One Dollar as an online reseller, makes more than 100 years interest in the bank.

One Dollar as an online reseller, makes more than 100 years interest in the bank.

My original philosophy from the first item I sold for online hasn't changed in over 14 years. 

I was going to my bank each week to pull out money to pay my bills after a job layoff, and my bank account was growing smaller each week.

I would stare at the insanity of the banks highest interest rate on my money being .001%, Not even a penny!
I thought to myself, there must be a better way!

A few years earlier I had began dabbling with selling on eBay. It was the only website I knew that had an open marketplace with a lot of shopping traffic. I had previously purchased a few things on eBay that I couldn't afford to buy in the store, but it still felt intimidating, even the idea of selling on eBay felt intimidating.

At that time, I had been working for a higher education entity. One particular day right before summer break, I had left my office on my way to my car and I walked past a trash pile in the hallway

There in the pile were probably around twenty to thirty used and new textbooks waiting to be taken to the dumpster.  I thought, I wonder if those would sell? So I made multiple trips back and forth to my car to take them home.  After all, it wasn't costing me anything but my time at that moment, and if they ended up having no value, I could dump them in the dumpster outside my house.

At first eBay intimidated me, selling online intimidated me, and to be honest, anyone thinking about selling online as a reseller who isn't at least intimidated in the beginning or even afterward is probably a pretty lousy reseller.  Customer Service and expectations should always leave you a little on edge to make sure you know what you are doing, and help keep you updating your knowledge and skills along the way.
We call this, Research, Research, Research; and its a model I live by.

I was brand new to the idea of reselling, again both eBay with all of its complex policies, legal mumbo-jumbo and the idea of messing things up and losing money kept me focused, and I hadn't done any research yet.

So I started out on Half Com, a former website eBay later bought and ruined in its hey-day.   Half com had the potential of becoming the original or at least second ranking marketplace for books, CD's, Movies, Music, similar to Amazon.   Amazon was still mostly unknown and selling the same kinds of products at that time.

So I started out on Half com, a less intimidating, less policy ridden marketplace.  It had better commission fees at the time compared to eBay, and it was fairly well known.

Half com's major issues from its infancy, up and through the time eBay purchased it and ruined it, was that it's only customer support was via email.  Response times were often slow, answers to questions often vague and requiring multiple follow ups.  It had no PayPal access, everyone paid with check, cash or credit (eBay added PayPal for purchases later, but only as a payment option) and seller earnings were directly deposited to your bank account.

But, in the beginning, it was a happening, laid back, simple policy marketplace.  It didn't require the knowledge or experiences that eBay demands to be successful.  Shipping was a better experience also, because customers paid a set amount for say a book, and 80% of the shipping paid buy the shopper was reimbursed to the seller.  That was a great deal for the seller, assuming it was a book that could be shipped first class mail! Not so great if your book shipped US Priority since the cost would sometimes not cover the book selling value and shipping reimbursement.

So I started off on Half com, selling university text books from the trash, and you know what?  I made bank!  I sold each of those text books that this university had discontinued for over $30.00 each.  I had about ten Pumping Apparatus Driver/Operator Handbook's books that sold for $50.00 to $60 each, all brand new and sealed. Nothing wrong with those Pumping Apparatus Text Books other than the university fire academy updated to the newest version.

The success of selling those books in the beginning, gave me confidence to do my Research, Research, Research and try out eBay to sell the remainder of the books.  Profit on eBay wasn't as high as on Half com, but eBay's recent purchase and changes to Half com had already began causing more problems than had existed previously on Half.  It became difficult to keep an item posted for sale, because eBay allowed larger book selling entities to report their competitors which resulted in an automated delisting of the product for sale and related frustrations. eBay had purchased Half com while I was about fifty percent sold out of the books, so it seemed timely.

About a year had passed, I was still working at the same educational institute, when I met a man in our accounting department who was the university merchandiser.  We began talking about eBay and it turned out, he and several others on campus were already selling on eBay.  One day, about six months before my layoff, he and I went to a local thrift store that he had wanted to visit, after work.

It was there, that I purchased my first products to attempt to resell. I was hooked.  In fact, I still have one item I purchased that day many years ago that I'll probably hang on to.  It is a self contained fully automated R2D2 robot. 

This fellow reseller and I only hung out only once because of changes in my employment, but he had taught me a lot about products that he was selling and making a decent profit from.  His reselling niche was entirely different than my niche at the time, so it worked out nice. Neither of us headed to the same sections of the thrift store, and neither of us were in competition to get to the best deals first.  If you ever meet a fellow reseller who is not in competition with you, it's a golden opportunity worth creating.  You can learn so much from each other, and even consult each other if you are considering buying something outside of your niche.

He sold wetsuits, sports and team jerseys and sealed vintage plastic models.  Why? Because those were the things he knew about. He had a level of expertise in those areas because they were an extension of his hobbies and personal interest.

In fact, my niche as an online reseller began the same way. I sold what I knew about.  Computers, Video games, College Textbooks, other things.  Why? Because I had developed a level of knowledge and expertise in those areas out of my own interests and hobbies.   I could walk into a thrift store or anywhere and instantly know somethings retail and used resale value.  When I spotted anything that would double my money or better, i'd usually grab it or at least consider it.

As you mature as a reseller, you eventually realize that your niche is ultimately going to limit your growth.  Previously owned products and arbitrage products fluctuate seasonally in their value.  You need to expand out of your niche to sell different products when your niche products are slow.  That can be both exciting and intimidating.  It takes research and lots of self education to learn what to look for, what will sell, how much is it worth, and ultimately you have to memorize the prices and resale values.   We call this BOLO! While they are not so popular on YouTube anymore, Bolo videos are a great place to start learning what kinds of products to look for to resell outside of your niche.  Resellers on YouTube often share their secrets, despite the possibility that it makes more marketplace competition for their own sales.

I'd compare learning a new product to look for, to learning a new language.  I've studied Spanish, Chinese and Japanese, and getting your brain to associate new information with something you are not already familiar with can be quite challenging.  I felt the same way when I intentionally began to explore, learn about and memorize products that i'd never owned and had no real interest in. 

It requires, associating facts and monetary figures with a mental imagery of the product.  You often do not have a whole lot of time to waste when you are sourcing products. You need to be able to quickly see a product and instantly recall that information you memorized, and you keep repeating the process over and over again, even if you never buy them, just so it eventually sticks in your mind.

That brings me back to how this story began. Standing in line at my bank one day staring at the .001% monthly interest rates.

For years I had been putting my money in a bank, letting it sit there.  The years of the 8% and 10% interest rates were long gone, but my money still sat in my bank accounts earning only .001%.

It dawned on me one day while shopping at a thrift store, while purchasing a product to resell for $1 US Dollar.  I was going to make a very nice profit from the single dollar bill. Perhaps $15 to $20 US Dollars in pure profit.

Then I awoke!  I could make more money as a reseller with $1.00 than I could leaving that same dollar for the next one-hundred years at .001% in the bank.

I didn't immediately take out all my money and go crazy buying everything I found to resell.  But I did slowly begin to change my mentality about the value of a dollar and started researching the concept of investing as opposed to skimming off a lousy half of a penny from the banks who were making 9% and 10% off of my sitting money.

After a year of doing Research, Research, Research, I began looking for products to resell.  My mentality changed from being a consumer and 100% bank saver, to investing small amounts of money on products to resell.  I was smart about it too.  I'd check the "solds" section on eBay and current value on Amazon before I'd buy anything.  I wanted to know that I wasn't going to end up with a bunch of slow selling products that would tie up that money for a few months or a few years.

It's an amazing thing going from the mentality I learned going through the government education system that other than teaching the basic skills, does little more than encourage you to become an employee of someone else.

I have nothing at all against being an employee. I've been an employee of someone else many times! I often make considerable amount of money working for someone else as opposed to reselling. 

Unlike when I began selling online, US States are cracking down on online sellers when they find them.  My state of California is pretty strict about having a sellers permit and city business license.  They hit you with a ton of "back penalty fees", if they discover you have been selling without a license, even though you are just selling stuff out of your apartment or house. California is one of the worst states to start a small business. 

You may have read about all of its little tech companies starting in California, but if you do your research you discover several things.  1.) Those tech companies usually fail. 2.) They get million dollar investments, something most of us are not going to be doing. 3.) There goal more often than not, is to come up with an idea, get it going and then sell it.  Statistically few want to run that business or own it the rest of their lives, they just want to make bank on flipping it so someone else takes care of it.

It's the thought that counts, and the thought is this.  Work as a fulltime employee, let someone else deal with all your government taxes, health care costs, and hopefully providing a livable wage that lets you function and have a place to sleep at night.  That's a great thing.  Also develop an investment mentality of, I can take this $1.00 I earned from my employer and with a little effort, double my money.  Then it becomes a mind set, "It may only be one dollar, but it is a dollar more than I had yesterday.   You also want the mentality that you are "borrowing" that initial $1.00 or however much it may be from yourself, and when you double your money, you return that money to your savings account.