252 : Stephanie Inge – Can starting an Ebay or Amazon Meetup group be just the answer you are looking for

Stephanie picture

Stephanie has created a large talent pool to get the answers she is looking for. After all she has thousands of satisfied customers who are happily selling on Ebay. So the premise is… by helping others get the answers they are looking for, you learn things (you didn’t even know you didn’t know). So the rule still holds for Stephanie: Give unto others and you get so much more back!

Mentioned:

Stephanie’s email

Dallas Meetup Group

Stephanie’s book: Meet up Organizer- Step by Step Guide

 

Sponsors:

Gaye’s Million Dollar Arbitrage List

Solutions4ecommerce

Scope from Sellerlabs

GoDaddy

Grasshopper

Transcript: (note- this is a new tool I am trying out so it is not perfect- it does seem to be getting better)

Stephen:                             00:00                     Want to jump in here and just bring back up episode 250 Toys for Tots campaign put together by Sellar lambs. It is such a great opportunity. I was with the seller on Friday. Their team is working on it. I’m very very excited. This is a chance for you to use the skills that you personally have developed. You’ve got sourcing muscles not many other people have it. And this is a chance where we can take and use our skills to help those less fortunate. All the information is on episode 250 such a great cause. Kick

Stephen:                             00:34                     back give back give back this time of year thanks hope your Q4 is going good. It’s

Stephen:                             00:40                     a great time to be selling and sell a lot. Watch your repressors. I just got whacked on one last$15 a unit. I didn’t lose I lost in profit because I should have blocked one wasn’t paying attention so please do me tell you about a couple sponsors you know scope from solar labs. If you’re not using it to even just to take your wholesale accounts of course you got to use a for private label. Right. You need to understand the keyword you want to understand a key word go look at your competitors get their keywords and then use them. That’s smart business right because they already have proven that proof of concept but take the same approach to your wholesale accounts make sure that those key words are in there. If not upload those changes many times you can but many times you can take advantage sculped from Sellar labs go to several labs dot com slash scope used a code word momentum save a few bucks get a few key words get your listings found.

Stephen:                             01:35                     Got to find that keyword and scope will be the product that will help you. There are solutions for e-commerce Charron logger. You know again you hear me talk about her because she is my account manager she has been doing a great job. Again I had some stranded listings and I notice them down there on the bottom right hand corner. They’re gone. I look back and they’re gone and I see stuff submitted. I see stuff return. It’s such a great process because I don’t have to pay attention. I can pay attention to the other parts of our business solutions for e-commerce slash momentum. I’ll save you 50 bucks.

Stephen:                             02:07                     Lowest price she offers. And do you still get the amatory Health Report. Take a look at it set up for 2018. Now tell Karen I sent you. When you think about Q4 lists and I hope you don’t use them just Q4 for Hope you use them all year long again you want to learn how to fish right. And so the best thing to do when you’re buying a list is look at what they’re doing and how they’re doing it and then figure that out on your own. That’s the approach that gay lesbian uses and a million dollar arbitrage list. It is closed for the rest of this year. However I have asked them and they have said they would do it if there’s an opening. They will pull from the waitlist. OK so I have the link out on my site on this episode that will have a link that will take you right onto the waitlist.

Stephen:                             02:55                     So get on the waitlist if there’s something that your interest maybe she’s going to give you a 7 day free trial so there’s nothing to lose. But then once you get in there take advantage learn how to fish right sharpen your tool you know sharpen your skills I guess is the right phrase I should use. OK so again I have that link out on this episode. So jump out there and get on that list. You know go daddy and grasshopper are both national sponsors of the show. I’m very fortunate. I have a third one coming on in February very excited about that. But go daddy. I use them. This was somebody who had a great idea for and for a domain and I’m like.

Stephen:                             03:32                     Use my link. Save 30 percent 30 percent yes they pay me. We all know that. However 30 presents real I use it myself because I want to save the 30 percent. So let’s try. Go Daddy dot com slash momentum right try Go Daddy dot com slash momentum and you’re going to save 30 percent grasshopper’s the same deal. Try grasshopper com slash momentum and you’re going to save 50 bucks. I saw somebody else just signed up for it. The service makes you a pro.. All of a sudden your business has a phone number has a vanity phone number you can kind of create your own one if it’s available but you don’t need a second phone. And I think that’s the big thing it’s not Google Voice which is choppy Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. This is professional stuff. Press one for customer service press two for my Amazon account manager which we go to Karen’s team. I mean this is a great opportunity. So it’s Try grasshopper dot com slash momentum. Say fifty bucks. Welcome

Cool voice guy:                  04:29                     to the e-commerce momentum. Good guys well we focus on the people the products and the process of Commerce selling today. Your host Stephen Peters and welcome back to the e-commerce men and podcast.

Stephen:                             04:44                     This is episode 252. Stephanie inj. I love the story because you know I was thinking about what I would lead in with and I was thinking like I have the answer. I have found the answer to getting unstuck. And Stephanie is a reinforcement of that answer as was rich Psylocke as is Chris Green as is Mark vine as is every conference that I’ve been to. The

Stephen:                             05:15                     answer is to find others similar in mine. Network with them and share information and magically information gets shared with you and you get unstuck problems you have somebody else has had them.

Stephen:                             05:29                     And so in this discussion we’re going to talk about setting up a meet up and you’re going be like really I need more responsibility in my life. Well Stephanie walk you through what it takes I mean step by step she doesn’t hold anything back. Matter of fact she has a book on it for like 10 bucks if you’re interested in how to run when it’s only 10 bucks are$5 if it’s on Kindle. But she walks through and generously shares exactly what it takes. And for me I sit back and I think about somebody who’s shy and I be like wow I don’t know if I could do it. Well Stephanie will tell you it wasn’t always easy but she’s been doing it 15 years. And magically she still learned something at every meet up she goes to. So if you love the conference life if you love going to those conferences rather than listen to people like me up on stage talking talking to people in the audience and hanging out.

Stephen:                             06:17                     And that’s what you can have. And so search your community and she will tell you how to do it.

Stephen:                             06:23                     And I just think it’s such a great idea and such a great opportunity I hope to hear somebody send me a note saying they’re going to do it and then I’d love to come and visit you and see how it’s going but to keep abreast of how it goes because I just want to see somebody get unstuck. Let’s get into the podcast. All

Stephen:                             06:40                     right welcome back to the e-commerce momentum podcast very excited about today’s guest. Great story. I love a story. And when I heard Chris Green lead me to this story you know it’s a big deal. Stephanie

Stephanie:                          06:53                     inj Welcome Stephanie Hi Stephen how are you. I

Stephen:                             06:58                     am awesome. Awesome awesome awesome. Can’t wait to hear your story I only know part of it and when it’s told by Chris Green when he takes the time for me to go meet somebody like Steve you’ve got to meet this young lady. And when he takes the time I know it’s serious. And so you and him have a connection from Texas life and a long term connection. And I it’s quite frankly one of the reasons I wanted to have you on because of the long term. No you’re not old. So I want to go there because you’ve been selling for a long time right.

Stephen:                             07:35                     You’ve been meeting people for a long time.

Stephanie:                          07:39                     That’s next in May with thousands of wonderful people and things. Yes it has sounds.

Stephen:                             07:48                     I mean think about that. Is there anything in your life that I would say my church would be one that I probably meet thousands of people over you know over years. Is there anything else that you can think of that would be where you could meet that kind of quality of people with similar interest.

Stephanie:                          08:04                     I don’t think so Stephen except maybe on social media and just the very platonic relationships that eBay has opened so many doors in. I’ve never really thought of it as a job or a career. It’s more of a lifestyle for me now.

Stephanie:                          08:23                     How long have you had that lifestyle since March 1999.

Stephen:                             08:29                     OK so 18 years 18 years you would consider a pretty significant part of your life. E-commerce and eBay specifically.

Speaker 11:                        08:38                     Absolutely.

Stephen:                             08:40                     So let’s go back 18 years let’s go back to 18 years. When you when you were growing up did you grow up in a parent with parents that were entrepreneurs. No

Speaker 12:                        08:50                     not at all. Traditional work 9:00 to 5:00. Of course I did that for many many years. I can’t say I hated hated every minute of it. But entrepreneurship beats any career you know working for yourself is so gratifying. What kind of jobs did you have. I was in insurance and I was in insurance for probably 16 years.

Stephanie:                          09:19                     And then after that it was out I went to the medical field. I managed to show room for five years at the World Trade Center here in Dallas which is where I worked when I got started on e-bay. And actually I was taking some college courses I thought I wanted to be a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. Oh it just sounded glorious. Oh it sounds there was a lot of money to be made. I was taking core classes at a local college and realized early on that that was not my forte. It bored me to death but some of the core classes I was taking had to do with H.T. a male web design and that really got me. You know it just opened up a whole new world that was like creating magic when you used HP meld to make something come to life on your computer screen.

Stephanie:                          10:18                     And during my classes I kept hearing people talk about this site called e-bay. Back then they still referred to it as a world wide web and it was still very new. And I really didn’t pay too much attention to ebay until I got a phone call one day from a friend who asked me if I had a desk for sale and I said I do. Why. Why do you need a desk. She says well it’s not for me it’s for one of my neighbors he is turning his garage into an office. And I said Really. She said Yeah you’re not going to believe this. He started selling on this site called e-bay and he’s making so much money he had to quit his day job. Well that’s when my antenna went up and I thought I need to check out this site called e-bay and that was back in December of 1998.

Stephanie:                          11:14                     And so at that time I had an antique booth with a friend and we turned our love for garage sales into what we thought was going to be a nice little side business with this antique booth and turns out I was the world’s worst antique dealer ever. Our rent was$90 a month and we couldn’t even make enough to pay the rent. But anyway. So I asked Elaine if she would be interested in trying this site called e-bay. And she said she hated computers. She didn’t want any part of it but I could go for it. And that’s really how I got started was liquidating the stuff on the antique book and the first thing I saw was an antique syrup dispenser that paid 50 cents for.

Stephanie:                          12:04                     Sold it for 1739 to a lady in Hawaii. And when I realized that I could turn every 50 cents into like$18 I thought if I had eight hours a day to do this full time I could make some serious money. And so one thing led to another and I was hooked. Well

Stephen:                             12:24                     let me let me pull a couple key points out of there one. You are buying things for an antique mall. What were you a closet garage sale.

Stephanie:                          12:37                     Know that was your thing to it. I have been hooked on Garage sales since I was 17 and that’s been several decades ago and I still love the thrill of the hunt. That’s my favorite part besides meeting the people.

Stephen:                             12:52                     So you what were you buying when you went to garage sales What were you looking to buy.

Stephanie:                          12:57                     Antiques collectibles and what really. I love cooking. I love anything to do with the kitchen. So for many years I was drawn to anything that had to do with the kitchen and was vintage. I wanted things that look like it came out of my grandmother’s kitchen that was just what drew me. But over the years that has evolved into many other things. So just antiques and collectibles pretty much. It’s just that I don’t think I was choosing the right things or making the pricing was. But eBay opened up a whole new world and the things literally flew off the shelf on eBay where they just sat there and collected dust in my my booth.

Stephen:                             13:40                     Well that was where I was going to go. I mean it sounds to me like you have an eye for these things she just had to think of a market in your booth. Because I notice this is my observation of antique malls generally generally when you go down them they’re very similar items in most of the booze. Not all the time. I mean there’s always an unusual thing but a lot of them have similar items and that’s how I learned things that aren’t that rare. Right. You just go down when I see the Red Ryder Cup in you know seven boots. I’m like OK that’s not rare. Right it’s old. Right.

Stephanie:                          14:11                     Used to be rare is not so rare with eBay because it’s opened up the whole you know this to the whole world like baseball cards that used to be hard to find. Now you can find them fairly easily you know on the Internet. So in some respects it’s it’s kind of diluted the market but I wouldn’t try it for anything because it’s just part of who I am.

Stephen:                             14:40                     Now what makes collecting probably even a little more fulfilling because you can actually finish a collection right you can actually find that missing piece that Disney thimble set that’s missing one. You can actually find it right rather than never finding it. So I would say you had an eye for it and you just needed to find the right marketplace and clearly you did did most of the stuff. I mean because that would be the tell. Right. Did most of the stuff from the book sell.

Stephanie:                          15:08                     Yes. And as soon as it did we closed it down. And then since I was working at the World Trade Center I had access to market samples. When market was not going on the showrooms would sell their samples at sometimes 50 75 percent off wholesale. And so when market wasn’t going on I would walk around and buy these samples and I would sell those on eBay and at the World Trade Center that the showroom managers it was almost like a sisterhood because when market was going on wasn’t going on it was very quiet and you had lots of time to visit and get to know these ladies. And so I started telling them about my adventures on ebay and see how much money I was making on ebay I was just like I couldn’t get enough. I wanted everybody to know about it.

Stephanie:                          16:04                     And so they said well I want to learn how to sell on that site called e-bay. And I said well I can teach you but it’s going to cost you. And so I started teaching individuals up there and charging them$50 an hour which they were happy to pay. And I did that starting in September 1999 and in 2002 I got laid off for my full time job. I cried all the way home. I felt like a loser. And I thought oh my God I’ve got to get my resume together. Go on interviews for for another you know deadbeat boss. I hate that there’s got to be a better way. So it finally clicked and I heard this little voice saying well if you could teach one person you could teach a whole classroom. And I thought Wow. So I started calling around to the local community colleges to see if they offer e-bay classes because there was still so new and none of them did.

Stephanie:                          17:11                     And so I started submitting my syllabus to them and I had a beginner and intermediate and advanced and within like three months I was on the schedule for 12 different campuses so I kind of took on a life of its own. And I had to scale way back because there was only so much I could do. But I did that for two years. I was the first college instructor ever which I’m very proud of. And then fast forward to 2004 e-bay came out with a certification program called education specialist. And so that was just an you know a natural evolution. I wanted their backing so I got certified by e-bay but I continue teaching my own syllabus or my own curriculum which I do to this day for a couple of local colleges here in Dallas. So

Stephen:                             18:09                     you know thinking back to that early on what you were teaching was pretty pretty cutting edge. Right I mean think about it right. You actually had the ability to take a product from your house find a way to sell it in Hawaii. I mean in Hawaii of all places right just that far. It’s another world right it’s far away. Yes

Stephanie:                          18:29                     so when you were explaining when the people were taking your class what was the demographic of the people attending when I first started and even to this day I would say middle age to retiree age a lot of people want to supplement their retirement they’re just bored and they they have so much stuff in their garage. A lot of people have lost their parents and they’re stuck with this estate and they just want to get rid of this stuff. And at first there were some younger people like in their early to mid 20s. But for the most part it seems to me it’s always been 30 ish on the up to maybe 70 ish. My oldest was his name was Mr. Swann. He was 83 years old when I taught him. And he just passed away last year and I always say if I could teach Mr. Swan to sell on ebay I could teach anybody.

Stephen:                             19:38                     When you think back to the thousands of people that have come through your classes I mean think of the millions of dollars of sales that you have your little finger in and helping generate to be a pretty cool rewarding for.

Speaker 12:                        19:53                     It really is. And I will tell you that I would say the pinnacle of my career is pipe in a lot of them. But the one that I felt so honored and like I had arrived was when I think it was September 2006 eBay University came to Dallas and to the Dallas Convention Center to be specific for three days and they invited me to teach the advanced classes for three days and I would teach like 300 people at a time all weekend. And

Stephanie:                          20:25                     so as intimidating as that was and as scared as I was to get up on stage in front of that many people I mean I literally cried and cried because I didn’t think I could do it. My husband kept saying you do this all the time. I said well yeah in front of 20 to 30 people but not 300. But I got it there. And you know I just set it up for you. You can do this. And I did. I don’t know if I would ever do it again but I was just so honored and proud of myself that I actually pulled it off and did it. I did a pretty good job.

Stephen:                             21:05                     So I think it’s very cool. Again though that if you consider that a Pinnacle because you’re helping all these other people and yet they’re helping you. I think it’s very cool. So let’s talk about meet ups. OK. So where does the idea come from to have like one of the earliest earliest meet ups.

Stephanie:                          21:27                     When I first ebay seller group ever and it was three years before me that even came into existence.

Stephen:                             21:35                     So this is before me up dotcom. You know you started number one ebay meeting group.

Stephanie:                          21:44                     I did. And I’m very proud of that. I read an article about somebody in Atlanta Georgia. They had like a little e-bay get together and at the end you probably can relate to this many people can when you sell on eBay or Amazon or Etsy. It can be a lonely business. Many times we’re the only person in our business and you said here in front of a computer by yourself all day every day. I thought I wanted to connect with people that did what I did and there was no social media back then. So I decided to just have a meeting and the only thing I had to find other people was on the eBay discussion boards and that’s how I started looking at the little group on the eBay forums eBay discussion boards and invited people. And our first meeting was about 15 people that was in January of 2002.

Stephanie:                          22:49                     And that was in a Chili’s and was in like a month or two we outgrew Chili’s and we have been so many different hair meetings so many different venues over the years and we’ve had many many eBay staffers come to Dallas which you know is always a highlight of our year is when they come to visit. And anyway just in 2005 when I’ve learned about made up I thought wow this could really eliminate a lot of headaches and automate everything. So I jumped on board with Meda and I’ve been with them ever since. So about 12 years on Meet up in three years I did it just on my own.

Stephen:                             23:38                     So eBay there’s still 15 years still going strong.

Speaker 13:                        23:42                     It is. Yes. How

Speaker 14:                        23:44                     many people come to a meeting now.

Stephanie:                          23:47                     It really depends on the topic and the speaker. When we have eBay Brian Burke will be our guest in January. We usually have about 75 to maybe 150. Wow. But a typical meeting I would say 40 to 60.

Speaker 14:                        24:07                     And where do you hold your meetings now with that with that volume even you know 60 people. A lot of people.

Stephanie:                          24:13                     Yeah. We have a private room in a local Outback Steakhouse and it holds about 90 people so we can accommodate the large group. But when we have like a hundred we know what we can expect 150 or so. There is a large very large banquet room at a local country club that we met for about three or four years and we will reserve that room for like a special special occasion like about four years ago. EBay came in and did a special banquet. They provided all the food and beverage so naturally people were going to work for that. But typically we just need the Outback Steakhouse. But like I said over the last 15 years we have met at many different venues and it’s kind of challenging to do with a zero budget.

Stephen:                             25:12                     I mean two people pay at all.

Stephanie:                          25:15                     They only pay for their dinner. I’ve never charged anybody because I don’t do it for the money. I do it. It’s a labor of love and the desire to connect with people and learn from each other.

Stephen:                             25:30                     And could you walk us through a typical agenda just a short version.

Speaker 12:                        25:35                     Sure. We opened the doors at 6:00 and we start checking people in. And when I say checking people in we give them their name tag Adour price take it and that they they sit down they order their dinner and we visit for about an hour. And at 7:00 sharp the presentation begins. And that runs until about 8:15 or 8:30. And then we have door prize drawings and then we adjourn.

Speaker 11:                        26:06                     And what would be what was last presentation that was given as presentation.

Stephanie:                          26:13                     That is a Goodman and just kept perspective that I were anywise only last you trip me up on that window.

Stephen:                             26:25                     Well that could be anyone. It

Stephanie:                          26:26                     doesn’t have to be I mean I understand you have somebody from ebay coming and I know what they would say but just in a normal normal meeting you know we we always try to cover the basics like one meeting but the photography and photo editing another one might be social media marketing which I usually do. That one would be packing and shipping at demonstrating how to pack properly how to you know use the right boxes in which prowar e-mailbox is going to be most beneficial for a certain situation or certain type of package like regional right versus flat rate versus variable rate.

Speaker 12:                        27:08                     And then let’s see the Zura PowerPoint involved and this is your setup.

Stephanie:                          27:16                     Typically there’s going to be a PowerPoint but I prefer a live presentation with you just walking them through it on the internet. I believe the last meeting now that I’ve had time to think about for a minute was a dish you’re listing. So we take live listings and we are interactive meeting where everybody offers constructive criticism without getting you know ugly or hurting anyone’s feelings and it helps us to be better sellers and create better listings and hopefully that will equate to more money. Now

Stephen:                             27:55                     you bring your own P.A. system I guess what I’m trying to get to is I’m trying to say if somebody would want to do their own you know these would be some of the essential So what you’re describing seems pretty logical pretty doable in almost every single town. How do you handle audio so people can hear you.

Stephanie:                          28:12                     OK we we do have all the equipment so we have a projector. We have a microphone. We have a screen and actually eBay provided all of that for us Stephen. They are really pro active and getting more so for anybody that wants to start a meet up group they will support you not necessarily financially but they will provide door prizes. They will come out and visit your group and about four years ago they had a meet up summit and they had 15 organizers up there and they provided us with projectors. Apple TV they provide us with microphones speakers the whole nine yards. So they’re really really trying to get people to get involved in their communities and become community leaders.

Speaker 14:                        29:15                     Let’s we do have to tell the Chris Greene story but then I want to I want to get to what you get out of it I had rich Psylocke on and I read a very similar story in it’s a labor of love. Exactly as you described it. He just that’s his family that’s his that’s his community right. It is and he loves it and just loves being part of it and leading and has been for a long time him and I love it. So I want people to understand what you can get from it. Now I understand that you sell some teaching and courses and stuff like that so that’s if that’s somebody who’s been you and that’s what they want to do. That’s a benefit that can come if you’re good and if you offer value.

Stephen:                             29:53                     However you know personally what would somebody look could somebody with the right personality expect to get from this.

Stephanie:                          30:06                     The first thing that comes to my mind is comaraderie. The second one would be education and support and no man no matter how long you have been selling online. There is always something new to learn but you learn right even you. I I learn yes. Outlier from my students learn from my ebay peers and I get to meet people you know new people all the time that are joining that you know sell up may they may sell a product I never even dreamed of selling. And it’s just amazing to hear some of the stories and some of the things that people sell. We had a guy that I met on YouTube. I didn’t really need him. I was just following him and I was just intrigued by how well he was doing. He was doing a lot of retail arbitrage but not for Amazon.

Stephanie:                          31:04                     He was doing it actually for e-bay. So I just thought I’d just go for broke and see where he lives. He does live in Texas. He was actually in El Paso which is six miles from Dallas. His name is Glyn’s subarea. He goes by Hustler hacks. And so I said I love your youtube videos. I’m just intrigued you know by everything that you’re accomplishing. Are you ever in Dallas. He said Well as a matter of fact I’m going to my brother’s wedding. One thing led to another and he was our guest in August and then he did a couple of sourcing trips while he was here. And it was just amazing. This guy is a rock star when it comes to e-bay. And so our never got to meet this guy. You know if it wasn’t for our ebay group and you know him coming you know offering to come to Dallas and it’s just the people that put me in touch with and going back to Chris Green.

Stephanie:                          32:12                     That’s how we met. He and his wife or even married yet they were in there I would say early 20s and they came to one of my first meet ups now doubtless.

Stephen:                             32:24                     OK so let’s let’s go there because it’s a great way. I mean think about this. Now you see where Kris has you know come from and you see where he was able to take it through real solid execution. Let’s face it. I mean there’s no way you can be that successful without being you know good at executing. And so when you when you saw him was he was he selling it all at that time.

Stephanie:                          32:46                     Yes. And I believe he was still working for home depot. And I have to say he’s always been a rock star. He didn’t do anything halfway. He was fine with tools. Of course that was what he did. You know for Home Depot. But he recognized opportunities. And when he was not working he would go and he would buy things that he knew he could flip but he would do it in mass quantities. So he didn’t do it like I said he didn’t do anything halfway. And so that’s how he got started was with tools. And that was August in 2002 and in 2010 he was still in Dallas and they came. You know he was still coming to meetings and he said Staff he said How come you’re not selling on Amazon. And I said Oh. He was selling books and I saw Chris.

Stephanie:                          33:49                     Now they had those thing called candles and nobody is going to buy a book when they can read it on Kindle. He said Are you kidding. And of all people I know I can’t believe you’re not selling on Amazon. So I said I’ve got this scanner I want to show you. So we met for lunch one day. He showed me this scanner and of course it really piqued my interest in the next day I met him and we went through nothing. And I was hooked right then and there. I bought the scanner$800 lighter. And I’ve been selling on Amazon ever since. Thanks to Chris. So that’s great. He’s been instrumental You know and for me in a lot of ways he’s the one that pushed me to write a book. He kept saying you know a business card is great but writing a book is the ultimate business card you really need to write a book. So eventually I was able to crank out a book. It was a grueling experience. That

Speaker 12:                        34:52                     title is made up. Organizer step by step success guide.

Speaker 14:                        34:59                     And what’s interesting to me is that you took a broader approach rather than specific to either you or me meet up Isar you know. Was that intentional.

Stephanie:                          35:10                     That was because you probably know as well as anybody. There are millions not millions. I’m exaggerating hundreds of eBay books eBay how to books sell clothing how to do this. I didn’t want to be just another ebay because there were already so many available. So I wanted to find a topic that I knew well and I felt comfortable writing about that. There were there was just very little competition if any. And so that made up was my baby. And that’s kind of what helped me grow my group. And so that’s the subject I chose.

Speaker 14:                        35:54                     No you wrote that in 2013. Yes. OK. And when you think about I mean do you have any clue of the types of groups that have used your book to get started.

Stephanie:                          36:09                     I don’t. But I know that most of the e-bay groups have. And when we had that meet up summit in San Jose eBay headquarters they used my book as the handbook for that summit. And so that was an honor to do that. And I will be I am happy to share my book in a PDA format with anybody that is looking to start a meetup group whether it’s an E-bay or other you know top a meet up and my ultimate goal would be to have an e-Bay meet up in every state in the United States and I am happy to mentor anyone and just closes the phone or email.

Stephen:                             37:02                     You know you meet monthly. Is that correct. I

Stephanie:                          37:05                     do. We’ve always met on the fourth Monday of each month and consistency is really the key. Right I mean nothing else right. And that way they just know every month on the fourth Monday they’ve they’ve got a commitment. So it’s not sporadic. I

Speaker 14:                        37:20                     think that’s really important what happens when life happens to Stephanie. Does the meet up go on.

Stephanie:                          37:28                     It does. I’ve never missed a meet up. Now I have another group meet up group. There’s even much much larger and I have missed two meetings there dude illness but I have a co-organizer that filled in for me. But on my ebay group I’ve never missed a meeting.

Stephen:                             37:51                     Is there a plan because I just want somebody. I mean let’s use your other larger group then it still survives without you.

Speaker 12:                        38:01                     Yes because I have assistants that can fill in for me.

Speaker 14:                        38:06                     And how long did that take to develop people that you could count on to do. Did a cream rise to the top pretty quickly.

Stephanie:                          38:12                     Yes it really does because you can tell the people that are really really interested in dedicated. They you know they they show up at the meetings and they just they offer the help. I mean it’s just really like an extended family.

Speaker 14:                        38:30                     How long how long is the prep time for each meeting.

Stephanie:                          38:36                     This it’s not really that much you know finding speakers and a lot of times I will pull from our membership because I want to give people there you know not 10 minutes of fame but I want people to have their moment in the spotlight and a chance to give back just like I did because you get a lot of gratification from helping others. And you know it’s like you get what you give and there’s always something tangible or a monetary monetary reward. It fills my heart.

Stephen:                             39:13                     Has Chris been back to be a speaker for you.

Stephanie:                          39:17                     Yeah. And I’m trying to get nailing down this time because his mom still lives in the Dallas area so he knows that when he’s coming to see his mom he will call me and I will work him into the schedule. It’s awesome. That’s just awesome. Well

Speaker 14:                        39:33                     because it especially that he gets to say look I started where you are right there and now you know and you know he would downplay his level success but he’s been successful in many many aspects in many parts of this business. Pretty much everything he’s gotten into he’s done really well with. When he puts his head into it and so to build it to demonstrate that and say wait I came from right where you are I think is a really powerful thing. What do you see. Are there common challenges that you see over the years because you have a breath of experience right. You look back 15 years where the problems and the challenges 15 years ago. Are they still the same today. Or has it evolved.

Speaker 15:                        40:19                     No. There is still the same as far as my meet up group.

Speaker 14:                        40:23                     Well not in operating that meet up group from the members you know so the people that were come in 15 years ago they had challenges right. They

Stephanie:                          40:30                     probably had money problems finding merchandise competitor post office although all the grumbling have challenges changed and evolved over time or are they still the same similar still the same still the same challenges and we have people that you know have sold on their own and stopped selling for one reason or another it could be health they could be you know the fact that they moved to another state. But for the most part the challenges are the same. It may be a little bit more difficult to find product to sell because eBay has become so mainstream eBay and Amazon. So a lot of people price their items according to e-bay so that presents a challenge. But for the most part the challenges are still the same.

Speaker 14:                        41:25                     Do you get. Do you talk about Amazon in the course.

Stephanie:                          41:29                     You started out being eBay exclusive but over time you have to diversify and because it’s important. I mean eBay has its place. Amazon has its place and Etsy is another platform that’s viable. And so you have to really look at all of them. And if I didn’t I would lose a lot of membership.

Speaker 14:                        41:58                     So I try to appeal to all three platforms that specifically Amazon and eBay and I was thinking about this has have there been any businesses that have come in because of their having retail challenges and they’re like well maybe I need to find out more. And you know like Rich and his sign company for example do you have those type of individuals coming into your organization and stay with it.

Stephanie:                          42:28                     Those I mean maybe as far as you know attending meet ups but for the most part those businesses contact me as a consultant to come in and work with their employees and train them if they’re going to use eBay like is clearance center or as just you know an online platform to sell their goods.

Speaker 14:                        42:52                     OK. So I’ve done that. So you’ve actually gone into businesses and offer them classes on how to get started and how to sew and how to ship and that whole process.

Stephen:                             43:02                     Exactly. Is it still prevalent today. I mean when you think back I mean I know it was cutting edge way back you know 15 years ago. Do you still get those requests now and then.

Speaker 12:                        43:15                     I do. But nowadays it’s almost imperative that a business especially a small business. That’s what I’m talking about is not necessarily mom and pop. I have larger businesses but still not like a best buy or Target. Not one of those major corporations but individually owned businesses whether they have five employees or 500 I have worked with you know to help them you know get their product on eBay and then help their staff know how to create listings you know and take the pictures because a lot of them are not trained in that regard so I didn’t take care of all of that.

Stephen:                             44:04                     Now how about Amazon to do Amazon training as well. No

Speaker 12:                        44:09                     I haven’t really done any. I mean I teach Amazon classes at the college but I haven’t got in. As far as Except one business in Irving it’s a music camp. You know they sell music musical instruments and stuff like that. But for the most part mine is e-bay related.

Speaker 14:                        44:32                     I’m blown away by that you know I guess I’m taken aback by the volume of people that you’ve touched. I think that’s what I would say is the best way to say when I think about you know all these classes all these meet ups I mean just to think potential of having Let’s say an average 100 people a month and I know the same people come sometimes but for 15 years and then you think about all the classes have. I mean you started off the conversation talking about the thousands. But has that really sunk in. I mean do you really could you picture them in a picture you know filling up our stadium. You know.

Speaker 12:                        45:11                     I mean you can you see that that would do my heart so much good.

Speaker 11:                        45:16                     I you know and I try to stay in touch with a lot of those people through Facebook and some of the students that I taught you know 12 13 years ago had become very close friends of mine. So

Stephanie:                          45:35                     my main that grew there’s a way for me to offer my students continuing education and support. And many of them join the media and then we become you know more acquainted that way and eventually become friends. And so is my husband. Oh my God. Is that all you people talk about eat well. I mean when I’m around ebay people. Yes. And I never get tired of it.

Stephen:                             46:08                     When when when do you turn it off. I

Stephen:                             46:12                     guess that would be because I imagine my wife would. Her eyes would roll on the back of her head.

Stephanie:                          46:16                     I could just feel it out with him. I don’t ever really talk about it but when I’m around someone that does what I do that’s always the topic of conversation.

Speaker 14:                        46:31                     Do you have a house full of stuff to sell.

Stephanie:                          46:34                     Not a house. Well he would argue that yes I do Steve.

Speaker 14:                        46:39                     And how does that conversation go. Because usually I you know a lot of times it’s the man who has to do explaining to his spouse about this case it’s me and they all say what is this crap in here.

Stephanie:                          46:54                     This stuff is starting to take over the dining room. OK you need to do something about this and so I’ll say OK I’ll get to that and it kind of prioritizes things.

Speaker 14:                        47:07                     I love it. I think I hope people take this challenge on if they want to learn more. This could be the best way sometimes. Right. Teaching others is the best way to learn. Right. I mean it sinks in. It gives you a little more confidence about what you’re saying and that you start to even believe it sometimes right. And so this is an opportunity for somebody in like you said every community could use one of these. This

Stephen:                             47:32                     is probably if they’ve chosen this as a life this is a lifestyle part of the business right. This allows you to have the lifestyle you want.

Speaker 13:                        47:43                     It really has. And if they want to say you know are safe there is a local group anywhere near them that can just log in to meet up dot com and in the search box at the top type in the word eBay or Amazon or e-commerce and by default it will tell them if there is a group within 25 miles. But they can expand that to 50 hundred miles. And if there’s not a group start one it’s not difficult. It’s very rewarding. And if you need you know some encouragement or someone to mentor you. Like I said I’m as close as the phone or email. And I’m happy to help.

Stephen:                             48:29                     Well and that’s one of the things I notice is you actually put your phone number out there. I mean how often how many calls are you getting related to this. This e-bay world that you’re in.

Stephanie:                          48:41                     I get no regular calls but I’m not bombarded and people are very considerate. They’re not going to bother you. They typically will email you first. And if I tell them you know give me a call and we can discuss details and stuff they’ll do that. Most people are very considerate.

Speaker 14:                        49:04                     I think again I hope people hear this that this is a way to really advance your business as you say you sell.

Stephen:                             49:10                     You’ve been selling on ebay for a long long time way longer than me. You sell on Amazon and you’ve been selling for a pretty long time on Amazon also. And yet you find times to do consulting and coaching and then also run these Meetup groups so you’ve got a pretty full life in the e-commerce world and yet you still have time for your family. Do you have kids and grandkids.

Speaker 12:                        49:36                     I do I have two grown children and three grandkids.

Speaker 14:                        49:41                     And so you’re still able to find time for them and develop this into into your into your life. I mean it really is. Do you know where your life starts and your ebay stops and then your e-bay world starts. Or in my world and here’s where I go with it in my world it really intertwines depending on the needs of each. But not in a negative way. I don’t feel like oh my God I’ve got to go do this. It’s like oh we could do this or we could do this now. You know we got to work that in at some point that’s what my world is. How about in your world. I

Stephen:                             50:12                     would echo that. It’s intentional though isn’t it. It

Stephanie:                          50:16                     really is. It really is. And e-bay. If anyone is listening that sells on Ebay I’m preaching to the choir so to speak. But it has opened up so many doors for me. And it can do the same for you. Just for instance the e-bay mainstreet part of eBay is there government relations and many years ago I joined that I don’t know what provoked me to do that. But within a year or two I got an invitation to go to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. and lobby my senators and congressman on behalf of Texas ebay sellers and I’ve got that I’ve had that opportunity twice now in 2007 in 2013. Where else would you ever have the opportunity to meet with your senators in Washington D.C. and get treated like rock stars by ebay they pick you up in limos they put you up in five star hotels. I mean it’s just unbelievable what I have had the opportunity to do in my life because of eBay.

Stephen:                             51:38                     I think I think the potential you know here’s where I would go where you and I were just together only come Chicago and it really is kind of a homecoming item and you go. You knew half the room I knew half the room and maybe even more. And so you get a benefit every time you do. Then you enrich and the others that participate in these local meet ups you get to do that every single month. And you’re right. And quite frankly they want to meet you. So you get that ability to talk to others that you have similar interest right.

Speaker 14:                        52:13                     I want to close with what we could do to help others in their business and I think about people that are stuck and I’m thinking to myself Man this is like one of the best ways to get unstuck right. Because I get to meet with other people that have similar interests that probably have businesses like mine. And guess what. They they have been through the problems I have. Are some of them anyway. And so by getting to meet others I get to help them. They get by by default. They help me as you say. Right. And this is probably the best advice to get unstuck. Go to a meet up or start one. Right. I was just looking in my area and if there are if there’s any within 50 miles there is not. However there are seven members nearby that are interested.

Stephanie:                          52:58                     So I found that if you let’s say you were to start one Stephen meta would send out an e-mail to all of those seven people saying there there’s now a meet up in your area click here to join because they’re on a waiting list waiting for someone to actually start a meet up group. And so you have a built in membership are already fascinating.

Speaker 14:                        53:28                     Love it love it. There’s the advice right there. This is how you can get on stock. One of the best proven methods that I’ve seen in a long time. Love it. OK so if somebody wants more information I’m going to have a link for your book. Meet up organizers step by step success guide. I’m going to have links for that. I’m going to have a link for your meeting up meet up in Dallas and I’ll link that to when somebody has a question what’s the best way that they can follow up with you.

Stephanie:                          54:01                     They can e-mail me a step in Texas at gmail dot com stuff to eat ph terms Internet access in Texas come.

Stephen:                             54:13                     Perfect. OK. OK. Closing thoughts.

Speaker 11:                        54:17                     What would you like to end with.

Stephanie:                          54:22                     Don’t be intimidated. You know if you’ve never sold on e-bay. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. We all make mistakes as long as you learn from those mistakes. You’re going to become better and better at what you do. And if you put your first listing up for your first few listings and you realize something isn’t quite right you can always go in there and edit it as long as there are no bits. You know there’s at least 12 hours left nowadays with fixed price listings. Most people don’t have to worry about bidding. So you can always go in there and tweak it but you have to take that first step you have to jump in get your feet wet. And it will take away that fear. But you know is it that dip in your toe in the water. Go ahead and do it.

Stephanie:                          55:17                     And if you get stuck there’s a million people on Facebook. There’s groups that are helpful. There’s no made up groups. There’s always someone to help and you’ve got my e-mail address if you get that feel free to email me and if you can teach 83 year old what was his name Mr. Mr. Swan Mr. Swan If he could do it then anybody can do as well.

Speaker 14:                        55:42                     Hey thank you so much.

Speaker 16:                        55:44                     I really appreciate it. I wish you nothing by success. I’m

Speaker 12:                        55:47                     really honored to be invited.

Speaker 14:                        55:50                     I know it’s my honor my honor. Again Chris Green took the time and said Steve you got to meet this young lady. She’s been doing it. And you just don’t walk the walk or talk the talk when walking the walk. For 15 years I think that’s the thing that I’m going to take away the most is that that consistency is. And magically you’re successful right. Overnight success 15 years in the making. Yeah.

Stephanie:                          56:16                     Love it. I think so. I really appreciate joy chatting with you. Take

Stephen:                             56:20                     care. Man oh man what a great story. What a fantastic demonstration of consistency. 15 years and she’s still learning something. And did you hear her say that because she’s an expert she generates income coaching and helping businesses and that kind of thing if that’s your thing. This is the way to get started if you’re not comfortable talking in front of people. This is the kind of thing you do. And guess what. It gets easier.

Stephen:                             56:46                     So I’ll throw this out there. I’d love to come to a meet up. If you have one if you started one I would love love love to come if I can. Shoot me a private message. I do travel extensively so you never know if me or Andy or one of the guys be coming through. This is how you can get access to some of those superstars is have a beat up in and ask him to come and present to your group. They’ll do it. What a great idea. So e-commerce woman of dot.com e-commerce momentum. Don’t forget my sponsors and don’t forget the toys r us our toys for tots toys for us. There you go. Go to Toys R Us and buy for Toys for Tots. That challenge is on. We need to hit that 50000 Mark. It’s happening. Very excited. Just shoot me a note or shoot Jeff a note and let them know you heard it on the podcast. 250

Stephen:                             57:34                     bucks you’re going to get a T-shirt he’ll send it to you. Take care.

Cool voice guy:                  57:38                     Thanks for listening to the e-commerce momentum. I guess all those things mentioned today can be found at the combers momentum dot.com under this episode number. Please remember to subscribe and like us on iTunes.

 

Stephen-Peterson

About the author, Stephen

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