I remember the exact moment that my entrepreneurial journey began. The year was 2009 and I had just moved from Winnipeg to Edmonton. My wife and I were in a strange city together, and just getting our feet on the ground. At the time, we found ourselves counting every penny. Money was tight and times were tough. She was in school while working and I was working at my full-time job.
I always found a way to take my mind off our situation and it usually came in the form of video games. To this day, remembering this makes me laugh. Because my wife was in school, she often worked on the weekends. At the beginning of each Saturday, as I lay on the couch playing video games, she would write down a list of things that I needed to do. For any of the men out there, you know what the ‘list’ is.
Much to her frustration, when she returned at night, I would still be on the couch, barely moved, still playing video games.
I could tell she wasn’t too pleased, but I wasn’t about to tackle her list alone. Instead, I took it upon myself to help us out and try to make some extra money.
Now, if you are thinking I took up an extra job, you would be wrong. Working two jobs wasn’t in my blood. If I was going to do something, it had to be on my terms and in line with my style.
At this time, I had just started using eBay more and more. I was by no means proficient at it, but I had a fairly good grasp of how it worked. If you don’t’ understand how it works, allow me to give you a crash course in it from a buyer’s and seller’s perspective.
- Type in www.eBay.com or some variation of it, depending on where you live.
- Look up the item you are looking for
- Bid or Buy It Now
- Pay for your item
- Wait impatiently for it to arrive
- List your item
- Wait for someone to Bid or Buy It Now
- Wait far too long for them to pay
- Ship their item
- Enjoy your cash
During this time period, I decided that I would begin my entrepreneurial journey and become a seller on eBay. I had done the buying thing and at this point, I was tired of spending. Well, actually I wasn’t, but my wife cut me off.
It wasn’t a matter of if I could sell on eBay, but what I could sell on eBay.
I remember walking into a Value Village with my wife around Halloween to look for some pieces to my costume. If you don’t know what Value Village is, it is a store designed to sell secondhand clothing. Even better, it is a clothing store designed to make millions at Halloween. As she shopped for her items (because I was already done) I wandered over to the kid’s toy section. I love this section of stores. It takes me down memory lane. While there, I couldn’t help but notice that there were some stuffed animals selling for next to nothing.
I proceeded to grab as many as I could and walked over to my wife. The look I got was the exact same look I got when I was still sitting on the couch playing video games each Saturday. I explained to her that I was going to make us some extra money by selling these on eBay. I can’t put into words what happened next, but to this day, it still makes me laugh.
My entrepreneurial journey had begun and the stuffed animals came home with us.
I immediately put them in the washing machine and got to work on listing them. I carefully looked up each animal and figured out what it could possibly sell for. Once they came out of the dryer, I prepped them for their big debut, took some pictures, put them online and eagerly waited for my money to roll in.
Like fishing, the wait seemed excruciating. It took a few days for my first bite, but when it finally happened, I was elated. The listing ended and I had made my first sale.
Joel, how much did you make?
Well, I don’t want to brag but I bought the animal for $1.00 and sold it for $20.00. This may not sound like too much to you but remember this, I was a young guy who hadn’t quite found his way in the world. My entrepreneurial journey was just beginning and this sale laid the groundwork to my understanding that the right person will pay anything for the right object.
Over the years, I have tinkered around with online selling, making a little bit of money here and there.
Most recently, my brother had brought over some knock-off Lego that he had purchased. Within seconds of seeing them, I wondered what they were selling for on eBay. My inner entrepreneur came out and wondered if there was money to be made. I looked them up on eBay and found out that there were people paying $10-$15 dollars for these tiny pieces. I asked him what he had paid for them and his response was about $1.00 each.
The very next weekend, I went to the place where he bought them and bought everything they had. From there I went home and began listing them. My wife asked me what I was doing and when I explained it to her, she smiled, laughed and rolled her eyes. She understands that for me it isn’t about the money, but rather that enjoyment I get out of doing it.
Through my obsessions, I am able to relive portions of my childhood each day.
Cheers to your success,