Some time over the last few days, my PowerSeller badge vanished. I’ve had it for exactly a decade, although I must admit for the last few months, it’s been a statistical anomoly based on high sales early last year: I haven’t deserved it because I stopped selling on my own account more than six months ago. Because – bear with me, chums; the confessional is coming – I’ve done something I swore I’d never do again. I’ve got a job.
This post is going to be a little more personal than what I normally write on TameBay. If you’re not interested, here’s the summary: nothing much is changing, some stuff’s changing a bit. We’ll still have eBay news, but we’ll have more general ecommerce stuff too. Move along, nothing to see here.
Okay. Now we’ve got rid of those people… I’ve got a job. It happened by accident (not the first job I’ve got by accident, not to mention the job I got for a bet). The friend of a friend of a guy I know on Twitter phoned me up and asked if I would like to spend one day a week writing blog posts for him. And even though I knew nothing at all about the industry he’s working in (it’s nothing to do with marketplaces), I said yes. I think there are times in life when you just need to run round saying “yes” to everything, to see where it takes you.
Where it took me was somewhere that rapidly expanded to two days a week – will you write guest content for other people for us, and yes, some of it is actually in print. Seeing my words in print, even with someone else’s name on them, gives me more joy than I can ever really express. And then, will you do a third day, looking after random bits of marketing and Twitter… When you get to three days, it just slides into a full-time job because no one else ever remembers which are the days you’re not supposed to be working for them, and so you start getting included in business development discussions and recruitment, and you get business cards with “Marketing Manager” on them, and all sorts of weird things that you swore you’d never do again.
Because you were never going to work *for* anyone again.
As Mrs Connery famously said, never say never again. It’s actually quite fun, and to skip from “full-time at home” to “full-time in the office” was easier than I’d ever have imagined, especially when I work for someone who thinks it’s entirely reasonable to say “I can’t write in here today, I’m taking my laptop to the park”.
I knew the day would come when my PS badge would disappear. I remember how much I wanted to win it, those first few fun months selling on eBay in 2000: how I’d felt getting it was some form of validation… How I’ve worn it ever since, at first proudly and then increasingly as a badge of solidarity with people who were being dumped on from a great height. Now it’s gone. I’d expected to feel sad, but largely, I feel nothing. I’ve moved on.
I don’t intend to turn into one of those ex-eBay PSs who hang around eBay forums and talk about how great the escape is. I quit selling because better things came along, more exciting challenges, bigger rewards. It’s a positive thing for me, and I’m not going to let it turn into a negative thing for anyone else.
So where does this leave TameBay? Obviously, I’m not in a position to write about the intricate nitty gritty of how site changes affect sellers. I’ll leave that to Chris (who, let’s be honest, is better at that stuff than just about anyone any of us know). I’m still going to be writing about eBay the company because with ten years of watching them, I think I can bring perspective to what they’re doing. But I’m hoping to use my new experiences to write about things that will be useful beyond just eBay. At the moment, I’m thinking about email marketing, and social media marketing, and Google Analytics, and how partnerships with your competition can increase the size of the cake for everyone, and whole rafts of thoughts about websites and what to do with them… And, of course, about life beyond eBay and where you can go if you’ve had enough of selling.
We say frequently around here that sellers should be looking beyond eBay for their businesses. I hope I’m going to be able to bring some useful thoughts about the ecommerce world outside eBay to TameBay. If not, well, I’m sure you’ll let me know.