Working for yourself has so many great aspects: freedom, creativity, and the pride of building something yourself! However, the downside presents itself when you want to unplug without losing your income. I've never been brave enough to hand over much of the work of my reselling business because, well, I feel like I've been learning so much since I went full time last year, that I didn't feel confident yet passing over responsibilities I hadn't felt I mastered 100%.
When our 2 week European vacation started getting closer, I had to make the decision to either put everything on hold and lose two weeks of income (and the subsequent slow down when we are back from having all shops closed), or hire someone for the help. My business plan for the future involves hiring help for listing/photographing/shipping, so I decided to take the plunge and start learning how having employee will be in my business! My brother is in college and out for summer break, so I offered him a set amount of money to come live in our house and ship sold items while we were gone.
I had my brother come down 4 days before we left in order to show him the ropes and give him a couple days of observation/supervision so he felt comfortable when we left. I sell on eBay, Poshmark, and Mercari, and each has a different method of shipping so I am really glad we had that much time to spend learning all platforms. Once we left, I would plan in about an hour every morning to send my brother a detailed email of what had sold the day before, the inventory number (that is how items are organized in my storage system), and on which platform. I also sometimes left notes on how I recommend packaging/shipping if it was a random item.
Overall, this experience was SO great and I definitely made the right decision! My brother paid for himself within two days of sales, so everything after that was profit! I did spend a LOT of time in the month leading up to our vacation to make the proper preparations for an outsider to come in and make any sort of sense of my system, and after the whole experience I can reflect on what worked, and what could use some improvements for the future. In case you are in a position where you would consider hiring someone to help you out with your reselling business, I've shared some tips from this experience below!
AUDIT YOUR INVENTORY TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS IN ORDER
I put all my inventory in baggies with numbers that are sorted in order in boxes, so a couple weeks leading up to our trip I went through everything to make sure the items were in order and had the right numbers. Tedious, but I'm glad I did it because I found a lot of inconsistencies!
ENSURE YOUR INVENTORY IS IN A "READY TO SELL" CONDITION
I was in a bad habit of putting items that needed minor care before being sent out (deodorant marks, new button, etc) in inventory and just fixing them up when they sold. I definitely didn't want that responsibility on someone new, so when I audited my inventory I also looked over everything to ensure it was ready to ship condition.
WRITE A DETAILED SOP (STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE)
I learned the importance of a good SOP from my Human Resources days, but essentially you want to write up step by step exactly how to do a task so someone who has never done the task before can follow the procedures.
WILL THE SALES BE WORTH PAYING AN EMPLOYEE
An important thing to consider is how much is fair to pay your employee that still allows you to make money. Take into mind how many sales you have per day, how long it typically takes you per day to package items up, and the time to get to and from the post office
SALES WILL SLOW IF YOU DON'T STAY ACTIVE
Across the multiple platforms I sell on, it appears that actively listing new items helps you with the algorithm/sales. As well, sharing on Poshmark is also crucial for getting your items seen. Make sure you are prepared to do this during your vacation! *also take into account time differences: I always like to share my Poshmark closet during certain times, and Germany was 9 hours ahead*
HAVE DRAFTS WRITTEN UP AND READY TO GO
This is something I wish I had done! I had photographs and measured items, but couldn't find the time to actually make the drafts. This required more time during my vacation to actually make the listings.
Thank you for reading, and I hope this was helpful! If you have any other questions about hiring an employee to ship for you, or want to share your own experiences leave a comment below!