Did you ever dream as a kid about one day hunting for buried treasure? I think almost everyone would love the excitement of stumbling on a treasure map and following to it find a chest filled with gold coins and valuables! Well unfortunately, this post will not tell you how to dig up a treasure chest. What I will tell you about is how my family’s business lets us feel like we are full-time treasure hunters.
As much as we would love to find that chest filled with gold, that is not what we do. My husband and I like to think of our business as “Treasure Hunting” because we go out searching for items that we can resell (or sometimes keep) for our online resell business. You have probably heard the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Realizing the truth in this statement, my family has turned that truth into a business that provides the majority of our income! We definitely didn’t plan on it, but my husband and I were able to turn our little hobby of “treasure hunting” at thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, warehouses, auctions, and where ever we could find, into a full-time business! So here is a little of our story and a few tips we have learned along the way.
After my husband and I got married, in 2004, we began to dabble in buying, collecting, and reselling video games! We loved going to yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores just to see what we could find! My husband, an avid video gamer, had been collecting vintage games for sometime. We could find the games he wanted for his collection by buying big lots of vintage games and systems that people were just cleaning out of their attic or garage. Those old cartridge games are easy to clean up and seem to work forever! Most of the games were sold again, except for the ones he wanted for his collection. We would usually make all of our money back that we spent on the lot, and a small profit! It was so much fun! We had no idea that 12 years later this small hobby of just buying and reselling would grow and change into a full-fledged business that would provide the majority of our income!
Well, we did not stick to just video games. One day my husband approached me with an idea. He wanted to take $100 (which is a lot of money for us) and invest it in “inventory” items to resell. The stipulation was that if we spent that $100 and did not make a profit we would stop. Well we did make a profit, and we kept making a profit. That $100 dollars is still making us money today, in fact it has made us hundreds of thousands of dollars (before business expenses) over the years. As we make a profit we are able to save money, pay bills, and invest in other inventory. From video games, we moved into toys, electronics, and other odds and ends. Then we discovered books! We now sell books more than anything else.
In 2008 the year before we had our first son, we bought a tract of land and started planning and dreaming towards saving enough money to build our first home. (We had been renting an apartment for several years.) We thought it would take years for us to pay off the land and have enough equity in it before we could afford to build a house. Much to our surprise, less than 1 year later, because of our “hobby”, we had saved enough money to completely pay off the loan on our land! We immediately began construction of our home, and moved in just a few months before our first little boy was born!
I resigned from my position as a special education teacher in 2012 so I could be home, full-time with our kids. My husband put everything into growing our online business, while still working part-time for our church! It’s been almost 5 years now, and we are still going strong. Because we made the decision to home school, we can include our whole family in our business. Our boys love it when they get to go “Treasure Hunting” with us. I think they like to browse around the thrift stores and sales we go to just as much as we do, and we get to spend
time together as a family!
We still keep a regular home school schedule. If I know that we need to go to a sale or I need to help my husband with something for our business, I plan around it. Because we do everything Entirely At Home, we can be flexible with our home school schedule. If we need to do school work in the car while we are on our way to “Treasure Hunt” then we can. Sometimes I have to postpone school for a couple of hours and start later in the day. More to come on “Homeschooling on the go” in a future post.
Here are a few tips that we learned early on when we were turning our “Treasure Hunting Hobby” into a full time business.
1. Start with what you know
We started with video games because we knew what we were looking at! We enjoyed looking for them and we had fun testing them. There is a market for almost anything! Take what you enjoy and become an expert in that subject. Learn everything you can about that subject. This will help you recognize the real gold from the fools gold.
2. Do your research
Get on eBay (or other sites) and look at what sells in the area, or subject matter you are interested in. If you see something you think you could resell, get online and look it up before you invest a lot of time and money in it. Also don’t just look at what people have it listed for look at the price it sells for in the “sold listings” category. Some people list items for exorbitant prices hoping someone will buy it! Unfortunately, an item is only worth what someone will actually pay for it.
3. Get feedback
When you first start, sell as many items as you can (even for just a small profit) with the main purpose of trying to get feedback. If you are a new seller on eBay or Amazon many buyers are very wary of buying expensive items from someone with little feedback.
4. Choose where you will resell
There are tons of sites that you can resell your items on, and a lot of it depends on what you are selling. We sell on a variety of sites, (primarily Amazon.com, eBay.com and half.com). Research the pros and cons of each one and decide what works best for you and what you are selling. Make sure you fully understand the different policies of each site. If you don’t know the policies then you can get in trouble fast. It is also an easy way for buyers to rip off the new seller.
Treasure is out there. You have to be willing to go and look for it. Go everywhere: Local thrift stores, yard sales, library sales, auctions, flea markets, store clearance aisles. We find stuff that we can resell online for a profit everywhere we go. Look for opportunities. Get and out there and look for your treasures!
I hope you enjoyed our story! I can’t wait to share more of it with you!
Good luck with your treasure hunting!! Please contact me or comment with any questions! I would love you help you out in anyway I can!!
Garage sale sign photo credit: Chiot’s Run <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/34912142@N03/3923018001″>Garage Sale Sign</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Book Sale photo credit: moonlightbulb <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/24532534@N02/3068380055″>Wake County Library Book Sale!</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>