Saturday, December 7, 2013

Guest Post: How I Turned $64 into $129,000 in Two Years

I didn't have a lot of money five years ago. Times were extremely hard and using my skills with computers for the rural community only brought in so much money. As I spent a great deal of time on eBay trying to find the best deals for the tools and equipment I used, I began to wonder if I could make a few extra dollars selling to others in the same fashion. This is how I started to really make money.

1. The Initial Purchase
Since my credit rating was poor and I didn't know anyone that could help fuel my business with the money I needed, I decided to try my hand at eBay to develop some revenue. I bought two lots from different sellers each containing a variety of computer equipment and parts. The total was my initial $64 that I spent buying both of these lots. Once the packages had arrived, I had established my own inventory - as small as it was.

Each lot comprised of things such as sound cards, video cards, hard drives, and other random items that I had researched previously to determine if I could sell them for more than what I paid per piece. As long as I made more than $0.50 each, the lot would be paid for and I wouldn't lose money. The reason I bought both of the lots is because I knew the items within sold for far more than what the buyer was asking.

2. Parting it Out
After a great deal of research on eBay, I found the best prices to sell my items in order to make the most money. Within a month, I had sold everything I had originally purchased and made several hundred dollars in the process. The ball was starting to roll. Another source of my inventory came from private customers who didn't want the old parts after upgrading their computer systems. These pieces were still working and in good condition mostly consisting of memory and hard drives. So, I sold those too.

With each additional lot that I had purchased, I sold each item individually making more money than what I bought the lot for. On average, I was making approximately 250 to 300-percent more than the cost per item. This isn't including the parts from walk-in customers who didn't want to keep the parts they were upgrading from. Most of the time, parts were selling almost as fast as I could list them on eBay. Without having an overhead specifically for my little business, every dime could sit in PayPal in order to buy bigger and better lots. Each lot I sold allowed me to by two more with money left over.

3. Snowball Effect
As time continued, I bought more lots and parted them out on eBay and my reputation for being a local computer guru was beginning to spread within the community. As I needed bigger and better lots, I started shopping on sites such as and others. Using the same principles of testing hardware and selling it, I was getting quite a good reputation on eBay as well. Since my net income had grown to several hundred dollars per month, I decided to become more professional and rent out an office close to my home. I now had an office that could accommodate customers.

Many lots had virtually brand new, high-end video cards and such that had damaged boxes. These were new items that worked perfectly but the packaging was dented and crunched in areas. As retail stores don't like to sit these kinds of "ugly" packaged items on their shelves, I would benefit from it as eBay buyers don't care about such nuances. In many instances, a single video card sold high enough for me to purchase yet another lot.

As the eBay sales continued to increase, so did my customer base. As I had a small shop along a main road in town, I was beginning to see three or four customers per week - each paying me quite a bit to fix various computer problems such as virus infections, upgrades, and entire new computer systems. My walk-in customer sales were catching up to my eBay income rapidly.

4. Getting the Word Out
Although my eBay venture was paying a large portion of the small bills and overhead costs, I still needed more money if I wanted to become fully successful. As my computer client-base had been steadily rising as well, I put more effort into growing my corporation to include computer and gaming console sales and repairs. Thanks to the word of mouth, a local rehabilitation center inquired about my services and wanted to hire me to work on their school computer systems and network. My business had its first large client that paid very well.

This new client was roughly paying my company $60,000 per year to maintain the vast network infrastructure, building new computer systems, developing therapeutic software, and more. Needless to say, I had quite a bit on my plate and was running myself fairly thin. Thanks to the staff at the new facility, even more people were approaching my small company for computer repairs, purchases and a great deal of various technology-based needs.

5. Too Large for the Area
The new client was bringing my company a great deal of business. Not only were my services paid for by the school, but I was also making more sales to individuals who learned about me through word-of-mouth. Between building a large variety of computer systems for clients and the amount of items I was selling on eBay, my little rental space filled up inside of six months. It was time to move into a larger facility to accommodate my ever-growing amount of inventory. By this time, I was making several thousand dollars per month.

By this time, UPS had been regularly dropping off the lots I purchased. I also began selling items for local companies on eBay such as infrared heaters, thermal barrier paint additives and a lot of consignment sales from the community. I quickly began filling the new office areas with merchandise. In fact, we started to get into selling various items outside technology such as makeup and toys.

6. Advertising MethodsWhat Was the Key to My Success?
I needed to make money for my family and that was my driving force to get things done. What I believe were the keys to my success were:
  • Determination to never give up
  • Hard work spending countless hours researching the most popular items to sell and building top notch computers and websites
  • Learning everything I could about effective business practices
  • Putting my customers first in everything from online sales to the children that frequented the store.

Eventually, the walk-in customer income greatly surpassed the eBay amounts. Between having both a strong online presence and a profitable brick-and-mortar location, the money was constantly coming in. Computer sales were plentiful, the website work was amazing and our influence within the community was strong because we took very good care of our customers. Although it may have been a slow start in the beginning, constant vigilance and a drive to succeed caused my business to grow exponentially in a very short amount of time. Although I don't miss putting in 90 hours per week, sometimes I do miss the excitement when things were starting to fall into place.

About the Guest Author
This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from You can reach her at: m.hatter12 @ gmail. com.

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