Monday, December 30, 2019

How to Make Extra Money in 2020 with Amazon, Mercari or Poshmark with cash Investment

Do remember  life before the internet?  Wow, I am getting old.  I have always been an entrepreneur at heart and my wife can verify that. I have done all kinds of crazy side gigs to support our large family while pastoring over the past 30 years. When baby number one came along in 1991 my wife  wanted to stay home and that meant this full time youth pastor  had to moonlight another job to make ends meet. I started off with a newspaper route. What's a newspaper you might ask? Do they even do that anymore?  After trashing my car with thousands of extra miles I started driving a school bus  for extra cash and that was far more interesting. Then after a season of that for a few years I moved to selling  stuff through network marketing companies including one called Excel that sold long distance services to landline home phones. What you might ask, "did people really sell long distance services"? Yep, and I would sell it to you.  Then I went back to the school bus driving job when the company folded. I also  drove a dump truck for an asphalt company part time for a season, then I hung my hat up on driving jobs after a short season of being a charter bus driver.

             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... 

Friday, November 8, 2019

What Does God Have Planned For You?

      In this life we have choices and we always will. Our God did not create us as puppets with strings attached, but rather with a free will to choose every day.  The first significant choice we have is will we trust God with our sins. Let’s admit it, we all sin and the Bible confirms this when the Apostle Paul wrote”for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23.  Do we agree with God’s Word that we have sinned against God?  
When I was growing up as a young man in Maine my parents would take me to Catechism but they didn’t live it out like it was real to them so it was not real to me either. By the time I was 11 they just stopped going to Mass. I remember my sins well and how real to me they became. How I dealt with my sins was to ignore them and not listen to my conscience.  I lied to my parents, stole money from my dad’s wallet among many other things. Within a few years I was running with the wrong crowd of kids that did even worse things. I was sinning against my family and against God’s standards for my life. I knew better but didn’t really care. 

          I willfully lived in increasing sins against God until I was 19 years old. It was then that I was faced with my own eternal reality. Did I want to admit my sins to God and ask Him to forgive me or did I want to ignore God and His plan to forgive me? I knew true forgiveness from God meant truly willing to stop all the sinning.  I became aware that the plan of God was to truly forgive me, but my part was to really be willing to stop the sinning as well.  If I was willing to stop sinning then God had a plan for me. I remember weighing out my sinful deeds & behaviors in my mind and deciding if I was willing to really stop sinning or not.  It was the biggest choice I faced as a teenager. I decided to walk away from sinful behaviors and walk toward God by faith. Those choices led to different friends, different jobs and a new church and seeking out what God planned for me.  

          At that stage of my life it became what God wanted me to do next. Since I was young it was education. God wanted to educate me more, now that my mind and heart were cleared out of the influence of drugs.  God gave me choices and I followed the ones I sensed would please Him and I desired. God was changing my desires and giving me the desires of my heart.  I didn’t know exactly what He had planned for me but I followed the path that kept opening up before my eyes. That path took me to 3 colleges before finally graduating where I met my wife. God had plans for me and I was trying to follow them and He kept leading me so I kept following what He revealed over 6 years. I believed God has plans for everyone at every age and stage of life. If you are willing to let go of your sins he will can and will change your life from the inside out. If we are willing to follow His plan and listen to Him, while maintaining a clean conscience and a pure heart He will reveal an wonderful plan for your life no matter what the past has been.  
          In my 6th year of college I meet the love of my life and married her. We celebrate 30 years together this month. What plans did God now have for us together?  Yes God has plans for couples as much as singles and He can lead people together to discover his plans and purposes.  We both wanted 4 children and God gave us a bonus and we have 5 children.  God now has plans for their lives as we have taught them to seek God and his plan for their lives.  

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

God has a plan for you as well. It starts with forgiven of sins and progresses in a wonderful journey.  Does this mean you and I will not have to experience pain and suffering? The answer to that is no. Pain and suffering happens to all of us with or without God in our daily lives.  Since we live in a fallen world full of others who do not seek God and choose to live in their sins, then we will suffer at various times and seasons. God has plans for you and can restore and make a way even when there seems to be no way. 
Seek the Lord and see what he has in store for your days. He loves you, he died and rose again for you and has plans for you.  “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.””
Joshua 24:15 
Bob Dylan wrote a song many years ago called, ‘You have to serve somebody”.  I will leave you with a few lines
 You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls
But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody”

Remember God has a plan for your life.   He created you and cares about you.  Seek the Lord while He may be found.