Before we started our reselling ventures in January 2017, there was a name that popped up everywhere – Nic Hills. His face would pop up on Facebook in reselling videos, and I soon came to “know” his wife Andrea too. Both Nic and Andrea are full time resellers, and they recently gave me the chance to delve into their lives. Let's get to it…
Tell us a bit about yourselves and your reselling journey. How did you stumble across it and when did you start?
Nic discovered eBay in 1998 through buying and selling Nintendo Game & Watch games as a hobby. We began going to Boot Sales together and started to pick up other items with a view to reselling them on eBay and Amazon (mainly music and media as it is a passion we both share). This developed into a part time income. When I (Andrea) was pregnant with Ellen in 2001 I took on the listing while Nic was at work. This eventually grew to a point where we were both able to leave our jobs to resell from home full time.
What is your favourite thing about reselling?
Definitely being your own boss, the freedom of choosing your working hours and the flexibility it brings to your life. It means that we can prioritise family.
What is your least favourite thing about reselling?
Having a house full of stock! Difficult customers are also quite stressful, but having had 2 bricks and mortar shops, I can honestly say that I would rather deal with a difficult customer via email than in person 😉
Apart from reselling, what other ways have you diversified your income e.g. affiliates, YouTube?
We started a YouTube channel almost 3 years ago. We started the channel without the intention of it to make money, we didn't even know that was a possibility at the start, we wanted to share our knowledge of reselling. It now has over 12,000 subs and we have had almost 2 million views. Although it doesn't earn a lot of money the monetisation option is a nice bonus and a small supplement to our income.
We have also been experimenting using affiliate links.
The idea of passive income streams appeals to us because it is difficult to grow the business any further without hiring staff. We have tried and failed to do that in the past and have found we are more comfortable and much happier as a partnership. As entrepreneurs we believe it's important to explore many different ways of making money and to investigate other income streams.
What mistakes have you made along the way?
We have made many mistakes over the years. In hindsight the mistakes are your greatest lessons. One of the biggest mistakes we made years ago was to hire someone to build an e-commerce website for our shop. We lost a lot of money. He messed us around with excuse after excuse and didn't complete the job. Eventually we cut ties with him and put it down to experience.
You can either dwell on the mistakes or simply move past them safe in the knowledge that you would never do that again.
How has life changed for you now that you are full time resellers?
We have been full time resellers for 15 years now. We have freedom and we are much less stressed. That's not to say that it isn't stressful at times, because running your own business has many of it's own challenges, but the pressure we put on ourselves is self inflicted, not inflicted by a boss or a company. As I said before you are able to prioritise your life, you can work as much and as many hours as you need, and your time is your own.
What is your number one money saving tip?
One tip we swear by is before making a purchase ask yourself ‘Do I need it, do I really want it, do I want to spend my money on it, or is there something I'd prefer to, or need to, spend that money on?'. We've tried to instil this thought process in Ellen. It's just about engaging your brain and making thoughtful purchases, not buying on impulse.
Paying our mortgage off early was the best thing we ever did. We were in a position where we were able to overpay every month. We are now mortgage free and have saved thousands on interest. If you own a house and are able to overpay on your mortgage, I would say that would be our number one tip for saving money. It means that now we only have to worry about finding money for food and utilities, and anything else is a bonus. It takes a great weight off your mind.
I find working with my husband a massive challenge as well as a great reward. What are some of the challenges that you face working together, and do you have any advice for couples looking to go into business together?
It's not easy and it can certainly be a test for your relationship. Sometimes it can feel like hard work! I think the main challenges we've faced in the past is that we are both headstrong and sometimes have clearly different ways of doing things. We've had to find ways to compromise with one another. We have separate roles within the business and give each other space. It's important to remember that you are an equal partnership and there is no boss. After all, that's the reason we chose to work for ourselves in the first place.
Nic and I are unique in that we met at work. We have worked together for the majority of the 20 years we have been together. That was a good starting point. Remembering that we are best friends first and forgiving quickly is important for us. There will be disagreements but they need to be moved past as quickly as they were raised.
I'd say my best advice is patience, compromise and remembering that you are equals, each voice and opinion is as important as the other.
Finally, talk us through a typical day in your lives?
- A typical work day for us is structured around the school day. Once Ellen goes off to school the day starts with emails, answering messages on social media and packaging.
- We take Monty out together, we are trying to do longer walks as we find we move less and rarely go far from the house during the week, so we need that. It sets us up for the day.
- We try to do 20 – 40 listings between us each day, so we'll spend time photographing and listing.
- We now have a blog and try to alternate our posts. So one of us will write a blog post.
- Other than the live chats we try to make at least 2 other YouTube videos in the week, so we may be making or editing a video.
- I force myself to make a bit of time to sit for lunch and tend to catch up with some YouTube or a show I'm currently watching while I'm eating.
- I work until 6.30/7pm then stop to make dinner. Depending on how my day has gone or what I have on in the evening (I'm also a Guide Leader) I finish off some tasks in the evening.
- Nic works until he goes to bed. I might be able to lure him out to spend an hour with me and have a cup of tea once Ellen is in bed.