Online reselling is rockawesome.

First batch of Twinkies

Last night, at my local Walmart, there was a large flat of Twinkies just sitting there for $2 per box. If you’ve been following the news, you know the price of Twinkies has increased significantly. Before deciding if I wanted to try my hand at reselling a few boxes, I pulled up the eBay app on my phone and did a quick search.

I bought 10 boxes right there, went home to list them on Amazon for about $15 per box, and waited.

Less than an hour later, I’d sold all 10 boxes.

Not surprisingly, I went back for more. I purchased 32 additional boxes and added those to my available quantity.

Those? Several  more were gone by the time I woke up.

Online reselling can change your life

I share this story to brag (a little bit) but also to let you know of what a rockawesome opportunity Amazon, eBay, Etsy and other sites offer normal internet users like you and me. You don’t have to create a complicated online store in order to sell your stuff online. And the sheer scale of the online marketplace means you can sell your stuff fast (if you’re willing to undersell everyone else). It’s incredible how you can make an extra $450 in about a day doing very little work.

But you have to learn to see it

 

When I went back for the second batch of Twinkies, some of the Walmart employees recognized me from just an hour and a half before. “Did you eat all those already?” one asked.

“No,” I said. “I’ve already sold them online for $15 a box.”

Yep, more.

She was flabbergasted. Depending on how long she’s been at Walmart (and if Ask.com is correct), the money I’m making from reselling snack cakes is about what she’d make in a week. I did that in what’s going to be about two hours of work (I’m dreading the process of labeling and shipping those boxes, but hey, it’s worth it). The idea of actually seeing and following through with an opportunity like this takes training, but it also requires what I like to call a “You can do that?!!” moment.

The “You can do that?!!” (or YCDT) moment

 

I use that phrase to describe the feeling I get when my mind has been expanded. Its that feeling when you see someone else do something really clever you hadn’t though of, and suddenly your mind is open to tons of new possibilites. My YCDT moment came a few years ago when I was at a friend’s house. Her dad had worked as a marketing consultant for years. After making a lot of money but spending most of his time travelling away from home, he decided he wanted to spend more time with his family. So he sold his consulting firm and bought a farm. Now this man is a farmer and spends plenty of time with his wife and kids.

However, even though he (only literally) bought the farm, he still has the eye for a good business opportunity.

As part of his land ownership, he receives 5 elk tickets every hunting season. This means he can successfully hunt up to 5 elk each year. However, this man isn’t a hunter. Why would he even apply for these tags (which are given to him for free) if he’s not going to use them?

Because people pay $500 each for them.

“That’s twenty-five hundred dollars every season I get for nothing. I just put an ad on Craigslist, and people contact me to hunt on my land. It’s great.”

That was my YCDT moment. I realized that part of being successful in business is learning to see and take opportunities for financial gain.

(Side note: While I don’t condone ripping people off, I do believe in the free market setting the value of certain things. For the record, I’m a liberal at heart who believes in the power of harnessing capitalism to accomplish social good.)

How to Resell Twinkies

 

After that experience, I started to look for opportunities to make money. My first attempt was when I purchased a few extra copies of the Sean Connery 007 Collection when I saw them i stores for $10 each. People will pay more than $10 for these, I thought. Turns out I was right. I sold 5 or six different copies for $40 each. I also resold several Blu-Rays I thought might have some value in the future.

So, are you interested in selling Twinkies online yourself? Here’s how to do it.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the actual value of things. I don’t mean how much something costs; I mean how much people are willing to pay for it. An item’s actual value could be higher or lower than its purchase price (you’re interested in lower values).
  2. Keep an eye out for undervalued items. Big box stores are good for this because they’re more interested in moving product than constantly evaluating/adjusting prices.
  3. Have a few hundred dollars (or so) ready to invest at a moment’s notice. Remember, if you do it right, you’ll earn it back quickly. (I spent $88 on Twinkies last night and earned back my original cost in about half an hour; everything from here on out is profit.)
  4. If see an opportunity, take it! Get on your phone and check prices on Amazon or eBay for the item you’re considering reselling. If you have a hunch something will be worth more in the future, buy a few and sit on them.
  5. List the items online. You’ll need a seller account to do this, but they’re free, so go ahead and set one up just in case (they’re handy to have).
  6. Keep an eye on prices to  make sure your items are competitively priced. Adjust as needed.

That’s it! Six simple steps to making a few hundred bucks with extra work. Will you make a fortune from Twinkies? No. But extra cash is good to have, and you’ll be learning how to take advantage of the incredible resource Amazon, eBay and other online sales sites offer even the least of us.

 

Have a rockawesome sales story of your own about a time when you made bonus money online? Share it in the comments.

5 Responses to “Online reselling is rockawesome.”

  1. Chris Crompton November 30, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    I can relate so much! I love the YCDT moments that come about every so often. Actually, I just started my own marketing blog as a result of my own YCDT moment. I have loved writing and reading about things that interest me (business), and finally had this eureka moment where I asked myself, “Why don’t I start my own blog?” Thanks for the awesome post and inspiration for entrepreneurial spirit!

  2. Tim Sylvester November 30, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    So, what items do you think that markets should NOT set prices for? (Values being an internal thing that cannot be measured, prices being the external signal of your internal valuations.)

    • Matt November 30, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

      That’s a big question, and I’m not sure if I’m the one to give an answer. Having the market set prices for necessities could be a terrible idea, especially in disaster areas. Luxuries, though, are more or less free game in my opinion. I think it has to be on a case-by-case basis.

      (That sounds like a cop-out. Sorry. If it helps, I wouldn’t have purchased any Twinkies if I couldn’t resell them at a profit because I don’t want to eat them. They have no value to me, so I wouldn’t even pay a price of $1/box for them.)

  3. kidakaka December 1, 2012 at 3:37 am #

    Haha! That’s some quick thinking and awesome initiative there Matt! Online marketplaces are quickly catching up in the retail industry, however, according to the Google report, did you know that for retail goods such as eatables people hardly do any research online (or even offline). The Twinkies are a perfect example where you could do a third degree arbitrage.

  4. Will Mitchell December 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    Great article man, just kicking myself for not buying Twinkies now :)