How to stop the negative self-talk

stress-853645_1920

Sometimes it almost seems like your listening to a broken record. EBay or Amazon make a change and the next thing you know everyone is talking about how the sky is falling. While you can kind of drown out the noise when it’s other people talking, what do you do when you discover that it is you who is behind all that negative self talk?

Well, first of all, it is important to realize that not all negative self-talk is bad. Sometime having some anxiety over an issue is a good thing. It can make us try harder, look at things differently or make changes we need to make. As an example, when sellers discovered that eBay was changing its store fees (yet again), some people initially reacted negatively, but once they acknowledged their anxiety, they realized that it was time to do something else. Some created their own websites, some moved over to other marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy, and some decided it was time to simply buckle down and get more inventory listed.

What do you do when you can’t shake the negative self-talk though? Here’s some ideas that can help you get it under control.

Calm down

You won’t see the opportunities if you are concentrating on all that bad stuff. As an example, when Amazon decided to limit the amount of what could be sold in certain categories, many sellers just kind of found themselves in a spiral. What am I going to do with all the stuff I can’t sell? What do I sell now? For days on the end, that is all they could think about.
On the other hand, some sellers like Kelly sat down quietly and realized that part of the reason she wasn’t selling more items was because her inventory mainly consisted of the slow selling items that Amazon was no longer allowing. Kelly says it was kind of a wake up call for her. Rather than let it consume her, she decided it was time to get some help with her selling and ended up signing up for some arbitrage training that she had kept putting off.

Challenge your thought pattern
Instead of continuing in all the negative self-talk, take a step back and look at all the things that are going right. Your sales in one category may be down, but that doesn’t mean all of your sales are down. Even if it’s hard to do, find one thing that you see that is going right and focus on that. It can help you break the negative self-talk and help you move past it.

Find a solution
Things may seem bad, but if you take a step back and quiet down all the negative self-talk, you can usually find a way to take control of the situation. Of course, sometimes maybe the sky really is falling. When that’s the case, you just need to find a way to accept that there is nothing you can do, but walk away from it. It may not be what you want, but letting go can help you end the negative self-talk and let you start thinking about what it is that you need to do next.

Online Selling 101: It’s all about the brand

Edgethreesixty branding

One of the first things you will start hearing about when you decide to sell online is that you need to create a brand. While the first inclination for most people when they hear this is that they need to create a name for their store, creating a brand actually goes much further than that. A brand not only tells who you are, but also what you do and how you do it.

Unfortunately, this is where a lot of people get stuck. They might be able to come up with a cute name or a name that will help them sell their products, but that’s often about as far as they get with it. If your struggling with your branding, here’s some things you can do that can help.

Create a mission statement. A mission statement is actually the goal for your business. While you might want to say that “making money” is your goal, the purpose of your mission statement is to go beyond that. It explains to people who you are and why you have decided to sell the items that you sell. As an example, your mission statement could say that you want to provide affordable handmade jewelry using all organic materials in order to help the environment while providing beautiful, high quality jewelry for people to wear.

Describe the items you will sell. Using the example above, you might use keywords, such as organic, handmade, environmentally friendly, and high quality. These are the words that will help set you apart from your competition.

Think about your target market. This is a part of branding that trips many people up. You want to sell to everyone, of course, but when you narrow down who you actually want to sell to, you can then create marketing that specifically will appeal to that group of people. In turn, you will often sell more than if you used broad marketing terms in an attempt to sell to everyone. So, you might target teenagers for your jewelry or millennials that are just entering the workforce.

Creating the business name. Now that you have an idea of what you are selling and who you are targeting, you can create a business name that reflects your mission statement and the items you will sell. Look for keywords that embodies the spirit of both your mission statement and what you are selling.

Do you have a branding strategy? Leave a comment below.

How to clean thrift store and yard sale treasures

Patina

Before we start talking about how to clean your thrift store and yard sale treasures, let’s first start by talking about what you should not clean. Basically, the best rule to follow is that if you’re not sure whether you should clean an item or not, the obvious answer is: No! Don’t do it!

You see, what you may think of as “dirt” may actually be what attracts buyers to your item. If the item is really old, it may even have what antique collectors call patina, which is a highly valued trait. Patina, often looks like dirt, but is actually a brown or green type of film that is produced through oxidation and over time covers the surface of a metal like bronze.

Patina is also sometimes used to describe a glossy sheen that develops on wooden furniture through the act of polishing it over a period of years. While some people don’t like patina and prefer even their antiques to look shiny and new, for others it is a deal breaker and if you mess with trying to remove it, you will most likely lose a sale.

Now that we’ve established that there are some things you won’t want to clean because it detracts from its value, let’s talk about things we can clean and how to do it.

Ceramic pottery, glass, porcelain. First, it’s generally best to start the cleaning process by using warm water and a small amount of a gentle cleaner, such as Ivory soap. Always try the soap and water on a small (tiny!) inconspicuous place on the item and if you observe any hint of damage, immediately stop.

Interestingly, the biggest problem you will usually encounter with these types of items is that if you buy them at a thrift store or yard sale, they will often have unwanted stickers attached to them. If you’re lucky, you can generally let the item soak in water for a bit and the sticker will loosen up and come right off. If not, lemon juice may help do the trick. Since lemon juice is acidic, take care not to use it on porous objects though, since it could cause discoloration or other types of problems.

Wood toys, trunks and other items. Although water and a damp cloth are a good way to clean most wood items, you will generally want to avoid using soap since it can it may sink into the wood and discolor it. You also need to watch the amount of water that you use. Wood that gets too wet can easily warp and once that happens, the value of the item tends to go way down. Instead, you may want to try adding a bit of shine. Use a wax that is formulated for wood products and after it is applied, finish cleaning the piece by wiping over it with a soft clean cloth.

Valuable items and really, really old stuff. If you’ve ever watched a movie that involved the restoration of an item in a museum, you probably saw the people who were cleaning the item used white gloves and dusted it with gentle stroke from a soft paint brush. While the gloves may not be necessary for the item you wish to clean, the paint brush actually is the way that you will want to go. Gently remove the dust from the item with it and after that — leave it alone. If it needs more cleaning than what you can do with the paint brush, you will probably do better to have it cleaned by actual professionals who know the ends and out of restorations.

Do you have any cleaning tips? Leave a comment below.