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Clean Your Items Before You Take Pictures

 

Ever heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words?”

Notice the phrase doesn’t specify whether those are positive or negative words?

 

Posting pictures of items for sell that haven’t been cleaned is just about as detrimental as writing your entire ad about why no one should from you.

Cleaning your items before taking pictures of them is simply a must.

Why?  Well… let’s look at the opposite scenario.  You take a picture of your un-cleaned items. And post them online for sale.

  • …a couch covered in animal hair
  • …a dusty wooden nightstand
  • …a dirty car with stains on the floor mats
  • …a kitchen appliance with some food still crusted to it
  • …a pile of old books (achoo!)

Grossed out yet? Yea, me too.

Presentation is everything.  That’s why first impressions are so powerful.

So what’s your potential buyer going to do when they see your ad with un-cleaned items?  Besides be less-than-enthused?  They’ll do one of two things:

1.) Go look elsewhere. –OR—2.) Offer you a much lower price.

Dirty items tell the buyer: “I’m old” … “I need work” … “I’ve seen better days”

And that translates into work for the buyer. People don’t want to pay for a used item when they have to turn around and invest more time into cleaning it.  Besides, that’s not the message you, as a respectable seller, want to be broadcasting.

Here are a few tips on how to get the most money for your items:

  1. Use a cleaning product (dusting doesn’t cut it)
  2. Use the correct cleaning product (suggested cleaners below)
  3. Do a thorough cleaning (20 second wipe down doesn’t fool anyone)
  4. Exercise precaution with collectibles (consult professionals)
  5. Specify in your ad that the item has been cleaned
Note: people pay most attention to the cleanliness of large cost items (like automobiles & real-estate), so make sure you invest a proper amount of time and cleaning-energy into those.

When your items are clean, they’ll look newer – which translates into more money for you!  That’s something no one will be upset about.

For the above tips #1 and #2, these are some of the highest rated and multi-purpose cleaners:

 OxiClean

  • Magical on stains, inside and outside
  • Suggestions: linen, furniture, cloth stains

 409 All-Purpose Cleaner

  • Great for disinfecting and cleaning surfaces
  • Suggestions: children’s toys, kitchen appliances, DVD cases, plastic tubs/bins, bikes

 Pine-Sol

  • Safe for almost all surfaces like porcelain, tile, wood, aluminum
  • Suggestions: wooden furniture without a finish, bathroom appliances
  • I’m not sure there is anything this isn’t good for.
The best news is, once you interact with a community of people who care about their stuff, care about their reputation, and care about your satisfaction?

…You’ll never go back.

Online buying and selling is at a revolutionary point.  There hasn’t ever been a better time to join.  So…if you’ve got items you’re looking to sell, we’ve got the place for you to do it.

Open that cleaning closet and get to it!  We’ll be here waiting.

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What’s something you own that is a bit dirty but worthy of selling?

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The Anatomy of a Great Resume

This infographic from Top Counseling Schools provides some helpful tips when it comes to making your resume the best it can be. Let’s face the facts – there are a lot of people seeking work right now. So how do you make your resume stand out from the rest, providing you the best opportunity to get in front of that recruiter? This infographic is designed to help.

And if you are pondering the question, who will help me find a job?” then be sure to check out our Jobs section.

[Click here for full size version]

The Anatomy of a Great Resume

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Is Selling Online Safe?

 

There’s a certain level of comfort that comes with purchasing items from a store; fortunately for today’s online savvy society, you can achieve that same feeling of safety with a few simple and proactive steps.

 

For many, the notion of selling things online to strangers is a daunting thought.  But why wouldn’t it be?  Between the nightly news and trending stories on social media, it would appear that our world is increasing in danger at a rate that wildly surpasses our ability to protect ourselves.

Contrary to the horror stories we hear, however, there are still tons of people who are selling things online – safely and successful.

“Better safe than sorry” goes the old expression.  And ‘tis right.

Here are some essential “safe keeping” items for online sellers:

  • Take photographs wisely.  Pictures of the item(s) being sold should be STRICTLY of what’s being sold.  Objects in the background give away a lot more information than one may suspect  — whether it be about you, your family, your income, your life style, etc.  Steer clear of things like furniture, electronics, appliances, children, cars, garages, etc.  Those give the prospective buyer a lot of inside scoop about you.
  • Always speak to a live body.  A text or email exchange is a lay-up for a poor experience.  You’ll want a phone number not only for the area code (keeping it local is safer) but to hear the inquirer’s voice.  You’d be surprised at how much you can tell about someone by simply talking to him or her on the phone.
  • Keep payments green.  This means cash.  Your goal is to let the medium of payment do the authentication for you.  The only exception would be a money order.  NO personal checks!!
  • Go public.  YOU choose the place, never the buyer, and you’ll want to have it picked out ahead of time.  The location needs to be a place you’ve been before and are familiar with.  If you can’t exchange the item anywhere except your house (with larger items, for example), then meet the buyer in a public place first – this will allow you to gauge the individual and your interaction.  If all feels well, then have them follow you to your house.  Make sure to prepare the item ahead of time; having it on your porch or in the front yard is the ideal scenario, as it keeps the prospective buyer out of your house.
  • Never go alone.   Not only is someone else good for support, but you also don’t ever want to find yourself in a situation where you are outnumbered.  It’s a long-time-used strategy — where one person distracts and the other person does the damage.  Play it safe and be prepared with a partner.
  • Keep records.  Do you have to keep the records forever? Of course not, but it IS a business transaction, so having all communication records (such as emails, texts, etc.) is handy and beneficial.
  • Stick to the basics.  Only give information out that’s directly related to the item for sale.  It’s easy to get caught up in chitchat and extra (but un-needed) details.  The less they know about you the better.
  • Keep communication disposable. At the very least, create a Google Voice number that you link to your cell phone.  If you don’t know what that is, click here for some info.  And at a more cautious level, create a separate email address that you use to communicate with prospective buyers.  This creates a situation where your personal number is kept private and you’re not left wondering who has your information.
  • Stay consistent.  Stick with what you said, and follow those guidelines each and every single time.  If someone brings a check when you specified cash, walk away.  If someone wants to meet up after they’ve given it some more thought, follow the same procedures when you met the first time.  If someone suggests a place you’re not familiar with, say no.  It’s easy to get lax… and even easier to want to accommodate your potential buyer’s wishes.  But safety doesn’t happen on accident.  You have to plan for it.

Above all else: TRUST YOUR INSTINCT.  If it feels fishy, chances are it is.

Any other safety tips? Share below!

 

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Why CAPS LOCK doesn’t CAPtivate

CAPS LOCK: the perfect way to grab someone’s attention, right? Wrong.

 

Think of CAPS LOCK like sugar – powerful when used sparingly but dangerous with over-consumption.  And caps lock, just like sugar, doesn’t discriminate. …All who fall victim to over-consumption will be held hostage.

Instead of sugar-highs and stomach aches though, over-consumption of CAPS LOCK results in the wrong audience investigating your ad and fewer inquiries.

Let’s break it down.  You want people reading your ad to think you’re professional, you have your “stuff” together, you are experienced… superior… reliable… and probably a dozen other things, right?  In essence, you want them thinking that you are the one they should choose.

(PS – If you’re NOT thinking those things? Re-read this paragraph, take note, and start thinking them. Your believe will impact your success.)

(PPS – Did you see how I just sprinkled a little caps lock in that PS note? I made it so your brain had no choice but to digest my sentence upon the first time reading it.)

 

Unfortunately, when you become monogamous with caps lock, you don’t convey any of the above messages.  Overloading caps lock is sloppy.  It’s hard to digest.  It’s overwhelming.  And let’s face it, it’s just not attractive.

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HERE’S FOUR THINGS YOUR AD WILL SCREAM WITH TOO MUCH CAPS:

 

  1. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO CAPITALIZE THE BEGINNING OF MY SENTENCES.
  2. I’M LAZY.
  3. I’M NOT SURE WHICH WORDS ARE PROPER NOUNS, SO I CAPITALIZE THEM ALL.
  4. I’M DESPERATE FOR YOUR INTEREST.
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How do I know the above 4 things are true?  Go search some random online classifieds.  You know what you’ll most likely find in the ads that overdo caps lock? You’ll find misspellings, lack of punctuation, grammar errors, and a confirmation of the above 5 points.

…But you ARE experienced, you are confident, superior, reliable, and you are worthy of your desired audience’s interest.

 

So below are a few simple caps lock guidelines:

  • Never use all caps (this includes both your title and body).
  • Highlight a maximum of two words in a paragraph.
  • Occasionally use it in lieu of italic (easier to for the eye to pick-up).
  • If you’re not sure which words to capitalize, try this: when you’re reading your ad aloud to proof it, which yes – you should do – the occasional word you have an urge to emphasize? Is the perfect word to capitalize.
  • When in doubt, leave it out.  In other words, leave it lowercase.

 

Here’s a thought for you: imagine the caps lock button didn’t even exist.  Would you ever awkwardly attempt to hold down the “shift” button with your left pinky while trying to type your message? Perhaps if you’re one of those advanced chicken pecker typers you would…  But for those of us who type with the all ten phalanges? The answer is no and no again.

 

It’s not Halloween, folk.  Readers don’t want a sugar overdose. Leave them wanting more, not yearning for a bottle of Tums to aid their stomachache.

MORAL OF THE STORY? DON’T OVERDOSE ON CAPS LOCKS.