We’ve talked before on the Easy Money about how it’s possible to make money by buying used goods cheap and then reselling them online. But you probably never imagined you could make 5 figures doing that? It’s true and it’s our featured “make more” segment of this podcast.
My guest is Glen Zubia, a master reseller and host of Hustler Hacks on You Tube. Welcome to Easy Money, Glen!
Glen, explain the financial position you were in when you got out of college and how that prompted you to look around for creative ways to make money.
I was at about $23,000 in school loans with my car and credit cards. For credit cards I had paid for books. All that together ended up being a little over $50,000. I graduated in Dec 2009. I got a full time job and I started off at the bottom and I figured off quickly I didn’t know how to pay off the loans and make a living and eventually get a house. I didn’t see it happening with how much I was making.
I know you were scraping to make just the minimum payments on your loans. How did you get the idea to buy stuff at garage sales and discount stores and then sell it online?
I contacted one of my friends and said have you been going to garage sales because I would see them Sat morning. So I said let’s get up at 5AM and start going and see what happens. I started off with things I somewhat knew like sneakers and video games and that is what I recommend. Start with what you know. We hit up as many garage sales as we possibly could. Getting up at 5AM. We would map them out and look on Craigslist.
This business wasn’t always easy or intuitive. Talk about some of the hard times early on.
Time management was hard in the beginning. You are so drained from work 8 to 5 at a full time job I thought how will I do this. I stayed up late listing things. But that was what I had to do to put in the work. I made minor mistakes in the beginning. I didn’t know shipping details. Things I thought wouldn’t cost much ended up being more. I spent low in the beginning though with low risk high reward.
There was sort of a turning point when you knew the business would work. Talk about your “Disney moment.”
Over time we stayed consistent with it and then sometimes you get a really special find. For me it was some Disney statues that used to be in Disney stores. The Dumbo one sold for $1800. Mickey Mouse for $1200. Those big heavy finds happen every now and then but most of the time it is consistent.
One key is when you know something has value but the seller doesn’t realize, right? You really scored with some hats because of that.
Garage sale wise a few years ago a lady was selling a bunch of sports team Snap Back Hats. They were a vintage throwback thing that came back as a fashion fad. They were re-selling for $40 to $50 each. Lady sold for $1 each. I bought 5 to test out and they sold very quickly for $40 each. So we went back to her house to ask if she had any more. She had had a store that didn’t work out so she had boxes and boxes full of these hats. We bought all of them from her. I think we ended up spending $250 a box for 4 boxes. Over time we sold every hat. On Craigslist, Ebay etc. We ended up making $10,000 from just those hats.
Some of these products you yourself knew were valuable, but you also do your homework, right?
Having a Smart phone, you can look at things while you are shopping. I use the Amazon Seller app to scan items and compare prices while in the store. You can scan bar codes to see the current rate on Amazon so I started using that. “We spent time on Ebay to see what was selling. We noticed Coach purses were selling well so we would sell those. Same with vintage video games or brand new box toys. A lot of it came from researching on Ebay.
And eventually you graduated from just hitting garage sales to other sources, right?
I look for deals wherever I can find them, including at thrift stores, pawnshops and garage sales. But these days I also shop a lot at Ross, Marshalls, Burlington, Tuesday Morning and T.J. Maxx. Of those three stores, I visit Ross most frequently. I go three to four times a week — hitting several locations — because you never know when new merchandise will arrive.
Jeez, this sounds like a full time job! Is it your main gig these days, or do you have a quote unquote “real” job?
I still consider this a side hustle, but I knew it was time to quit my full time job as a graphic designer when this side hustle made more money than that other job. Now I help my family business which gives me flexible hours, so that I can spend about 20 to 30 hours a week on this side job.
Well, now that we’re talking money, tell us how much you made as a reseller in the first couple of years and what happened to that debt of yours?
When I really started getting serious about re-selling, it took me 2 to 3 years to pay off the $50,000 in debt. After eliminating student loans, my car payment and my credit card debt in less than five years, I got married and bought a house. Now my new goal is to pay my house in less than 10 years. That keeps me going. Right now I am doing well with that. Without re-selling I don’t think I would have paid the debt and been able to put down such a good down payment and have money to reinvest and for savings. I never thought I would get to that point.
Wow! So how much are you able to make per month as a reseller?
When I first started I was just trying to make an extra $1500 a month because I was working full time at the university. At this point now after several years doing it across several platforms I am consistently at $7,000-$8,000 a month.trying to get $12,000 to $15,000 a month profit.
Well, now you’ve got people’s attention. Let’s give listeners some advice if they want to try this themselves. I’ll state your tip and you explain it. You suggest people start by selling their own stuff. Why?
If just starting out, instead of spending money, get rid of things in your own house. When you don’t have much, it’s a good place to start. Start slow and go with low cost.
Second, you say, buy things you know.
I suggest that beginners focus on what they know. While I buy many things, I have always been interested in sneakers, so my knowledge about shoes helps me determine whether to pick up something or pass on it. For example, once I bought a pair of Air Jordan shoes for $49.99 at Ross and sold them for $350 on eBay.