Thrift store flipping – how to make a side income from frugal shopping

HOW DOES THIS MAKERESILIENT?

Reselling helps you learn about business at a very low cost. This helps you become more resilient because it shows you new ways to earn income other than working a job.


My wife is making some side income from one of her favorite past times – shopping. I am all for this revamped past time as it is profitable and it empowers her. Several reasons for this:

  • She can shop at whatever schedule works for her.
  • The location can adjust to her and it can keep her preoccupied when we are traveling-or when my plans for the day are not interesting for her.
  • Her expenses are pretty low, as she is purchasing at insanely low prices.
  • The resell is almost always above the purchase price so in theory these are profitable
  • We purchase things we may also use and can sell afterwards

How does it work? Let me explain.

Like a lot of people, my wife likes to shop. This can be an issue when money is tight-and earlier versions of this habit was a problem. However, currently my wife has been shopping with a different mindset altogether. She has learned to find valuable items at ridiculous prices with the intent of using them and then selling them back to others thru different sites.

First step is to find a source with good selection and good prices. A good example is our favorite thrift store. With enough regular visits and by asking the staff, you will learn when they get large new inventory and how long it takes to put them out to the shelves. There are times we go there and the there’s nothing of value, and there are times when we can find a whole bunch of stuff. Keep track of the bad days and the good days. It’s also a good idea to check things out when seasons change and holidays have just ended. Think of times when you might be in the mood to purge your home/garage of old stuff. Now reverse engineer the dates when it might be good to check the local Goodwill store.

Other location options are:

  • estate sales
  • flea markets
  • discount stores
  • regular stores on discount days or seasonal sales

The location of the store will also affect your findings. Some neighborhoods have thrifty people. Some have wasteful consumers who go thru their stuff much faster-so you get things in better condition. Drive around new areas, check the houses and cars in the driveways. Check the kind of stores in the area. Then find the local thrift store and see what kind of stuff they get on different days.

Next step is finding your preferred schedule. This will require some finagling. The initial research will need you to be out there as much as possible. For my wife, since she stays home, she can go out as often as she wants and she can cherry pick the days when great inventory comes in. This is a huge advantage. That, plus she can come in on days when they have great discounts and other customers have not yet picked up on it.

You will also need to figure out your own schedule on when to post things (best done as a bulk task) and when you want to pack and ship things. Here she can really do this at the time that best works for her.

Look at items that can be resold. This is a balance between what we want and the value the item will have for other people to whom we will sell it to afterwards. Look thru the overall wear and tear of the product. Is it dated or are people still interested in this type of stuff? Are all the parts there? A lot of times we will buy a toy for my son and parts of it will be missing. Posting these for resale, you have to be very clear of what is included in them. Toys are a good item to purchase as your kids will have fun with it and later on, as long as they have not painted it or dismantled it, you can sell them to other parents who are looking. We once got a large Nerf gun with missing parts. We had it around for about a year, then we sold it when we noticed my son was not using it anymore. We earned about $10 maybe if I recall it right.

As you look around, check how much the item sells for if new and if used. Check online if the item is popular. Check Ebay for typical prices and how many are “watching” the item.

Check items and see if they are in demand and at what price

Let’s say you found some good stuff, bought them and used them, now you are ready to get rid of it. Where do you sell these?

Read more “Thrift store flipping – how to make a side income from frugal shopping”

Finding a website name and getting a site up under $50

I have been going back and forth on what to name the blog, as I get closer to doing an actual website. Just some quick notes on researching key words, setting up the site and trying to make it easy to find on searches. I plan to run the site under a $50 a year budget.

 

I have been going back and forth on what to name the blog, as I get closer to doing an actual website. Just some quick notes on researching key words, setting up the site and trying to make it easy to find on searches. I plan to run the site under a $50 a year budget.

Godaddy domain name = $35 for 2 years
hosting = approx $10 per year

resources:
www.godaddy.com
www.bubweb.com

Learning to validate a business for newbie entrepreneur

Brain dump of things learned today

Listened to Noah Kagan (Appsumo) as he coaches his students on the Monthly1k course how to validate their business. I have spent a lot of time making a product and not knowing earlier if the business was valid or not. With his videos I am understanding how to validate first, before spending much time on a product.

Here is a link to one of their sessions:

Also, kind of explain why I keep blabbering about how I am starting a business, when the blog is supposed to be all about having a resilient family. Basically, because the future needs us to be all entrepreneurs. I need to get out of a 9 to 5 job so I can work on the things that really matter.

Cold call results = 2+1 restaurants to test

So this week I have been trying to get back on the urban farm, trying to get it back up and going. (A couple of months ago I lost my last restaurant account and so it has been totally nonprofitable). I think I listed about 15 or so restaurants and just kept calling in the last few weeks. Luckily I got 2 of them to pick up and express interest. I am scheduled to bring them samples next week. I am going to work on those this weekend-actually Friday night. I need to get seeds into the soil. Also, I got a separate email from a previous chef who also used my microgreens. She told me she wanted to get some samples for this new restaurant where she is working at-awesome! That is a potential 3 restaurants in the next 2 weeks. Hopefully one or two of them push thru and sign up for weekly orders.
Cold calling:
A quick thing on how this process works for me. Basically I run a search online for restaurants and check their price range and sometimes their menus. I have been using Yelp, because the reviews there are helpful and the pricing is already shown in one app. It also shows a map of the restaurants so I can sort the calls via area and hit that area in one shot.
So I get a list of restos and then plug them in to Evernote. This lets me run out during office breaks to make my quick calls and not need any notebook/paper or pen to make notes. I do not have a lot of time to fuss, so I have to be efficient. I have all my real time updates on my phone right after I am done with the call. Here is a sample of the list with my notes on it:
resto-calls
So from the screenshot above, I had my original contact info. Sometimes menu notes. Then I do my calls during office breaks. Right afterwards, the notes I add are highlighted. I can schedule follow up calls on my calendar and keep track of progress. It is very light on my workload done this way, but I do need to transfer notes to a more permanent location when I have enough. Usually this is a spreadsheet on my Google drive.
Anyway, so tonight I will be planting my crops and soaking my seeds.
Also, this weekend I will be changing the oil in our jeep. I know it’s a tiny thing, but I am building knowledge on how to fix/maintain my own vehicle. One of the first things I learned was oil change.
Will also be redoing our living room coffee table. We have been scheming on what to do with this old piece of furniture that my wife got at the local thrift store. We thought we would change the glass top of it to planks of wood and try something different with it. It’s pretty cool, these types of projects have gotten my wife working with tools. She has learned a bunch of new things on her own. I try to just be there to consult and let her find her own initiative.
Update: Saturday 7am
I got up early and planted the microgreen samples. I wasted some time cleaning up the work table I have to do this in. The last few weeks of inactivity for the farm resulted in us dumping crap from other projects onto my farm work table. A ton of stuff there was from the scavenge trip we did at that end of the garage sale. I did a tray of each crop I have. I am done planting now & will be working on the blog for a bit.
micros-in-tray

A branding question

Today, a branding question, a business question. If you are also interested in building your own business, this may be a useful question to ask yourself.

As part of my path to building a resilient future for me and my family, I have been scheming to build a business. This blog is my latest project in fact. Having my own businesses will let me spend more time with my family, and will let me be more adaptable to the changes I am anticipating in the years ahead-with society and with the economy.

Tonight I was doing research on what to name the site, how to brand what I am building. I know it has a name for wordpress and youtube. If I had to change it, I could. It is really early and if it helps me in any way I can afford the change now. I had planned on running an ad and see which received more hits. I read about this from Tim Ferris’ 4 hour Work Week. He used Google ads to test hits on 3 or so other names for the book. (I read the other options, he picked the right one). Tonight I was reviewing what useful keywords should I have for the book. It was a very short list.

Apparently not a lot of people search for resilient + dad. Pretty much there was not a lot of hits for resilient at all-at least not in the context I was expecting. Most of it was related to recovery and therapy. Further down the 1.9Million hits, there were also results for how to raise resilient kids. It also linked to Peak Prosperity’s page but the forum was not very active. Another indication perhaps that the keywords were not great for the context we both thought of. At least at some point there was a connection. It just seemed there was not a strong enough word association to it.

After some time I realized I was going around in circles. What I found was pretty much definitive. Resilient, as of today, is not very highly associated to self reliant, being adaptable and…resilient living. I just could not think of any better word-sorry for the circular reasoning bit.

The question I had then was this:

Being that I know that my goals and context are best defined as resilience and considering that the rest of the internet world does not think of it that way, do I stick to it? Or do I change my words so that they better associate to what the current society is looking at right now?

Do you change the core value that is part of the name, so that you can reach the market-and then maybe return them back to the core value you started with? Or do you assume that at some point, people will realize that your definition of the word, and the context you offer, actually is what they were looking for. And then find that market thru other actions and words instead of just the original keywords:resilient?

Slow day at the farmers market

Today is turning out to be a bad day at the farmers market. I’ve been here for about 3hrs now. So far I have made $12.

In my head I am asking myself is this just one of those days when everyone is browsing and not really here to buy? I observed other vendors, I think they get 3x more inquiries and not sure how much of those are sales.

I need to sanity check that. Hold on a sec.

Okay I guess it is just me sucking. Other folks are doing fine,particularly the refreshments. Produce and meats are kinda okay but not as busy as the drinks. It is hot here in Dallas right now. Maybe I can add some kind of drink to my store tomorrow-those would sell 🙂

I know I need to learn marketing. Kinda why I am still blogging my process thru this. But, right this moment, what can I do to sell these dang microgreens?

Okaaay the vendor beside me just closed and it is only 12:40pm. I guess it is just a bad day after all-mine just happens to be a bit worse than others.

(update, after a few more minutes another vendor closed up and left)

Anyway, I am trying to deal with this lack of interest from customers. I am trying to see if I can improve my chances by interacting differently with the browsers. Let’s see how they will react with me being more out there, more approachable demeanor and a bit more engaged.

So how about that. I just got 3 new inquiries in the last 10mins. What changed? All I did so far was stand up and make myself look more engaged. None of these folks buy microgreens regularly so if they get at least curious I can start a discussion.

-update: most of the post above was written on my notepad while I was there at the market in real time. Since that Saturday market, I closed up at about 3pm. I was there for almost the entire day, I made less than $20. Really bad day for me, I think that is my worst day (so far). By the time I got home I had a mild heat stroke and I had to hydrate all weekend, take some migraine meds and take naps. It also took me away from working on other projects-which is the biggest loss for the day.

On the other hand, somewhere in there I know I am supposed to learn something that leads to a more resilient life. Maybe it is just persisting. Maybe I just need to get kicked in the rear and pursue restaurant clients. Maybe I just need to focus and fix this side hustle of a business I am doing (the urban farm). Or maybe it leads me to understand sales better. Currently I still do not know, but I am reacting on the results of that weekend

I did get a teachable moment between me and my son. He came by with mommy around 2pm. I explained I had no sales, and we looked at dropping my prices. On that opportunity I explained to him how the market and prices work. If there is demand, the prices can be high. If there is zero demand, the prices can be set lower and daddy should go home.

He made me a sign, for $3 an ounce of my microgreens. That is 25% lower than my standard price. I opted to spend the remaining part of the day with my family.IMG_6095[1]