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A Tribute to Bobal -- By Giraffer and Shipscript

Posted by Laura on October 28, 2008 at 02:56 PM in Members in the Spotlight | Permalink

Laura3_2 eBay lost a beloved Community member this week -- our dear friend Bobal. If you've been to an eBay Live (any of them but the very last one in Chicago), or if you've ever sought expert help on the Photos/HTML Discussion forum, then Bobal needs no introduction to you. From his ubiquitous "bull" icon signature -- to his one-of-a-kind eBay uniform which he wore proudly as he wheeled around his favorite eBay Live conferences -- to his dedication to helping others, Bobal was a stand-out. He epitomized the barn-raising type of generosity that made eBay's Community so special.

It's been said you can really know a man through his friends. I leave you now with this tribute from two of Bobal's closest eBay friends -- giraffer and shipscript. On behalf of all the staff here at eBay, our hearts and prayers go out to Alice, Bobal's devoted wife. We thank you, too, for helping Bobal help so many others over the years.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Bob20123042_2 By giraffer and shipscript:

Last Sunday, eBay lost a pioneer Community member and its most colorful legendary figure - known to many as simply Bobal.  At 5:06AM on Oct. 26, 2008, after a two-month battle with cancer, Robert E. Bull quietly slipped away when his wife Alice released his hand and his grip on this material world.

Living with Multiple Sclerosis, emphysema, and diabetes, attached to an oxygen hose, and navigating a motorized chair with only one eye could be daunting for many, and it was indeed a life-changing challenge for Bobal years ago. However, he credited eBay with lifting him from his morose existence by providing him a new purpose and new lease on life.  You can read his words here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20050308024256/http://www.bulls2.com/index/bobal/mylife.html

Bobal became an eBay member on April 21, 1998, learned buying and selling, and quickly realized what a fantastic venue this afforded people with disabilities. He soon discovered eBay’s help forums, where other new members were struggling to learn eBay, and he has been answering questions and helping members ever since. His warm and friendly style set the tone on the forums where he seemed to be available any time of day or night, every day of the year.

Bob_5 And people quickly found his posts by looking for his snorting bull avatar.

Bobmeg2_2That dedication and generosity didn’t go unnoticed by eBay staff. Because of his commitment to helping fellow members, Meg Whitman presented him with the Community Hall of Fame Award in 2002 in Anaheim, California.

And Alice remembers how extremely proud, amazed, and humbled Bob was that a farm boy from Jamestown, New York could get a chance to make a difference in so many lives across the globe. (Read a 2004 Chatter newsletter article about Bobal's accomplishments.)

Bobal’s favorite hangout was eBay’s Photos & HTML forum, where Bob’s Tips are the defacto help pages for new sellers:  http://www.bulls2.com/indexb/bobstips22.html   He also hopped around to many other forums, such as the eBay Live Board where he answered questions and helped people get to eBay Live each year. Bob loved to have fun, enjoyed meeting people, and encouraged members to join him at the annual Live events where he, with his wife Alice, could be spotted from across the exhibit hall wearing outrageously bold outfits, holding court among a knot of admirers.

2007bostonbobal2

 

Photo left: eBay Live 2007 Boston. Bob with wife Alice (the "Al" in "BobAl"), daughters Cheryl and Barbi

Barbibobalbrandi222qr

Photo left: eBay Live 2006 Las Vegas. Bob with daughter Barbi and granddaughter Brandi

Bobal was a man full of patience, honesty, humor, and caring, with a love for helping others. Bob frequently commented that the eBay Community was “the fuel I need to keep my fire going each day”. He was rarely seen or encountered without a smile on his face and a warm welcome in his voice, whether meeting in person or chatting on the forums.

We'd like to share some comments posted on the forums by other members.

nates_tips from the Photo/HTML Board ---

“When I first came to eBay, I had no clue where to start, and I didn't even know what templates were. I was literally clueless about eBay, and about computers. I stumbled across the eBay forums, and I found myself on the Photo/HTML board. I asked a question, and within minutes, this guy with a bull thingy responded. You gave a link to your help pages, and within a couple of weeks, I had read every single page on your website.

“Honestly, your help pages helped me get started on eBay. If it wasn't for your help, I don't know where I'd be. After getting a good understanding of things through asking questions, trials and errors, I decided to start posting on the eBay boards. I sorta had a newbie type idea, and had a million links to other sites that I couldn't vouch for. You kindly emailed me and gave some advice on what I could do to be of better help, etc.

“You had and still do, have an influence on the way I post on the boards. You have always been kind, helpful, full of joy, and never posted in a negative way, ever. You have set the path for me and others to follow.”

kaleidowonders from Photo/HTML Board ---

“Thanks so much for all the help you didn't even realize you gave me. I've used your tips to learn some basic html, and as a nice safety net. Always knowing that I could come back here and reference your easy to follow info.

“No doubt there are countless others like me who have silently benefited from your hours of work and generosity. And many of them may not get the word to come here and acknowledge your help. So I just hope that you realize you have touched many lives and businesses with your generous spirit!”

purpleferret999 from Canada Town Square Board eBay.ca --

“A dear man that I am proud to say taught me html and I was thrilled to have met him.”

thevintagezone1 from Photo/HTML Board ---

“Bob, I am sure you don't remember me but you have helped me soooo many times. I could never have worked from home if you had not been here with your advice and knowledge. I have been able to make a living and raise my son (that has autism) without having to leave him with a baby sitter when he was little. I can't thank you enough for the help that I have received from your emails, posts and links. You made a DIFFERENCE in our lives....Much love, Rebecca”

shipscript from Photo/HTML Board ---

“Bob, this may be changing from a 'thread of hope' to a 'goodbye thread'. And yet, it will still remain a thread of optimism and inspiration to so many because of your phenomenal legacy.

”You have uplifted and expanded the lives of many who just needed to see from your example that it is possible to live with untold adversity and to succeed in a special way. You have reached outside of your own personal limitations to enrich the lives of so many, and you have done that with grace and with a special kindness toward those you help. Your friends and admirers are more numerous than you can possibly know, and even when you move on, you will still be winning new friends and admirers. Your journey has been, and will continue to be, a noble one.”

The eBay forums are buzzing with memorial posts from community members remembering Bobal, as can be seen in these few examples:

Photo/Html: http://forums.ebay.com/db2/thread.jspa?threadID=520002948&start=0

eBay Live:  http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jspa?threadID=510003262&start=0

The Soapbox: http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jspa?threadID=510017821&start=0

Animals: http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jspa?threadID=510017898&start=0

Miscellaneous: http://forums.ebay.com/db2/thread.jspa?threadID=520038589&tstart=0

Powersellers: http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jspa?threadID=510003504&start=0

Canada Town Square: http://forums.ebay.ca/thread.jspa?threadID=500036630&tstart=0

How can we remember Bobal and honor his legacy? Several charities were mentioned (Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, and Cancer research) for those who would like to make a contribution directly or through eBay’s Giving Works.  But Bobal was an ardent believer in “paying it forward” and spoke of this with his wife and friends. Many of us have been helped by Bobal at one point or another, and one of the finest tributes each of us could make is to pass along his patience, honesty, and overflowing kindness when helping others. Pay it forward for Bobal.

Rest In Peace, dear friend.

_____________________________

Bob’s remains have been donated to the Arizona State Medical Center in Tucson for disease research and the family will forego a funeral or memorial service. Notes may be sent through eBay’s contact system to Bobal. To send cards or letters (no flowers please), please see the Photo/HTML forum for information. Bobal would also approve of using eBay’s Giving Works to send anonymous donations in his memory to any charity of your choice.

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Jeff "My mom says I'm cool!" -- we wish you well!

Posted by Laura on October 02, 2008 at 03:47 PM in Members in the Spotlight | Permalink

Laura3The Community Development team says goodbye to one of our own this week. After 7 years, Jeff, who many know from this blog, from Voices gatherings, and all eBay Lives but the very first, is moving on. Our team has a long history together, and for this reason, we've always been close like family (you know, that kind where everyone is always in everyone's business). We've watched and supported Jeff during many of his important life milestones over the years.

Oh, the memories...

Jeff's always been a free spirit.  He came to work each day with a smile on his face and music in his heart, although his friends knew behind those twinkling eyes there was a streak of rebel in him.

Jeff_soundofmusic_7

























Jeff's boyish charms (and intractable ego) made him a bit of an office flirt....strange as it may seem to us, he regarded himself as a chick magnet.

Dscn3511_11 

One of the MANY (too many to count, really) Jeff quirks was his eating habits.  (I've personally watched him eat his weight in garlic mashed potatoes.)  He's a simple man with simple food preferences.  But we did keep trying to tell him that you are what you eat.

Jeff_hotdog2_7

Eventually, he did settle down with the woman he loves.  We love Kristin, too, and their wedding was such a joyous occasion for all of his eBay co-workers!  (Jeff really made a beautiful groom.)

Wedding_5

When we learned Jeff and Kristin would be having their own little eBay-er this summer, we were ectstatic for them.

Baby_kakes_7

















So....So Long, Jeff!
 
May, as your Skype message has told us for the last 2,555 days, your mom keep thinking you're cool, and your Feedback stay 99% positive.  And don't forget, you still owe me $94,323,754.37. 

Cya_2

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eBay Groups Spotlight on EHAG: It's Halloween All Year Round for these Artists

Posted by Jeff on September 30, 2008 at 04:42 PM in Members in the Spotlight | Permalink

Jeff_postJust about a month before everyone goes crazy with their Halloween costumes. I bet this year we'll see a lot of election-themed costumes, not to mention the horrors on Wall St. or the evils of rising gas prices. Most people might not start scratching their heads about what to do for Halloween until around this time every year, but for a group of eBay sellers, it's Halloween all-year round. Meet the Eclectic Halloween Artists Group or -- as they like to be called (to the sound of sinister thunderclaps) -- EHAG. It's one of our smaller eBay Groups, with only around 71 members, but since it began it has quietly established a great reputation for itself among fans of Halloween art and collectibles on eBay.

As you plan your Halloween deviltry this year, be sure to look for EHAG items on eBay -- just type "EHAG" into the search box to find their wonderful offerings. Here's one of their members, ivas_creations, with more information about the group:
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Ivas_creations Second only to Christmas, Halloween is the biggest shopping holiday, generating more than $6 billion in sales, according to some online sources.

1patty_3 Search eBay at any given time in the year, and you'll find hundreds of Halloween items for sale. With so many enthusiasts, it was natural for long-time eBay seller and artist Pat Benedict (woopitydooart) to want to connect with others who love all things Halloween. So in April 2006, she started Eclectic Halloween Artists Group, or EHAG, the first, original Halloween art group of its kind on eBay. "I started EHAG because I found a need for Halloween artists to share their thoughts and love of Halloween," Pat says. The small 71-member group is for professional artists and enthusiasts who share a love for the art that celebrates the magic of All Hallows' Eve.

EHAG members sell Halloween art year around, even outside the typical Halloween season. The group's membership is varied—you’ll find those who make miniature dolls (like Pat), painters, folk artists, doll makers, and collage artists. Some are well-known in the Halloween art world having their work licensed by large distributors, while others are just beginning. The diversity creates a great opportunity for collectors to shop direct from the artists themselves in every medium and find one-of-a-kind works.

Witchcameo1_3 Pat, who's been on eBay since November 2003, began selling her Halloween haunted miniatures in May 2004. She formed EHAG almost two years later. Part of her goal was to create a home for artists who created "a less horrific" Halloween. EHAG is not about gore or extreme Goth art.  "EHAG is a place for members to give mutual support, nurture, discuss and celebrate their artistic creations," says Pat. All members list their items using the EHAG acronym. And, EHAG has built a reputation of quality art among eBay's Halloween art collectors.

Additionally, collectors turn to EHAG because they are as much a part of the group as the artists they buy from. In fact, EHAG's membership is comprised of both artists and collectors.  "Allowing collectors to join was a natural. They provide input on the lively online forum discussions about ideas, trends and general questions put to the group," Pat adds. 

Devil6 Membership is by invitation only, thus making it a private eBay group. Membership guidelines include having a minimum of three months' experience selling Halloween art and having a certain amount of positive Feedback. EHAG group members are expected to be active participants in the group's discussions, which typically include a thread on members' latest creations listed on eBay, what everyone is working on that week, and who in the group has made the eBay Pulse page, which all celebrate. Halloween related topics include sharing pictures of a Halloween collection, talking about what inspires the artists, or sharing a newly made costume, home decorations or favorite Halloween movie. Members also share news about awards, published articles, upcoming art shows open for participation and calls to artists from various publications or online sites. Then there are the topics about fantastic art finds, new art supplies or how to use a specific medium.

To keep artists motivated, the group has regular art challenges. Members come up with suggestions for a theme and then everyone votes on their favorite. These are particularly popular because it encourages the artists to break out of their typical work and expand their offerings.

Hauntedcarriage_3 The group's popularity has grown since its inception. Less than a year after it began, the members started ehaag.com, an informational site. Visitors to this site will find links to EHAG member websites/blogs, an eBay search of current EHAG auctions, a quarterly newsletter, member photographs, several member collectors, artists' past works, upcoming Halloween shows, an EHAG contact and other links.

With Halloween fast becoming the nation's most celebrated "unofficial" holiday, it's no wonder the group has seen much growth. And, as the number of enthusiasts and collectors of all things October 31 grows, so does EHAG's opportunities for artists and collectors on eBay.

To find the latest EHAG offerings, just type EHAG into the eBay search window.


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"Hurricane Buddies" - How a Community Looks Out For Each Other

Posted by Jeff on September 22, 2008 at 08:28 AM in Best of the Chatter Blog , Members in the Spotlight | Permalink

Jeff_post_2If you ever need a reminder of the inherent goodness of people on eBay, look no further than the Hurricane Buddies on the Clothing, Shoes & Accessories board. With this year's hurricane season being among the most intense in recent years, they've taken it upon themselves to take care of each other.

Essentially, sellers living in hurricane zones "buddy up" with another seller. In the event that a hurricane (or really any disaster) strikes the first seller, the second has a pre-set email ready to go that they send to their buddy's buyers, informing them of the situation and a possible delay in shipment. They even offer to answer any questions that they can. For example, here's an example letter one buddy posted for others to use if they wished:

Hello!

I am contacting you on behalf of the seller of the (enter item title here) you purchased last night, (enter seller User ID here).

She lives in the Gulf Coast region of Texas and was required to evacuate due to Hurricane Ike.

Emergency officials will allow her to return home tomorrow. She will be shipping your item within the next few days.

Thank you for your patience.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.

You can read more about it on this thread on the Clothing, Shoes and Accessories board (just set aside a few minutes - there are a ton of posts). It really shows what makes eBay a truly great community.

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Harry Potter and His Army of Collectors

Posted by Ninad on August 15, 2008 at 05:25 PM in Members in the Spotlight | Permalink

Ninad_post This week we say "Lumos!" and shine the spotlight on Harry Potter and His Army of Collectors, wands down probably the most dedicated Harry Potter fans on eBay. We found a pensieve and were able to extract the thoughts of Group leader -- sorry, Head Boy -- q-collection and get him to tell us what makes the Group so magical. His thoughts are below. (Also shown is a beautiful painting of my favorite Potter character -- Severus Snape -- painted by Group member artofadornment.)

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60d1_7Harry Potter and His Army of Collectors is an eBay Group for Potter-maniacs to share the fun of the books, movies and collectibles that young Harry and J.K. Rowling have spawned.

I've been involved with a number of eBay groups, but none have been as successful as the group Harry Potter and His Army of Collectors. In one year membership increased from one to more than 1,200 -- and it's still going strong. What has made this group more successful than others? Let us lift the Cloak of Invisibility to see:

THE 10 SECRETS OF MY HARRY POTTER GROUP'S SUCCESS

  1. Encourage participation from new members. I invite new members to join us regularly. We request new members to introduce themselves or just say hello in a Member Introduction discussion thread that I have tacked as the first discussion. My second tacked discussion thread is for Replies To New Members. This prevents the introduction thread from becoming cluttered.
  2. Have fun online. We have had several on-line parties. These include parties for Halloween, Christmas, combined birthdays and the first day of the new Harry Potter books and movies.
  3. Share relevant content. We have a ton of Harry Potter-related YouTube videos in our links and discussion sections. You can find interviews, movie trailers, scenes from the movies and fan-made holiday-related music.
  4. Severusweb Share profiles of actors/characters. Among our discussions I've provided copies of on-line encyclopedia profiles of the actors and characters they play in the movies. I always provide hot-link credits so members can easily review the source if they’d like.
  5. Use language from the books. Instead of calling our administrative staff Group co-leaders and Group moderators, we elected to identify ourselves as Head Boys and Prefects. This is in keeping with the theme of the group.
  6. Keep up interest with regular e-mails with lists of new discussions. I send out regular e-mails to our members to announce our online parties and the addition of new group moderators (Prefects). Those e-mails always include a hot link to our group’s Welcome Page, the current membership number and a list of the ten newest discussions going on.
  7. Rely on Co-leader and moderators. Having dependable co-leaders (after all, Harry had Ron and Hermione, didn't he?) is essential to the success of the group. Mine help out when I'm on vacation and we exchange barbs within the discussions to keep things active. I am constantly on the lookout for new moderators. 
  8. Change the visual look every now and then. Every week I change the background colors and decorations of the group. And every two or three weeks I change the photos on the Welcome and Home pages. Rotating scans/photos and background colors always draws a lot of comments from our members.
  9. Always do follow-ups to postings. I try to visit the group every day or two and always add fun comments to our discussions. That keeps the group active and usually results in additional comments by our prefects and members.
  10. Treat everyone with respect. We treat everyone with respect in here. We're a bunch of people who love the world of Harry Potter, and this is our sanctuary away from the real world. Because we want to keep the discussions focused on our Harry Potter interests, we try to stay away from discussions about selling.

So there you have it.  Please drop by and check out the Harry Potter and His Army of Collectors group if you get a chance. 

John (q-collection)
The Harry Potter Group Head Boy

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ACEOs -- A Small Art Form With a Large Following on eBay

Posted by Ninad on August 08, 2008 at 01:37 PM in Members in the Spotlight | Permalink

Ninad_post This week we're celebrating one of my favorite communities on eBay -- artists specializing in ACEOs (Art Cards, Editions and Originals), an exquisite miniature art form that was actually born on eBay. Back when The Chatter was still a monthly newsletter, we did a story on ACEOs and bone*diva, the pioneer of eBay's home-grown art movement.

Much paint has flowed off the palette since that story. ACEOs have a huge fan following on eBay and several artist groups dedicated to this art form are flourishing. bone*diva's original group now has over 4500 members! But there are several other groups as well. Here's artistjillian (Jillian Crider), the leader of a few of these groups, to talk about what's happening in the ACEO community these days.

Whether you're an artist looking for tips and helpful advice on selling your art on eBay, or just an art lover who's fascinated by these beautiful miniatures (just enter "ACEO" in the eBay search box), you'll find something to grab your fancy in these groups: Small Format Art *SFA* and ATC & ACEO Enthusiasts.


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Artistjillian_3 For many artists, the first question they ask is "How can I sell my art?" Artists that come to sell on eBay can sometimes flounder. It is not easy to discover specific help close at hand. To help other artists is the reason I opened up my group ATC & ACEO Enthusiasts, and its sister group SFA – Small Format Art in eBay groups in the eBay community section.

Early in 2005 I discovered ACEOs. After selling art on eBay for 5 years prior, I suddenly understood that these dynamic diminutive artworks – each one is exactly 2.5x3.5 inches - were a fun way to create artworks AND to collect the original artwork by other artists. These tiny masterpieces can be easily displayed in off-the-shelf frames, or in trading card albums. Not only that, they are being sold faster than any other type of art on eBay.

Aceoartistjillian_4 ACEOs (Art Cards, Editions and Originals) originated from ATCs (Art Trading Cards) and have the very unique distinction of being founded on eBay. ATCs were set up in the mid-1990s. Traditionally they are traded, never sold, hence a name change for ACEOs. This name change was established by the original ACEO group which was set up by bone*diva in October 2004. Sales of these art cards boomed, and continue to grow today, daily gaining new converts. The variety is endless, and some have sold for prices in excess of $500!

There is always something exciting to talk about with ACEOs. There are always fun things happening in groups, like weekly challenges, themes, dares, and more. We love showing off our latest artworks. But most of all, our group tries to help others – there are tips and plenty of wonderful artists and moderators ready to lend a hand. Current membership of the Enthusiasts group is over 5,250 members. We share years of practical art knowledge; also keep members advised of eBay happenings and share eBay selling and buying tips as well as form lasting friendships. All this is crucial to optimizing an artist's or art collector's eBay experience.

The images below show ACEO art cards by shadowtreekids, sunshinesketches, moussart and me, artistjillian. All have been creating and collecting ACEOs and participating in eBay groups since 2005. Top selling prices for these artists have ranged from $75 to $260.

We invite you to join either of our groups, the ATC & ACEO Enthusiasts or the Small Format Art group.  SFA (small format art) is for artwork no larger than 14" in any one direction (this includes ACEO and miniature artworks).

Aceoimage2_6
   

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Responses to my "Goals" article - 2 Reader Stories to Inspire You

Posted by Laura on August 05, 2008 at 02:12 PM in Members in the Spotlight | Permalink

Laura3We've received some great responses from Chatter readers about how they are using eBay to accomplish something important (Read my blog post Setting Goals -- and Scoring Them on eBay). We can all benefit from these types of stories -- either we pick up good tips that we can use, or we just get a little "shot in the arm" of inspiration/motivation that makes the rest of our day go that much better. Success breeds more success, as they say. So let's share!

At one point or another, many of us have to deal with medical/dental bills -- i.e. lots of money owed for something that was urgent, not an option, and often not very fun to boot. (I faced an intimidating pile of medical bills once many years ago, and I know the feeling well.) Here's one reader's story about using eBay to take the "bite" out of her dental bills:

I'm trying to pay off a LOT of dental work that started in the spring of 2006. While it began with a gum infection, it also included the removal of my last two wisdom teeth, a bone graft, periodontal treatment (scaling & root planing), and a whole bunch of crowns, including a root canal on one tooth. The total bill was in excess of $8,000.

While I have dental insurance today, I had NO insurance at the time most of this work was done. I was laid-off during most of this dental work, but there really wasn't any way to put it off any longer (not if I wanted to keep my teeth!), so most of my dental work was paid for by credit card....eBay helps me to make ends meet so that I can (usually) pay more than the required minimum payment on the credit card. I have about $3,000 left to pay, and my goal is to get that paid off by the end of 2008!

Tana in Sacramento, CA
PrairiePrimitives on eBay

Next, I'd like to share a story from a reader whose story is a great example of the crawl-walk-run approach to business success on eBay:

My "personal goal" has been to see my business become successful. The definition of "successful" has changed over the years, expanding as each earlier definition has been reached.

Initially, "success" was just to end the month with more money in the bank than we started with. Then "success" became a net profit of more than $250 -- that took a bit longer. When I was laid off in 2003, I'd been selling part-time as a Trading Assistant for a couple of years, so it was natural to look to eBay to become my next career (I'd been programming professionally since college in '78). That meant a new definition: "signing clients" to keep me busy.

Once the clients were signed (which took close to 9 months!!), the definition was to break even -- to earn as much selling as it was costing me to meet bare subsistance living.  My wife was paying the mortgage - I had food, utilities... not an even split, but one that allowed me to concentrate on growing my business.

Today the current definition is to attain a true living income - rent, utilities, car payment/insurance, fuel, food -- the works.  And I'm almost there!

Along the way, my sales have grown from $1000 a month that first month to now over $10,000 a month.  So to help me attain my "success" of a true livable income, I've defined a secondary goal -- get my office out of the house, out of the garage, and into a 'real' office.  It's  just around the corner... I can see it on paper, I just have to do it on eBay!

The next definition beyond that will be adding help to expand my ability to list, sell, and ship.  With that will come the additional income to not only pay for the help, but to expand more... to achieve my ultimate definition of success:  When I can walk into the office on a Thursday morning, tell everyone I'll be leaving at noon and be back Monday evening... and run off for a care-free weekend with my very patient, very understanding wife... and NOT worry about the office, sales, or what I'll find when I come back Monday.

That is a goal worth working for, worth putting the time in for.

My goal has always been to succeed.  And I'm meeting that goal, and each new definition that goes with it, thru the support of my friends on the eBay boards, my own hard work, and the opportunities provided by eBay. And I'm not done redefining success yet!!  :)

-Bob.
RKS Solutions LLC
eBay ID: rosachs

Thanks for sharing, Tana and Bob -- and best of luck to you both!

Let's keep the emails coming.  Whether you're using eBay to dig yourself out of a hole, or build a mountain of success, we'd like to hear your story.  Write us at chatterblog@ebay.com.


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Spotlight on eBay Groups: Boutique Angels Charity Organization

Posted by Ninad on August 01, 2008 at 03:56 PM in Members in the Spotlight | Permalink

Ninad_post Continuing our spotlight series on eBay Groups, our Community platform where members can form their own micro-communities, this time we're celebrating the Boutique Angels Charity Organization. This group is committed to raising money to benefit children's charities, hosting auctions benefiting children several times a year.

Their latest fund-raising effort begins on August 4th and goes through August 17th. The group uses eBay Giving Works to donate 100 per cent of the final price of their items to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. You can find their items by searching for "Boutique Charity Angels" on eBay.

Here's Group Leader mimi*kattini with more information:
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Ebaychattermimkattini The Boutique Angels Charity Organization was formed in October 2004 by then Leader Tiffany Hageman (my*only*princess). The group currently consists of over 330 independent custom boutique designers which include sellers of children's clothing, jewelry, art, and accessories.

Our organization launches charity fund-raisers four times a year, with 100% of the winning bids donated to a specified children's charity. In the past we've also come together for emergency fund-raisers to help victims of natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Asian Tsunami and the California Wildfires.

All auctioned items must be hand-crafted in order to fall under the Boutique Angels' guidelines.  All charity auctions are listed through MissionFish on eBay Giving Works, to ensure that monies collected from these auctions are sent to the appropriate agency. Since its inception in 2004, our group has raised over $59,000 for charity.

Bablog_2 Earlier this year, the torch was passed on to myself, Clara Zamora, eBay ID mimi*kattini, and I am very eager to run with it. I am a stay-at-home mother who creates custom boutique clothing for little girls. I ventured onto the scene here on eBay in October of 2006. I became a Boutique Angel member in March of 2007 and haven't missed a fundraiser yet. I really have my heart in this group and all that it does. I do whatever I can to ensure its continued success. I have a wonderful group of moderators who help run the group: Jen of litle*red*wagon, Patty of key*west*kids and Mary Beth of wildbydesign. We work very well together in making sure that our group runs smoothly. All of our members are very talented, generous and caring women...it really is a wonderful group to be a part of!

In designating a charity for each fund-raiser, our group has an ongoing charity suggestion thread. When a fund-raiser is nearing, the group members vote in a poll to narrow the choices, and then a final vote is made in a new poll to specify which children's charity will benefit from the proceeds of their listings. 

Jamie400_2 The launch dates are also voted on in advance at the end of each year, for the following year, so that members can plan for those they would like to participate in. Participation in each fund-raiser is not mandatory, but members are encouraged to try to contribute to at least one per year. 

The group also encourages those members who have real life personal experiences with some of the charitable organizations to share their stories with other members.

The Boutique Angels have their next fund-raiser on August 4 through August 17. All proceeds will benefit  the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Please read my blog post to learn about some children (such as Jamie, pictured here) affected by this disease. If you have a minute, please stop and visit our listings (just search eBay for "Boutique Charity Angels") and help us raise funds for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. We would greatly appreciate it!!!!

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Spotlight on eBay Groups: Meet the Dallas eBaybes and eMales

Posted by Ninad on July 23, 2008 at 01:21 PM in Members in the Spotlight | Permalink

Ninad_postWe're shining our spotlight on eBay Groups, our Community platform where members can form their own micro-communities. You can find groups based on just about anything -– a topic of interest (say, Star Wars) or eBayers in your region (such as North West Florida, the Panhandle). Or you can start your own!

Dallasebaybes_3We're always looking for interesting Groups to feature. To nominate your own, send us an email at chatterblog@ebay.com with a description of your group. You might just end up under the lights!

Today we're featuring the Dallas eBaybes and eMales (they were actually kind enough to host Griff and other eBay team members at one of their regular in-person get-togethers, back in May). If you're in the Dallas, Texas area, you might want to attend their next meeting, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on July 28th at the Canyon Creek Country Club in Richardson, Texas.

Here's group leader stephintexas (shown below with Griff) to tell us a bit more of the group's history and activities.

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Meeting011_4 "In 2001 I read an article about a group of eBay sellers in Atlanta called 'The Atlanta eBaybes & eMales' (alas, now defunct) and really liked the idea. So I contacted the group organizer to get permission to create a sister chapter in Dallas. As they say, the rest is history. I have made so many close friends and always look forward to our monthly meetings.

"The first meeting of the Dallas eBaybes & eMales was held on January 4, 2002 with just eight attendees. Six years later, we have four chapters (expanding to Ft. Worth, Houston and Austin) with approximately 650 members statewide. Membership is free and the only requirements are to get involved and to RSVP. We meet twice monthly -– a standard meeting on the fourth Monday at Canyon Creek Country Club in Richardson, Texas, and a casual lunch for which the time and location will vary. We use meetup.com to host our website, keep track of our calendar, correspondence and RSVPs.

"Meetings include a Back to Basics class taught by member volunteers, with topics ranging from How to Improve Best Match Search Results to Digital Photography, a full dinner buffet and a guest speaker or PowerSeller panel. Guest speakers are usually an eBay Certified Solution Provider, author or an eBay/Paypal staffer. Our July 28th meeting will be the first ever joint meeting of the Dallas & Ft. Worth eBaybes & eMales chapters, PeSA (the Professional eBay Sellers Alliance) and ECMTA. We anticipate a record number of attendees.

"The Dallas eBaybes & eMales group is truly a labor of love and one of my greatest accomplishments. My vision is to see at least one chapter in all 50 states. My dream is to become eBay's ambassador and travel around the country teaching others about the benefits of an eBay group and how to create their own."

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Mark Meade Is Home Again

Posted by Ninad on July 18, 2008 at 02:20 PM in Members in the Spotlight | Permalink

Ninad_post"My husband is home." Simple, everyday words for millions of women, but for Terry Meade (eBay seller tootsiegirls) they go well beyond the ordinary. They mean that she and Mark, her husband, can begin the long, slow journey to a normal life again. Because, five weeks ago, Mark received the ultimate gift of life -- a heart transplant.

Those of you who have been following Terry and Mark's story will be happy and heartened to know that Mark is back home from the hospital and making -- in Terry's words -- "remarkable progress." In an email to one of my colleagues on July 10th, Terry wrote:

"We are making remarkable progress! It is totally unbelievable that we are where we are only 5 weeks after a heart transplant. We even went out for our first dinner and a movie last night...we are starting to feel almost normal again!"

Img_fh Besides continuing to be a caregiver for Mark, Terry has one other priority on her mind these days -- raising awareness of the need for organ donation and the Gift of Life donor program. She's working with the Gift of Life Foundation to raise funds for a new Transplant Family House in Philadelphia. A "family house" is a place on the grounds of a hospital where family members of patients can stay free of charge and be close to their loved ones during their stay in hospital. Back in 2005, when Mark underwent surgery after having a heart attack in California, 3000 miles away from their home in New Jersey, it was a great relief for Terry to be able to stay at a family house and be at his side.

Terry's story has already caught the imagination of some of her eBay seller friends. They're contributing items, mainly collectibles and eBay memorabilia from events such as eBay Live! for a charity auction, with proceeds going to the Gift of Life foundation. Watch the Chatter Blog for more updates about this. (While you wait for the auction to go up in a few days, you can also contribute directly to the Gift of Life Family House project.)

Welcome home, Mark! And best wishes for your continued progress.

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