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Forge Your Wealth is meant for education and entertainment and should not be used for financial advice.
One of my favorite shows when I was younger was Pawn Stars. In it, you got to see people bring random things they own into the shop where a member of the Harrison family or one of their employees would try to appraise the item and then determine if they buy it. Usually, there is an interesting story behind it including being an original toy made by a legend to being one of the only known surviving objects of a historical warship. People could make hundreds, sometimes even over $10,000 on these items. It’s no wonder people believe they can make money selling things for a quick buck, especially during a crisis.
Since a third of my life has been spent in some university: 4 years for college, and 4 years for my PhD, I have heard many people mention ideas of what to sell. These include everything from jewelry to computers. There are many stories about people making a business and even becoming millionaires from their sales. But for each story you have heard about a successful business built from these ideas, there are about 200 where the idea quickly died or later failed. It is very difficult to make money selling things.
Your Things Are Not Likely To Be Special
Most of the things you have ever bought were manufactured. They were produced in a factory. These were not produced with the intention of holding value, but to be produced, distributed, and sold to as many people as possible. These could be anything from certain glassware to Star Wars action figures. We all have heard stories about these items being sold for thousands of dollars and not cost any more than a few dollars to produce.
This may make random junk sound valuable. However, if you took some of that very similar junk to a buyer, you may be disappointed by the value. Many people just randomly needed money. If you are reading this when a crisis is going on, even more people need money. You probably know that most people trying to sell something are not very likely trying to start a business. It is far more likely they are just looking for a quick buck. Since they are not a business, they cannot guarantee the quality you expect going to a store. If you as their customer wanted the item at proven quality, you would go to the store. Therefore, you cannot expect to make the same price on items you bought from retail. For instance, I purchased some gold and silver jewelry from this one woman in college for $15. She wanted to downsize because she brought too many things. She could not sell those things for as much as she bought them for.
Determine Rarity And Value Of Your Things
Some people can make good money off the things they have. It depends if the item has high value and/or rarity. Some high value items include electronics, musical instruments, and jewelry. Other items could be rare including vintage and collectible toys, comic books, and memorabilia.
You should expect these high value items to sell for considerably to significantly less than you bought them. For instance, you may have a trombone in storage that you have not put your lips to for years. A young adult may buy it from you to pick up a hobby.
Collectibles may sound far more valuable, but there is a disadvantage collectibles have compared to certain high value items. There are only so many produced. Sure, some people may accidentally stumble upon some rare and valuable collectible. But many who invest in collectibles buy them early on at full price. They then wait to sell them when they are rare. In other words, they hold them and hope many others with the same plan do not store them well, or they sell them off/throw them away. You are not very likely to make much money on anything you might consider a collectible, especially if you want a quick buck. You are far more likely to sell a collectible for less than it is worth than stumble upon something valuable. Besides, collectibles aren’t the first thing on the average person’s mind during a recession.
Sell Your Stuff Anyways
You may not make too much money selling things during a crisis. Who cares. Despite these failings, you may be able to make a little money selling things. And the money you have after selling things is more than the money you have if you do not. This may give you a little more time to get things in order. In addition, it may help you with downsizing, which you may have to do if you cannot get things in order.
It is difficult to make much money selling things during a crisis. What you buy as a consumer is not meant to hold value. What you buy as an investor and a businessman may help you forge your wealth. In a future post I will write about what to sell during a recession to make you money.