We have all been confronted with a financial obstacle at some point in our lives that we have had to overcome. If you are one of the few lucky ones that have managed to navigate life without debt or concerns, all I can say is ”God Bless You” and keep it up. For my wife and myself, the early years of our relationship was bliss, but once we decided to get married and have children everything changed.
The American Dream quickly became the typical American Nightmare. We went from a two income household to a single income household with an extra mouth to feed. Our bills quickly became a concern because we had student loans, a mortgage, car payment, and etc. The initial plan was for my wife to return to the workforce after three months, but we are on our eleventh year and we are still surviving on a single income. Well, that’s not entirely true. Let me explain.
It all started with a random conversation with a new co-worker over lunch one day. He mentioned that his wife makes $60,000 a year at home reselling vintage items on EBay and at flea markets. I remember thinking that’s crazy, and then conveniently forgot about the conversation until the spring when I stopped at a yard sale. While looking around, I decided to pull out my cellphone and cross reference some of the items that a senior couple had laid out on the table.
The first thing that I grabbed was an Asian handheld folding fan that was priced at $0.50. I started searching through EBay and found the exact same fan listed and sold for $20.00. I remember thinking that it can’t be this easy. I started riding around to various yard sales and buying items that I thought I could sell for a profit. My wife thought I was crazy, but she did realize that there was potential for additional income and at least I wasn’t just sitting in front of the television as usual.
We started bringing an extra income from reselling primarily vintage items and we decided to take it to the next level. We started attending local auctions and estate sales. Like anything else in life, you need to start small and build your way up. I started with buying box lots and the cheaper items in bulk that no else wanted. I would then go home and sort through a car load of junk that only cost me $20-40.00. The usual hull would bring in roughly about a $200-300.00 profit once the marketable items sold and the rest went to Goodwill. Every time we sorted through the box lots, we would learn something new. We would find an item that we didn’t realize the value of and would gain knowledge for future auctions and estate sales. Before long, we moved on from box lots, and started buying single items ranging from $1-$50 with an expected minimum profit on 3X.
It should be pretty obvious from there we shot to moon. Well, not exactly the moon but $30,000 isn’t too shabby. We expect to hit $60,000 in the next 3 years but we still have a lot to learn. Most of our lessons were learned the hard way and I want to share those lessons with you so that you can avoid the heart ache and struggles that we experienced.
Depending on where you live in the United States, auctions or estate sales may be preferred choice when people downsize. In Pennsylvania, auctions are everywhere. Just use AuctionZip.com and enter in you zip code and I suggest searching the 30 mile radius. When I am in Florida visiting family, I use EstateSale.net. Auctions and Estates sales are different beast, but they both fall under the same principle. Buy something cheap and sell it for more. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work in a perfect world.
Please remember to double list your items. Create an EBay store once your sales support the cost and open a free store on Etsy. When listing your items on either online store front, make sure you weigh your items and list them in accordance with their weight and dimensions. We used to guess the shipping cost and use a flat rate. Huge mistake because to ship from the East Coast to the West Coast is extremely expensive and you will end up losing money. I remember being confused looking for the profit in our PayPal account after shipping 30 plus items.
If you are selling online, you need a lot of boxes and bubble wrap. Never ever buy bubble wrap from Walmart or Staples. Their prices are ridiculous and borderline immoral. Simply just go on EBay and search for bubble wrap, you will see pliantly of rolls for sale for about $20-25 for 400 ft. Boxes on the other hand is a bit more challenging. We prefer to ask stores for empty shipping boxes, but if there is no other choice, you can also buy these in bulk online.
Once the money starts rolling in and you become your own boss, make sure you pay your taxes. Some states require sales tax to be collected which isn’t too difficult. Any online retailer that you decide to use within the United States will send you a W2 once your sales have past $19,999.00. If you choose not to pay your taxes will they come looking for you? Honestly, I don’t know and don’t want to find out. But just remember, four successful sale years could total up well past $60,000 in back taxes. Just remember, when you become your boss, you must pay taxes.
I hope you have found this information to be helpful on how to become your own boss and I wish you good luck on your newly gained knowledge.