Never Give In And Never Give Up, Turn Sadness And Anger Into Strength
At the age of 19 I was flat broke and I found myself in quite a predicament, as an irresponsible teenager I had just gotten a DWI and lost my license and was facing some expensive fines and lawyer fees as well as other bills adding up. I was a poor college student living at home and my parents were so angry at me they were about to kick me out. I needed to come up with close to $3000 in 45 days and I had nobody to turn to for help and no license to look for a job. I had a girlfriend of six months at the time who lived 30 miles away from me and she did not have a car and my future was not looking too bright. My back was against the wall and it felt like the world was going to crush me, I felt hopeless and worthless and my mind was racing and then my sadness turned into anger. I went to my room and punched the walls and knocked over everything I could. After a few hours of anger I began to settle down and started thinking of ways I could make some money and decided to search the internet as you may have very well done to find this handbook. I saw an ad for eBay, an online auction site and clicked on it to see what was being sold on there. Keep in mind this was the year 2001 and eBay did not have the popularity it enjoys today. I noticed people were listing and selling just about everything and anything and at good prices. I was intrigued immediately and a spark went off in me and the feeling of hope returned. I ran through my house for about an hour trying to find anything I thought would be of value that I could part with, and anything I thought my parents would not miss or notice was gone (I dont recommend that last part always get permission before selling anything that is not yours!). My pile of items included my Fender Stratocaster electric guitar and amplifier with accessories, my old sporting equipment, board games, Super Nintendo & Nintendo 64 video game systems, old college books, tools I found in the garage and my car CD player head unit (I wasnt going to be driving for awhile so I didnt think I would miss it for awhile). I borrowed my mothers digital camera and worked through the night taking pictures and writing down descriptions. I used the basic listing service on the eBay website and managed to list close to twenty five items on the auction site. Keep in mind that after I finished each listing it automatically was listed on eBay so my first listing went on around 6:30 PM and my last item went on around 1:00 AM which is a terrible time to be listing items for auction because they will end at the same time they are listed and not many people are online then. I will get into listing and best practices later in the book.
Seven days later I had sold close to $1500, reaching half of my target funds that I needed. I had no idea how to ship them out, at first I found boxes around the house and used tissue paper, old clothes and even blankets to ship out the first bit of items. This soon ran out and I ended up getting a friend to take me to a local pack and ship store to handle the rest. The pack and ship stores are extremely convenient but they charge outrageous prices for shipping and can kill your profits quickly. Needless to say after my first week of sales a fire was lit inside me, I saw my neighbor was having a yard sale and explained to him my situation for raising money and he cut me a deal and I ended up buying close to twenty items for about a hundred bucks including a nice set of golf clubs. I asked a few friends if they needed to sell anything and was surprised at their eagerness to provide me with head units, stereos, game systems and other items they were going to toss out or didnt need any more. You really may be surprised if you just ask around at the amount of items you can find to sell. With the items I got at the yard sale and profits from my friends sales (I split the profits with them) I checked my PayPal account and there was a little over $5,000! I had done it and needless to say when my friends heard about my success the items just kept flowing in.
A few months later after paying my mines are getting my license back I decided to partner up with two friends in a business venture to sell online. We rented out a warehouse that was beat up and in a very bad section of the city in Baltimore, Maryland but we had access to 50,000 square feet of space and the rent was only $300 with the requirement that we help sell the companies second hand inventory they had in their many warehouses. We started networking with other salesmen in the area and business associates and built a very fast network of consignment clients. One of our best was with a local junk removal company, they would get paid to remove all kinds of things from estates, unwanted personal items, cleanouts, etc and we had no trouble splitting the profits right down the middle considering they were being paid to take the items. The first year our sales were a modest $187k and we decided to hire a few college kids for shipping and handling to free up our time and a sales manager to oversee daily management activities. We hired a few more employees and paid them on commission which made their hiring and payment a low risk situation given they were properly trained and reliable. We were really on a roll, some months we would pull in $50,000, our sales for the year were over $500k with just a small force of employees.
The next year would be my best and worst of my life; it started out amazing with sales off the charts. We merged with another local eBay company that had several local package and ship stores under contract as eBay drop off stores. We would buy out another small company shortly after with the same business model and expand the number of stores we had under contract to fifteen and most were operational excepted items from their local customer base. We had plans to have fifty more stores under contract by the end of the year, and then eventually spread out throughout the east coast and then all of the United States. One of the co-owners and I created a software solution with a web interface and backend databases to process eBay drop off customers items and link all the stores together to manage sales and accounting. The solution enabled the owners of the drop off locations to input pictures, descriptions and give us shipping prices so when we sold one of these items all we had to do was tell the drop off location where the item was to be shipped to and they handled it. They even stored the items at their locations so we did not have to worry about lost items, returns and security of the item, the liability was completely on them. Sales were booming, we established a board of directors and I located a company that would act as a market maker and help my company go public and be traded on the open market. Not the NASDAQ or NYSE, just the OTCBB but this was still a huge move for my company. I was 23 years old, I had just purchased a new RX-8 and a Honda Civic Hybrid, moved into the best apartment money could buy, had 60k in the bank, I was going out to fancy restaurants with CEOs, Politians, and millionaires. I was planning my future and family with my girlfriend, my best friends were also some of my employees and co-owners who I got to see and hang out with everyday. Life was perfect!
As quick as I climbed to the top of the business world, it would crumble and fall in what seemed like an instant. The warehouse that we had been renting and using as our central office as well as still handling lots of consignment contracts was filled with inventory. Within a month we were robbed twice and then to top it off somebody stole a car and torched the evidence on the side of our warehouse burning our warehouse to the ground. We were lied to by the company we rented the building from as they stated all along that our company was covered under their insurance which it would turn out we were not. We had sold and not yet shipped close to $20k worth of inventory that went up in flames, another $100k worth of inventory was lost, all of our servers and equipment destroyed. Every employee we had working at the warehouse either quit or we had to let go. The board of directors started fighting with each other about how to move forward; after all we still had our drop off locations operational. After losing our warehouse and those employees who were listing our inventory online we could not keep up with orders, our reputation was hurt, not to mention we were being sued for losses and damages from the consignees whose items went up in flames. We had to process fifty or so refunds on eBay left many very angry buyers who in turn left very bad feedback killing our main eBay sales account. I would end up dishing out over $40k of my own money to try and keep the company going by paying salaries and handling operational costs but in the end it was a losing battle.
I ended up taking on too much debt, as did the company and within a few short months the company was bankrupt. In turn not to many months later I too was bankrupted, evicted from my apartment, had my cars repossessed, bank accounts closed. I let my girlfriend of four years go in a selfless act as I could not let her go down with me, and I was ashamed and embarrassed of what had happened to me and who I became. I moved bank into my parents house a broken man with virtually nothing to live for. So, I ask the question again, are you going through a tough time in your life? I assure you I have felt your pain, having had everything I could of ever dreamed in life one moment and than having it all taken from me in the next. I wanted to find that guy who said You dont know what you got, till its gone and beat him senseless. This would be the lowest point of my previously beloved life, so what did I do? I got back up on my feet and started back at the beginning selling what possessions I had and those of friends and family and within a few years I had risen from the ashes like a phoenix, paid off my debts, put myself through college and saved up enough money to where I could start a business again or travel the world without worrying about money.
I share my brief story of failure and success with you because I want to help, I want to motivate and inspire greatness in everyone I come in contact with. If you have stuck with me this long in the introduction I thank you, now lets make some money!