Camping World

Dinner Any Time

Archives

FTC Disclaimer and Privacy Policy

Workamper Selling Online

I have started selling on Amazon and Ebay using a wonderful thing called FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon). What makes it so great is that rather than trying to store a ton of merchandise in your RV and cart it around with you, you send it all into Amazon’s warehouse and not only do they store it for you for a fee, they also market it, sell it, take payment, ship it, and handle the customer service afterwards including returns. They will also ship to customers who order from you on other venues like eBay or your own website. This system is great for RVers! Before you get too excited, it is also a lot of hard work and while you most certainly can start with little investment, you will need to keep reinvesting in inventory and tools to grow such a business. How fast you grow depends on the decisions you make, time you put into it, what you sell, and many other factors. Amazon does not make it super easy. They love to change the rules and throw up roadblocks here and there. You will need to be flexible and determined. Their support people are incredibly frustrating and unhelpful. So why do it? Because you can make a huge amount of money selling online, at flea markets, swap meets, out of rented storage lockers, etc.

Most folks start with retail arbitrage which is catching items on sale or clearance at regular stores and thrift stores as you travel and then reselling them at the normal price or a slightly discounted price. Online arbitrage is the same thing except you you do it through your keyboard from home. You would not believe the kind of deals available out there and you can make them even sweeter by using rewards credit cards, rewards sites like Ebates.com, and gift cards purchased at a discount online.

To create an easier, lasting business you want to move to wholesale as soon as you can get accounts accepted by wholesalers though wholesale prices aren’t always that great. You can also buy wholesale pallets of new overstocked items or returns that stores have gotten rid of and get them at steeply discounted prices. Not every item will be in new condition and some may only be good for parts but there are good loads out there and ways to sell most anything for a profit.  Eventually many sellers move into private labeling items purchased overseas and imported to create their own brand and lessen competition. Bundling is another option where you take two or more different items that go well together and bundle them to form a new third item others can’t easily duplicate.

There are lots of books on Amazon and blogs online on the subject to read. Many tools, both software and physical, are also available to make it easier to find products to sell with a good return on investment, find the discounts, make listing easier, track sales and expenses, print labels, package items, ship items, etc. Many tools are free or a one time payment. Others involve a monthly fee and should only be considered once you have tried selling online, met some success, and decided to keep at it.

If you like making things, Amazon now has a handicrafts department and Etsy is good for that. I have sold crocheted items on eBay.

I’m just starting out but have had some success. It took some effort and expense but I managed to get permission from Amazon (known as “ungating”) to sell in their top 3 categories which are closed to new sellers. They make you jump through a lot of hoops and most folks have to repeat the hoops numerous times to get ungated and some give up. I got in on the first try. It pays to do your homework. 😉 These categories have a lot of items that people buy over and over (replenishables) so they are very important for sustaining a business.

Right now I sell anything I can buy low and sell higher but I am forming a direction or niche for my business to capitalize on my current websites. I already have a tax resale permit and business entity which are necessary to not pay sales tax on purchases, remit sales tax collected, be taken seriously, and unlock business doors. I got inexpensive business cards for meetings and trade shows. Today I got business insurance which is a must and not expensive so it is all coming together. A better business bank account is next.  I am also branching out to other marketplaces for items Amazon won’t let me sell and to cross-sell to other audiences. A lot of folks are also using local Facebook groups and Craigslist to sell when in an area for a long enough time or not RVing.

Next year, I am going to a tradeshow in Las Vegas to meet wholesalers and manufacturers. Woohoo!

It’s an up and down ride like a roller coaster so bear with me as I post updates.

Desperately Seeking…

Are you happily traveling on the open road right now or sitting at home already with the RV winterized and out of commission for the winter? Are you looking for somewhere to go or something interesting to look at or do? Maybe you feel it is time to start seeing and collecting photos of “The World’s Biggest…”. There are so many cool things to see and do all around us. How do you find them? On the internet, of course! For a good time call… oops, wrong wall. For a good time browse to http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/ and http://www.roadsideamerica.com . I guarantee you will find something there to have some fun and maybe earn some bragging rights. Don’t forget to check online for discounts if tickets are needed and bring your camera or we won’t believe you really saw the World’s Biggest Frying Pan, toured a cool cave, ate lunch on an aircraft carrier, found an island where cars are banned, or drove a bathtub. LOL

World's Largest Frying Pan, NCWorld's Largest Frying PanDesoto Caverns

Lunch in Charleston, SC on aircraft carrierMackinac Island, MIDesoto Caverns, AL

Summer Vacation in Seguin, TX

As any one who has been to Texas in the summer knows, the heat and humidity are horrible here and the first week of August is usually the worst. After two months of being in daily survival mode, it was time for me to take a break. I considered lots of places to go but kept coming back to just wanting to have a few days where I could be cool all day and night. The one downside of living in an RV is that they don’t stay all that cool in high temps no matter what you do. That cinched my decision to go to my favorite stomping grounds in New Braunfels, TX including Schlitterbahn waterpark for which I have a yearly pass. Unfortunately, at this time of year hotels there are very expensive and many are already booked up. I couldn’t take my RV which had to stay at my gate to hold it for me. After a bit of searching and convincing myself that trying something new was a good thing even if it was a few miles farther away and would cost a little extra gas, I found a nice hotel 15 miles away in Seguin, Texas.

The Park Plaza Hotel is in old downtown Seguin across from a small park at the center of town. The 5 story building is very old but remodeled fancy. As you will find with most older hotels, the rooms are rather small and they had to get creative to modernize them. The elevator is slow as molasses but at least they have one. In the rooms, there are no shelves in the bathroom or even a countertop. I had to sling my towels over the newer shower stall to dry them. There is no bathtub either. The desk is just a table and chair. The air conditioning is a bit noisy and is mounted high up on the wall but it keeps the room delightfully cool. I had to wear earplugs to sleep. The AC does have a modern control to set and there was a standalone closet in my room with hangers and a bathrobe provided. The windows don’t open but go from floor to ceiling for a magnificent view if you are staying on the best side. The flat screen TV is large with excellent picture and comes with lots of good channels. The bed is why I chose this place. It is neither too hard or soft and comes with a very fluffy comforter instead of the usual old ragged bed spread. It also comes with 4 pillows so you don’t have to ask for one. The room also came with a dorm refrigerator to keep the sodas I brought cool. The WI-FI was good until AT&T went down for the whole town. Grrr!

Park Plaza Hotel, Seguin, TX

The first night I was there, I chose to try out the hotel’s restaurant. Bad move. I see plenty of folks eating in it every night but I don’t know why. I paid twice as much for a meal than I normally would at a nice restaurant. They clearly have a real chef cooking as the portions are small but the food is arranged decoratively. The salad, while odd in it’s ingredients, still tasted very good. The filet mignon though tasted like I had licked a rubber basketball. After that I made sure to stop for dinner before going back to the hotel for the night. Just so you know, Dominoes is nearby and delivers. There are also several fast food places just up the main street.

Park Plaza saladPark Plaza restaurant

Parking at the hotel is a little more difficult than usual. All the streets around it are limited to 2 hour parking only. They have a parking lot with just enough parking but the lane in is narrow and they sometimes block it off at night to keep other cars from cruising through it or parking there as I guess they often do. I had to go In the Out several times and maneuver my wide dually truck around to park late at night.

Across the street is a lovely park I enjoyed every night. There is a beautiful, calming fountain in the middle, a gazebo to one side and a statue to their founder, Juan Seguin, on the other. Lights in all the surrounding trees keep it well lit and create a nice atmosphere in the park at night. Every evening, hotel guests and locals meet and greet each other. Families sometimes bring their chairs to gather and talk about their day. The biggest attraction, however, is the Pokemon gym located at the fountain and numerous Pokemon stops both in the park and around it. Almost everyone walking about or sitting at the fountain has their smartphone out with their eyes glued to it. I downloaded the app myself to see what the big deal is with this new game. In some ways it is like geocaching. You follow the map to a stop and are rewarded. All the stops I went to were either artistic or historical so not only did I get a good workout walking, I also got to know much more about the area which is what I like about geocaching. One Pokestop was at the World’s Largest Pecan. Here and there you come across a vicious Pokemon character you have to toss virtual balls at to defeat and capture. Once you get enough to reach level 5, you can enter a Pokemon gym and select your team to play with but that is about all. I am told you really need to get to level 15 before you can win many battles in the gym. I went with yellow team which plays by instinct which happens to be how I travel too.

Seguin park fountainWorld's Largest Pecan

I didn’t do as much shopping as a normally do on vacation. Just wasn’t in the mood but I did hit up Harbor Freight, Walmart, and a couple others I needed to hit.

Most of my time was spent at Schlitterbahn! I topped my record and went 4 days including the last day of vacation and I stayed cool. I actually changed into dry clothes and came home directly from there. The first day I managed to not get too burned but made a point of wearing a Tshirt and sunglasses for the rest of the trips there. I had my favorite, smoked turkey leg, there one day and a good and not-too-large cheeseburger another day. I learned my lesson about eating a Bahn Burger last time. The other days I picked up lunch on the way there with a quick drive through Jack In The Box. The crowds were ridiculous as expected and forget trying to ride the best slides unless you get there right at opening time. Parking wasn’t too bad though. One thing to remember about Schlitterbahn is no matter how crowded it is, you can still get on the continually looping rides like the wave river or The Falls river with very little waiting. On weekends during summer, they may institute a line and limit to one ride around at a time for The Falls. Those two rides are in the new park. In the old park, there are several pools you can hang around in.

Schlitterbahn raging wave riverSchlitterbahn tubingSchlitterbahn wave poolHanging ten at Schlitterbahn

They have just introduced a ride pass similar to Disneyland where you can make an appointment for a ride and show up in a special line when it is your turn to ride. Great idea! Very pricey idea too. Ouch! It might be worth it during the week but the weekend crowds will keep you waiting just too long even for an appointment.

I thought I knew every inch of Schlitterbahn since I have been going there for three years but this year I discovered a new area at the new park with smaller crowds, food, and a beach, a fast lazy river with crocodiles to ride, a body slide into the river, and a cool obstacle course. From the parking lot and Falls, you go through the tree lodge area to get to it. I spent quite a bit of time there and did the body slide several times.

Newly discovered Schlitterbahn areaRiding river crocodilesWater obstacle course

I picked up a new hat at Schlitterbahn for working the gates. It’s a big shark eating my head. LOL Should I have gone for the octopus instead?

The local rivers were very crowded too. There were lots of folks out tubing which I had also planned to do.  It was just so hot outside that the last thing I wanted to do was sit above the water rather than in it.

Comal River tubing

On the way home one night, the air conditioner in my truck broke. The next morning I went out to assess the situation and saw that it was smoking when run and the clutch was frozen. I drove to the nearest auto parts store and bought a new compressor and clutch. They were kind enough to point me to an inexpensive but good auto shop that was able to take care of it right away. Since I was hungry and it was next door to Dominoes, I bought a large pizza to feed us all lunch.

With the AC now fixed but needing to be broken in for testing and most of the day gone, I finally went to Tanger Outlets. Every time I go to New Braunfels, I get told going to the Outlets is a must. Whoopee. It is just a huge outside mall with lots of big name snooty stores selling their goods at 50-60 percent off which is still way more than I am willing to pay for clothes, shoes, or anything else they had to sell. I did find a couple of new covers for my Pyrex bowls and had dinner at the Cracker Barrel there after raiding their old fashioned candy stix counter. After dinner, I rocked on their porch for a bit as the sun was setting. One good thing about Tanger Outlets is they are loaded with Pokemons! I nailed one inside the Cracker Barrel and a couple outside it. I hopped in my truck and drove through the parking lot catching several more. Don’t worry. I only drove close to them then stopped for the actual capture. By that time the parking lot was fairly empty.

Cracker Barrel foil chicken dinnerCracker Barrel porch rocking

I managed to get to the Golden Corral twice that week to eat. I only meant to eat there once but when I saw their Prime Rib Weekends sign I knew I was going back again. I’m one of those people who goes to Las Vegas not for the gambling but rather for the shows and cheap prime rib. Heh heh. It was GOOOOD!

While I was on vacation my boss called me twice trying to get me to come back and lose all the money I paid for the hotel and gas. Didn’t happen. He had to switch out the very experienced substitute I hired to cover me with another one so that guy could work a busy gate. Oh well. It all worked out and I got my vacation. I spent the last day at Schlitterbahn until 4:30pm then changed and drove to Pearsall for groceries. I got home pretty late and it was too damn HOT again! Bugger! Ready for my next vacation already.

It's Amazon Prime Day!

Today is Prime Day on Amazon.com. Wahoo! That means there are wonderful deals galore TODAY ONLY like having Black Friday in July. If you are a Prime Member (and why wouldn’t you be!), you can shop till you drop today with new deals constantly revolving in every few minutes today. Find something you like and grab it but be sure to note the time left on it and check out before it is up. Not a Prime Member? Get a free trial for 30 days to check out the savings. Canceling online is easy if you change your mind.

Many RV parks will accept UPS packages or you can have items sent to your mail service or a friend. I have never tried shipping from Amazon to General Delivery myself so if anyone knows if that works, please let me know.

I just bought an Instant Pot 7-in-1 rice steamer, browner, yogurt maker, pressure cooker, etc for more than $40 off! That will cut my cooking time way down and generate less heat in my already hot RV this summer. Who even uses the RV oven anymore? I blame Chris Yust and her dang Facebook posts of pictures of meals she has cooked in one for getting me even thinking about getting one of these. You can blame me. 😉

I also see great deals on Amazon Kindles and Kindle Fires. I LOVE my Kindle Fire for reading books, playing games, reading email, browsing websites, and even managing my own websites on the go. When my hands are busy, it reads the newspaper or books to me with built in text-to-speech. Is that cool or what?!

If you are an avid reader or an avid researcher like me, Kindle Unlimited yearly subscriptions are also on sale today. Instead of paying $9.99 a month for it, get it today for only around $80 for a whole year! That’s 33% off. AWESOME! Check out 10 ebooks at a time to read free and there are tons of books in this program on any subject you can imagine as well as lots of fiction to enjoy in a hammock by the lake.

Don’t miss this!

Note: I am an affiliate of Amazon and any links included in this post are affiliate links which do not cost you a thing extra but do provide me with a small commission if you enter through them.