you want to display in the eBay photo gallery. This lets the buyer see them right away and they can then scroll down and read the description if they like what they see.

Finally, since each mobile device displays your listing a little differently, check out how your listings look on some different types of devices. That way, you can see if something doesn’t look quite right on your listing and fix it so that it is more appealing to the most amount of buyers.

Do you have any tips for making your eBay listings mobile ready? Leave a comment below.

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Amazon releases its holiday season toy guidelines

By Kate Hornsby | August 18, 2015

Toys

If you’re new to Amazon, you may be thinking about upping your game for the holiday season. Before you go out and start buying up all those hot Christmas toy items to sell in your store, however, keep in mind that Amazon has some restrictions, or rather, holiday guidelines that sellers have to meet if they want to sell under the “Toys and Games” category. This year, these guidelines will stay in affect from November 17, 2015 and go all the way through to January 5, 2016.

First, in order to qualify, you have to have at least made one sale on Amazon before September 18. This sale does not necessarily have to be in the Toys and Games category for it to qualify and actually any type of sale will do. From there though, it gets a little more complicated. You must also sell and ship a minimum of at least 25 orders through Amazon from September 1 to October 31. Once again, they don’t have to specifically be in the Toys and Games category.

After the late shipping fiasco a couple of years ago, Amazon also wants to make sure that sellers have low cancel and low late shipment rates. This means that from October 1 to October 31, they expect your pre-fulfillment cancel rate to be no more than 1.75 percent. Your late shipment rate for this same period of time can also be no greater than 4 percent.

Keep in mind that just because you meet these requirements, doesn’t necessarily mean you automatically are eligible to sell in this category. Amazon will send you a notification that will tell you whether or not you are eligible. You should receive this notice by November 11.

Once you find that you are eligible, remember that Amazon will still monitor your performance as well as your listings closely during the holiday season. If any part of your performance, such as you have excessive cancel rates or you are late shipping your items, they can (and most likely will!) cancel your listings and remove your selling privileges, so it pays to keep up with your orders particularly during this busy time.

Fortunately, if you use Fulfillment by Amazon, you’re not subject to these guidelines, but your seller account still has to be in good standing.

Are you selling toys and games this holiday season? Leave a comment below.

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