My first experience with selling something came the summer after I had turned 13. We had some old electronics lying around the house, and I decided to try and sell them on eBay. The experience was enthralling. It seemed so easy– find some junk, write some text, and boom. Back then eBay was still a free for all, and you could double your final bid price simply by making a compelling ad.
However, most people did not create compelling ads. So I would contact sellers to give me more details and pictures, which most gladly did. With this competitive advantage, I would purchase at a low price, and then immediately relist the item at a higher price. I made about $2,000 that summer, a fortune to a 13 year old.
Designing these ads is the origins of my interest in programming and design, but that’s a different story. I went on to sell everything I could think of that had low barriers of entry, high profit margin, and low competition. This meant selling everything from IR LEDs to silly putty. Yes, silly putty. By the pound.
My experience grew until my freshman year of college when I started my first structured business, WarrantyVoidStickers.com. The idea started after I was unable to purchase a small quantity tamper evident labels for some electronics I was considering importing (which never happened).
The premise was simple and familiar– purchase large quantities of stickers, split them into smaller quantity lots, and sell them. Over my college years, the business supplied much needed spending money and kept me busy.
And I can always say I’ve sold silly putty and stickers.