Sunday, December 23, 2012

A New Spin On An Old Game Spells Out Nostalgia ...And Profit!

   Most of you will remember what an Atari is, some of you may not. Let me enlighten you if you are part of the latter.

        Back in my youth,  33 years ago , this was the XBOX, the Playstation  and the Nintendo. It was the pinnacle of home entertainment and if you had one, you were in bliss as were all the  neighborhood kids taking up residence in your floor. If you didn't,  you were on of the neighborhood kids.

            Home electronics were not an everyday occurrence unless you counted your Floor model COMPACT television set or mom and dads almond colored coffee pot made by Norelco. Our Ipods were the size of a desktop computer and were usually found resting somewhere on the shoulder.There were no armbands to accommodate jogging with our boom boxes though.

        Before the Atari came along, your video gaming activities was severely limited because you had to go elsewhere to play them. The  gas station, 7-11,  skating rinks, laundry mats and pool halls were all adorned with them .But when you were a child your ability to play them was severely hampered by three things. Your transportation, your parents, and your finances.

           You had to pay to play for each game, each and every game. If you lost a heated battle with an angry centipede or an asteroid came out of no where  and blew your space ship into a thousand pieces, the clock of DOOM would begin counting down while you scrambled for another quarter.
        Sometimes one would run out of quarters and would hit breakneck speeds across the laundry mat in hopes that your dear old mom would sympathize and flip you another quarter before the clock ran out. Lots of times you would hear the dreaded  "No More"  or  " That's Enough ".At this point would  usually resort  to searching the coin returns of  the soap dispensers and vending machines in hopes that you would find another quarter.
     Atari brought to us the endless joy that we could not experience anywhere else.You could play all you wanted without the  fear of running out of money or mom and dad telling you it was time to go now. You didn't have to wait in line or leave halfway through a game as mom finished  up at the store. It Was Freakin Awesome!     


                                                      CONNECTING THE DOTS

      It was around a week ago that I walked into Family dollar with Cris to get some things and seen this sitting on the shelf. My  Heart lept and I had a rush of nostalgic Euphoria as it brought fond memories of pixelated Pong , Battle Tanks, and Asteroids rushing back. Oh the endless Bleeps and Blips of Bliss !
      It hit me like a ton of bricks!" I'm not the only kid to feel this way about that game, except , I'm not a kid anymore, and neither are they" . They have jobs now, and money.  I like money..  Checking my handy dandy smart phone revealed Demand, HUGE DEMAND!  There were easily an average of 15 bidders on each Atari flashback closing within the next hour.The lowest price they were closing at was at least TWICE Family dollars offering of $32. There were even closed auctions within the last 24 hours of $125 or more on a BUY IT NOW . Buy it now is an auction style where you allow the customer to bypass the bidding and buy it for your asking price. I set mine on a 3 day auction and started it at .99 cents with free shipping .Im glad I did because It sold today for $69, I think Ill let that buyer  buy me an  Atari  now.    Merry Christmas Everyone. We'll talk next Next Week!

   Ps these are still selling hot but you gotta move them fast. They sell great on a one day auction and start your listing at .99 cents to engage bidders and encourage them to bid on yours.Then they get caught up in the bidding .( emotional bidders) Anything past this weekend I would advise your to check what the markets doing before buying any as all markets change on a regular basis. You can accomplish this one Ebay by using the "refine" button > type atari flashback 4 , then click refine, and check the completed and sold items box.This will show you at what price they have recently closed at. Good Luck!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Home Run! Cha Ching! How I made $170 today while sitting in my easy chair.

I'm very excited today because  I was able to turn a pair of old shoes I plucked from a box marked FREE  into $170! Hungry for more?

                               REAL OR FAKE ? ----WHO CARES?

       It was roughly 5 days ago when I was in a local second hand store looking for my next fix. It seemed like I was having to look too hard to find something worth flipping. Usually, when I feel like this, I tell myself its time to go. It doesn't happen often, but if you find yourself doing this it usually means to walk away. For me , it must have meant I was trying too hard because just as I began to leave, an old card board box full of old shoes stopped me. It was marked FREE  with black marker. Naturally , this is the first thing that my eye was drawn to because Ive learned free means opportunity without risk. Heres what I came out with.
   Please keep in mind the fact that Cris really cleaned these up before the picture was taken.I wish I would have taken a before picture but honestly I didn't see anything there at the time. The shoes were high tops and were bent over in half . DIRTY and CRUDDY dosent even begin to describe how bad these shoes were.

    These shoes are made in Italy by the GUCCI company and they are EXTREMELY expensive. I knew that they were a designer shoe but I had no real understanding of just how much a Gucci price tag demands.
       After a little Internet research I was aware of two things:

     #1   Gucci is expensive and therefore they are copied by knock off companies that produce fakes.

    #2   It can be rather difficult to tell the difference between  a real and a fake.
  • Have serial Numbers? Check.
  •  Feels like leather? Check.
  • Says "Made in Italy " on the inside insert? Check.
  •  Handsticthed " Crap i dont know. CRIS!"
 Needless to say Cristal knows her sewing but neither of us could really tell even though I know she wanted them to be real .
          I decided to list them on EBay starting at $29.oo  with a buy it now price of $170 ( just in case ). I didn't want to ruin my seller rating which is your credibility with potential customers. I took lot of  detailed pictures and described them as accurately as I could, explaining what the serial number was emphasizing how worn out they were and made sure to state that I couldn't guarantee they were authentic because I just didn't know.
        The only thing I neglected to leave out was the fact that I got them for free. I left that out because nobody , regardless of the value of the shoes, wants to think they are buying someone Else's junk. Or that your making money off of them. They like value like anyone else.
         I still don't know if they were real or not but it matters not to me because this morning someone clicked the " Buy It Now Button"  for a cool $170 ! They slipped right past  the other 4 people who were slowly bidding them up at $40 . They then paid for them 5 minutes later. I'm a happy man today! Keep your eyes open you never know where they might show up!

                                         SOME OF MY OTHER CLOSED AUCTIONS TODAY

   Don't worry , I had never heard of FOOBLITZKY either. Apparently it an early computer game that flopped hard after being released by computer company  Infocom. It actually has some history behind it that can be found on wikipedia. Remember the huge Floppy discs? This one was made for IBM.
    Some of the games were made for Apple too and some of them are selling for $150.Mine was missing the dry erase markers  and the box is absolutely trashed. I disclosed its condition in my auctions description so I wouldnt run into any unhappy buyers.. It set me back .50 cents at Goodwill. It sold today for $24.99!

                           Infocom computer game SOLD   $24.99
                                                                   PAID   $ 0.50
                                                       shipping/fees     $6.15             
                                                                 PROFIT $18.34 !                         


                        The Columbia Jacket  -AN Example Of What Not To Do

Lesson #15 - Learned this week. When you find a NICE  item , make sure you can photograph it properly. That way you can show the world how special it is.
I was very excited when I found this jacket on the rack for $3.99.It was different and it had the name "Columbia" On the jacket. I know Columbia clothes to be rather pricey anyways but this was different because it also had  Verizon embroidered on the front. It also had two embroideries on the back. One said USA LUGE and the other Official USA BOBSLEDDING TEAM 2012 !  Im going to make this short and sweet:   If you cant provide the right kind of lighting to photograph your treasures . WAIT UNTIL YOU CAN . The patches were not clearly shown here and I feel i could have done a LOT better here. This could have very well have been an Olympic  team members jacket worn during the 2012 olympics. From what we gathered it probably was. Moving on,.

Sold  $30.49
Paid $3.99
Shipping and fees $9.00
            Profit  $17.50 !



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Free Shipping Materials From The Post Office

I can still remember how excited I was when I sold my first item on eBay.I needed extra cash and had too much junk laying around.I knew there was no where to sell  most of the items I was willing to part with. A couple of broken laptops that were being used for doorstops some old PlayStation games to a system  that no longer worked, etc. Our Great Dane puppy had done serious damage to the laptop computer when he decided to chew the keys off of it. Then the visiting grand kids ensured the job was complete when they did a double footed landing off the bed and smack dab in the middle. The laptop was trashed, but it still had useful parts, and somewhere, someone, needed those parts. A light bulb went on in my head and I checked EBay for broken computers.
       Sure enough, the parts market was thriving , there were broken laptop computers auctions closing every few minutes with a slurry of bidders fighting over them. I seen one worse than mine go for  THIRTY SIX DOLLARS !  Thirty Six was a good number for me. Much better than tossing it in the trash and having the garbage man charge me to haul it to the dump. I took a few quick pictures of the laptop from all angles and tried to describe it as accurately as possible while being honest about its condition. That's when I arrived at the " Set Shipping Options" part.  "What?" I was clueless on how to ship .Fast Forward a month later and here's what I'm doing now.
              The United States Post Office will GIVE you FREE shipping supplies as long as you ship Priority Mail. This is now the way I ship 98% of my items sold.  Priority Mail comes with FREE tracking and delivery confirmation so you can track your package all the way from your house to the buyer from your smart phone or computer! You do like free don't you?

          Did I mention its also FAST?  Priority Mail  ships 2-5 business days and fast shipping means happy customers.You can pick up boxes, cartons, bubble padded envelopes, DVD and Game boxes free of charge at any local post office.Whats more, theres no limit to how many you can take and if going to the post office is too much work for you, like it is for me, you can go directly to their site and order the shipping supplies delivered TO YOUR DOOR IN BULK AT NO COST!  You don't even pay shipping! Last week alone we ordered 5 types of shipping boxes and 2 types of mailers in bulk lots of 25 each .It was as painless as pushing the order button on my smart phone.
    If FREE boxes shipped to your door FREE of charge isn't enough to sell you.Here are two more tasty morsels. THEY WILL ALSO GIVE YOU FREE ROLLS OF PRIORITY TAPE!

  You have just removed the expense of shipping materials ( minus packing ) and put the united states post office to work for YOU delivering YOUR boxes to YOUR door-step when YOU tell them to. And all you had to do was take your smart phone out of your pocket and click "more please "  .. Caviar anyone?
    There is a catch, the tape is for use with Priority shipping boxes only. This works great for me, because that's how I ship.I do keep a roll I had to buy around in the rare case I decide to ship another method.
          There are two types of Priority Mail boxes, Flat Rate and Regular. They look Identical except "Flat Rate" is printed directly on the flat rate boxes.The difference between the two is that a flat rate ships for the same amount no matter how heavy the object or where its going. IF IT FITS IT SHIPS! This greatly simplifies the whole shipping process and is the way to go for anything going a long ways or something that is really heavy or for the convenience of it all.
     The other option is Regular Priority.These boxes do not have Flat Rate printed on them and are assessed by their dimensions and weight.Sometimes you can save your buyer a little money if they're really close by shipping this way. EBay has a great shipping calculator built in that allows you to play with both options BEFORE committing to the way you want to ship the package so you can see what your Best option is. The last thing I'd like to mention is if you oder your shipping materials through the Usps Ebay site, they will send you Priority Mail EBAY CO-BRANDED BOXES at no cost! This adds a great deal of profesionalism tp your buisness because the boxes are printed with the EBay logo right on them !

The Heart Of The Ebay Project

 So far I've showed you some great ideas that have been good money makers for me. Some of you may be doubting your ability to do the same thing.Well, I'm hear to tell you that you can do the same thing with little risk. Risk is something I just really have begun to understand. Its all around us and its in everything we do, from financial decisions to climbing into your car to go to school or work.There is always some degree of risk involved.
  By getting behind the wheel of your car you are taking risk of injury , risk of damage to your vehicle, risk of hurting someone else or that someone else could hurt you if they cross a yellow line.
  When you eat food from a store or restaurant , you absorb the risk of becoming ill because your food is tainted or improperly handled or packaged. Even doing the dishes involves risk, you could burn yourself or cut your hand on a broken glass if your not careful. THE RISK IS THERE, but you manage it. You ACCEPT it. You commit to doing the dishes and then you test  the water to ensure its not too hot for your hands, You wash the glasses carefully and take care in putting them away.When driving your car, You've engaged in risk and are actively trying to manage it by observing traffic patterns and lights, doing the speed limit when possible and hitting the brakes when  the not so safe driver in front of you cuts you off.
  Everything in life involves risk, but without it, we would curl up into a little ball and never leave the house. You would never fly an airplane, drive a car , or eat a greasy hand tossed pizza prepared by  Italian Joe down at the pizzeria. Buying and selling on EBay involves risk too, but I'm finding , the risk is minimal. At the heart of the EBay project is my new prepaid smart phone from straight talk.It costs me $45 a month for a phone card with unlimited texting and phone useage and Data ( internet) The best part is .. I have the cdma version , so it runs on th everizon network!
This is the one I use. Ive been doing most of my ebaying from this phone.It sends me buyers questions, allows me to leave feedback, alerts me with a cha ching! when someone buys something and money is transferred to my account and so much more!
   I take this phone with me everywhere I go.The great thing about the mobile EBay application, is that you can be standing next to any item at the store and scan  the bar code or type in the items name and see what the going rate is for the same item on eBay is. Lots of times your going to find theres a Huge difference in the price you can get something for, and the price that you will receive for selling it to a GLOBAL market!
    The great thing about it is, I usually don't invest much money in the things i buy and certainly not if they're not selling on eBay.The things you should be looking for is closed items, or recently finished auctions.You can use the "refine" option to check what price the recent auctions for your items have closed at , how many bidders it had ( demand ), how many are available ( supply) and make an educated decision as to the items or items profitability or if you can make enough money to make it worth your time.What a GREAT MARKET research tool I have in the Palm of my hands.! Fell free to ask questions or leave posts or comments if you need help with the free eBay mobile app or tips and hints of any kind.!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Light Box -How To Take Awesome Product Photos

 Recently I noticed a glaring difference in my auction photos and that of other successful EBay Sellers that I am modeling after.There photos were way better than mine.They showcased their merchandise with a professional looking picture.Not like mine, spread out on the bed or kitchen table. Nothing but contrasting color in the background so that they eye is drawn to the most important part of the picture. The item they want you to buy! Not how messy that persons house is, or the cat or dog in the background, or the glare of the camera flash. After i did a little digging I figured out their trick. They were using a light tent!

    Whats a light tent? Well I'm not sure, but it sure takes much better product photos than what I was taking before and can be made from a cardboard box, some tracing paper, poster board and tape.Here is mine.
As you can see its very High-Tech! Seriously this thing is so easy to make I could have gotten my school 1st grade son to do it. I think the purpose of the light box is to soften the light and illuminate the object from all sides.In the photo you can see that  I cut out two sides and the top a little smaller than the size of the tracing paper and then taped the sheet of tracing paper over the hole. The next step is to cut some project poster board to fit the box and then lay it in with a soft slope. Do not crease it or it will show in your photos.

Lastly , you ll need a bright light to illuminate the interior of the box. After much research I found the most popular way of doing this , is with a halogen work light.I bought mine for $15 bucks down at Ace Hardware on clearance.

As you can see, it provides plenty of light but these things get EXTREMELY HOT really fast so take care not to burn yourself. When you are ready to take photos of your eBay items just point the light at the tracing paper and view the results inside the box.You can adjust and play with the lighting by looking at the results through your camera. If your not a do-it -yourself er , you can opt to buy a Light tent package that includes the tent and several halogen lights so you can light from all sides and above.They are sold pretty inexpensively all over eBay.

Before Light Box


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Red Neck Wine Glass Gold

Today I'm going to let you in on a little secret I've been harboring for the last few weeks. The picture to the left, in case your not familiar with this species of glass, is a Redneck Wine Glass.Because of them Ive been basking in the fruits of my labor
(or the lack thereof)  for the last 3 weeks. There is a craze for these things right now! Ive sold everyone Ive made and at times its hard to keep up.I raised the price to control the demand and it didn't work, America is going crazy for a little piece of Red Neck authenticity.But here's the truth. THESE THINGS ARE EASY TO MAKE AN INCREDIBLY PROFITABLE! Check it out.

I took the picture above in my handy dandy light box ( glorified cardboard light tent ) and tested the ebay waters and BANG !I HIT  PAY DIRT!. I know nothing good last forever and that's the way the market swings so I'm not concerned about sharing my secret with you so you too can turn one dollar bills into $10's  Ready for this?
Here's the recipe ... Go to the dollar tree.You know the place where everything is just $1? Get 1 dozen candle glass candle holders. Then run over to walmart and grab a dozen  Ball Mason jars at $7.99 per dozen.Lastly , go all the way back to the crafting area where they sell hot glue sticks and beads and grab a tube of this stuff. It runs all of $3 or so. It bonds glass to glass and dries clear in 24 hours.Go home and join the two and you've just turned $24 into $120 +! averaging  $20 a set. i sell them in sets of two and charge $8 bucks shipping and find it difficult to keep up.Please remember that EBay is an ever changing market place and can change without notice so do a search first so you don't lose your butt! From now until New Years I don't see any problems.Good Luck! See Below for a look at our last batch drying.Also allow a full 24 hours of drying before don't want them to come apart on your customer. I haven't had a single complaint yet and have even managed to sell them locally for $15 a piece!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Back To The Grind

The past week reminded me that Life isn't always what you make of it.Sometimes Life has its own plans. Life it seems, decided to kick me in the teeth this week and left me with a stinging reality.Our lives are not our own. No matter how hard we try to keep the world at bay it will always find away to creep back in. Our family has endured life's lesson this week, but we did not come out unscathed. However, It has brought us closer together and allowed us to remember what is  really important. Especially this time of the year. Happy Holidays everyone.

                                                  BACK TO THE GRIND

    This week proved to be profitable for the small amount of money that I had invested.I didn't have a lot of time time to put into eBay this week because of home demands.Thank God this is kind of a passive income once you get it started. Even though a million other things were happening at home this week, and I pretty much had to drop the whole project, the work I had done the previous two weeks kept paying off. My phone kept making the Cha Ching noise every time someone made a purchase. It was a comforting sound at a time when we really needed the money. Have a look at what sold this week.

                                              THE UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER

This sweater was ugly but  the pictures just don't do it justice. Let me explain.
During the holidays more and more people are joining together to celebrate a growing fad , The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. The center piece? The UGLIEST sweater you can find.I hear they're a hoot and would love to attend one.For now, I'll just supply the sweaters.Where would you find an ugly Christmas sweater? This one was found at Goodwill for $2.99.
This old sweater netted me a 10 spot with little effort. The sweater was literally hand stitched by some little old lady for an ungrateful family member I would imagine. The threads were loose and it looked like it was shedding everywhere.No one else in their right mind would have bought it.But I did. Here's the math:

SOLD              $21.58
Paid                     $2.99
shipping cost        $5.15
EBay/Paypal fees $1.60  
PROFIT             $11.84


This was my Favorite Pick last week and you'll soon see why.I walked into Goodwill and found 3 of these gems laying stacked one on top of another for $2.99 each . I knew what they were because this toy was popular when I was a child. It was immortalized when E.T used one to hook up to an umbrella and phone home.
I thought "Man , you don't see those around anymore. Cha Ching!"
A quick check of EBay from my smart phone revealed that they were averaging $40 each! I grabbed up all 3 and placed them oh so carefully into my cart. I felt a sense of pride welling up from within as I thought. Ha ! If I sell all three of these at $40 Bucks a pop That's more than a days wages for me at work!
Well, I sold 2 of them so far and  I just listed the third one today.The first auction hadn't even finish when I got a personal message from a guy in Los Angeles asking If I had another besides the one that everyone was fighting over. That man paid me $95 total to Fed ex it to him. Leaving me with a Cool Profit of $60 bucks ! This morning the 1st auction closed at $56. I still have one more to sell and just listed it, I bet your asking  yourself why anyone would pay $60 bucks for a relic like that huh? It seems there are very popular bands out there that are "bending" or "modifying the circuits to use them as instruments in dance music.You can check them out on You-Tube! 
            Speak n Spell       SOLD              $115               (for 2)
                                      Paid   $5.98
                                      PROFIT  $109.02  !

1 more to sell !

                                                                GOT        INK?


 Here's another item that was picked up while at Goodwill. Two unopened packages of Kodak printer Ink.If you have a printer at home then you already know that sometimes printer ink is so expensive to refill, that its actually cheaper to buy another printer with the ink already included and toss your old one out.While I don't advocate filling the landfills with your printers every 30 days, we live in a throw away society. This is why I knew this would be a good pick. Please take heed : not all inks are created equal and some have expiration dates. You are not allowed to sell expired goods on EBay so please do your home work first.
Kodak Printer Ink cartridges   SOLD  $20.50
                                                Paid     $1.99
                                            EBay fees $1.60
                                               shipping $3.00   PROFIT   $13.91  !

                                                            Converse All Stars

 In case you didn't know, converse All Stars have been around for a LONG time and have a HUGE following, used or not.I'll just skip to the good part here.Picked them at Goodwill  off the women's shoe rack at a cost of $2.99.If you do this, make sure the shoes are in great shape with little to no wear.

                                                            All Stars SOLD $21.99
                                                                                Paid $2.99
                                                                          Shipped $7.35
                                                                               Fees $1.90    PROFIT   $9.75 !
                                                                         (Lets see your Mutual Fund do that in a week on $2.99)

                                                   Skechers Exercise Shape Up Shoes

These Skechers Shape Ups seem to be a recurring theme at our local Goodwill. I scored two pairs in the same day that looked brand new.I believe they are supposed to help firm up the Lady's rear quarters while they walk and are classified as an exercise shoe.At any rate  they are in demand! Women everywhere are looking to get rid of their holiday meals around this time of the year.

Skechers Shape Up Shoes   SOLD  $24.99
                                               Paid    $2.99
                                             shipping $7.35
                                                                                     Fees $2.10   PROFIT   $12.55 !