In the last few months, you may have noticed I have been writing more about myself because I have been on a road of self discovery. Let’s take a look my own SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
I have been buying and selling gift cards for years and I know the markets pretty well. I know what each brand goes for and when there is a good deal. I can now do this in my sleep. Because I know the deals, I can leverage the knowledge when I negotiate rates with the exchanges. You won’t see me blog about any gift card deals anymore because my rates have been higher than the posted rates found on GiftCard Wiki. And if you’ve been regularly selling gift cards and aren’t above those rates, you are not doing it right. Let’s chat some time so we can get that fixed.
I have a lot of fun going into a store and chatting up the associates. A little while ago, a couple of close friends and I did some shopping to do some reselling. While out, they were able to see how I was able to buy just about anything I wanted. That is what makes the game fun and if it does not work, there’s always an important lesson to learn.
My lack of time to focus on the game is a hinderance. I want to dive deeper into reselling, but haven’t because I will be starting from the ground up. The lack of time is compounded from my desire to go to school and the associated work, spending 11 hour days at work, and honing my skills and abilities outside of all that including my hobbies. I could give up some hours to sleep, but I prefer not to unless circumstances require it.
Lately, there have been many days on end where I just lack motivation. I haven’t pinpointed this one yet. There are days where I feel like I can talk about gift cards for weeks and then not want to look at them for longer. I need to solve this one soon so I can become the high performing individual I was in May.
Lastly, I have a narrow focus in manufactured spending. In the last 3 months, I was very fortunate to make a few new discoveries. At the same time, in my narrow focus, I have seen opportunities close to earn cheap points and have lost a lot of money when portals stop paying.
Reselling is where I will pivot. There is a lot of potential to earn a lot of cash and miles. At the current rate, learning reselling has been tough. As mentioned, I am starting from the beginning. I haven’t felt this way in a long time of not knowing what to do. As an example, I recently bought a few units of a mophie powerstation. I was able to get an incredible deal, but shortly after listing on Amazon, the market for these battery packs have been volatile to say the least. Competition have lowered the prices far below my cost and I will not match it any time soon.
My lack of time is due to the fact that I want to do everything myself as I want to learn the process. In the last 4 to 5 weeks, I have been testing out a free alternative to a virtual assistant using the American Express Platinum concierge. I haven’t written anything about how I have leveraged them, but have passed along some of their results to plenty of people like Vinh on Miles Per Day.
Using the AMEX concierge is a surefire way of testing out a virtual assistant of knowing what works and what does not in how you communicate. If you spend five to ten minutes formulating your thoughts and ideas together that will save you from the email ping pong game. When I first started with the AMEX concierge, we shot off about two emails per request. Once I learned what needed to be conveyed, I am now on a one and done type of email communication with them. The last time I spoke with them over the phone was to allow them to release my billing information, but for the next time, I will explicitly write in the email that it is OK to not call me about it.
The best part about it? It did not cost me any money as I learned how best to communicate to a virtual assistant. Yes, when I hire an assistant, we’ll have to chat and get things ironed out, but learning the pieces beforehand will lead to better success and less pain points after the go live.
Currently, my preferred method is to buy and sell gift cards. At any given moment, these avenues can close out and there goes my opportunity to earn miles and points. I need to diversify and begin to look at other areas. I will not be satisfied until I have a different way of earning points.
Within the threats, I need to diversify from Chase Ultimate Rewards. I have been absolutely killing all of the bonus categories from Chase. I recently burned through a six figure worth of points and hasn’t made much of a dent because of my manufactured spending patterns replenish it quickly.
It is so easy to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards because they are so useful and the bonuses. I have substantial American Express Membership Rewards balance of points and have a tough time figuring out how I will use it. AMEX Membership Rewards I could see myself using on Singapore Airlines, Virgin America, Cathay Pacific, and Choice Hotels.
I also have a healthy balance of Thank You points and see myself redeeming the same airlines as the Membership Rewards. Because earning Thank You points is much easier for me, I would use these points on the 3 airlines before I would use the AMEX Membership Rewards.
To combat the weaknesses, what I have been doing is offloading and outsourcing many activities so that I can free myself to do more value add activities like strength learning the nuances to reselling and finding a deal. I plan to bring aboard someone to help me sell gift cards because at this point, it has become an activity that I am not fully motivated to do.
Fortunately, my manufactured spending techniques are card independent so I could still earn many Ultimate Rewards, but I need to diversify. I have also continued my steps to earn more cash back instead of points and will continue to do so when there are no category bonuses.
If you have a strength and I have a weakness and vice versa, let’s chat! We can make a stronger game together.