Why information is not the answer

The truth hurts sometimes.

It dawned on me this month that if some wealthy psycho felt like buying up everything in my Ebay store tomorrow, not only would I have some extreme shipping to do for 62 items, I'd only make about a gross profit of $1,211. Factor in shipping and the cost of the items, and we're looking at even less.

I don't think I ever tricked myself into thinking this was a get-rich-quick scheme. That's not why I do it. While it's definitely easy to make some money, making enough requires hustle.

What is my goal after all? That's the $100,000 question. I was also a bit disappointed this month to hear that one of the regular resellers I like to follow on YouTube (Ralli Roots) make their six figure income as a reselling couple primarily through wholesale. That's an option I haven't even begun to research. Don't get it twisted, I didn't kid myself that buying vintage t-shirts and video games at garage sales would make six figures, but I guess I also didn't fully think it all through.

What I want is to make this my career. My $100,000 question is a $5,000 question. How do I make my reselling business into my full-time gig? Or, more specifically, how do I make $5,000 every month?

What following another YouTube channel, Daily Refinement, made clear were the numbers - specifically consistent listings, consistent sales, and knowing your average sale price.

If I wanted to make $5k every month, I would need:

  • 250 sales with $20 profit / 8 sales per day, or

  • 500 sales with $10 profit / 16 sales per day, or

  • 1000 sales with $5 profit / 33 sales per day

If I was hawking furniture at a $100 profit margin, I would need only 50 sales per month, or 1.5 every day.

None of these routes is easy because it never ends. There is always the challenge to find new products and put them out there. It doesn't happen without you working. Plus, what's not immediately visible in the numbers is the exhaustion. Buying is the fun part, even when it's not a walk in the park. Now add on cleaning some items, inspecting, photographing, and then filling out all the details on Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, etc.

Plus, I'm competing in thrift stores with dozens, maybe hundreds, of other resellers to find profitable items. The idea of finding eight $20 items in a thrift store is not likely. And to multiple that by 30 days a month, no way.

All this is good stuff to know, but, as author/entrepreneur Derek Sivers once said:

If information was the answer, we’d all be billionaires with six-pack abs.

I need to make more money. How do I do that? Sell things faster or sell them for more money. Preferably both.

With that, I need more than one avenue. More than one action. It's not going to be one thing, so let's ponder some ideas:

List everything - I promised myself I'd be better at it after years of cleaning other people's hoardings. But, it's true, I have a death pile - a collection of things I bought and have yet to do anything with. If I'm sitting on something, I'm not selling it. Even for only few dollars more than I bought it. Get it together and get it out there. There is always more product to buy and flip. More specifically: I'll be listing more on Instagram, on Facebook, and on this website.

Discontinued grocery products - Right now, I'm most intrigued by the concept of discontinued grocery products. Jennifer (IG: thrifttotravel) is my favorite. She is a sweetheart located in the Pacific Northwest. In a competitive marketplace, where money-making information is sometimes held tight, she readily shares everything she learns with her community. What does she know? There is a whole marketplace out there for people that love a certain product and will pay good money when it's not readily available near them. Some examples I've seen...

This is a grind and a weird type of memory game. You need to check dusty discount grocery stores and know what product of the thousands to seek out. A company like CVS doesn't have the time to know a certain kind of hair dye on their shelves is going for triple on Ebay.

Book scanning - I tried to get this started months ago and ended up buying a refurbished and broken bluetooth scanner. The seller was sweet enough to refund me completely, no questions asked, but I'm back to square one. You'd think books are a dime a dozen but when you visit enough thrift stores full of donated stuff, you realize some gold can be hidden between those pages. Someone somewhere can't find the book they want, and you're standing in the aisle scanning it. Sure, there is competition but there are local honey holes to visit too - libraries, local pickup, etc. It feels like a no-brainer to start scanning books and selling on Amazon since I'm wandering through the stacks in my favorite thrift stores anyway. And whenever a local book sale happens, I can't help but think I'm missing out.

Toys - Who doesn't want to capture some of their childhood now that they're a millennial with disposable income? Or an adult with children of their own! Judging by my purchases, I feel like toys are a missed opportunity for thrift stores. The prices are pretty good because, I imagine, most thrift store pricers don't know the value a child (and their accompanying adult) can place on finding the right toy, or a lot of them! Less competition, more fun. At the moment, I have a mountain ready to go - My Little Ponies, Ugglys, Lincoln Logs, Littlest Pet Shop, Fisher Price Little People, and Mr. Potato Head, of course.

Furniture - Seems like it's straight forward in value - people love decorating their nest. Of course, the hurdles are plenty. Furniture can be heavy. They require muscle and storage and transportation and a little bit of know-how. My sister has a double garage available but is that enough to compete? Is it worth the sweat and time? The sales numbers are tempting.

Conversation pieces - Before I started reselling, I was curious about home decor and design. Finally trying to make my apartment less of a slapped-together bachelor pad, I found the hunt for the right kind of decor exciting. Sometimes you just need that unique piece to sit on the shelf. That's where the idea for a conversation piece came in. Mixed with my marketing ideas from last month, I thought I could become the go-to person for curating unique home decor, or conversation pieces to enhance your Ikea lifestyle. Think Pyrex mixing bowls, or old wooden barometers. My inspiration has been That's So Loopy on Instagram - his style is clear.

Magazine art - not quite reselling but the idea that started it all. Why not cut up some old magazine pages/ads and frame them? They are unique decor, and something easy enough to advertise, sell, and ship in the meantime.

Honorable mentions:

Host parties/events - The hard part is getting eyeballs to see my flips, and consider purchasing. Why not throw a party?

Make friends with interior decorators - Simple enough. They need things, I have a bunch.

House clean-outs - An option from my past. It's hard work and I haven't quite figured out how to offer the service and successfully feed my inventory. I don't want to get stuck in a basement full of wet carpet or concrete piles.

Liquidations/wholesale - Bulk buys at a decent price would save me the hassle and time of thrift store wandering. This is a relationship game, I just need to keep looking for opportunities.

Antique marketplace - Still hoping the girls I met during my Porta event last month will launch their antique marketplace in Harrison, NJ and I can sell out of there.

By the numbers

What's happened this month? I made $703.05 in net profit! What makes the total even better was that I took a few Sundays off from sourcing and managed to spend way less - $234.33.

What Sold

Looking back at the items this month, the wins and the fails, something is becoming clear - buying in bulk is the way to win.


Started the month strong when I found a few local buyers for 2 Marlboro backpacks and an Epson photo printer. The Marlboro bags were $10 from a garage sale and sold for $45. The Epson printer was $23 from another garage sale, sold for $100 almost as soon as I finally listed it.


Totoro DVD

I found a brand new sealed copy of the classic Japanese animated flick Totoro at my favorite church rummage sale. Apparently it was a discontinued widescreen version. A $2 purchase turned into a $89.99 win.


The Romance Angels Tarot Deck

Found a big box of tarot card sets for sale on Facebook marketplace, so I started researching. The older woman was asking $15 for about 10 sets and I was floored! I knew from a previous purchase that tarot cards could sometimes be decent money, but I couldn't have expected this. On the very first set I decided to look up, I struck gold. Unfortunately, though, the woman must have been bombarded with messages because she quickly changed the price and let me know she found out she could get them for more. Luckily, she said I could take a few (not the whole box) for $5 each if I wanted. I leapt at the chance and snagged two sets - one was discontinued and sold almost immediately for $99.95

Ma helped me stumble on a big box of Skylander toys at one garage sale. I almost missed it! I knew the toys were collectible and big with the youth. The mother running the sale said her son didn't want to play with them anymore and they were in great condition. I made my offer - $20. She sighed and eventually said yes. 123 pieces! And to this day, I've sold a bundle of crystals (net $42), Master Starcast ($18), Sickle Sensei ($12 net), and a bundle of trophies ($18 net). Grand total: $90. And dozens more to list!

At an early morning garage sale, I was floored to find a box of Sega Genesis games. I asked how much and she said $10 for the whole box. SOLD! The funny part was I felt duped later on when I found that about nine of the cases were empty. I got a good laugh again later on when I found that empty cases sometimes sell better than games! Threw a few different bundles up on Ebay for my first ever auctions and ended up with $60 in profit.

Not every win is a selling win. But one will be in due time. My sister's sister-in-law's friend has a brother that ran and closed down an electronic store. Some of the product had been sitting in their garage for months, to the point that the brother's sister wanted it gone. My sister's sister-in-law told her I was in the reselling business and the meeting was set. I saw some photos beforehand and did some research. When I arrived, I made a nice pile and asked the price. She said make an offer and we'll work from there. I lowballed - $50. She winced. She said she was hoping for more because some of the pieces could definitely sell. I said $75. She took it. I threw in $5 more. What was the haul? 3 Lorex security cameras, 2 Garmin GPS units, one iDJpro setup, one electronic board, and one HDTV antenna (for my sister to get free cable). Estimated profit: $400+



On the flipside, I've noticed quite a few sales where I ponied up a dollar and made a hard-fought $10 or less. It's still a great felling to turn a dollar into more, but it just doesn't scale. Think about all the effort I mentioned earlier.

Plus, it was another month without any Amazon movement. I've been paying $40 every month for nothing! I could be sending product off and shipping it around the world, but, honestly, the struggle has been understanding how to load paper in a salvaged printer. Now that that hurdle has gotten out of the way recently, I hope to have better news next month.

Other highlights:

Because I upgraded to an Ebay Store, I can list up to 100 items without any insertion fee. It made me think I should be doing this more consistently and so I did. I was able to list 60 items in the month of September! Not quite 100 but it was a great eye-opening experience. The more I listed, the more the potential for cash!

My Ebay rating continues to rise without any negative reviews - 92.3% from last month is now 94.6%


Flipshark in the wild

Mallory, my first & arguably best customer at the Porta event last month, shared her Flipshark finds on Instagram. How cool!

Going forward

Nassim Taleb popularized the term "antifragile". In his book of the same name, he wrote, "Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.” The things I sell and ship won't get better with shock and stress, but I will.

Uncomfortability can give rise to strength and skill we didn't know we could possess. It's a good reminder as I continue to try to grow this business that it'll require some challenge. It's not just buying and selling, it's dealing with the uncertainty of the marketplace. Every day is a test.

Information is not the answer. Let’s take some action.

Getting away with more of the same

I knew August couldn't be like July. My mind was busy with planning my first pop-up marketplace, so the ebay volume suffered. But that's fine! We still made quite a few dollars. As a matter of fact, despite the complexities of event planning, we managed to beat June's numbers!

In August, I spent $385.73 at garage sales and thrift stores. But more importantly, I made $389.95 in net profit. That's cash in my pocket after shipping and fees, whereas in June I only made $367. Progress!

With those numbers, it might look like I'm only selling how much I find from one month to the next, but I still have a giant pile of inventory waiting to ship out of my apartment. Sales will grow when I can get more consistent with listing.

What Sold


My Ebay feedback rating continues to rise with each successful sale. We're now sitting pretty at 92.3%. Fingers crossed, it continues to rise in September.

I started experimenting with taking advantage of thrift store sales before and after the workday. Luckily, I work in an industry that allows remote work, so I've been gathering goods at 25% Thursdays at the Unique thrift stores in suburban New Jersey.

I took advantage of the Ebay "Make an Offer" option this month and made a quick DVD sale of Fifty Shades of Grey. It's a small win but it feels great to directly ask someone if they'd buy something off of you and they respond with cash.

In terms of single-item wins, the biggest profit margins came from a Kodak photo scanner and some Hayabusa boxing gloves. I bought the Kodak photo scanner at an astonishing $2. The older woman running the yard sale admitted she didn't even know what it was. When I explained it, she joked she should charge me more, but she didn't. I turned around and sold it to a co-worker for $50, making the profit $48.

I found the Hayabusa gloves hidden in a hamper in a Goodwill store, priced for $8. I sold them pretty quickly to a kickboxing instructor for $38.

Plus, it was a great feeling to find some rock t-shirts over one weekend and sell them to a co-worker a few days later. Easy as that. $20 profit and one happy dude.

Selling at Porta


A few months back, at a mutual friend's wedding shower, I got to talking with an old friend about my business. Her name is Marianne and she is responsible for event planning at the Porta restaurant chain in Jersey City. She had been following my experiments on Instagram and thought it would be a great idea to put together a big vintage marketplace on their roof. I was floored!

I had been planning and, most importantly, buying for the next couple weeks after that conversation with the event in mind. Instead of relying on the Completed/Sold listings of Ebay sales, I had to anticipate what young, tipsy Porta goers would want to take home with them.

I dedicated the entire day to getting ready. I took off from the regular job and rushed around New Jersey, grabbing last minute things, like dollar store candy for the table and brand-new business cards. And then it rained, right around the time I was walking out the door with my inventory in my hands. I even took a shower because I didn't want to arrive a complete mess. But then, after driving about a block away, I realized I'd forgotten about a dozen major items hiding in random places in my apartment. I had to round the corner and continue loading.

I arrived later than I wanted, driving through storming rain. I resorted to parking in the lot across the street and made four trips, sweating bullets, lugging glass mugs and vintage beer cans up to the third floor.

Luckily, my brother arrived right on time for the event launch (when no one was there yet) and he helped me finish up tagging and pricing everything.

Then the sales began! Mallory was one of the first to swing over and she grabbed a handful of things right away to fill her apartment. Rob almost lost his mind when I explained that I named Flipshark after my last name, and showed him my tattoo. Another person came up and said I was the most affordable there, which is exactly what I wanted to be. I want to share the wealth of finding cool things.

I ended up making $77 net profit and some really good connections. Hopefully, I can write more about those in the future. But the biggest lesson was what sold. I saw people buy something just to pick it up and show it off right away to their friends at the event. It was a flaunting of quirky taste and disposable income. The more unique, the better. It was less about my beloved stained glass window hangings or vintage Pyrex glassware, it was about the Mickey Mouse fanny pack and 80's rock and roll poster.

Going forward

Earlier in the month, another friend, Annmarie, asked me quite generally about my plans to make this whole thing work. I wish I had a clearer answer, now and then, but the truth is I'm really still figuring it out as I go.

It’s great that items keep selling but with a limited amount of time each week/weekend to source new stuff, the sales will stay limited too. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different (in this case, better) result. Experiments are required.

Looking at the whole operation from a high level, there are two options:

  • accelerating the buying, raising the sales of everything all at once, or

  • make a sharp decision to specialize in a niche.

There is an argument that my current success could scale if I was only able to shop more than the two days of the weekend. But, there is the other possibility that when the garage sales dry up during the week, and especially during the winter, selling anything I can find with even a little bit of value might get even harder. There might be a threshold and a need to start looking elsewhere for sourcing. It's a lot of what if's. And it's hard to know right now.

It makes me wonder too what would happen if I had to start tomorrow. If my job didn’t need me and bills had to be paid. Would I double-down and pinball around to thrift stores, filling my cart? Or would I try something else?

That something else would be carving my own lane. I've been reading This is Marketing by Seth Godin, and it's conceptually putting things into perspective. If I'm able to start developing content and connections (and most importantly, sales) for a single industry, I could learn the market more rapidly, find my angle, expand my audience, and just maybe sell for higher margins.

Right now, I think I have a lot of attention on what I do with friends and family because it’s exciting to see someone do something unique. I don’t really know anyone else going to garage sales every weekend and trying to flip for a buck. Plus, it’s not boring. It’s something new I can deliver every week. Something tangible in a digital age.

But it does make me wonder if I should continue down the path of sharing a large breadth of stories about flipping oddball things from My Little Ponies to WWE action figures to anything else I can find, or if I should share the select wins, the things that really interest the select, hungry few.

Because, as Godin says:

Once you know what you stand for, the rest gets a lot easier.

I can figure out how to define and please the “us” in Godin’s mantra - "People like us do things like this". Because as much fun as it can be for friends to cheer you on for your sales, it’s even better to make more of those sales.

What would I possibly specialize in? Weirdly enough, I really like vintage Pyrex. Glass cookware. Don't ask me why, I barely cook myself. But it's such a thrill to find some milk glass mugs or casserole dishes decorated with berries or birds on a thrift store shelf that I thought this would be something to strive for.

Or toys. I grew up with a basement full. And lately I've been learning more and finding opportunities to snag Lincoln Logs, Skyland Giants, and stuffed animals. It just seems like an industry with less competition for the average adult.

What I like about both options is that they're not immediate insane competition. Tons of people specialize in video games, vintage band t-shirts, or even electronics. Finding a niche would mean finding my place.

Whatever it is, we’re getting closer. Another month down means another month to start, and I’m ready for the next challenge. Until next time, thanks for reading!

Big Money

It's not about the money.

Okay, it's a bit about the money. As we all know, I'm working toward making this business into my full-time gig, but at one point during this month, I genuinely forgot that selling these items could bring me some cash. I was literally sitting on $600 in my PayPal account, completely oblivious.

And maybe that's the reason I smashed my goals this month. I didn't focus on every penny, I just kept the momentum going and the inventory growing.

How did we do? I made almost $1000 in net profit!

By the numbers

In May I spent $160.14 and made $164.55

In June I spent $303.50 and made $367.93

In July I spent $274.33 and made $993.07. That's almost triple my net profit last month!

So far so good.

But how do I do it? Let's try and figure it out.

What sold in July:

Hopefully, I'm going to need to stop listing these galleries because they're getting too large.


I made record profit for myself twice this month! I was floored to sell season one of Here Come the Brides in just two days for a net profit of $110. I had never heard of the show but whenever I find sealed DVDs, especially box sets, in thrift stores, I look them up.

But then, a few weeks later, I found an HP 33S Calculator at a garage sale, sealed, for $5. I snatched it up and sold it quick for $187.25. After fees and shipping, I took home a cool $150 net profit.

Sold and shipped the biggest package to date through Ebay - The Sinking of the Titanic board game. (It was free after I showed some interest at a yard sale, sold for $50.) It took some careful bubble-wrapping and violent shaking for extra security before it went out. Plus, it's been great to keep my eyes open for shipping materials around town and the office, and recycle them when I can.

Used Media Mail for the first time - a Post Office rate specifically for media materials, like DVDs and books. It's much cheaper than the regular First Class or Priority rates.

Bought some Ikea shelves and cleaned up my kitchen. It was quickly getting out of hand to just pile things in a corner. It's funny to think I went from researching tiny apartments and home decor to filling my living space like a storage unit.


Remember that Suze Orman briefcase I mentioned last month after I bought it from the local thrift store? Flipped it from $3 to $25 locally. It was easy, but it wasn't all that easy. I don't find myself particular good at negotiation but when someone schedules a pick-up because they want something, they barely have leverage. This buyer started asking me questions about finances and what the materials could do. I had to be honest, I had no idea. She was supposed to do the homework. Then she said, "I have to be honest, I usually negotiate. How about $20?" To which I'm proud of myself for not skipping a beat and saying, "The price is $25." Boom! Sold!

Quite possibly the biggest news of all from this month is locking in a date for a vintage pop-up market! A friend of mine, Marianne, organizes events at a huge Jersey City bar and restaurant called Porta. There are only so many bands and DJ sets one crowd can take, so we're going to deck out the rooftop portion and hawk some flips. Mark your calendar: Praise the Roof on Wednesday, August 14th.

More details to come!


As much as I love sailing, you might not always see it on my face. It can be frustrating and anxiety-producing to be behind the wheel zipping from place to place. But I swear I wouldn't trade it for the world. I was tested more than a few times this month by extreme summer temperatures, empty carts after thrift store visits, and costly errands, like shipping during precious Saturday morning sales. I feel like there is a lot of pressure to be on time (not early) and buy as much as I can. It's serious fun to me, but you might have trouble seeing it.

Speaking of time, I tried logging my time but I didn't do such a great job. It doesn't help when five minutes here or ten minutes there can be dedicated to looking up sales on Facebook Marketplace, or snapping a few photos for Ebay listings. I could be more diligent but right now, like my forgotten PayPal funds, it's not about the time. I'm enjoying the hunt. One day, when the full-time goal is more visible, I'll need to be careful about how I spend or waste my time. Efficiency can be key when there is nothing to buy.

Quite a few thrift store offers were sent to my inbox this month and every single time I had a serious case of missing out. I wanted to be in the racks and shelves, hunting down deals on a Tuesday. But those days come and go. Maybe I’ll be able to drop everything and shop sometime soon.

Another wasted opportunity, and forty dollars down the drain, has been Amazon. I signed up for an Amazon Seller account last month, hooked up my brand new printer, but didn’t find the time to take the leap. If I’m being honest, something about selling through one of the world’s largest companies makes me nervous. But I’m sure that like most things in life the idea is scarier than the real thing. Just gotta do it.

I started to branch off as an Instagram brand - @njflipshark. I thought a bit too hard about the style and aesthetic before managing to post only one post so far. With a local sale on the way and a way to be vocal, it’s time to get socially serious too.

The closest Goodwill discount store to my parents' house is now closed. I walked in one weekend and half the store was literally empty. Nothing else to say except it was very sad, so I bought a DVD of Cheech and Chong to commemorate the Goodwill that went Up in Smoke.

Just when I thought my sales were working up some positive ratings, a disgruntled eBay buyer shot it back down. I went from 87.5% to 86.7% because of another video game issue. The buyer said the sealed PS2 copy of Pitfall I sold him was “unreadable”. And he said, “i just got today all my other ps2 have no problem loading". Video games are just not working out for me.

What else can we learn from these sales?

I like variety. Some people dive deep into sports memorabilia or designer shoes. I haven't found a particular lane just yet but it has suited me pretty well to buy across the board from electronics to books to my childhood toys.

Some things just take time. While I sold a lot of items this month, I did sell quite a few things from my very first weekend seriously sailing - including the Bert and Ernie toddler plushes, an Applause Unicorn plush with tags, and some more Power Ranger toys.

Some things do not take time. Some of my biggest wins this month were quick and valuable turnarounds from estate sales and yard sales. I saw what the going price was on Ebay and went slightly below to undercut the competition and get this product moving.

What’s the plan?

A full-time reseller I follow on YouTube mentioned he has an active inventory of 1800 items on Ebay. After this month, I have 29. As much as I want to stock up on my inventory, August might prove to be a challenge to the fast growth. With a focus on branding and publicizing the Porta pop-up marketplace, and a week-long work trip to France at the end of the month, weekends are limited.

With that being said, it’s another good opportunity to get efficient and buy more when I can. I bought a wireless bluetooth scanner to quickly scan through the thrift store bookshelves for books that could sell on Amazon. As I’ve learned, it’s not about finding the books worth something, it’s about getting through stacks faster than the next person.

I want to start building up my Instagram. Beyond the sales potential of growing my followers, there are so many people around the world reselling! It might help to make some connections and start learning from those a bit further down the road than I.

If you have any questions, please let me know! I'm wondering things too.

Until next time…

The sailing continues!

I can almost remember a time when I wanted to deck out my apartment and host dinner parties. Now, my place is a storage facility of goodies. And I couldn't be happier about it.

Where we last left our hero, I was trying to turn this weekend madness into a full-fledged business. I have no doubt in my mind that this dream will come true. But growth takes time. I set a modest goal of essentially doubling my return on investment (ROI). Plus, I planned to add the cost of shipping supplies and a fancy new lighting kit to the total.

But before we break down the numbers and see if I reached my goal or not, let's review what kind of trouble I got myself into.

What sold in June:


My early deal of 30 wrestlers for $25 continues to pay off. Little by little. There is clearly a market for these toys, even used. Plus, I sold some of the accessories the seller threw in for free. Score!

But, of course, the big sales continue to stem from used, but not too used, electronics. I bought a TI-84 Plus graphic calculator last week for $3.50 and it sold almost immediately on Ebay for $47. (Next time I'll price it higher.) The Dymo Labelwriter was a win too - brand new with an open box, bought it for $10 right in my hometown, sold it for $70 the very next day.

Selling the Canon Powershot digital camera was a trip. It was one of the few used electronics I bought that I could test myself. But instead of listing it on Ebay, since so many cameras were already available there, I put it on Facebook with a lower price. I wanted to get rid of it fast and get that money. Turns out I priced it way too low, buying it for $5 and flipping it for $50. In 24 hours, I was bombarded with 50 Facebook messages. Plus, after nailing down one seemingly committed buyer, he never showed. I think it had something to do with the fact that I said I was currently at the Village Pourhouse, a bar in Hoboken. He wrote back "village poor house"? I explained it was a bar but he never responded after that. Luckily, I raised the price on my Facebook listing hours before to try and deter more messages from flowing in, and I found a willing buyer the day after for $60! Plus, he was a super sweet dad that drove from Queens into Manhattan to scoop up the camera for his teenage daughter to start photographing. Those are the best sales.



Luke Bryan tour t-shirt

It wouldn't be fun without some failures. And, of course, it has to do with shipping. I bought this Luke Bryan t-shirt at a thrift store a while back and it was one of the few I've managed to list on Ebay (T-shirts are hard for me to photograph honestly. The iPhone camera is not so good with colors in my apartment.) Bought it for $4 on the half-off Memorial Day thrift store sale, listed it for $12, and took an offer for $10, not realizing when it all broke down, with shipping and fees, I made exactly $0. Whoops!

Beyond the sales

There were some other notable achievements unlocked:

Buying the light kit was a great investment! It might fill up my apartment when I'm snapping pictures in my living room but it is a much better system than doing it on a smaller platform in my kitchen.


Last month brought me some negative feedback for the sale of a poorly described Dreamcast video game. No complaints came up this month and some buyers even took the time to shoot me some positive feedback. I'm currently sitting pretty at 87.5% on Ebay.

Made my first trip to the Hoboken Thrift Shop/St. Mary Advocates one day on my lunch break while working remotely. It's extremely tiny but there was a bit of potential. I stumbled on a Suze Orman Personal Protection suitcase kit. It was missing a few pieces, like the hardcover book, but at $3 there was money to be made for the sealed CDs and lots of booklets. Not a terrifying face at all!


Found a FB Marketplace listing to buy ten board games for a decent price, but I think I rightly passed after I realized the amount of work it would be to try hawking replacement pieces and parts. (There is a market for that stuff!)

Just when I threw it up on the shelf, expecting it to never sell, a woman from Philadelphia messaged me about my Harry Potter Wax & Seal kit on Facebook Marketplace. I bought it for $2 originally, only to realize there were tons of people selling them dirt-cheap on Ebay. But this woman must have missed that because she asked me to ship the kit to her in Philly and she paid for the shipping! It was very sweet too - she bought the kit for her daughter who loves anything Harry Potter.

Started my Amazon seller account and ended up scanning a few things at the local Dollar Tree as an experiment in retail arbitrage. In essence, some resellers buy clearance goods from retail stores and use Amazon as a fulfillment center. Amazon takes some fees but you send it off to their warehouse and they take care of shipping and supporting the customer. I will be doing much more of this in the future.

Enough of the soft stuff and life lessons, let's get down to brass tax. Did I make the goal?

By the numbers

I had a feeling this would happen. Comparing the past two months didn't make sense when I started to consider my late start in May and that months are different lengths. Plus, the purchasing total only spikes on the weekends because that's when garage sales happen. And I can make money selling at anytime.

Either way you slice it, I'm getting better and I think it will continue as I continue to amass interesting and higher-quality things to sell. Some just take time to flip for a profit.

In my first blog post, I calculated my spendings and earning over four weeks, but let's try recalibrating, going forward, based on the month itself:

In May I spent $160.14 and made $164.55

In June I spent $303.50 and made $367.93

Not bad! Plus I'm still sitting on a pile of treasures.

However, I did make some extra purchases to invest in the dream. I fronted $66.10 for a brand-new light kit and $23.29 for some extra shipping materials.

Long story short, I didn't make my goal. I ended a bit in the negative after all is said and done. It was a rather ambitious and short-sighted goal anyway. I wanted to double my return on investment (ROI), but I feel better about organizing my finances and goals by the month and I'll be shooting for something even better in July. I'm just happy to keep growing.

What does it mean?

I have a ways to go before I make this a living. I still haven't really nailed down a business plan beyond finding anything valuable enough at garage sales and thrift stores and flipping it.

There are two ways to grow this business that I can tell - sell faster or sell expensive. Time is money, so either I need to hold out and buy larger, more expensive things, like electronics, or I should buy way more profitable things across the board but list and ship them faster.

There are benefits and challenges to each avenue and I'm not confident enough to say I could pick one just yet. But there they are.

I have some plans

With business models floating around in my head, I have a few ideas to build off this past month's slight success (or failure, however you look at it, you negative nancy).

If I want to understand how to scale this into a full-time job with a full-time salary, I need to know where my time is going. I can only buy (or source, as they say) on the weekends now, but if my schedule was wide-open, how would I handle it? What could I do to make profit? I want to start logging the time it takes to source, photograph, list, buy and sell my inventory.

With that being said, it might take a bit of time, but I need to start selling some of these bigger items. I'm sitting on a Dymo Discpainter, a Casio keyboard, two Sirius sets, 2 VCR/DVD combos, 2 hiking backpacks, an Epson scanner and an Epson photo printer. There would be solid money to be made quick if I knew how to ship them properly. (We both know shipping is my nemesis right now.) But I will figure this out this month and watch the money pile up.

I have the advantage of going into the city five days per week. I kept those Title boxing gloves on Facebook Marketplace for weeks before swapping my location from Hoboken to Manhattan, and they sold within a few days. Sure I had to walk a few blocks and send a few messages, but it worked!

I need to learn how to sell through Amazon. There is huge potential in leveraging one of the largest companies in the world. Again, it mostly boils down to shipping - I have to learn how to walk through their process of shipping off to their warehouses. Once I do, it's off to the races.

Originally, I thought it would be a good idea to buy a thermal printer and some sticker labels to get my shipping done at home. But with a cost of $200 and the ability to print and ship through my current job's business center, it's not a purchase that'll move the needle too much right now. Instead, I bought a second-hand ink printer this weekend so I can purchase labels necessary to ship things to Amazon. Best part: the printer was $15, the labels are $2.

Bonus thought: I'm still new to this industry but I want to start branding this into a business. What do you think about calling myself The Flip Shark?

With that being said, we’re off on a new month. The challenge and the fun never end. And it’s already looking good.

Stay tuned for next month’s report! And if you want to follow along on my weekend finds, or make me an offer I can’t refuse, you can add me on Instagram at @danscharch

The Beginning

I don’t know why I didn’t figure it out sooner.

I’ve always found garage sales and thrift stores alluring. Enough so that people would need to pry me away. Years of rubbernecking around street corners and rifling through second-hand store racks was enough for me to consider working for 1-800-GOT-JUNK. I made some good money in junk removal a years on and off, in New Jersey and California. And I was pretty good at it! But those stories are for another time.

Right now, I’m running down a dream - I’m flipping. With the power of the Internet, I’m buying treasures at garage sales and thrift stores, and reselling them for profit. I want to find a way to make this my job.

If I’m being honest, Gary Vaynerchuk’s Trash Talk was the final straw. Watching the millionaire entrepreneur make deals for mugs and stuffed animals on YouTube made something click. It made the dream I had inside me for years start to feel real.

So, let’s make my story even more real. I’ll try to keep it as short and sweet as possible but there was a lot going on.

Where to start?

It’s been about a month since Ma and I jumped in the car and pinballed our way around Bergen County, New Jersey. I made a list of potential sales after browsing Craigslist on the weekdays. (Until I found the app Yard Sale Treasure Hunt which does the Craigslist searching for me.) We probably hit between 15-20 sales and then I dragged myself and my big-ass bag of wins back home to Hoboken, slowly curating a mountain in the corner of my kitchen.

The next week rolled around and Ma was down to venture out again. So we did.

And before you ask, because most people do, yes, there are costs involved in this journey. Gas isn’t free and bagels are necessary. But that’s not important right now. It takes money to make money, and at the end of the weekend, we’re doing this because it’s fun. That’s my advantage and that’s what keeps me going.

The numbers:

Let’s jump into the numbers, because we all know that’s the good stuff. And as Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured gets managed.” He was an economist so I’m guessing he knew his shit.

Starting on May 11th and for the past four weekends, I’ve probably hit a total of over 100 garage sales. (Not including a trip to the Unique thrift store for half-off Memorial Day sales.) It’s easy enough to zip around in suburban New Jersey.

I’ve purchased about 75-80 items. Some I bought to keep myself: a paper cutter, a t-shirt or two, and some Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers for nostalgic purposes.

I’ve spent a whooping grand total of $237.25 on those items. (Not including shipping supplies and the investment of a $20 digital scale from Amazon.)

I’ve sold 16 items on eBay and one on Facebook for a whooping gross profit of $352.97. Minus fees (PayPal, eBay, and shipping), the net profit becomes $212.63

Not a bad break for the first month’s run!

Plus, the bonus - I’m still sitting on a junk mountain of some very sellable inventory, including a Casio SK-5 keyboard and a Sirius ST3 kit.

Some highlights:

Biggest sale - Sony DVD Recorder. Purchased for $10 and sold on Ebay for $115. Minus fees and shipping - net profit: $80.70


Biggest flop - Either I print out shipping labels too often or I’m shipping dyslexic, but I addressed an envelope for a Dallas Cowboys’ jersey in reverse, so I shipped it to myself. I’ll consider that $5 shipping cost an idiot tax when I ship it out again (the right way).

Most anxiety-producing sale - House of the Dead 2 game for the Sega Dreamcast

I made the mistake of checking email before bed one night, anticipating sales, and found a message from a buyer. He said he received the Dreamcast game and it was full of scratches, despite my item description saying there were none. I decided to wait on replying right away, but I spent the night tossing and turning, wondering what to say to smooth things over and save my new, precious Ebay rating. And wonder if this was some kind of scam. I ended up asking for photos and it turned out the scratches were very tiny, but he gave me a bad rating anyway. Lesson learned: Be more specific when it comes to condition.

Most exciting buy - WWE wrestling action figures and Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger toys

It was a nostalgic find right in my hometown. A woman was selling off her kids’s toys and they are around the same age as me. My enthusiasm was contagious. She was so happy to see a stranger care for toys she painstakingly hunted down for her kids when they were young that she gave me a sweet deal. So much so I went back later in the day for more.

I bought two megazords for $10, honestly just for myself. She threw in a box of random accessories and pieces.

I bought four Power Ranger figures with flip-head action to go from human face to ranger mask. They were $4 for 5.

I made a deal for half of her wrestlers, 30 out of 60, for $25, and I asked her to throw in some accessories there too (tiny chairs and tables to drop the wrestlers through).


I haven’t listed everything from that sale yet but I’ve already sold one wrestler for a net profit of $4.54 (after posting only six), and all the flip-heads for a net profit of $31.22, as well as some inch-tall miniatures and a megazord helmet I found in the box of accessories for a net profit of $14.34. That’s $50 altogether on a $39 haul, and there is still more to list!

Things I’ve learned:

Essentially starting from scratch, there has been plenty to learn:

I barely knew Ebay as a platform when I started. But after listing a few items, it was cake. I learned how to list quick (copying previous listings) and systematize shipping (weighing between first class and priority mail). When I list items, almost everything is set to Buy It Now. Auctions are too much of a gamble for this game.

The more I listed, the more it was clear that it takes money to make money. If I make smart buys, and list consistently, I’ll make money.

Of course, there is always the question of time and energy but I honestly love this process so much I’d do it for free. Every entrepreneur says that’s the dream and I’ve found mine.

Most people want to sell their shit. Make it easy. Buy in bulk and ask for a real cheap price. Ask for a better price always. It doesn’t hurt if they say no. I promise. I tried to haggle with a woman over a dollar Backstreet Boys branded coffee mug I wanted for 50 cents and she sent me packin’. Oh well.

When I’m not sailing, which is most days, I’m watching other resellers. There are tons of people capturing their garage sale and thrift store wins that I’ve been able to better learn high-quality, high-selling brands and how to spot winning items. Who would have thought vintage keyboards or sealed VHS tapes could make money? Not me!

I’ve learned that I need to get shipping materials yesterday, and in bulk. I’ve spent too much time at my full-time job trying to hunt down a cheap and good enough envelope to send a power ranger to Seattle.

I’ve never even tried using Instagram Stories before this adventure but I started giving it a shot! (Want to follow the flippin’ fun? I share a new story every weekend on my Instagram.)

Still need to learn

There is still plenty to figure out.

Considering Instagram Stories, I’m still mastering the tools. Luckily, lots of friends have commented that they enjoy them so I’ll gladly keep doing it.

I’m still sitting on some toys that I don’t know the best way to sell. How does one properly bundle old-school Happy Meal McDino transformers for maximum profit?


My apartment is only slightly organized and I’m still trying to work on the process of processing. The hardest and arguably least fun part is taking photos. I need more light in my apartment. I’ve been relying on the bit of daylight I can capture after coming home from work and my horrible overhead kitchen light. The shadows are so bad I’m surprised people buy sometimes.

But the big question remains: how to scale this operation. Buying garage sale items is not going to make me rich but it can be done better. Should I hunt down a flea market to join or a pop-up shop booth? Should I focus on a niche, like vintage toys or men’s t-shirts? What’s the deal with selling on Amazon?

Right now, I’m open to all avenues and enjoying the process. The only thing I want to do is better. What does that mean?


With this new month comes new challenges. I didn’t set any public or strict goals for the first month and I want to change that.

A reasonable but challenging goal would be to double my investment. And to add some extra difficult sprinkles on top, I’m going to include in that total my purchase of shipping materials and some lighting into that investment total.

Let the games begin!