As my newest book, The Trading Assistant’s Assistant got two great reviews recently, one from Blogcritics and one from Armchair Interviews, I wanted to take a quick time-out from part two of the buyer’s glossary to talk a little turkey (Thanksgiving Day pun intended!) about starting a Trading Assistant business. Why, you ask? Well, frankly, because there is no better time.
I should clarify from the start that you can start a Trading Assistant business at anytime. In fact, you may even want to get your business started in a slower season so that you can work out the bugs in your service before you dive headlong into being a Trading Assistant in the busiest season. However, if you have even dabbled with the idea of being a Trading Assistant or are one already, there is something that you should know. October through January is the best time of the whole year to be a Trading Assistant.
It’s tempting, as the holidays arrive, to get wrapped up in your own holiday rush and let your business fall to the wayside while you enjoy the festivities. From a money making and business standpoint, however, you would be missing a huge opportunity. This four month span benefits from several circumstances that give a boost to your service and marketing creating a perfect storm and the best opportunity for profit in your TA business.
Why is now the best time to be a Trading Assistant?
Reason #1: October to January is the best time to sell on eBay and you will get more for your items than any other time of year.
There are always, of course, exceptions (such as if you sell surf boards and sun block) but, in general, October through January is the biggest retail season of the year. Why? Well, obvious reasons, really. There are a lot of holidays all in a row that people need to buy gifts, decorations and other items for and the more time people spend in stores or looking on retail sites (like eBay) the more they purchase even if unrelated to the holiday or gift giving. In other words, someone may go to buy that vintage set of bell bottoms you have for sale as a Halloween costume and then add the DVD you were selling to their order as well as a present for themselves. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion and, once the wallets are open, people are much more willing to keep spending this time of year.
This is the time of year when auctions reach their best values and Buy It Nows are snatched up the fastest because people are in a rush to get gifts on time.
How does that help you as a Trading Assistant? For starters, if you work on commission, the more the items sell for, the more you make. Even if you don’t work on commission, selling your items for a good price and in good time increases client satisfaction which can translate to more business and good word of mouth.
Reason #2: People have to look at their junk at this time of year. No matter how much of a humbug you are, just about everyone has to go into their attic, basement, closets or other storage areas this time of year to get out costumes, decorations, turkey platters, to put away outdoor furniture, or even to get out their winter wardrobe. When your clutter is neatly hidden away out of sight, it is easy to forget about it. From October to January, however, most people are forced to acknowledge their stuff as they wade through boxes and Tupperware looking for those items they only use once a year. I have helped a lot of people decorate for the holidays and I have never heard anyone go through the process without calling out to the heavens some variation of “Why do I have so much stuff?”
Someone who has just had that box at the very top of the closet fall on him for what he swears is the very last time is going to be much more receptive to your advertisement of getting rid of his junk and giving him money instead then he would be any other time of year. Now is the time to step up your marketing efforts like never before. Unlike any other time of the year, just about everyone who sees your ad will have had to get up close and personal with their junk very recently and will be much more receptive to getting rid of some of it.
In the same way, people are looking to get rid of unwanted stuff that they just acquired such as unwanted holiday gifts that cannot be returned.
Reason #3: If there are two things people cannot get enough of during the holidays it’s time and money. How fortunate that your service can provide them both! This is the one time of year where everyone is way too busy all at once and in desperate need of someone to take some of their work off their hands. In the same way, credit card debts tend to balloon at this time of year and people are looking for extra cash to use to entertain and buy gifts.
What you are offering is the chance to acquire more money with no extra time commitment on their part. At this time of year, that offer is much more attractive. The downside to this, however, is that you will also have a shortage of time at this time of year (though not a shortage of cash, thanks to the TA business) so your will need to learn to work more efficiently in order to take advantage of all the excess business this time of year.
Reason #4: Many people suddenly have a need for making room for new stuff. During the holidays, people invariably acquire more things and suddenly find themselves without a place to put these new items. Again, they turn a disapproving glance at the things they already have in their house and are usually more keen on getting rid of older items. In the same way, items that have been upgraded (the iPhone replacing their iPod, for example) they may wish to sell off the older item to make room for the shiny new item. Just like going through their storage, this puts them in a better frame of mind to consider your service.
The most important thing to remember this time of year is that, while circumstances have never been more favorable for people to consider your service, no one will if they don’t know it exists. Talk it up! Send out a “First 5 items free” coupon to your friends, past customers and family and tell them that they can feel free to pass along to anyone they wish. Word of something useful that reduces stress during the holidays can spread like wildfire so get the ball rolling.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone! Until next week!