Time for another morale boost for those who are down on their times! I look all over my city, I see people holding signs for food, I hear people speak
of terrible luck at the unemployment office, downsizing and hours cut from their cash strapped employers, and what do I notice in common with all of
I SEE OPPORTUNITY!!!!!
That's right, I don't see lazy bums, or assume alcoholics, or accuse of welfare exploitation, I just see opportunity. I see people with more time on
their hands, but they have not necessarily experienced enough of the world to see the opportunity in themselves! Therefore, while the many suggestions
I will recommend undoubtedly may not apply to everyone down on their times who read this thread, it may very well apply to a few, and they may have
the means to get themselves back on their feet and rediscover that entrepreneurial spirit. Others will discover the means simply by remembering the
world and our own local communities are so much larger than our electro-gizmos have zombified us from remembering.
I am going to start off with some of my own experience earning a humble income from the will to not sit idly by and waste away. I have had my job with
Wal-Mart for ten years, and it is only the second job I have had in my adult life. I love it, I love the people I speak with everyday (hundreds) and
earn a respectable income, have great credit, and a host of other benefits. But there are time when I take a break not to go on a family trip, holiday
vacation or medical. I just do it to turn trash into cash! I absolutely take gently used consumer goods (furniture, electronics, appliances,
decorations, lighting, picture frames, books, utensils, list can go forever) that I literally just find thrown out by the curbside with their
municipal waste, or near the dumpsters of apartment complexes. I also scour the free section of craigslist for items that are posted nearby in my
Now the trick is to manage the time cleaning or touching up an item with potential revenue generated from it. I want my items to sell for the lowest
price, that when divided by the physical minutes into loading, and then cleaning that item and comparing it to the same wage earned with those minutes
in a min. wage environment.
At a stop let us say I found a cute 3 compartment ascending wall décor with decorative heart carved into and two decorative perch to hang things from
(jewelry maybe?). This is the same "cheap" Chinese thin light particle wood decorative utilitarian item marketed towards a female in a store like
Ross, Bealls, Big Lots, Steinmart, $$$$ general store, or other outlet and closeout retailer for upwards of $15.95 - $27 (California probably). It was
left in a heap of rubbish near an overflowing compactor in a residential complex. It was relatively scratch free, no stains, and unbroken. I can only
assume the previous owner simply became bored and upgraded to a new design, or moved and did not have room or purpose for it. Whatever. It took me 30
seconds to examine and load it, and about 5 minutes to gently go over it with a bleached cloth to kill any bacteria and lightly spritz it with
febreeze to mask the bleach. I pay particular attention and use a VERY bright LED flashlight to inspect every crevice and gap that may house
MOTHER#ING cockroach eggs or spider sack, and the occasional gecko, damn critters. I would probably start with a sell price of six dollars each, or
the two for ten
. five and a half minutes have yielded me ten dollars in a sellable product, because this item really would be a nice gift for a
woman, and was in such a good enough condition, I feel ten is a fair price for the pair.
5 minutes and 30 seconds of effort has yielded $10
5 minutes and 30 seconds of minimum wage will yield $0.66
So now you guys are saying, "hey man I see, but now I have all this stuff overflowing in my garage, patio, shed, minivan, truck LIVING ROOM! Ok well
you have a couple of options. You can simply do a yard sale type event by yourself or with neighbors with hours of operation listed for a limited or
indefinite time, or you can rent a stall at a flea market with decent foot traffic. If you live in an urban environment of at least 100,000 people,
chances are there is a large indoor flea market style joint close to the lower income bracket neighborhoods. These usually have an affordable space
option you can utilize to experiment with your marketing skills. I did forget to mention though the following disclaimer.
As you are not relying on a nationally recognized brand retailer and their multi-million dollar marketing (i.e. brainwashing propaganda "spend your
money on me, my stuff is the best and if I tell you enough times in every form of media you will know it as truth"), it is up to you to have that
exact same affect. With a simple prodding of your customers background, some intuition, and a friendly mildly persistent, yet not overbearing dialogue
on why a certain item would benefit them, a friend or loved one , their relationship, or the home. You are going to absolutely be a nice people person
who is not shy of face to face conversation. grumpy butts and hateful ignoramuses will catastrophically fail in this simple endeavor at capitalism
because they will not get over their ego's or prejudices enough to speak with other human beings. It is not that these people feel they will have
nothing in common with a random stranger, it is that they have no will and will expend no effort to find the common ground between themselves and a
You are not going to be marrying these people, bringing them to dinner, introducing them to ma and pa or your buddies, or converting to their
religion. You only need to be nice enough to convince the person that this item is great for their wants/needs and a hell of a bargain compared to a
brand new item. I don't recommend mentioning support for their local economy because it may come off preachy and needy at the same time. That can
irritate someone into feeling that you believe they are compelled or obligated to at least spend something, and no encounter should ever have that
feeling. You should always feel grateful they are taking time out their day to meet you and see what you have to offer them.
By now you are saying "Hey man, this sounds just like a thrift shop, what gives!" Well that is exactly correct, you are essentially running nothing
more than a mini thrift shop at a flea market, but that is kind of the whole point. This is ultimately how basic a thrift shop really is. It is a flea
market stall in a larger, isolated environmentally controlled facility. And by establishing one in a high foot traffic low income area like an indoor
flea market where rent is substantially more affordable, you can make a humble living that can supplement unemployment or replace it outright.
Many people all over America, myself included have and continue to do this successfully and make a decent living. The only thing required of thyself
is some effort, some courtesy, and a humble attitude.
There is also salvaging scrap metal, delivering groceries (to elderly, disabled), hauling junk if you have the means, helping others deliver their
large consumer purchases by undercutting the retailer or truck rentals
(oh I used to love doing that when I went shopping and had a truck), and you
know lawn care if you have the appliances. More details at later date though.