When Matt Diamond, 30, moved from his native Florida to Salt Lake City, Utah in 2017 to be closer to family, he started thinking about how to start a business: stock trading.
Recognizing that it would be a while before he could count on that as his sole source of income, the former real estate agent decided to start a side hustle that would bring in enough money to tide him over. Within just two years, he’s established a successful resale business, RetailPricesNoMore, on eBay. Here's how he did it.
“I was looking for a different way to bring in a little bit of money without it being like a traditional job, because if I got a traditional job then the dream of being able to trade goes away because that takes over the hours that the market is open,” he explained.
Diamond turned to what would become his go-to sources for information: Google and YouTube, which he considers “the best tool on planet Earth” for learning anything you might want.
"I Googled ‘how to make extra money’ and ‘best side hustles,’ and started digging,” he said.
“I came across a video of a lady talking about how she made $10,000 in a month selling used clothes and shoes. I was like, ‘Wait, what?’ Then I found other people who were doing it, too. I was surprised but thought ‘I guess it makes sense because you’re saving a lot of money rather than buying it new. Let’s look into this,’” he added.
Diamond said he quickly fell down “the rabbit hole of YouTube videos” that offered simple-to-follow instructions on how to get started.
“I was super motivated because it seemed pretty simple and there were all these success stories, so I decided I wanted to give it a shot,” he said.
Setting up shop
Just like brick-and-mortar establishments, virtual stores need a steady stream of desirable inventory in order to be successful. Figuring out what to sell to get the best return on his investment and where to find those goods were among Diamond’s biggest challenges.
Once he decided to focus on athletic wear, Diamond, a self-proclaimed “non-fashionable dude,” was tasked with learning which brands were in demand and would command the highest prices.
“What are the brands everybody knows and likes? Lululemon, Nike, NorthFace, Adidas, Eddie Bauer, all sorts of those athletic outdoor brands that sell well new, I find them in good condition used,” he said.
Much like the real estate market, Diamond looks at comparable listings to set the right price on items. He wants to attract buyers but still net a 40 to 50 percent profit. In addition to the cost of the items, both eBay and PayPal charge a percentage of each transaction. Initially, he paid the shipping costs but later adjusted prices to reflect that extra charge.
To display his items as attractively as possible, the entrepreneur purchased a lighting kit from eBay (of course) for $35. He also invested $10 in pieces a white cardboard and a small table so the photos of his goods looked as appealing as they would in a catalog or magazine, he noted.
To date, he has sold over 5,000 items and his online shop currently nets him between $2,000 and $2,500 per month, which he said is a nice cushion, especially considering he spends less than 20 hours a week running it.
“It just goes to show that even if it’s used, if it’s a solid brand, there’s still a big market for it, which is awesome,” said Diamond who jokes that he’s now “broken” when it comes to regular retail shopping. “When I go into Marshall’s now, I see a shirt for $15 or $20 and I think, ‘I can buy 15 shirts for that.’”
Where does he find these items at rock-bottom prices? On the advice he gathered from YouTube, the side hustler began scouring Goodwill and other thrift stores in his area. However, he struggled to find a lot of inventory without driving around all day and coming up empty-handed.
“I realized it was hard to find a lot of stuff at one shop. I’d go in and go through the whole store and find maybe six items and realized it was going to be hard to scale this,” he said.
Rather than get discouraged, the online salesman dug in and found a Goodwill outlet, which he describes as “a gigantic warehouse” housing all of the stores’ unsold items. Most items sell for an average of $1, he estimated.
“This is where I mainly source now because I’m going into one place and getting as much inventory as possible in the least amount of time,” Diamond explained.
Steady cash flow and future plans
Setting up this side hustle has allowed Diamond to pursue his dream of stock trading without the burden of financial pressure. Initially, he noted that he had to put in much longer hours to build up his inventory, but now has a solid stash.
Diamond has streamlined the shipping process as well by purchasing poly mailer envelopes in bulk, 300 at a time from eBay, and printing labels at home. Though his business is brisk, the virtual retailer hasn’t considered taking on an assistant because he’s been able to manage it all himself.
“If I hired someone, within a week they’d probably realize that they could do this on their own,” he said, adding that paying an employee would eat into his profits. “Maybe if I were making $10,000 a month it would be different.”
Diamond doesn’t have any plans to scale this venture to a full-time endeavor but hopes to use the skills he’s attained throughout this process in the future.
“I would like to figure out how to turn it into a bigger business and take it to the next level, maybe by creating my own brand and then use eBay or Amazon platforms to push those products,” he said. “As of right now I don’t have any ideas, but my knowledge and knowing how the platforms work is going to open up the door if I ever have a brand idea of my own.”
How to start your own side hustle
For those who are considering picking up a side gig in their free time, Diamond has some advice.
“If someone’s never done a side hustle, I would say this is the easiest way is to make money,” he said. “Do exactly what I’m doing. It’s a proven concept and it’s simple: Open up an eBay account, open up a PayPal account. If you don’t know how to do those, look on YouTube.”
Diamond suggested those interested in trying this business start at no cost to themselves by selling something they already own.
“Start with a pair of Nikes you’ve had sitting in your closet for six months,” he said. “If you have electronics, you only need to sell one to get the idea of how the process goes. You’ll do it a few times and you’ll go, ‘I’m actually doing this.’ Now it’s up to you if you want to take it to the next step. It’s the easiest thing to do because it requires the least amount of capital. You’ll get the bug when you sell one [item].”
If online sales aren’t the perfect fit for you, consider how to make money with other side hustles that allow you to work the hours that are convenient for you:
- Rover: Want to spend some time with man’s best friend? Bring in extra money by doing a little dog walking or pet sitting.
- Taskrabbit: Feeling handy? Help folks tackle home repairs, run errands, or other projects.
- Instacart: Shop for others and deliver groceries in your free time.
- Survey Junkie: If you’re just looking for a little extra spending money, you can earn money by answering surveys from the comfort of your home.
If you’re hoping to bring in some additional income without sacrificing a ton of free time, consider one of these side hustles.