When you are on a journey to pay off debt you should be doing everything you can to reduce your expenses and increase your income.
When I first started on my debt freedom journey, I mainly focused on ways to cut expenses, but I realized that reducing expenses is only half of the equation. It’s essential to produce extra income outside your full-time job if you want to make significant progress on your debt freedom goals. Even if you are debt-free, generating additional income outside your full-time job can be a great way to get you closer to your overall money goals.
One way I got started producing extra income outside of my job was flipping items online. Flipping is merely acquiring an item for less than you sell it. In other words buying low and selling high.
This year I was more motivated to flip items online as a side hustle because
1. Getting started is easy
2. I have money put away in a separate bank account* to use for flipping
3. It’s an excellent way to meet the minimum spend requirements for travel credit cards
4. The GaryVee’s 2017 flip challenge motivated me.
How do I Start Flipping?
First, start by finding a niche product and spending a reasonable amount of time researching everything about it.
You should be able to answer the following questions:
- How much it costs or what is the average cost
- Which vendors are selling it (is the market saturated with sellers?)
- How “in demand” it is / What is the need / How does it rank in its niche
- How much it costs to ship
- Cost you are willing to pay to buy, and what is the profit margin you must meet to sell
- What platform are you going to use to sell (it doesn’t have to be one)
If you haven’t flipped items online before you should start with products that you know the best. When you are looking up items to buy and sell it will be more enjoyable to pick products you are interested in too.
- Find niche products – research how much specific products are selling and how much you are willing to buy
- Find products that are small and lightweight for cheaper shipping – Goal is for the item to weigh under 2lb if you are selling online
- Spend the time to understand the current market for your niche (know the best time of the year to buy/sell)
- Beat your competitor’s price or provide more value to your sale (give additional add-ons or offer free shipping for example)
- Test and Scale – test different niches, move on if it’s not working. Find ways to scale up your flipping.
I buy specific shoes and clothes from retail stores. If you buy from retail outlets, it is essential only to buy when there are significant discounts offered. I have had success recently shopping at the Nike/Adidas/Reebok Outlet stores, Burlington Coat Factory, and Ross/Marshalls.
Look for deals like 50% off or buy 1 get 2nd item for $10 to maximize the resell value. Also, find ways to combine coupons in addition to the specific deal the store is offering. A lot of times Outlet Malls have coupon books you can add in addition to your discounts in the store.
Facebook Marketplace is one of my new favorite places to find deals online. The interface of the app is excellent, and there is a little more trust involved in the process because you can see the seller’s personal Facebook profile.
I have found great deals on furniture, books, and video games on Facebook Marketplace.
Craigslist is still a great place to find deals online. I like using craigslist because of the ability to set price alerts for the items you are watching. Craigslist is great when you know your niche and know exactly the price you are willing to buy.
I have had success using price alerts for calculators from “Texas Instruments” and other college textbooks/supplies at the beginning and end of college semesters.
Ebay is my go to selling platform when I am selling items that are lightweight and cheap to ship. With eBay your selling market is enormous, and you have a higher potential to make sales.
For items that are in demand (like “Texas Instrument” calculators), I do a 7-day auction and set the beginning price at $1. I have had great success with this strategy.
For items like clothing or shoes, I do “Buy it now” and give the option for the buyer to make an offer.
Facebook Marketplace, Offer Up, 5miles, Craigslist
I list all my “non-eBay auction” items on Facebook Marketplace, Offer Up (app), 5miles (app) and Craigslist.
It takes about 3-5 minutes to list an item on each platform/app, but it can be worth it to reach the most amount of potential buyers. The benefit of using these platforms to sell is that you don’t need to worry about shipping or additional fees.
I have a sellers account on Amazon, but I don’t use it that often because of the high seller fees. However, If you are flipping a lot of items in bulk you should consider using the Amazon FBA program.
Resources to Learn More
Below are my favorite resources for flipping:
The best part of flipping is that anyone can do it. It takes a little bit of research up front but can become a very lucrative side hustle once you know what you’re doing. I recommend getting started small and build up over time after you have made more sales. Also, be sure to seek out friends to try it with you and work together to find great deals.
Question for you!
What items have you had success flipping?
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