Easy-to-implement habits you can implement right now to boost your reselling business
Time...what is it good for? Absolutely everything, it turns out.
Vintage selling involves a lot of facets: sourcing, cleaning, researching, photographing, marketing, writing, shipping, website updating, social media monitoring, market preparation...the list goes on. Whether you’re selling full-time or part-time, there’s always a lot to get done in a finite amount of time.
We recently took to our Instagram following to conduct an informal survey of vintage sellers and thrifters on their business practices. One of the questions we asked was to get your best tips on time management — and you delivered! We condensed the answers into six habits you can adopt right now:
Whether you’re full-time or part-time, maximizing the day will help you accomplish what you’ve planned (more on planning in tip #2). Not a morning person? This applies to night owls, too! Basically, no matter what time you wake up to start your day — make sure you actually start it.
One way to do that is avoid the snooze button. “I literally put my alarm clock across the room where I have to get out of the bed to turn it off,” says one seller. You know how the saying goes: once you’re up, you’re up.
Setting daily and weekly goals can also give you more control over how you spend your time, says another seller. Figure out your biggest priorities and tackle them first. “Getting clear on my tasks and to dos first thing in the morning,” is what helps one seller.
Determine what times of day you are better at performing certain tasks and try to plan it into your schedule.
Maybe you need extra time writing listings and captions because it’s a job you don’t really like, or it’s one that you’re trying to get better at.
Do less desirable, more focused tasks when you’re most alert, and leave the ones that require less concentration for periods when you know you don’t need to be firing on all cylinders.
Many of our survey respondents recommend scheduling as much as possible in advance. That extends to sourcing, photographing, writing and posting listings, shipping, etc.
“Set a schedule, just like work or school,” says one seller. “Abide by it — don’t under or overwork yourself!”
You can use any number of scheduling tools to keep track of your commitments, from a calendar on your phone or computer, to a physical daytimer, to bullet journals, to scheduling or note-taking apps, to Post-Its stuck on the wall.
Don’t just add appointments into your calendar — add final deadlines too, and reminders for those deadlines.
Scheduling extends to your social media life, too. Posts can be scheduled natively as drafts in your app of choice, or you can use a third-party tool like Planoly or Hootsuite to plan posts and stories.
If you get a lot of email or in-app direct messages, schedule time to read and respond to those too. It might be first thing in the morning, then again at lunch, or during breaks from work.
While scheduling works for a lot of people, remember that schedules aren’t set in stone. This means you need to be flexible when things change last-minute. It’s important to be in tune with what your body is telling you, says one seller, who is all about “honouring my energy rather than powering through when I’m exhausted.”
Speaking of which, be sure to schedule self-care time, too. That might mean visits with family or friends, periods for hobbies or for exercise, and/or that ever-elusive solo time to just relax.
A common approach among respondents is to execute tasks in batches — for example, devote one day to sourcing, one day to photographing, one day to shipping, etc.
If you’re a part-time vintage seller, adjust down to smaller chunks of time. Executing things in batches is not always realistic when it comes to dealing with unexpected requests or problems, but it can help drive focused, productive work.
One seller uses batch working to prep clothing for sale. “Wash a bunch of stuff at once,” they advise. “And find storage space before you prep!”
For another seller, photographing three drops in one session means a total of about 40 products are captured at once. “You’re set for a month,” they say.
Another says they write drafts for captions at night. No matter when you choose to draft your captions, writing them ahead of time is a good way to ensure you are staying on brand. You get an opportunity to review and make changes, and you can cut down on the stress of posting as you go.
Don’t let the time you’ve set for one task bleed into another — take blocking a step further by adding a timer to keep yourself on track.
One seller credits the Pomodoro technique for helping her manage time. Author Francesco Cirillo first developed the method in the 1980s using a kitchen timer in the shape of a Pomodoro tomato.
Cirillo recommends determining which task needs to be completed, then setting a time interval of 25 minutes to work on the task (which he calls a “pomodoro”).
Once the timer buzzes, enter into a five- to 10-minute break. Repeat up to four times — but after the fourth 25-minute interval, take a longer break of 20 to 30 minutes. Then start over again from the top. If you finish a task before the timer goes off, use the additional time to review your work and improve upon it.
Using a similar system can help you to record how long it takes you to complete certain tasks, so you can better plan how long it might take you to execute them in the future.
While Instagram, Depop and other platforms are key to the livelihood of vintage sellers, be cognizant about how much time you are spending on each. Set a timer to scroll feeds for 10-15 minute “breaks” throughout the day, and, if you’re not actively engaged in a drop, plan on answering DMs all at once rather than stopping whatever task you’re doing to answer them.
In fact, evaluate how any and all notifications on your phone affect your workflow — should you turn them off? If you need to keep notifications on, at least consider flipping your phone over during focused work periods so you can’t see the screen.
It leads to easy distraction, and before you know it, 25 minutes has gone by. That’s a time interval where you could have been doing something else!
Several sellers shared variations on this theme: steal back those little moments throughout the day or evening to get a task done. Waiting at the doctor’s office? Research the history of that piece you’ve been meaning to list.
Too tired to do much after a long day at your 9 to 5? Throw on some background TV, park on the couch, and rifle through your DMs.
“I list while drinking coffee in the a.m. and on break from work at lunch,” says one seller. “Work when the baby sleeps!” says another.
If your schedule allows, switch up your sourcing to less-busy times. One respondent says they thrift shop in the mornings when it’s quieter. “I try to pick up/make deliveries on my way home from work so I don’t have to use up my weekends,” shares another.
Just make sure you actually do take some real pauses throughout the day or evening — don’t use up every break for other tasks. Get out for a walk to clear your head, watch a Netflix show or take a nap.
“Don’t let receipts pile up,” advises one seller.
Ah, administration. Seemingly small tasks like expense tracking, database management, reviewing analytics or even researching the answers to business questions can chip in to the time you have to actually list and sell.
They can also be very daunting tasks to complete if you let them pile up. Set aside a block of time each week to perform these routine tasks so you don’t fall behind.
Have more time management tips? Let us know in the comments!