Do You Work from Home? If so I’d like to hear from you!

I’ve got the idea & basis for a workshop, in which I’d like to cover working from home and both the benefits and challenges it faces.

I’ve worked from home for the best part of 10 years now, however sometimes suffer from planning my days effectively and dealing with procrastination, which I’m looking forward to sharing with you. Oh and you’re going to fall off your chair when I introduce you to “the crown”.

Here is a picture of my office, believe it or not this is “tidy” for me!

My Office

This is is a snapshot of my office

Getting Involved

However I’d really like to get more people involved in the “Wednesday Workshop” as I know a lot of you work from home and probably suffer the same issues that I do.

This would help many others in the same situation and would like to extend an invitation to you to join me in the next two weeks or so to cover this topic.

To make it easy as possible, I’ve come up with three questions and an invitation (if you wish to do so) to include a video or photo of your office to share with everyone. These are:

  1. How do you plan your day?
  2. How do you deal with procrastination?
  3. What  are you top tips for other people working from home or looking to do so?

I’m thinking no more than 5-10 minutes or so and also I’d be really interested in discussing where you may have actually come out of a home office and the move to offices or another place to run your business from.

Contacting me

I’ve popped the contact form below that I use for the “Wednesday Workshops”, if you could include your contact details as I’d obviously like to speak to you before hand.

[contact-form 6 “Workshop Wednesday Form”]

Register Now – The First “Wednesday Workshop” is Here!

Register NowThis Wednesday at 17:00 I’ll be holding the first workshop of many, happening each week under the umbrella of “Workshop Wednesday”. They are free to join and should last no longer than 30-40 minutes, depending upon content & questions at the end.

I’ve created a personal invitation for you in the video below:

You can register for this “Wednesdays Workshop” here

This weeks topic is…

This week I’ll be covering market research, how to conduct market research on eBay & Amazon with both free and paid for tools that you can use to conduct this valuable business process.

As I mention in the video, I received a comment back while researching the content for this Webinar which was from an established and successful business that uses several online channels:

We were discussing market research and marketing only the other day, we are aware it is something we:

1. do not do
2. do not have time to do

However, we concluded it is certainly something we need to make time to do!

So the aim for this workshop is to make researching the marketplaces, quick and easy.

Register Now

Register NowYou can register for this free workshop with myself by clicking the button to he right.

You can dial in using your phone using the number & pin provided after registration or use your headset/speakers to listen in. Registration is only required the once for all the workshops and the form asks for the least amount of details that are allowed, name & email address.

Your feedback & ideas

These workshops are aimed at helping you becoming more successful using the on-line marketplaces. I’ve already got some great ideas on what to be included, however if you have any suggestions, please drop me a quick mail on the contact form below:

[contact-form 6 “Workshop Wednesday Form”]

Time for a Site Redesign & to Refocus

I watched an amazing video over on ProBlogger a few days ago (its 30mins long) and three simple questions were asked, these were:

  • Can you tell me what your blog stands for?
  • … and what problems it solves for people?
  • … and how do you solve them?

Frankly I was dumbstruck by the entire video. Up until now I have not even considered the majority of the parts of the mind map and have taken it as a kick up the ass to get things in order.

Again, as with a few of the recent posts published, this is about myself and me working out what is going on and where to focus. By publishing this, I am intending for a couple of things to happen:

  1. You gain a better understanding of where this blog is going and what to expect
  2. I understand the above more fully

Site logo & design

The site design has carried me along up until now, however “is a dead fly with blood drips really the right impression that I wish to give readers?” Probably not… is the honest answer. The design came from the urgency to just get on and get writing almost a year ago and whether right or wrong, its been the header & logo since then.

The logo nor header area really reflect the new image that I wish to portray and I’ve pulled in the assistance of a good friend and design expert Rob Cubbon.

Working from experience and also looking for some assistance for a discounted rate, saying “I need a logo designed” wasn’t going to be particularly helpful to Rob or myself for that matter and after a few doodles in the note pad, I came up with a rough outline, which I’ve included below:

Yes this is pretty basic, however incorporates the key elements that I am aiming for, which is more control over the font being used, an actual logo, ink splatters, although I’m aiming for these to be coloured ink splats like found in this image so that I can increase the colour palette used on the site and some form of digital aspect, either through the use of a barcode or pixelation.

I’ve been quiet taken with the use of the author faces in the header area after reading this article on the 13 best and most powerful blog header designs on the internet, although I’m not sure if you’ll be seeing my face in this sites header just yet, or at least past the stock image I use for most sites currently.

Also, we’re playing with a “ripped paper”cross section to the site to separate the header & navigation menu from the content area. Not entirely sure what the finished version is going to look like and probably by the time you read this article, it’ll be live & I’m sure you’ll agree, it’ll be a marked improvement on the old design.

Who is the audience?

A screen shot from the video is below showing the mind map which is discussed:

problogger-mindmapWhile several of the parts I’m not going to discuss publicly, one part in particular I’m going to share as it defines what you’re going to find on this site from now on and crucially when.

In a brainstorm, I came to the conclusion that the following are the audience types & persona’s that vist this site:

  1. eCommerce business owners
  2. People looking for help with eBay & Amazon
  3. Current clients
  4. Former clients
  5. Potential clients
  6. Colleagues from former roles I’ve held
  7. Friends
  8. Head hunters
  9. CEO’s & Directors of products & services in the eCommerce arena
  10. PR firms

There really is quite a mixture from what I can tell from the interactions through email, comments, calls and the web statistics. However I feel that I’m failing them all and I’ll cover that in more detail shortly.

What problems do these have?

A really interesting brainstorming exercise was work out and detail the different problems each of these persona’s have and where they fit with the content that I have been producing up until now.

Again, these are results from the brainstorming exercise:

  1. Problems using eSellerPro
  2. Understanding eSellerPro
  3. Making best use of eSellerPro
  4. Selecting the right backend tool to help their business
  5. Checking up to see if I have posted something defamatory
  6. Looking for help with eBay
  7. ” ” ” ” ”  with Amazon
  8. ” ” ” ” ” with eCommerce
  9. Making the best use of the online marketplaces
  10. Marketing their businesses
  11. Making their businesses more efficient

Whether it is users with general questions or stemming by their desire to use the application more effectively, after three years with the team at eSellerPro, I suppose such a weighting is to be expected. There were one or two others that I’ve not included, however this was the general jist of the problems that I could come up with the the visitors that arrive here.

Note: If you can suggest any other types or reasons, I’d value you help, either in the comments at the bottom or directly via the Contact Matthew page


Predictably IrrationalI just finished reading an excellent book called “Predictably Irrational“, it was recommended by Rick, the head of a US based PPC company called “CPC Strategy“. Actually I’ve not spoken to Rick in a while now and as its not a bank holiday for him, I’ll drop him a line when he gets in. I’m not sure how we met, but we spoke and hit it off, really nice chap.

Back on topic, one of the differences to this book was Dan’s actual inclusion of the data from the experiments that she performed, this was sometimes lacking in other books on a similar topic, like “Why we Buy” and “Inside the mind of the shopper”. I used to think that psychology was a load of bollocks, how wrong was I and eagerly learned about the “Skinner Box” created by a graduate student at Havard, called “B. F. Skinner“.

This box, used to condition animals (oh don’t feel bad about this, the next bit is or rather was a revelation to me) through reward/punishment mechanisms. What was found that rats that performed the “correct” action and were rewarded would carry out the action required when they felt like it (as it was generally food, although I suspect punishment was used here as well), however the most interesting part was when the subject was not rewarded for the action and the reward happened randomly. Oh how this hit home.

Dan used a couple of brilliant examples in her book, the first was a fruit machine, if you knew that you’d win 9 out of 10 times, would you continue to play? When was the last time you played bingo? Did you win? When was the last time you checked your iPhone or Android for email, knowing full well there is no email because it makes a sound to notify you of a new message?


Which leads me to my original point, frequency. Frequency of posting here has been hap-hazard, sometimes I’d skip whole weeks and not post anything. With the full dive-into #ProjectE and the desire to improve my own brand and that of the new project I’ve committed to, the sources of content are abound, however I was considering setting up a routine for posting here, to let you know exactly when I would be posting and dividing it into two or three post types, however you (as I) can be the subject to the same process.

Now will this be the only post you’ll find here this week?

Back to the original questions

I identified several key audiences and also some of the problems that the audience have or experience, which allowed me to answer the original three questions. One of them was quite concerning and I’m looking forward to working on this one specifically in the next few weeks to try and amend some scorched bridges.

I do have an overlap between the content that I create here and that I have been creating for #ProjectE, as this becomes more public you’ll see why, however it’ll be fun crossing the two over.

New site layout

I started writing this article yesterday, since then you’ll have noticed that the site has now been altered. For one a new logo has been added and I have redesigned the header area completely. The homepage article layouts were tweaked and the footer is more substantial.

I’ve also realised that I am failing badly on numerous of the key pages on the site, I’m working on these today, so expect a couple of new video’s to be added.


I’ve just been back through and re-read this article, while I do ramble, it was what helped me refocus on what this blog means and where its going. I’ve got a lot of work to complete on the site if I want it to take me where I want it to go.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with the new look, however what do you think?



Are your video’s so bad, they need this feedback also?

I’m looking forward to sharing an email response I received with you. I received them from someone I’ve known for a long time now (outside of the eCommerce arena) and have the up-most respect for. The ironic summary of all his comments, is that shamefully I know them to be all correct & they are all in relation to the article posted a few days ago here.

Why share?

I’m publishing this because I feel exceptionally important to learn from ones mistakes, failure and failing is OK, but what is not OK is not learning from the experience and helping others along the way. As such I’m publishing the contents of the two emails (with their consent I hasten to add) and using this article to help myself document the feedback fully and maybe helping you too in the process.

While the chap who sent me this email is an EMEA sales director for a Billion pound semi-conductors business, long time friend & an avid gamer, I’d like to note that I do take feedback seriously of any kind from anyone, as you’ve seen numerous times here before.

Email number one

Here is the first email I received:

Hi Matt,

I’ve been watching the developments on this with interest as e-selling and developing business in that area is something that is totally alien to me and its not something that I envisage myself becoming involved in……….however, you never know what the future holds and I know I’ll learn something.
I have been watching your videos and if I might offer some feedback on them I hope that you won’t be offended but these are my personal comments:
In general I really like the actual location. The white walls and door and your daughters paintings seem to give the ‘right’ atmosphere for what (I believe) that you are trying to do. The combination of your ‘professional’ outlook in a ‘home’ office seems to link the aspirations of your audience quite well……….again this is only my view of things.
I can see that you blur out the logo on your coffee cup on your desk but for me this is something that you might be able to exploit. Given that you are a well known lover of coffee and Fridays have you thought about either having your own coffee cup with a ‘Last Drop of Ink’ logo on it and in shot (good advertising for you and people might even want to buy one!) although I find it interesting that whilst you pixelate the cup we can see a (half) picture of your daughter on the screen. Even stopping to have a quick drink out of the cup might help to bolster your image!
The other point is that you seem to lean back quite a lot when you are talking and I think that this might be due to getting yourself in the camera correctly but you do also bounce on the chair. Its a small thing but maybe sitting more upright might give a better presentation. As you’re leaning back your eyes do tend to half close at times as you are ‘looking down’ in effect and this does tend to detract from your more enthusiastic ‘wide eyes’ when you get to a key point in your talk. Your personal enthusiasm for this project shines through in your writing and your videos so it would be a shame (again in my opinion) to detract from this in any way.
Finally, the audio is a little bit ‘echo-y’ which is OK but again if this can be improved it would make the whole thing look a bit more professional. The audio is fine for ‘Youtube’ standards but I think that you are looking higher than this and your voice should reflect this again.
I hope that you don’t mind this input and I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t think that what you are doing is worthwhile. In a funny way I’m quite an excited ‘voyeur’ on this expedition into the unknown so I wish you every success in the future. Please don’t kick my ass into the stratosphere the next time we meet on the servers in retaliation!

Best wishes


Email number two

Quickly I realised that he’s made some brilliantly obvious points and acknowledge them with a quick email back, saying words to that effect. Which leads me onto the second email:

Hi Matt,
Making a presentation look easy actually takes a lot of hard work and practice but you also need the right ‘raw material’ to be able to have half a chance – which in my opinion you have. I certainly think that these things can be fixed and you’ll tweak things as you go along to make it better. If you think about what you know now and how you actually do your work compared to 5 years ago you know that you are much better these days and probably shudder at some of the things that happened in the past – I know that I do! Basically you’re just at that start point again and you will make the incremental improvements that can improve the overall message.
Best regards

Summarising the feedback

“Video” usage is still very new to myself and its going to become more of an active role in the next few months. I don’t even pretend to be good at it and have relied on blind enthusiasm to get myself this far, hence why I’ve been so taken back by the comments as I feel there is a lot to be learnt and also to be shared with you.

Here are the main points from the feedback:

  1. Location & atmosphere of a home office
  2. Use of subliminal marketing
  3. Focus the camera more on myself
  4. Stop bouncing around & sit up
  5. Focus on the camera more
  6. Audio is poor
  7. He’s enjoying the experience as much as I am
  8. Its not easy to make a presentation look great, but blind enthusiasm is 50% of it
  9. Its all about learning from the experiences to making them better

As I mentioned at beginning, this article is really about myself and in documenting it learning from what points were made, however I sincerely hope you may be able to gleam something from this as well, hence why I’m publishing this publicly.

Location & atmosphere of a home office

I work from home and have done for pretty much the past 10 years. Its not easy and with the advent of two sets of feet joining myself & my partner, it can be difficult at times. I’m sure most of you can relate to this.

If you had not noticed (come on could you miss them?), my office walls are splattered with paintings that the girls bring home from playgroup. I use these to keep myself sane and are my inspiration for keeping my head down and always trying to be the best that I can ever be.

Use of subliminal marketing

I thought this was a brilliant idea and I look forward to not only sharing with you my favourite home coffee, inviting you to buy me a cup at my favourite cafe (Gusto’s) but also getting one of the businesses I am having the upmost delight working with to produce me a coffee mug for the office.

Although the latter cannot happen before the massive resdesign of the site (yes, I’m redesigning the site and upping the game considerably, but more about this in another article).

Focus the camera more on myself

Darren Rowse.

Darren Rowse.

I’ve wondered about moving locations for the video creation, but instead, I’m going to take some inspiration from Darren Rowse from and while I do not personally fancy subjecting you to my entire head that close. I do feel a change of camera location is an excellent idea and here is a screen shot from the new location.

My new Camera Angle

The New Camera Angle

I’m looking forward to getting the girls to create me some more artwork to share with you. Although the last time, one of them painted themselves green!

Stop bouncing around & sit up

It was pretty bad in the earlier video I made (see here), I’ve solve this by just screwing up the tighten’er on the chair and have taken note not to bounce around so much. This will be difficult though, as you can tell, I’m a very animated person.

Focus on the camera more

I know when my eyes go down, its because I’m reading the screen for notes. So instead of using the screen, I’m goignnto use printed copies and use them, thus when I do look down, you’ll see me looking down at the notes and thus (hopefully) lessening the eye movement, which does look odd.

Audio is poor

Thank you YouTube! I found a guide that shows how apply noise reduction outside of in Sony Vegas HD using a free tool called Audacity that has an excellent noise reduction feature in it.

While this will add a few minutes to each video creation, I feel it will add immense value to the overall professionalism of the video and I’m looking forward to sharing the results with you.

He’s enjoying the experience as much as I am

I really do love what I do and I’m glad he is, as you are enjoying the experience.

Its not easy to make a presentation look great, but blind enthusiasm is 50% of it

Blind enthusiasm will only get me so far. This is really where I am going to up-my-game and in the next few weeks, I’d like you to be the jury on this.

Its all about learning from the experiences to making them better

And hence this article, I do not pretend to know everything and just as in “life” its one long learning experience. As I mentioned at the beginning, I hope you’re able to draw something from this article as I have drawn loads.

What do you think?

So two questions for you:

  1. Were the points valid?
  2. Has me sharing the above helped you?

Update on the Winners & More Detail on ProjectE

Instead of just writing, I thought I’d include a video update for today on both the 6 winners of the invitation I extended from last week and also a little more about ProjectE.

The 5 have been chosen. However… Would you like to join me for a…

I was quite overwhelmed by the sheer number of applications received, there were 56 applications in the end and once printed out, which is something I rarely do, my desk resembled a printing mill!

I managed to get to call around 60% of those made applications after I had spoke to the chosen five, however soon ran out of time and decided to email the ones that were left. If you did get an email from me, I’m sorry it wasn’t a call, as I explained I just ran out of time!

If you were not one of the 5, then I’m genuinely sorry. I just could not fit you all in and it was not a easy decision on any of them, they were all fantastic.

Something back

While sifting through the print outs, one thing became exceptionally clear, there was no way I was going to ring +50 people and say no and not giving something back, after-all, you had each taken a fair amount of time to reach out to me!

So to be able to give something positive back in return, would be ideal. I had the idea of running a “weekly workshop” a few weeks back and had intended for it to be part of ProjectE in a couple of months time once fully ready. However, I felt myself avoiding commitment again and decided that it would be an excellent idea to bring this idea forwards and be able to help all of you and turn those ugly “no’s” into “no, but’s”.

Weekly Workshops

I’m not going to be able to prepare properly for this Wednesday, however I am going to openly commit to Wednesday 31st August for the first “Wednesday Workshop”.

To begin with, I’m thinking that taking 10 or so questions before hand, then answering them in the webinar would be a great way to start the workshops off and then as time progresses, pick a topic each week and then hammer it out with the involvement of you for approximately an hour. Although I’m open to suggestions on format & contents.

I’ll be looking forward to sharing ProjectE with you in more detail and this way I’ll be able to help you all, not just the select 5. Oh and of course the workshops would be free!

Over to you

Is there a topic you’d like covered or question answered as part of the workshop? If so, pop your question below or in the comments box at the bottom and it could be part of the first workshop!

[contact-form 5 “ProjectE Webinar Question”]

Entries Closed. Now for the Super Hard Job!

The entry form is now closed for the opportunity of working with me for free. I’ve taken a print of each of the submissions and I can tell you there is quite a stack!

There are a few cross-overs in product areas and I’ve seen a few old faces on the print outs from this mornings batch. The overall quality is just amazing, with submissions from Spain, Germany, a couple from the USA and one from Australia. I did give a couple to my partner to have a read to see what her thoughts were and her comments were “rather you than me filtering these!”, thanks hun.

If you don’t hear from me today, don’t panic, its going to take me a while to sort through them (plus I have the girls for a few hours today to give mum a rest). I have already been keeping track of them and collating them in excel so that handling the sheer number was a little easier .

The part I’m not looking forward to is letting those know whom were not chosen, there is going to be a large number of those today and I’m going to call you anyway, I feel its the right thing todo. I don’t have #ProjectE completely nailed down yet and whatever happens, I’ll be extending you a personal invitation to it.

I’d love to fit you all in, but its going to likely take an entire day just for the selected five, especially if you consider each will take an hour each, plus 10-15 mins prep time before/after and then a hour or so call as a group. Which will take the best part of an entire working day.

I hope you can understand I just can’t fit you all in, if I could, I would and in time ProjectE,  will be able to do so.


Final Day for Submissions to Work with Matt for Free!

Well its Friday (my favourite day of the week) and frankly I’m blown away by the responses I’ve had to the invitation I extended on Monday. If you’ve not seen the video and the invitation yet you can view it here and there is still time to submit your application as I’m closing the form tonight at midnight.

In brief, I’m offering the opportunity of working with me for free for 8 weeks, as explained my reasoning behind this is quite simple, I need the personal commitment to ProjectE to take it from the pipe dream stage to reality and what better way of committing myself fully to five people publicly.

For those who have submitted applications, I’m truly blown away by the contents of them, its really going to be a bloody hard job picking the final 5 from over the 30 applications I’ve received. I’m trying to think of creative ways I can involve all of you, as I don’t want to disappoint, watch this space on this and even if you’re not selected, I’ll be contacting you anyway over the weekend to at least let you know personally.

Soo…. What have you got to lose? The worst I can say is “no”. Apply here now.

Preparing for the Increased eBay Titles Before September Using eSellerPro

If you’ve been shelled up for the past few weeks, eBay are increasing the eBay listing title character limit from 55 characters to 80 in September. The eBay update around this (and some other updates too) is here

In this article I’m going to be covering how you can prepare for the updated character length in eSellerPro, however the same concept ports to other 3rd party tools also and if you’re not using any of these, then the excel part will work just as well, using eBay File Exchange.

To update or not to update

The biggest question here is should you or should you not update active listings that have sales on them. This is a nasty question because either way you’re going to loose out. I’ll explain.

eBay are not removing the lock on the revision of eBay listing titles for this update, this means that if your listings have sales on them you have two choices:

  1. Leave them alone, with the reduced 55 character title, but keep the sale counts visible on the listing
  2. End the listing and re-list it with the extended title

Now there is a third and this is the one you need to avoid. Do not end your listing and NOT relist it using the old listing number, if you do this you will loose ALL your best match history.

Now most 3rd party applications keep (or should keep, ask them explicitly) a listing history and when you end and relist a product/service, it should in the API call to eBay, reference the previous eBay listing number. By doing this, best match is carried across to the new listing.

If you are using eSellerPro, this is something I worked on and I can categorically state that if you end a listing and re-list it, eSellerPro WILL carry the best match over, because it keeps the history (in the listing history tab) and will reference the previous listing (infact, we got clever with this and if there is not the same type of listing available, eg a BIN, it will pick the next best option (handy when you’ve mapped listed items that came from another tool)).

The answer

Now to answer the tricky question, which was do you end them and relist them and my straight answer to this is yes, you should.

My reasoning behind this is as follows:

  1. If you using the above tools, or even manually, if you relist using the previous eBay listing number, then the best match sales history will be carried over.
  2. Your competitors are going to be doing this also, the faster you do this, the less time that is lost between now and Christmas
  3. You’re receiving 25 extra characters to use in the titles, this will help you narrow (yes narrow, not widen) the people that view the listing, ultimately resulting in more targeted views.

How to prepare for the increased titles.

This is actually going to be a really simple job in eSellerPro. Just follow these simple steps.

Part 1, make the custom field to enter the new title into

  1. Go to Maintenance and select the custom fields icon (looks like an excel icon)
  2. Press the new record icon to create a new group
  3. Name the group “eBay Titles”
  4. Make sure the group type is “Product”
  5. Add a new custom field as an edit box with both names set as “New eBay Title”
  6. Add another custom field called “Old eBay Title”

We now have two custom fields, one for the current (soon to be old) eBay listing title and another to place the new listing title in.

Part 2, Create a custom layout

  1.  Go to Maintenance and scroll down to Export/Import layouts (its a yellow funnel)
  2. Press the new record icon
  3. For “Layout Name” enter “eBay Listing Titles”
  4. Set the delimiter drop down to ‘comma (44)’
  5. On the right under “Standard Fields”, scroll to “StockNumber” and press the button to the right (its call Add item or something, I’m writing this from memory so cannot be 100%)
  6. Then from the same drop down box scroll to “Listing Title” and hit the add button again
  7. Now we need to add the two custom fields, in the box below this one there is another wide drop down box, click on it and scroll down to the ones that read something like “eBay Titles/New eBay Title” and add them both, with the new one first.
  8. Now go back to the first drop down under “Standard Field” and near the top of the list, select <Unused> and add this to the layout also. (I’ll explain why in the next section).
  9. Press save at the top

You should now have a layout that has fields in this order:

  • StockNumber
  • ListingTitle
  • New eBay Title
  • Old eBay Title
  • <Unused>

Part 3, Preparing data

What we’ve done is create a layout which we can use to import and export the titles at will and only update the fields we want to work with.

Now go to Inventory and make a search for some inventory records, once the results have returned, hit the select all button in the bottom left to select them all (or just select a few if you want to test this first). Along the top there is an excel icon, click it.

Note: If you had the inventory tab open while making the template, close and reopen the section as I’m not 100% sure of the layouts are dynamically updated or not. This will be obvious when you go to export and the layout name “eBay Listing Titles” is missing.

A new window appears and along the top you want to select the “custom export layout” tab (again I’m writing this from memory and it may be worded slightly differently).

In the bottom left is the drop down box for the custom export/import layouts, select the layout we just made called “eBay Listing Titles” and press the export button. Set an apt file name save it to the desktop. You’ll also be given a file type to export as, select “CSV” as this option. Now open the file.

You will now have a spreadsheet that looks like this:

Excel Layout

Now copy the contents of column B, to column D, so we now have a backup of the original eBay listing title.

Critical note:


If you edit column B and import the changes you’ll bork your titles and the whole world will cave in. Seriously though, wait on this until later in this article. But for now DO NOT EDIT this column at all. Clear?

Click into cell E2 and put in this formula:

=IF(LEN(C2)>80,”Over 80 chars. Length: “&LEN(C2),””)&IF(LEN(C2)<77,”Under 77 Chars. Length: “&LEN(C2) & ” You can use ” & 80-LEN(C2) & ” more”,””)

And press enter. Now grab the right corner of the cell and drag it down (or double-click it if you have loads) to the bottom of the records you have.

Your sheet will now look a lot better than my example:


Now you can work on the new titles in column C and column E will tell you if your title is over 80 chars and if its under 77 chars (77 is a OK, that leaves 3 or so over for an acceptable tolerance).

Using my example, I have now have this:


As you can see, the first title is just about right, the second is too long and the last one is too short.

Part 4, Saving the files

It is now critical that you pay attention to the next few lines, this is where you’re likely to make a mistake.

  1. Save this file as a Excel Spreadsheet, NOT a CSV sheet.
  2. Work on all the titles so that column E shows no (acceptable) errors.

Once complete, save again in the Excel format.

Now before importing back into eSellerPro, save the sheet as a CSV sheet (Comma Delimited). I’ve included a screen shot as its really important that you save the working sheet as an excel workbook and the sheet you import into eSellerPro as a CSV sheet.

This is the option you select to save as a CSV file:


You will now have two files:

  1. The excel file that has the fomulas in and is your master sheet
  2. The CSV sheet which we’ll use next for importing back into eSellerPro

Part 5, Importing back into eSellerPro

We now need to upload these titles, so that we can use them when eSellerPro and eBay update the title char length.

  1. Go to inventory and select the excel icon at the top, this time, select tab that’s (roughly) called “Import custom layout”.
  2. Along the bottom of this window is a upload button, hit it and upload the CSV file (not the .xls or .xlsx file). This will take a few moments.
  3. Once uploaded it will appear in the top left hand corner of the window you have open. If the file was called “eSellerPro 80 Chars Example CSV.csv”, it’ll show as “eSellerPro 80 Chars Example CSV”.
  4. Click and highlight this file.
  5. In the bottom left, select the layout called “eBay Listing Titles”
  6. Press import
  7. Another window will pop up, make sure you check the box called something like “Actually import the data”, its the only check box on this screen, tick it.
  8. Now press OK

You’ve now imported the updated titles into eSellerPro and are keeping them safe in a custom field and you have a backup of the original eBay listing title.

Part 6, When the time comes…

When eSellerPro updates the title field to accept 80 chars, not 55 and eBay release the extended titles in their API** your job is super easy.

This is because you’ve already worked on all your titles between now and and the update, date and for you, its a simple case of copy/pasting the contents from column C (the “New eBay Title”) to column B (the “ListingTitle”) and importing them in as a CSV sheet in Part 5 as we covered above.

** Please note here that its not uncommon for the eBay API to lag a few days behind on updates and why the SYI form may allow you to enter 80 chars in September, 3rd parties like eSellerPro may be limited by the API not allow it just yet.


To help you, I’ve uploaded the example file used in this article here.

In the steps above I’ve focused on eSellerPro, however the principle of importing, editing and the re-importing when the time comes will work for pretty much all 3rd party tools such as ChannelAdvisor, Linnworks and so on…

The hardest part of the above is actually updating the titles themselves as I suspect you may have a few thousand (or more). Using this method you can work on them between now and the date this update is released by eBay and be fully prepared.

I have neglected until now to state the obvious, which is that you’ll need to revise your live listings (when the time comes). The ones that fail the revision on the eBay title field, will need to be ended (assuming you only list GTC listings) and also assuming you are using the Channel Profile to list on eBay, the listings will go back up automatically.

If you are not clear on any of the stages above, the unpaid support I can offer you here is limited, you’re better off either talking to eSellerPro support or if you have complex requirements, such as the concatenation of data to use other fields to make best use of the extra fields, use the contact form to reach me along the top of this website.

If you’ve found this article useful, let me know by posting a comment below or if you have a topic you’d like me to cover, again pop it in the comments box.

eSellerPro At Lords in September

eSellerProIn case you’ve missed it, eSellerPro are holding their first public customer conference at Lords on the 15th September. The line up includes the usual suspects, eBay, PayPal and lunch. However MoneyBookers, Profulfillment & Priceminister have presentations in the afternoon, which is a first as I’m aware for an event such as this.

The two key parts I’m looking forward to are release of the product roadmap from Eamonn Costello, the new product development director & also the “heads up” from the CEO,  Keith Bird.

A tour of Lords is also included and the agenda is below:

9:30 Registration
10:00 Welcome, eSellerPro, Vision and Strategy, Keith Bird, CEO, eSellerPro
10:30 Product Roadmap – Eamonn Costello, Director of Product Development, eSellerPro
11:00 Paypal
11:30 Break
11:45 eSellerPro Customer Case Study – Towequip
12:15 eBay
12:45 Amazon
13:15 Lunch
How can you grow your Business Internationally
13:45 MoneyBookers
14:00 Profulfillment
14:15 Priceminister
14:30 Panel Q&A and Close
15:00 eSellerPro Surgery, Meet the Team and network with our partners
SellerPro Surgery, Networking and Tour of Lords

You can register here and the full details are here. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Your Invitation to an Unique Opportunity for 5 eCommerce Businesses for ProjectE

Last Friday, I announced that I would be offering “A Unique Opportunity for 5 eCommerce Businesses for ProjectE” (see the link for the video), today I’m providing more information around this huge opportunity for the selected 5 businesses and opening to doors to applications.

What actions you take now, can have a massive impact on the busiest season of the year, Christmas. This really is a unique opportunity for you & your business, as I am essentially offering my experiences & services for free at a critical time of the year.

I’ve had quite a few emails already asking questions already, most questions are answered below, the common one was “What do I have to do to ensure I’m part of this Matt?”, one sent me this:

(Yes, I know it’s shameless, but if you could email Camelot and ask them if they would suggest which lottery numbers might be good to pick I bet you would).

As I mention below in this article and in the video, I have no real preference on the businesses size, just that the 5 chosen will be in non competing areas and have a willingness to learn and put the time in as needed. If I’ve worked with you before, that’s also OK. I’ve put the invitation as openly and as honestly as I can in the video below.

Why am I offering this opportunity?

There are two core reasons, the first is commitment. I’ve been hovering around ProjectE for some time now and I need personal commitment to its success, this is my way of ensuring that it happens and does not remain a ‘pipe dream’. The second is being able to understand & document exactly the right information to help other businesses grow through ProjectE.

Who am I?

If this your first time to this site, then I strongly urge you to read the rest of this site. This is my personal blog and I’ve covered quite a wide range of eCommerce related topics.

As a very brief introduction, I’ve ran my own eBay based business for three years, held the very first eBay PowerSeller meeting, worked with an auction management company called Marketworks (which was later bought by ChannelAdvisor) for 18 months and then spent three years at eSellerPro, a multi-channel software provider. I work with one of the most successful unbranded fashion multi-channel companies & launched Tesco on eBay a year or so ago. I have two “daddys” girls, I’m getting married next year, I have an unnatural love of Fridays and I’m addicted to coffee.

Non Competing Businesses

A critical part is my intention to pick five businesses that do not compete in the same product groups/verticals.

By picking businesses where they do not compete directly with each other, I’ve found from personal experience, breaks down the immediate boundaries that competition puts up and opens the opportunity of working together, so that 6 people in a non-competing environment can work more effectively, than just one.

A core part of these 8 weeks will be working together with myself and the four other selected businesses to amplify the experience. I’m suspecting that the latter, being able to talk to liked minded individuals who face similar issues will ultimately be most benefit to you.

What would be my personal concerns if I was a business considering taking part?

I felt it important to include this section, as it would be one of my primary concerns in taking part in this opportunity.

I’d like to stress that data to me is just that, data. I’ve seen sooo many addresses, inventory records, to just glaze over them. A customer’s address is just that, a couple of data fields, its contents are completely irrelevant and what is important is that the data is valid and in the correct format (and if not, why not).

I categorically have no intention of using any supplier based information to start my own “physical product based” business, I’ve been there and done that and will happily sign an NDA on supplier based information, that terminates for the period for up to 12 months after the project ends.

What is the “ideal” business type?

Your business should be eCommerce related and are using or intend to use eBay or Amazon as sales channels.

If you’re only taking a few hundred pounds per week or several hundred thousand turnover, this does not matter. What critically matters is that you’re able to work with others in a separate business area, are willing to learn fast and can commit the time needed for both the individual meetings, the group ones and the work that stems from them both.

What do I receive in return?

Ironically, I need your help as much as you need mine. ProjectE, which I’m looking forward to discussing with you, is about helping as many people as possible with their eCommerce businesses.

  • Permission to write about the experiences gained through the 8 week program
  • Use the knowledge & experience gained so that I can then help tailor future articles to help small & medium sized business.
  • Feedback on ProjectE

What is included?

The following is included & payment for the following is not implied nor expected.

  • Unique access to ProjectE
  • 1 hour per week dedicated support, via Skype or phone, focused to you & your business (will be on Weds, Thurs or Friday)
  • 1 hour per week group session to share your experience with the other members of the team (will be on Weds, Thurs or Friday)
  • Unlimited community forum & direct email support as required outside of the above
  • A ½ day site visit if you’re in a 30 mile radius of Bristol, United Kingdom (subject to lunch and coffee being provided)
  • [Pending confirmation] Access to two other experts, one of which will travel almost anywhere in the UK for the train fare, lunch and (uurrrh) tea.

What is required from you?

The most obvious inclusion here is commitment, I’m offering at least 16 hours or more of my time unpaid to help you, I expect this and a lot more in return.

  • An “open mind”
  • The purchase & completion of two or more books, within two weeks of the project starting (they’re about £15 in total on Amazon).
  • Attending individual & group meetings which will be held on a Weds, Thurs or Friday.


To enter your businesses into this opportunity, I require a few simple questions to be answered. Please include a phone number that you can be reached on over the weekend of 20-21st August, as I’m intending to use this time to narrow down the entries.

The closing date for applications is Friday 19 August at 23:59.

All fields are required.

<< Sorry, this unique opportunity has now ended>>

A Unique Opportunity for 5 eCommerce Businesses for ProjectE

Time to raise the stakes! On Monday 15th August, I’m going to open a public invitation for 5 businesses to work with myself for a period of 8 weeks, consisting of 1-2 hours mentoring & consulting for free.

The infamous “ProjectE” should be no surprise to you if you’ve read any part of this site or if I’ve worked with you before, its to be focused on eCommerce, with a hefty slant towards eBay & Amazon.

This is a huge & equally unique opportunity for you and your businesses, as I’m offering support, guidance and mentoring, at a critical part of the year. With Christmas with in easy reach, just imagine what you could achieve with the right guidance and actions on your part.

If you’re interested in working with me for free & for 2 whole months, watch this video now  as I’ve put together a brief overview for this unique opportunity and more details will follow on Monday.

I will be providing a submission form on Monday and the closing date for applications will be 17:00 Friday 19th August 2011.