All of us have heard stories about the side hustler making money on eBay or other platforms, but never took action or didn't know if it is something still doable in 2020.
Here we traverse through the fascinating story of Jason Butler, the blogger behind My Money Chronicles. Jason talks about how he increased his Credit Score within seven months, started his eBay Side Hustle, and currently making $800 to $1,000 a month through eBay and how he uses that money to pay off his debt. Jason believes that anyone reading this or listening to the Podcast can achieve the same results as long as they start.
The initial years and journey into debt
Jason's journey started in 2008 when he graduated from Savannah State University with a degree in Business Marketing. But 2008 was also the year when the economy tanked, and as a result, it took Jason a year and a half to get a full-time job. So while sometimes earning as low as 10 dollars an hour, he had to make the difficult choice between paying his rent and cell phone bills or paying his credit card and student loan liabilities. So, he kept falling deeper into debt and racked up almost $72,000 in total by the time 2012 hit. He was paying the minimum amount on Credit Cards and student loan liabilities. Jason did end up finding a full-time job at a bank, which is now Wells Fargo in November of 2009. While he was making a little more money, it still wasn't making enough to reduce the student loans.
Jason worked at the bank for a while, but he realized it was not what he wanted to do. Trying to get someone hooked on the debt cycle by offering them credit cards when they only had a few dollars in their checking account didn't sit right with him. He ended up applying for jobs in education and started working initially at a school and then finally moved to a college.
Working on his credit score
Jason started reading personal finance blogs in 2013 and started his website discussing money issues as a black man. For two years, he ran his website, did some entrepreneurial stuff, and honed in on his financial knowledge. In late 2014 Jason got laser focused about paying down his financial debt, and around that time also attended his first FinCon. He also started picking up jobs as a freelance writer that earned him a good income on the side as well.
Once back from FinCon, he got resolved to work on his website; he also started a new job at a University. The first thing he did about his debt was contacting the creditors and telling them he wanted actually to pay. The second thing he did is enroll in a plan where he had to make three consecutive payments for 90 days, and that helped bring everything in the current. The third was to get his credit card balance from the high 70 to 80% of his credit limit to around 30%. When he reached the 30% mark, things started taking off with the credit score going up. From January 1, 2015, to August 1, 2015, he was able to increase his credit score by 168 points with the above three tips.
Jason started his journey with over $72,000 worth of debt. He got under $60,000 in 2018, but unfortunately, his car went out. So a new car added another $8,000 to the deficit and made it
jump back up to $68,000. Now in April 2020, Jason is almost at $60,000 again. So it's has been a roller coaster journey. But as eBay and other businesses continue to grow, he knows he will be able to have this debt paid off soon.
eBay initial days
Jason has on and off sold things on eBay since 2009. But in 2016, Jason was sure that the eBay thing was a hustle he can successfully execute and started going to the thrift stores like once a month. One of Jason's initial eBay successes was when he procured from Salvation Army store, a Dwayne Wayde Miami Heat jersey for $3. Jason put it on eBay a couple of days later, the jersey sold for $45, which's a $42 profit.
As his freelance writing gigs dried up, he ramped up what he was doing on his eBay side hustle, moving from visiting a thrift store once a month to going there once a week. Jason knew sports, so he wanted to stick to what he knew, concentrating on Jordan shoes, sports jerseys, etc. From there, he moved on to coffee mugs finding coffee mugs for like maybe 50 cents or $1 and selling them for between $30 and $40. In 2019 he opened up his eBay store and is currently making between $800 to $1,000 per month.
Platforms for a side hustle
Jason has transacted on many platforms for his side hustles and believes there are pros and cons based on the type of merchandise you want to sell.
The three best platforms for clothes are eBay, Mercari, and Poshmark. For electronics, it eBay and Mercari (there are many buyers for electronics here and hence is the best platform for electronics). For those looking to sell big items, Jason suggests using Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, because in most cases, you ideally need to find local buyers for big and bulky items.
Also, shipping something big on eBay or is expensive as well as handling and is hard logistically both on the buyer and seller side. Facebook marketplace and Craigslist allows you to find a buyer locally, go to meet up with the person somewhere like a restaurant or police precinct (don't go by yourself), and perform the transaction.
Before 2019 Jason's blog used to be called "The Butler Journal" based on his last name. Although he loved the title "The Butler Journal," no one knew what it stood for. So he decided to rebrand in January of 2019 to "My Money Chronicles." The reason Jason choose the name My Money Chronicles was that it was a story about money, and he believes its one hell of a story and hence "Chronicles." So now, people don't ask many questions cos they understand what to expect from the blog by reading the title.
The rebranding process was also not that difficult for Jason. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook Ids for his rebranded name were all available, and hence he just changed the name from the old account names to the new ones. He didn't lose any of his followers as it was a seamless transition for his readers. He did the same with the email list, sending out reminders on the
change happening on January 1. When January 6 came, the site was live with new branding without impacting readership or followers.
How to start on eBay
Jason mentions the first thing to do is create an eBay account. It's free. Also, if you're a new seller, you have 50 free listings per month. Now, you have to pay a final value fee, which is like 10% and a 3% fee for PayPal. At the end of the day, if you are making money, those fees are a part of running a business. The second thing is to add another site that you want to sell on. Jason's suggestion would be to either do Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
Next, find at least five items that you're thinking about selling. It can be new but not used by you or something old that you are not using anymore, and they waste space. Take at least ten pictures of the items and get them listed. And then, from there, go with it to selling it and completing the transaction. If you like doing it, continue to add things continue to do research and keep expanding the list of items. When it comes to flipping (buying or cheap and selling on eBay), it's a great time to like flip right now as everybody's at home. Whether they're working or not, they're at home. They're surfing the web, and they're buying as well.
Job loss - Blessing in disguise
Jason was diligently putting most of his side hustle money into paying down his debt. But just before all the Coronavirus impacts started taking effect, he lost his job at the private university that employed him. So in a way, he made his move into full-time entrepreneurship during the pandemic.
But Jason feels that it is a blessing in disguise that happened for the timing. He has been bored during the quarantine, but the business has been booming as well. He has been selling stuff very well for the last four weeks. He had only four days when there were no sales, but other than that, it is a great time to sell things of all types. Jason sometimes sold up to four items within 24 hours. The previous product Jason transacted was a pair of running shoes which he got for free and then sold it for $84.99.
Message to Readers
Jason's message to the readers of this article is to start and not be afraid to start. The pandemic in 2020 has shown that the world will never be the same again. Take this time to learn a new skill to start a new side hustle, and invest in yourself. No one can be sure how this Corona situation will pan out, so you have to have some side income coming in regardless of your job situation. So start.
I felt like Jason was talking to me. So I started. I posted two items for sell on eBay. I was so excited. Then yesterday, a week later, I was scrolling on my phone and received a notification. Yes, eBay notified me that one of my items just sold. More excitement. I messaged Jason right away to tell him about the accomplishment. I also posted my "win" across my social platforms telling people if I can do it, you can too. I am being very intentional about my eBay sales as I have a financial goal to reach by the end of the year and I plan to use eBay, to sell things we haven't touched in a year, to help get there.
To hear the full podcast interview: JASON ON THE MONEY EXCHANGE
Jason can be found on Facebook at My Money Chronicles and Twitter at Money_Chronicles, and he also runs his own FB Group of My Money Chronicles - The Inner Circle. To read all the stories which Jason posts head over to his website, My Money Chronicles.
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