SELLING | Try, Fail, Learn, Repeat!

Article originally published in 2009


I just finished uploading pictures and item information for more than 100 items I'm selling on ebay Philippines.

It's a very tedious process that involves taking digital pictures using my p990i then uploading it individually and listing and re-listing the items up on ebay. Of course there is a more efficient and faster way of doing it but doing so would cost me a few additional bucks. I'd go for the free and tedious rather than the easy and costly.

I started on ebay as a buyer and progressed to become a seller myself.
I used to buy entrepreneur magazines and VHS Tapes from other ebay sellers. Actually, I bought the laptop I'm using right now and the P990i on ebay as well. I was having so much fun on ebay that I decided to explore selling.

The first items I posted were my collection of magic cards and priced it at 100 pesos a piece. I thought I was pricing it right until somebody from ebay emailed me a comment saying "your price is ridiculously high." The person who emailed me was right 'cause nobody made a bid during the 10 day bidding period that I assigned on my items. After that, I stopped selling for a while. I have gotten busy with work - but that did not hide the fact that I was really a little bit disheartened.

Selling was never my forte. I always say this to myself and to every person I know. I am not a persuasive talker. I was never much of a conversationalist. I dislike having to present something so that other people will buy it. I don't like phones. I don't like talking to people on phones. I have trouble building up and keeping a large network of friends, clients, family members, etc. etc. I usually have trouble remembering names and faces. So.. selling stuff is definitely not for me.

If the subject of selling is taboo, how come I keep ending up with jobs that directly or indirectly requires to do just that?

Way back in college during the summer, I remember applying for a job at Filway selling encyclopedia - I didn't like it, so naturally I was not able to sell a single set but I do have a certificate for the one week marketing training seminar that I took to become a field agent.

I ended up working after college as a graphic designer for an industrial stamp making firm and then guess what, I got promoted to become an account manager selling their services to IT and Electronic Companies.

I soon applied for a job at an NGO program for the youth and sold their free drug abuse prevention training program to parishes and catholic institutions all-over metro manila and the nearby provinces - If I was being graded just like in high school I would have passed and graduated with honors.

In 2006, I started handling a scholarship resource mobilization program for the same NGO and started selling the program to the different schools in Metro Manila. Despite the many limitations, I was able to generate some substantial contributions to the program. I then raised some additional fund by selling ad spaces for their quarterly publications and also gathered support by way of material donations from different companies and organizations by presenting and selling the NGO's programs and vision.

Somehow, they all bought it.
We are here to learn lessons and the world is our teacher

I remember reading this passage in Andrew Matthew's Book: 'Follow Your Heart,' and ain't it the truth. The book also says that until we learn that same lesson will come back to us again and again until we mastered it.

I am not saying that my goal here is to master selling. My goal here is to make peace with myself in making conclusions about what I can and I cannot do.

In the 3rd grade, my math teacher would throw the eraser at me every time I fail to answer a problem. This was a very traumatic experience for me and I carried this trauma throughout my school life. I forced myself to not like the math subject because of this and dictated that I am not good with the subject no matter how hard I tried.

But when I stated working, I was forced by the different jobs I handled to use math - to make calculations, to remember formulas, to count faster and be more accurate. Slowly, I learn to appreciate it and one day I noticed that I was getting good at it because others would ask me how to do a work related math equation. I even learned doing simple accounting and a little bookkeeping.

We are not labeled and measured by the things we can and we cannot do, but by our enthusiasm and our determination to do the things we thought we cannot do. Our weaknesses will remain as weaknesses unless we make it part of our strengths and this will not happen if our mind is not set to make it happen.
There are people with disabilities who excelled in sports. There are cancer victims who triumphed in their battles. There are criminals who have made a complete turn-around and gained acceptance from the society and became successful in life.

I have jotted down four realizations from my experiences:
  1. Belief is a strong powerful ally. Do not bet against your own. Believe in something positive. Believe in yourself first - if you don't, then why would others do otherwise. 
  2. There are things which you cannot do. A limitation. But, how would you distinguish the things that you cannot do and the things that you can do if you don't even try. So, try and fail. Learn. Try and fail. Learn. 
  3. Do not concentrate on your limitations. Focus on your strengths. Let your strengths serve as bridges to your limitations. 
  4. Let other people become part of your strength and let yourself become part of theirs. For all you know, their strengths might compensate for your limitations.
I now have 32 positive approval ratings and feedbacks on ebay and have sold over 50 items to more than 25 ebay buyers. I just started selling again last month.

I tried. I failed. I learned.