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April 05, 2011

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eBay is a lot of work. You have to photograph everything, write a decent description, find a box/determine shipping cost, and deal with questions that you already answered in your description. You then have flakes that don't pay until you give them a "Non-paying bidder" strike.

I sell stuff for friends and family, and half the time the item comes with a half-arsed description of what it is, as in it is something so odd I can't identify it. And, just because it's old, doesn't mean it's collectible.

you are missing a good one. bar tending!

i have a friend who is a blogger / internet entrepreneur like i am. he makes more than enough from his web properties and does not need to bar tend. however he does it for fun and to meet new people (chicks!).

the best part? he makes hundreds of dollars for just a couple hours worth of work. the amount of tips some of these guys / gals make is ungodly. he once had Reggie Miller tip him $600. must've been a good night in Pacer-land . . . perhaps back when they were good and in contention.

on your comment about Ebay - it is a good way to clear the basement in Michigan, but to make a living? it has become tougher over the years as cheap manufacturers (think China) are using it as another extension of their business, thus creating a B to C direct channel. who can compete with that? the grey markets are getting saturated by the day. i know this because i have wholesale contacts for MAC make up and designer perfumes and colognes (genuine stuff) and i supply to about 100 mom and pops around the country. these guys run their stores by day and ebay stores by night. i have seen average orders go down mainly because of the ebay channel suffering according to them. that said there are always new customers who want to buy wholesale from me who want to give it a shot. works for some, not for the majority. needless to say it is a volume business

ebay: If you sell stuff on ebay, where do you buy it from?

blogger: wouldn't know what exactly to blog about. Things seem pretty saturated as it is. wouldn't want to compete with FMF!

computer whiz: this is the one that appeals most to me as I spend a lot of time fixing relatives computer problems as it is. But, that turns me off of it at the same time. Dealing with people's terrible computer habits (clicking 'OK' on every flashing pop-up that appears, etc.) gets pretty old pretty quick.

I happen to know someone that does very well as an amazon.com bookseller.
This person has found many good sources of cheap used books from colleges, libraries, thrift stores, and garage sales. They also have a portable device (updated weekly) that allows them to scan the book's ISBN number to quickly find the lowest price it is currently being offered on amazon. Unless a used book is selling for a good price they don't bother with it which helps to keep their inventory low. Some days they find a diamond in the rough in the form of a hard to find book that is out of print. It's nothing for them to buy a book for $2 and sell it quickly for $50 or more. This individual sells between 10 and 25 books per day.

I've made some money selling one app in a (so far) very small app market (HP's WebOS). Hopefully the new phones and tablet they're coming out with in the summer will renew interest in the platform and my app's sales will pick up significantly. But the money I have made and will continue to make from on-going sales will put my "hourly wage" for the work I put in at least on par with my W-2 job, which is far better than I would have ever expected.

Old Limey. I have a friend who does exactly what you describe. My friend quit his job, were we worked together, a few months ago to sell used books on Amazon full time. He has a few people that gather books for him and he is willing to drive long distances to snap up supplies. He also has a few rental properties. Not a bad way to make a living in my mind.

I've found that Art & Graphic Design, while a horrible main job, is an excellent source of side money. I've been able to survive on it, on my own, for the past 6 years, with no actual "employer". So once I get my Accounting degree, and get a *real* job, I'll always keep doing Art and Graphic Design as a side job, which can pull in around $5,000 extra a year.

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