The Perfect Side Hustle for Online Shopping Lovers


Written by Liz

Just your regular 27-year-old, queer, super-introverted, FIRE-chasing, frugal Singaporean, who lives a pretty good life while earning only a modest salary, but still plans to retire at age 40 with $1,000,000. Click here to read more

July 5, 2018

I used to love online shopping, especially in second-hand market places. I even managed to make around $300 a month (sometimes even more!) just buying items online, and then flipping them for profit. And man, was it fun.

It’s the perfect little side hustle for people who love to shop. Although it’s not something that will make you big money, it’s a fun hobby that makes your wallet a little fuller. A win-win situation, in my opinion.

Want to get started? Here are 3 simple steps.


Step 1 – Build A Solid Reputation

Every online market place has a system where you can rate the seller you’re buying an item from, or the buyer you’re selling an item to.

If you want to buy and sell items online for profit, you must have a solid reputation. Nobody is going to want to buy stuff from you if you have a crappy reputation as a seller. It’s that important.

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, it’s always helpful to keep in mind these few tips.

  1. Be patient and polite.
  2. Don’t haggle excessively.
  3. Try not to be rude, even if the other person pisses you off.
  4. Be helpful.
  5. Be punctual if you’re doing a face-to-face delivery. Otherwise, mail out your items on time.

When the deal has been completed, politely ask the other party to take the time to leave you a review or some feedback, in exchange for you leaving them a review or feedback.

Because I used to shop a lot, it was easy for me to accumulate positive feedback. Over the course of 2 years, I had accumulated about 200 positive reviews, and zero negative reviews. That gave my buyers the confidence to strike a deal with me.

How many reviews do you need? I can’t give you an exact number, but I would say 20-30 is pretty good.


Step 2 – Be (Very) Familiar with the Market Price

It’s so important that you be familiar with the market price of the good(s) that you’re buying and selling.

The basics are simple.

You buy stuff that’s priced below the market price. You sell stuff priced at the market price.

Nobody’s going to pay for stuff that’s priced above the market price. The difference you make will be your profit.

Be wary of changing market prices. Just because Item A is priced at $100 today, doesn’t mean that it will be priced at $100 two weeks from now.

When there are too many sellers and too few buyers, your market price plummets. On the other hand, when there are too many buyers and too few sellers, that’s where you make your profits.

You need to know this information intimately, because if your market price plummets, you’re screwed (okay, not really, but you just lose a lot of money). It takes a lot of effort and time to know this information. I monitored the marketplace every other hour, tracking any new listings and determining whether the new listings could affect the current market price.

If I felt that the market price will decrease drastically, I would try to sell off my items as soon as possible. Even if it means making a much smaller profit than anticipated.

Another piece of advice would be to limit yourself to buying and selling as few items as possible. Since you need to put in a lot of time and effort for this, you’d spread yourself too thin if you try selling too many things at once.

For online shopping lovers, this would be relatively easy. Chances are, you already have something that you love to collect. Whether it’s books, cards, merchandise. You’d spend every hour browsing for new listings to snatch up offers before other people have the chance to even view them. That’s how you make your profits.

That’s another piece of advice for you, stick to something you LOVE collecting or buying. It’s only when you truly love collecting something, that you’d take the time to know everything you can about it.


Step 3 – Recognise Your Potential Losses

The danger of running this side hustle is being stuck with items that you don’t want, when no one wants to buy what you’re selling. You could be sitting on unwanted stock for months.

That’s also why it’s important to stick to something you love collecting. In the event of zero demand for your items, you could just keep it.

I used to flip card collectibles for profit. I bought them in bulk at 10-20 cents each from people who were looking to just discard them, and flipped each one for $2-$3.

Right now, I have so many duplicate cards. But that’s okay, because they were cheap, and I absolutely love them.

I also used to flip books and DVDs, buying them for cheap (a couple bucks), and selling them for profit. Do I have any that I wasn’t able to sell? Of course, but I’d gladly keep them.


Why is this Side Hustle Perfect?

Think about it. Why do people shop?

For a lot of us, it’s for the thrill. The giddiness, the excitement, when you stumble across a good deal at a great price.

Keep this up for long periods of time, however, and you’d be emptying your bank account faster than you can fill it.

That’s why this side hustle is perfect. You pick up a great deal, get your kick of hormones, and then flip that item for profit. You still get to shop, and you make some money out of it.

I found that when I was running my little side hustle, I was too busy trying to make money, to actually spend any money! It’s interesting, really. I was shopping so much more, but my bank account was growing. I had the best of both worlds.

This side hustle is a simple one. You don’t need much capital to begin with, and you don’t have to spend months and months visualising what your branding will be.

All you have to do is to build a solid reputation, intimately know the market price of the goods you’re selling, and understand the risks that come with it.

All 3 things I’m sure online shopping lovers will already be very familiar with.

And that’s why this side hustle is so perfect.




A Few Final Words

This blog post was never intended to be a comprehensive guide on how to make big money by buying and selling. It’s just a little snippet of information into something that you could explore, especially if you love online shopping and scoring great deals. A little something to spark the entrepreneurial spirit within you.

 If you’re interested in setting up your own e-commerce business and flipping items full time, there are plenty of bloggers, content creators and guides out there that go into much greater detail. A simple Google search will do the trick. All the best 🙂

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