How to Overcome “Listing Lethargy” in Your Reselling Business

Or as I like to call it, how to keep going when your get-up-and-go…. got up and went!  (This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full policy here)

In the reselling community, I’ve been hearing a LOT about a lack of motivation. A listing lethargy if you will. And it’s not really surprising.

I was reading an article online about anxiety or stress (sorry I can’t find it now – but you can Google ‘symptoms of anxiety’) and it definitely brought out that one symptom of anxiety is a loss of concentration or lack of focus.

I’m sure we can all agree that there is no shortage of causes for anxiety in the world today. Being distracted by the news and social media and then the resulting worry about how those happenings will affect us….sometimes there’s not much brain power left over for our reselling businesses.

Anxiety can be all consuming.

Another factor (for me anyway…maybe you experience the same) is that I miss thrifting! With thrift stores closed…and then being aware of my backlog of items that need listing (profit pile)…means the longest stretch I’ve gone in 10+ years without thrifting. Thrifting was always my motivator. Even if I didn’t need to go…it was a mental break. I’d find something new and exciting and that would get me listing again.

For others, the change in routine is what has thrown them off. Spouses are home. Kids are home. They are facing having to “school at home” for the first time ever. It can be too much.

Of course, this listing lethargy hasn’t hit all online resellers. For some, they have more time than ever to devote to their reselling business and have dove into it with laser sharp focus. They are having great results and which in turn, motivates them to do more.

Others are relying on their reselling business income more than ever. And that is a HUGE motivator. Those bills keep a’coming.

I think I fall somewhere in the middle. My motivation seems to ebb and flow. What about you?

Here are a few things that I’ve been doing or using to help me get over that listing lethargy:

Set Goals

β€œthere is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.”

Desmond Tutu

I’m not talking about looking at your profit pile and saying “I need to get this ALL listed”. I’m saying pull out 2 or 3 or 5 items from that pile, put them in a bin and say “I will list these 2 or 3 or 5 items today/this week/before Friday”.

Keep that bin in sight. As you list those items, put them away and rejoice over the sight of the emptying bin. πŸ™‚

Keep the goals small and realistic to begin with. As you find success and as things are selling, see if you can UP your goal a bit. Just don’t do too much too soon.

I find it helpful to write things down or make lists. If you’re a planner person, these Reseller pages by Circular Vintage could be just what you need.

Another idea under this category is to set a goal financially. As I mentioned, some resellers are motivated because they need to pay bills. If that’s not your case, can you set a goal for another financial reason?

We are hoping to use the extra sales happening right now to help pay down some debt. Can you save up for a future (post-pandemic) vacation? Or another fun thing? Seeing those earnings go up and up can be motivating. Plus it can give you something positive to focus on.

Keep Yourself Accountable

This one has really been helping me.

There are a few ways to do this. You can either find an accountability / listing partner or find a reselling group online (Facebook) that has a listing goals thread you can report on.

I used some of my extra time to start a Reselling Report segment on YouTube. I’ve been pulling things out of my profit pile, telling the story on them and then putting it out there that I WILL get those items listed in the next week or so. Then in the following show, I report back as to what I’ve gotten done and if anything had sold.

I’m not saying you have to put yourself on YouTube, but sometimes just the act of sharing somewhere what you’re planning on listing or working on can give you the motivation to act. Try sharing with a spouse or a friend IRL. πŸ™‚

Here are two posts I did on social media about a week apart.

Two identical flatlays of jewelry. The right hand side one has the word "Progress" and shows which items have been listed and checked off.
Progress on the right side! Got some stuff listed. πŸ™‚

Get Help

Okay, so spouse is home. Kids are home. Instead of this being an obstacle…can this work in your favor?

It may mean thinking outside the box or being a bit more patient. But can your spouse help with prepping items for sale, photography, shipping or something else?

Do you have an older child or teen who could ‘learn the business’? Learning how to run an online business is one of the most valuable homeschool lessons I can think of.

Everyone’s situation is different and everyone’s family is different. My hubby is off and on involved in reselling (and always does my shipping #yesimspoiled) and so he’s been able to jump in with helping during the time that he’s been home. My kids got into helping sort jewelry (they LOVE the gem tester) and Lego and various toys that they then help Hubby list.

My jewelry sorting crew.

Their help is off and on but it’s motivating! I can’t sit around doing nothing if everyone else is working! lol

Change Things Up

This is one I just thought of…that I realize I do most of the time in my reselling business.

It’s why I have more than one niche…and then also sell a random variety of other vintage.

I’m constantly changing what I’m researching and listing. I may list a ton of sewing patterns for a few days…then I switch over to flatware. When I get tired of that…then it’s back to jewelry. Then I dig into my profit pile and find some old random vintage thing and work on that.

I blog and shoot a YT video.

I read about what other resellers are selling or I research a possible new niche.

I haven’t really thrifted much lately like I said…but I “thrifted” out of my MIL’s storage unit. I did a bit of online thrifting. I dove deep into my own backlog of stuff. Whatever it takes to recreate a bit of that ‘thrifting high’ that motivates me.

Corning WWII Handwarmer Watchman Mug – dug out of deep storage. Now listed in my Etsy shop.

In short, I just change things up so that I have different things to look forward to and a bit of structure to my week.

Celebrate the Small Victories


Don’t be Too Hard on Yourself

Going back to the goals we talked about at the beginning. When you set and meet those small and realistic goals…celebrate them! List an item? Have a Hershey’s Kiss. Empty a listing bin? Watch an episode of your favorite show.

Make it easy to see your progress. Make a list and cross things off. Fill a bin…then empty it.

Look back and really see the progress you’ve made.

And don’t be too hard on yourself. These are unprecedented times. It’s okay to be a bit easy on yourself. If a day calls for chillin’ and bingeing on Netflix…I say bring it on! If another day all you want to do is putter in your garden….go for it!

The reselling business will still be here and hopefully your down time will reinvigorate you to get back at ’em!!

What about you? Have you found something to help you overcome the listing lethargy?

4 thoughts on “How to Overcome “Listing Lethargy” in Your Reselling Business”

  1. I fell into your category of online reseller with more time and laser-sharp focus. I harnessed my anxiety into completed a craft project and home sourced for three months.
    Now with the thrift shops re-opened in my area, I am buying like I never have before ($100 spent on last outing at 2 thrifts).
    I began reselling in July of last year and my 90-day total on eBay is nearly $1,000! That is with what I call “smalls,” purchased for $1 or $2 and sold for $15-$20.
    My goals – first, to eliminate my debt and turn that to savings, second, fund my art history degree.
    As an aside, I sell lots of sewing patterns. I remember buying them and thinking, “these will be worth something someday.” Well, that day has arrived. People are even buying more of the retro sewing machines.
    Well written article.

  2. I am goal motivated and love my to-do list. I set a goal of five listings on eBay but most of the time its goes much beyond that goal. Right now I hav 50 (!) drafts just waiting for photos and I have been chipping away at it daily. Yesterday was great! I final listed two things and they sold within a couple of hours. Talk about motivation!

    Thanks for your post.

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