A Funny Story About Selling Your Stuff to Fund Your Startup

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

When I quit my job, I had some savings saved up. But, after skipping a paycheck for the first time and paying a huge property tax right after, let me tell you first hand; not having a steady income stream sucks. Watching your bank account go down after every bill just hits a little different. My wife and I have been smart about this and we planned for one of us quitting our jobs for a while, but this isn’t for the faint of heart. Every time I have to spend money, I really think about it now. I double check to make sure we need that one item because we have a limited runway. We do not have the same income that used to come in before and every purchase needs to be made with that in mind. I know this sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but believe me. If you have never been out of work, you have no idea what this feels like. I’ve always have had a paycheck and not having one feels weird.

But, because I am in charge of my own destiny, complaining about not having extra fun money is not going to make money magically appear. I have taken a very proactive approach and I am selling useless things around the house to fund my startup. I wanted to write this post to share my experience over the past week and maybe inspire you to start selling your things if you feel a little constricted on cash. One thing I’ve learned about money now that I earn it differently is that I value my time a lot more. Every decision I make is now in terms of how can I grow this into an income stream. I know I’m not going to be in the situation of not having a paycheck forever. My business will either succeed or I’ll go back to having a full-time job again. I’m really hoping it’s the former, but regardless between the runway I’ve established and my skills in Technical Program Management, I know that money will flow once again.

Let’s talk about selling things that you may have around the house. I have been freelancing these past couple weeks to fund my startup. I am currently building out multiple streams of income and some will take a little longer to develop. While that happens, I am doing everything I can to extend my financial runway and keep my dreams alive. One activity that I started doing is selling things I have in my garage on eBay or OfferUp. I’ve collected a lot of junk over the years and I use .01% of that junk. It serves me no purpose other than memories. They take up space and I constantly have to keep them away from my kids. Since I need money, and some of these things have some value, I decided it was a good time to start parting with them. Here’s my story of how things are going so far.

I had a couple dozen video games that I just never opened up. I got into a bad habit of buying games, but never actually having the time to play them. I didn’t realize I had so many new, unopened games from over a decade ago. I decided to post them up on eBay and try to make some cash. If things on eBay didn’t work out, my community is having a garage sale next month, and I was going to list each game for five dollars. To my surprise, within one hour of posting one of these games, it sold for 35 dollars. Then, another game sold for 65 dollars. Off to a good start! Once I shipped those games, I posted a few more and those sold like hot cakes as well. How have I been sitting on this honeypot of gold and didn’t realize it? One of the buyers got a hold of me and asked me if I had any more unopened games. I told him I had 3 more and offered me a 100 dollar cash offer. I had already shipped a game to him and realized he lived close to my house. I offered to drop off the other 3 games so he could save on shipping. This is where the story gets interesting.

I went over to the buyers house to drop off the three games. eBay was supposed to send the buyer an email with a confirmation code that I then needed to provide to eBay. This assures eBay that the transaction happens as opposed to the honor code method that OfferUp utilizes. The buyer didn’t have code and we were stuck trying to figure out what to do. After a few moments, I decided to just leave the games with the buyer since I already knew where he lived and told him that I would figure it out with eBay in the morning. As he’s giving me his email, I have the sudden realization that I recognize the last name. In an interesting turn of events, the buyer was the father of my former coworker. What a small world! We chatted for a few more minutes and then he asked if I had more games. I told him I did and he offered to buy every single one of them.

In the end, after a week of selling items from just one box, I’ve managed to make over 1k in funds. This is amazing because I’ve never been much of a sales man. I learned that if you just sit there and let fear control you, you never grow. Sure, there will be rejections and failures, but not doing something is worse than actually doing something. I’ve learned that I rather go forward with the pain of failure because if there is success, it is worth the pain and rejection.

I have a lot of items to sell. I literally have gone through only one of my boxes. I have an entire collection of Apple products and more things that I just simply do not need. I’ve been hesitant to sell these things, but its a great way to learn how to market products and make sales. It also funds my startup so I can afford to go an extra month or two before I start looking for a full-time job.

What do you think? Do you have things laying around your house that might be worth some value? I was going to try to sell these games for five dollars each but instead sold them at an average price of 45 dollars. I would have given up a good amount of money had I played it safe. I encourage you to take the risk and be patient. Other products I have listed are not doing so well but I plan on figuring it out. I plan on becoming a better sales person because it is going to help me make those cold phone calls and emails that I need to do in order to sell the many products I am developing over the next few months.

Hope you enjoyed this little story about how I am selling my things to fund my startup. Hopefully it encourages you to make a little extra money on the side by getting rid of things you may not be using. You might be sitting on something valuable and you might just not know it. Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to like and follow me here on Medium. If you want to learn about all the other things I’m working on, check me out at:

I’m an engineer working professionally in San Diego, CA. I’m trying to improve every day and use this space to document. Connect: apetech.me/social

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