Thanksgiving and its Ugly Twin


Doorbuster Deals–Save 50% from midnight to 5am only!

48 inch TV’s just $499.99.  While Supplies Last!

All Toys 75% off midnight to 3am only!

It has been slowly creeping up on us, —and as much as I have ignored the phenomenon, Black Friday has become an unofficial US holiday.

The Friday after Thanksgiving has long marked the beginning of the Christmas shopping season;  the term “Black Friday” was first coined in Philadelphia around 1961 to describe the abundance of pedestrians and traffic out and about the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Black Friday was later used the describe the (supposedly) first profitable day of the retail season.  In the past couple of decades, it has come to mean steep retail discounts and early morning madness.   Around 2005, stores started opening at 5am or 6am on Friday and in the past few years these opening times have been pushed back to midnight and now—6pm on Thanksgiving Day!

We can no longer think about Thanksgiving without  thinking about the new American holiday of Black Friday.  Black Friday has become part of Thanksgiving.  Two holidays side by side and they are polar opposites.

Thanksgiving is the all about gratitude.   The turkey, the trimmings, the warm fire and the amazing family.  A day to celebrate our blessings.

Black Friday is all about wanting more.  The entire focus is need, want and lack.  Everyone fights traffic and each other  in an attempt to score the latest and greatest stuff.  Even in the spirit of buying for our family, the focus of this event is material things.

I didn’t have major issues with Black Friday until:

1.)  My kids decided it was way cool and want to be escorted to the festivities.  Last year they started planning their trip over dessert on Thanksgiving day.

2.) The stores started opening earlier and earlier.  Now they open Thursday night.

My issue with this American tradition is that it impedes on the one day we officially set aside for gratitude.  Why on earth would I want to leave the warm, cozy environment of a home filled with family, food, warmth and love for the cold and cruel world of Wal-Mart?  When we rush through dinner on Thursday to get ready to go out and shop, our focus changes from being grateful to wishing and wanting.

Don’t get me wrong.   I enjoy stuff just as much as most Americans and I love indulging my family at Christmas.  Giving and receiving great presents is a blessing.  I just want to stay away from focusing on future blessings and miss the blessings sitting around my table right now.

I do not hate Black Friday–simply because I don’t want to give it that much power.   I choose not to spend my precious life energy hating much of anything.  If other people choose to stay up all night shopping, spending and buying, have at it!

I, however,  am choosing to not let this unofficial holiday tread on my idea of  Thanksgiving.     I am pledging this year to focus all of my energy on gratitude and the holiday of Thanksgiving.


Six “gurus” who helped me get started

When I began selling on the internet, I spent hundreds of hours combing through claims, ideas and ebooks trying to figure our who to listen to and what to do to start my business.

I found a handful who I am happy to recommend to you.  These folks are the “real deal,” they stand behind their claims and are genuinely interested in YOUR success.   Check them out and see if they resonate with you.

Jim Cockrum:  “Voted the most trusted internet marketer.”   His book, The Sales Machine is an amazing book that inspired me beyond belief.  It made me realize that anything is possible with eBay and online selling.

Jim runs two membership sites, My Silent Team and OfflineBiz.  My Silent Team is filled with great advice and a lot of action on the forums.  There are also dozens of FREE eBooks by a variety of authors.  You would pay $10-$50 or more apiece for these books and they are on the site for members to download at no charge.  I spent hours the books on his site.  They all led me to believe that ANYTHING is possible and there is no limit to what can be earned online.  Jim Cockrum is a good man with a heart of gold.

His email newsletter is free and worth a peek.

Lisa Suttora:  I found Lisa and her membership site when I first started selling on eBay.  Her ideas are more mainstream than Jim’s, she has a lot of information on setting up your listing and pricing and what to sell on eBay.  One article that is included on the membership site is “Ten Things You Can Sell For Free on Ebay” and I remember thinking that these were brilliant ideas.  She was talking about Amazon before anyone else and she has many strategies for the long-term seller and is animate about not putting all your eggs in one basket–sell cross-channel.  I haven’t been a member for quite some time, but her advice was worth gold when I was and I know she has been actively updating it.

Suzanne Wells:  The original host of Stay At Home Mom’s Selling on eBay.  She is a huge Amazon seller now and writes for many online groups.   She runs a great blog and has recently started a cheap ($10 per month) membership site.  I haven’t been inside her site, but I am certain that it is worth a peek.

Stuart Turnbull:  His Prints To Profits book has evolved and he teaches EVERYTHING you need to know to set up your own prints selling business.  He is a great man and the author of several wonderful eBooks.

Done By Deb:  Deb runs a hilarious blog and is an up and coming eBook writer.  Her strategies are for everyday folks who want to earn money on eBay.  She is an expert at yard sale and garage sale sourcing.  Her personal story is inspirational and she has a heart of gold.  Her and Stuart run many projects together and I enjoy watching their work.

Tamara Patzer:  Tamara has a site geared a little more toward women–www.mentoronlinemagazine, that offers tips and advice a couple of times a week.  I don’t read every post, but when I’m down or looking for a kick of inspiration, this is where I turn.



Just Say No!

This post isn’t about the War On Drugs, but I’m stealing Nancy’s famous words for another crusade.

When you decide to challenge yourself and grow, you must make room in your life for the challenge and the growth.   There has to be room in your day and room in your mind.

Room in your day–in other words, time.  Most folks are busy from the time they wake up until the time they retire at night.  If you are like me, your 18 or so awake hours are filled to the brim.

If you are serious about making a change or growing, you will need to conjure up some time to accomplish this.  Since you cannot make more time (shucks!) you will have to make more of your time.  It will be important for you to say “NO” to some of the activities that fill up your days right now.

Take a long, hard look at how you are actually spending your time.  You might want to keep a journal for a few days just to see where you are spending your time.  In order to find the time to work on your dreams and goals, you will need to squeeze it out of your current day.  You will have to give some things up.


1.)  Television.  This is such an easy target, but if you watch more than a tiny amount of T.V. it is time to break the habit.  Get over watching other people’s lives and start living your own.

2.)  Gossip.  Gossip is a huge time waster and it happens everywhere–in the office, at the playground, around the house.  Grab your coffee and move on.  Close your office door. Pretend to be on the phone when the office gossip passes by.  Rid yourself of this time waster!

3.) Meetings.  Meetings can waste time.  Next time you attend a meeting, notice how much time is spent moving the group forward and how much time is wasted.  Attend as few meetings as possible.  Can you have the minutes sent to you?  Can you attend every other meeting?

4.) Housekeeping.  Can you hire these chores out?  Think hard about this.   As soon as you can find the extra money, hiring out the cleaning or the lawn (or both) will free up a lot of time.

5.) Sleeping.  I know, I know, we all need a good night’s sleep.  However, if you are sleeping 8 hours or more, you might want to TRY giving up 15 minutes of sleep.  Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier for a week and then measure how you feel.  If you are tired and cranky–go back to your normal amount of sleep.  But, if you are not noticing a difference, you just gained almost 2 hours a week!

6.)  Cooking.  There is no reason to spend hours on cooking if this isn’t something you love. The important part of dinner is the family interaction, not what is on the plates.  Cut back on the amount of time you spend in the kitchen buy using your crock pot or buying simpler meals.


1.)  Listen to motivational CD’s in the car, while you work out or when you clean the house. You can get these at the library for FREE or use You Tube and your smartphone.

My latest favorites:  John Maxwell, Wayne Dyer and Bob Proctor

2.)  Have a book or a journal or a laptop with you while waiting for the children.  I have four children and spend a large number of hours driving them around and waiting for them at their various activities.  I always have a book or journal ready to pass the time in a productive way.

3.)  Discipline yourself to focus.  This is my biggest area that needs improvement.  A lot of entrepreneurs, I know, are like me.  We jump from idea to idea sometimes not getting a lot done before getting distracted or starting on something new.  Make a list of the six most important things to do each day and do them, one at a time, until you are finished.  If any are leftover, start there the next day.  I will recall this advice and use it.

As always, your comments are welcome here.  Let us know what you are saying “no” to!



The Master in the Art of Living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion.  He hardly knows which is which.  He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing.  To him he is always doing both.

Lawrence Pearsall Jacks
Lawrence Pearsall Jacks

ebay 101

Yeah!  Lots of fun and hopefully some great information at last night’s presentation of ebay 101.

I love online business and it was fun to share a lot of what I have learned over the years with people looking to sell on ebay.

Below are links to many of the things I talked about.  There are several more videos on listing and pricing items and also on FINDING items on my youtube channel for your learning pleasure.

How To Set Up An Ebay Account

How To Set Up a PayPal Account

Thanks for your support and please browse through this site for tons of eBay and online selling tips.




What To Sell For Christmas

Even the most casual online seller knows that Christmas is the busiest time of the year online.  Most new sellers, and many seasoned sellers, do not know exactly how to capitalize on the huge increase in qualified traffic that is searching–and most importantly buying–during the holiday season.

If you are well established in a niche and have been selling online for a while you are probably anticipating the season and figuring out exactly how to stock up and be ready.

If you are new or not sure how to best capitalize on the Christmas season, here are a few great ideas.


Toys are a HUGE seller (obviously!)  If you the time and inclination to watch eBay, Amazon, ToysRUs, Target, Walmart and the Disney store, you can profit–Big Time–by playing the retail arbitrage game.  The “hot” toys will sell out at one or more of these markets and immediate increase in value at one or more of the other markets.  The opportunities here are huge.  Manufacturers cannot guess exactly what toys will “take off” and often times they are just as surprised as us at the results of their marketing.  This leaves a shortage of supply.   You can capitalize on this shortage if you can purchase the wanted toys.  I have made thousands of dollars doing exactly this!  I am not a toy expert and every year I invest in Jenni Hunt’s Holiday Toy Guide to help me out.  She takes her years of toy-selling experience and spends hours each week analyzing the market and telling you exactly which toys are selling at above retail at which site.  Her Holiday Toy Guide is a small investment you can make to seriously capitalize on Christmas 2013.

Review Jenni’s Holiday Toy Guide


Browse Walmart or your local dollar store for ideas.  Fill a medium (or large) box with products all related to the same theme.  Theme ideas:

Sporting Goods related to your local team (Notre Dame or Boston Red Sox,)

A Gardening Basket

A College Student Basket

A Puzzle Basket

A Book Lover’s Basket

A Food Lover’s Basket

A Candy Lover’s Basket

A Basket for a little boy who loves trucks

A Basket for a little girl who loves dolls

An Artist’s Basket

A Crafter’s Basket

A Movie Night Basket

A Baker’s Basket

Mark the basket up $10-20 over what you pay.  Make sure to use the words gift and Christmas in your description.  Also make sure to use the words might describe the person the gift is for “candy lover,” “toddler.”  Thousands of people (I am one of them) search on “Christmas gift for toddler.” or “gift idea for puzzle lover.”  Make sure your description is broad enough for these folks to find your gift.  Remember, pictures and descriptions are very important here.  You want to make the photographed box pretty and full and look like a complete gift.  Your buyer wants to know you have just put together the perfect gift for their loved one.


I was completely surprised the first year I ran my online grocery store at the huge increase in volume I experienced starting in mid November.  I didn’t expect a big increase in grocery sales–after all, groceries are purchased and consumed year round.  I sold hundreds of extra items during the Christmas season, apparently people eat more at Christmas time!  Seriously, they buy every day groceries as gifts and often they splurge on luxury food items they wouldn’t buy everyday.  My business nearly doubled during the month of December.  So, even if you are not a regular grocery seller, list a few groceries and see how they do.


Look through your Sunday ads and determine what toys are popular and being promoted. Then search your stores for accessories related to these toys.  You can even group the accessories together and create a bundle.  Is Monster’s University the big thing?  Look for an alarm clock, a watch, some PJ’s.  The one-off items are often harder to locate in stores and sometimes the main gift is already purchased and grandparents or friends want to purchase a similar item.

Thanks and Happy Shopping!



Free Stuff To Sell on eBay

FREE Things You Can Sell on Ebay

There are a lot of things you can sell on Ebay for no monetary investment–just a little bit of your time and energy.SERVICES: There is a section in ebay titled “Specialty Services.” Browse through it to come up with ideas. Do you have skills that may be in demand? Do you do copywriting, edititing, proofreading? Perhaps you have great design or HTML skills. What do you (or have you in the past) gotten paid for and how could you incorporate that into something to sell? Perhaps you are a whiz with accounting or taxes, you could list your services for online sellers or small businesses. Every one has skills that are unique or worth paying for. Get creative here!

TICKETS: Look at Ebay’s section of tickets. Hundreds of tickets sell above face value every day on Ebay. You can buy tickets for a hot show or sporting event, it can be in any city, and resell them as the event gets closer. Watch what similar tickets end up going for and buy carefully. There is a lot of money to be made in ticket sales but make sure to study the market.

OTHER PEOPLE’S STUFF: You can quite easily become a trading assistant officially through ebay and be listed to do consignment sales. You can also solicit consignment sales on your own. After approaching friends and relatives, get creative. Call people who have items listed in the classified or on Craig’s list. Many of these sellers want to unload their stuff but don’t have the patience or inclination to sell on ebay. Consider approaching small businesses in your area. Offer to list slower moving items and split the profit. There are hundreds of small shops in every metropolitian area, you might be able to get a nice source on unique inventory.

Keep your eyes open and your pocketbook closed when first selling on ebay. There is a lot of potential profit out there at NO COST to you!


Flea Marketing 201

Flea Marketing 201

EBay has earned its place in cyberspace as the world’s largest rummage sale. It is a great place to resell vintage and preowned items. The profit margin can be huge when you know what to buy.

Some great ideas for finding second hand inventory were given in earlier in Flea Marketing 101.

Here are some more things to look for when shopping for eBay inventory:

Scrapbooking Supplies (Creative Memories)
Stamping Supplies (Stampin’ Up)
Games for Wii, XBox, DS
Digital Cameras (even broken can be sold for $20-30)
Vintage Phones (color and style matter here)
Electric Rollers (Richard Caruso Brand or Remington certain colors)
Hooked on Phonics Sets/Learn to Read, Write or Do Math Sets
Unopened, unused makeup (Brand names)
Perfume (Brand Name, can be opened or used)
Dance and gymnastic costumes and shoes
Sport Shoes, Cleats (Brand Names)
Longaberger Baskets
Pier One Pottery and Dishes
Fishing Gear
Board Games (intact and complete with instructions)

Always get items as cheap as possible. If you are at a personal sale, strike up a bargain. If you are shopping the thrift markets, go on discount days or shop for items that are on sale.

Make sure to use Terapeak Price Report or do your own research on eBay to see what items are selling for.

A resource that will pay for itself over and over again is Garage Sale Goldmines.


Flea Marketing 101

Flea Marketing 101

Get there early and be ready to bargain. Scour through the entire sale, picking up your “maybes” as you go along. Use your phone’s ebay application for items you aren’t sure about. Keep the following list in your mind (or in your pocket) when looking for inventory to sell on ebay:

Anything with tags: If you can list an item on ebay as “new with tags,” the value increases. Name brands and trendy items will do best here.

Books: Focus on non fiction and “coffee table” books. Avoid fiction books unless you can get them super cheap (10-25 cents each.) Books are easy to sell on ebay, or on amazon. Learn more about selling books with a great and reasonably priced ebook loaded with tried and true ideas for book sellers. I bought this ebook a few months ago and it has paid for iteself several times over.

Winter Coats: Children and Adult. Name brand and pristine condition coats sell well on ebay. Brands to watch for: Gap, Hollister, Abercrombie, Anne Klein, Roth’s Child, Gymboree.

Shoes: Name brand and in top notch condition. Depending on the brand, plan on getting $10-20 pair on ebay.

Dishes: Bought in a set (aim to spend $25-$35) and split into lots of 2 or 4, these can have an excellent profit margin.

Toys–current or vintage: Condition matters here, but there is a huge market for toys on ebay. Vintage toys can do quite well. I bought two “See and Say” plastic toys at a garage sale recently for $1 each and they each brought around $15. I also sold a lot of old Lincoln Logs for around $70.

Coffee Cups: Look for Starbucks or Trader Joe cups. Think trendy and nationally known. Coffee Cups do very well on ebay.

Lynne Dralle (the queen of auctions) has buying and selling second hand items down to a science. I’ve listened to several seminars with her and she is helpful, fun and willing to share her ebay secrets. She has been selling on ebay for over 10 years and makes a good full time living selling unique and antique items on ebay. She explains the particulars and gives great advice on exactly what to watch for when shopping to resell items on ebay. Check out her book:

Another resource that is highly recommended comes from an accomplished ebay seller. If you are looking to become an expert at flea bay marketing check out Garage Sale Goldmines to learn all of the tricks.


You and your crazy ideas

flowerCrazy ideas are the parents of creative businesses and ingenious inventions.  “Crazy” ideas are what change lives.

Think about it.

Every business you drive by (whether in your car or with your mouse) started with a “crazy” idea.

Glance around the room you are sitting in right now–everything you see is the result of a crazy idea. The clock on the wall, the fridge, the toaster, the sliding glass door.  This computer you are looking at and the internet you are searching on were once the ideas of people just like you.

These ideas appeared impossible at their inception.  Think about how the Wright brothers must have sounded to their friends and neighbors-two silly kids trying to fly!  Consider the first person who decided to track time with a clock, or the first person who  mapped out the internet.

Many businesses also seem crazy initially.   Twenty years ago it would be hard to imagine explaining to anyone that coffee at some places would cost $6 a cup.  Or that we would spend as much money on drinking water as we do on milk.

Think about it:

Every successful endeavor you can think of started with a “crazy” idea!

What made these ideas take off?  How do the folks who start businesses manage to keep their enthusiasm strong for their half-baked crazy ideas?

They protect their ideas. They keep them safe from idea-crushing people.

Let’s face it–people can be pretty negative and even folks who love us and wish us the best will crush a great idea in seconds flat.  Even if they don’t say outright that the idea is silly, their body language or attitude often kills the idea.  It isn’t that they don’t wish us well, they usually do, they just have an outlook that doesn’t include new ideas or new ways of thinking.  Often, they think they are doing us a favor–saving us from wasting time or getting too excited.  They are trying to save us from expecting too much.

Do not fall into any approval traps.  You must not let the opinion of others slow you down or stop you!  This cannot be over-emphasized.  Most people are striving for “average.” And average is not what you are here to be.

You must move beyond the usual ways of thinking.  Your same old thinking is never going to make your life better or even different.  If you continue to ignore or reject your crazy ideas, you will be more or less the same for the rest of your life.

Your current level of thinking has gotten you to exactly where you are right now.  And if you are not living the life of your dreams and you don’t see the life of your dreams in your near future, your level of thinking MUST change.

YOU HAVE TO PROTECT YOUR IDEAS AND DREAMS WITH YOUR LIFE!  Treat it like the very fragile seed it is and do not let anyone else’s opinion make you neglect it or discount it.

Your idea’s biggest threat, however, is not other people.    The biggest threat to your great idea is you.  For many reasons, your own mind will start to talk you out of your idea.  You will start to have fear: fear of failure, fear of looking stupid or fear of wasting time.  You will start to convince yourself your idea is silly or time-consuming or unworthy.  DO NOT ALLOW YOU TO KILL YOUR IDEA!

Trust me on this—I have seen it happen many times in my own mind.

My self-talk used to be pretty negative:  Wendy, how on earth can you run a business with four kids?   Isn’t life ‘good enough’ as it is?  Your life is the same as all of your friends and they seem pretty happy, why change anything?  Why work so hard when everything is ‘pretty nice’?  Are you greedy? Are you trying to show off?

The biggest threat to my ideas and to my success came from within my own mind.  I had to rewire my thinking, big-time, to overcome my own limiting beliefs.  It is hard to unravel 40 years of beliefs, but I have managed to teach myself to think, believe and behave differently than I did five years ago.  And differently than my entire upbringing had taught me.  This re-wiring was (is!) tough work but it has made a major difference in my outlook and on my achievement.

Your great ideas and business ventures need to be protected.  You must stay on guard against anyone (especially yourself) who makes your idea seem silly or impossible.

What is your great (crazy) idea?  If your dream is on the forefront of your mind right now you are 100 steps in front of most people.  If it doesn’t, that’s o.k., you just get to embark on some soul-searching.

If you have to re-discover your dreams, start today.  There are many inside of you, I am certain.  If you are anything like me, you might have to go digging for them.  Years of pushing dreams back, ignoring them and discounting them often makes them hard to even remember.  But they are still there–I promise.

You owe it to yourself to go within and find them.  If you do nothing else this weekend, or next weekend, or the weekend after that, it is okay.  You owe it to yourself to go within yourself and find your crazy ideas, to remember your dreams.

Start with these questions:  What gets you excited?  What do you love?  If you had 100 million dollars in the bank how would you spend your time?  What do you want your legacy to be?

Pull those ideas back out, dust them off and pick the one that speaks the most clearly to you.

Now, rekindle the flame of that idea.  Give it the room and the nourishment it needs.

Picture yourself achieving this dream.  Really imagine it–see yourself living with this dream accomplished or in progress.  Put this image in the front of your mind and recall it daily.

Commit to make one step toward accomplishing your idea tomorrow.  And two more steps before next week.  You will start to get momentum.  Grab your momentum and your dream and continue to take small steps.  Eventually your steps will get bigger, your dream larger and more concrete and within a few months you will see serious progress.

You only go through this life once my friends—you owe it to yourself to hold steadfast to your dreams and accomplish all you are meant to be!

Your comments are always welcome here and so are your dreams.

Thank you—