When the internet arrived opportunities began with companies like eBay. eBay was one of the first great ways to make money online. In the year 2000 I started selling video email and live streaming services. It was then that I sold over $80,000 worth of services in 4 years. That was pretty amazing at the time. Now streaming is free and what is video email? huh.
I took my turn at eBay and did pretty good for a few years prior to the year 2000. But I never got very aggressive about it, but it worked. I remember one item in particular I sold was a piece of stain glass window to someone in China for $600 plus shipping. Wow that was strange sale. Then Amazon came to my attention in 2015. My wife was selling off used home school books when I started digging into how it all worked. I will spare you the details in this post, but the summary is I failed for the first 6 months and finally started to figure it out and made around $1,500 by the end of my first year. Now remember Amazon has fees, so when people say I sold so much on Amazon that is not what they actually made. The average commission they keep is 15% and depending on how much you have invested you can figure for every $1000 someone says they made or sold on amazon they actually made approx $150,00 plus whatever their investment was, In my first year I sold used books that I got for free or very cheap. Amazon started by the owner selling used books online out of his garage and today books are still a foundation item sold on Amazon.
In 2016 I sold $26,500 worth of used books. Then in 2017 I sold over $66,000 and started selling different things I would find at yard sales , garage sales and auctions. Well the figures just keep scaling up if you keep feeding the machine. It's become a fun business, but unless I outsource parts of it in 2020 I think I've probably reached my peak as a one man operation. The irony is I actually spend less time managing and running it now then I did the first two years. I think I spend maybe 20 hours a month to run what has become a very well working silent sales machine.
I do find myself collecting a lot of junk along the way. I love auctions and go almost weekly. It is sheer entertainment for me no doubt. My biggest win at the auction was some guys toy collection in the spring of 2019. I paid $2000.00 over 3 weeks of returning to the auction for new toys that were collectibles. I made back my $2000 investment by July and then another $4000 or more leading up to Christmas. Wow I have fun with my side gig business and no more driving the school bus or throwing newspapers at doors. It has become a blessing to help pay off debts and keep my kids in a Christian College.
In the last 3 years I have coached 7 people on how to sell on Amazon and only one of them dropped off after 7 months and said that it was not for them. What I have liked the most about selling online is I never had to invest anything to make it work other then my time. Most businesses take a hefty investment. With Amazon you can either pay nothing to sell from your home or pay $39.99 a month to have the opportunity to send your things into their warehouse so they ship it to the customer. This is what truly inspired me to start selling with Amazon. The program actually started in 2006 and when I started it was only a 10 year old program. So this past year in 2019 I have sold on Amazon 13,801 separate orders to customers. There is no way I could have personally shipped that many items, but with Amazon shipped them for me it is well worth 39.99 a month. Typically I send in a few boxes of multiple items once a month or I call UPS to pick up at my house 25-40 boxes of items and then I am done shipping.
Things I can't sell on Amazon that I often get from the auctions are numerous now. But I also do not want to throw them away or donate everything I can't sell. I will admit I have donated way more to charity then I ever expected because of auctions. Simple estate auctions are a fun mystery I thoroughly enjoy. In 2019 I finally hired a CPA and a virtual assistant to help me figure the details out because things are growing faster then the time I want to give to it. I love being a pastor so I don't want to give more than 20 hours a month. I have read dozens of books, articles and watched tons of videos on how to sell better and smarter. I truly see this as being a life long hobby of selling online into retirement. When it's fun its not work!
I've been told its harder to start an Amazon business today then it was 5 years ago. I believe that is somewhat true because they do verify who is selling more then ever to make sure you are not trying to set up a fraudulent account. But once you are approved and you follow their rules its a beautiful thing. Recently my adult daughters told me about two other sites they sell used and new clothes on for extra cash. One is Poshmark ( I have still yet to figure that one out well) and the other is Mercari. Poshmark keeps 20% and Mercari keeps 10% of sales. I started using Mercari over 1 month ago to sell stuff off I could not send into Amazon and didn't really want to donate away to thrift stores. In this short time I have made over 500.00 in selling off stuff I could not sell on Amazon.
If you want to get a sense of selling online I would recommend Mercari over Amazon to start off with. It is super easy and cost you nothing until you sell something and then it is only 10% of your sale in commission. It works best from their phone app over their website and you can literally work your way into enjoying online sales or not pretty fast. Mercari is also heavily advertising on TV and other places and I believe will be the next eBay within a few years.
If you need any help out there I am glad to chat with you...