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…