Can you really make something out of nothing? In today's reality, yes you can. No, you don't have to be an alchemist, but that would help. All you need is a keen eye, a free online tool and the belief that you can do it. In this article, I will guide you with real-time updates as we make something out of nothing.
Step 1: Find a Product
Visit your local thrift shop or search in the online free classifieds. Since I am personally stuck in the pawnshop 6 days a week, I don't have much time to hunt for deals outside. Thankfully with the internet, I don't have to. I just have to visit either craigslist or Kijiji and search for unwanted items. Guys, this is Vancouver. It's unbelievable what some people call junk. I can go on a rant and write about all of our previous success stories, but this time I would like to take you with me on the journey.
After a quick search, I found a Microsoft wireless keyboard from a company moving its office from Kitsilano. They also had some office chairs, but larger items just take up too much room in my shop so I won't be able to capitalize. I also found some free educational books, Calculus Essentials and Chemistry Essentials for Dummies and a paperback book on the Century of Northampton. I emailed all three sellers and asked them if they could deliver the items to our location. What, free and we're asking it to get delivered? Like I mentioned earlier, I'm stuck in my office. I got a response from the books sellers but not the office guys. All good. Why would anyone deliver for free? Well, people don't want to just throw away possessions. If someone else can find usefulness in it, then that is all the compensation they require.
Step 2: Promote the Product
This is where your creativity comes in. You can leverage the power of websites like Amazon or eBay, but be prepared to pay higher fees.
Alternatively, you use your creative side and design your own website with builders like Shopify or WIX.
This way, you won't have to worry about fees, but gaining consumer attention will prove to be your greatest challenge. We will dive deeper into the pros and cons of both strategies in a future article.
In the case of our real-time example, Amazon will be the tool of choice.
The nice thing about books is that they have a UPC. To upload it to Amazon, all you will need to do is:
i) Create a free Seller Account
ii) Add a new item
iii) Type in the product's UPC and let Amazon find the photo and description from its database.
iv) View what other Sellers are asking for the product and price your item accordingly
Based on Amazon's suggestions, we have priced all three books at $10.00 each plus $5.00 shipping.
It's been 8 days now and finally, one book has sold! Calculus essentials sold for $10.00. Hurray!
Now, will we get rich by getting something for free and selling it for $10? I don't think so. But that is not the point. What I wanted to outline with this project was that anything is possible. If we are able to leverage simply a bit of our time and manage to turn a $10 profit in a matter of a week, imagine what we can accomplish with a little bit of money and creativity.
Thinking like a pawnbroker is thinking about arbitrage.
What can we do to add value and make something more desirable?
Each and every one of us has our unique talents. You can walk into a thrift store and find a piece of neoclassical art. Buy a hip picture frame, flair it up and resell it for a profit. You can be the MacBook recycle guy and pay $10.00 to anyone wanting to dump their broken MacBooks to you. You can then dismantle the keyboards, LCD screens or even just salvage the AC adaptor. You can't imagine the upside of some other opportunities.
Making something out of nothing is not only a reality but may be the push that you needed to pursue your passions.
A-1 Trade & Loan
2641 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, B.C. V5N4C3