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AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Wed May 20 2020 15:50:54

Did Entrepreneurship Better Prepare You For the COVID Crisis?

By: Ina Steiner

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There was little to prepare most of us for the coronavirus disease unleashed this year. Some people were more fortunate than others healthwise and economically, but it seemed everyone was touched by the pandemic one way or another.

We wondered if online sellers fared differently than others, and what factors of being an entrepreneur better prepared you for life with COVID-19?

Staying safe during a pandemic means staying smart about interacting with others, and being the owners of your own business likely gave you more control over how to adapt your operations. 

Many readers are solo, work-from-homers. Others had to make decisions about employees. Getting supplies and inventory, shipping orders, and processing returns all entail extra effort when suppliers are closed or running out-of-stock, when shipping carriers are experiencing delays, and when concerns over the virus potentially impact the speed of returns and how to handle incoming packages.

If you lived through the Great Recession of 2008 or other economic adversity, did it better prepare you for the financial impact of COVID?

Thanks to social networking sites, many of us could see how people who would normally go to the office were adapting to stay-at-home practices. Video conference calls have been vital for some businesses. Other people seem to have a lot more time on their hands.

What surprised you most about life amid a pandemic, and did being an entrepreneur better prepare you for the challenges you face? 

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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 20 17:01:52 2020

Whee I live in rural Michigan we have had exactly one case of the virus and no deaths. In the five counties surrounding us there has been a grand total of 10 cases and 1 death. This is over a span of 3 months. There are more deaths from heart attacks in a week. Our basement dweller governor thinks we are children and have to be confined to our houses. Other that what she wants it been business as usual as most of the stores are open. NO FACE RAGS REQUIRED. On another note being the basement ruler has shut down the rest of the state my business has been closed as I can't get any supplies in. So we just sit back and collecting the 998.00 a week while keeping the rocking chair rocking. So other than a few months vacation the virus has had no effect on any of my family.

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Thu May 21 00:37:13 2020

Well the King in charge of our state won't lift any of the rules until he can for the whole state, even though my county has had 4 deaths and not even 200 positives.

As someone considered 'at risk' even though I have not had a cold or the flu for at least 18 years, I have been sticking at home other than for drive thru trips to the drugstore type of thing. Once my MIL made us face masks, I have gone into stores a couple of times and today I had a major doctors appointment. As an RN before disability, it still didn't prepare me for what I ran into today at the docs. Because it was important that I get my IV dose of medication, but I could in no way handle the rules for coming, my doctor took it upon herself to allow me to us the bathroom and then disinfected it herself afterwards! As a nurse who has dealt with people using isolation techniques, etc. I have never seen the protocol that has been mandated and quite frankly I was appalled.

Did being an entrepreneur help prepare me for this? Oh yeah. I finally got to flex my muscles, such as they are, and see finally the kind of business I have wanted to have for the 18 years I have been selling on line. Some items that I need are taking longer, but when I saw how fast we are going through packing supplies, I ordered some last week and my envelopes had a delivery date of mid-June and I figured I could last that long. They arrived yesterday. This is just one of the games that Amazon has been playing on buyers. I've even seen my own listing showing as not to be deliver for 2-3 weeks and I mail within 24 hours except Sundays and Holidays. We have tripled and quadrupled our sales the last couple months, so even though our stimulus check didn't show up until last week, we have had enough money to function, pay bills and actually save. The hardest thing that I am having to deal with is Amazon at this point delisting over 400 listings because of the 'potential high price error'. As far as they are concerned there is no error. If they are the only seller, they will kick us off the listing and sell for a price that is less that what it costs me to buy my inventory. I think it is called a Monopoly, but how could it be as I'm sure that Amazon's legal team has assured them it is legal to do. If I can ever catch my breath I think I will write to the Attorney General for them to look into this as I am not the only seller having this happen to them. Items I have had listed for years, or a couple of years or a month are suddenly not allowed except at penny seller prices. I sell to make money and contribute part of what I earn to charity. I don't sell to be charitable to all buyers so that I am taking money out of my account to GIVE them what they 'buy'.

Other than that, I now know just about exactly how much in sales we can handle without hiring help, something I can't afford to do.  

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by: SellerGirl This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 21 14:17:42 2020

To be an entrepreneur, a person has to be good at looking forward to future needs and at perceiving risks.  ''Do I have enough shipping supplies?'' is very similar to ''Do I have enough toilet paper?''  and ''How can I reduce my business risk?'' is similar to, ''How can I reduce my risk of catching coronavirus?''

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