From Zero To Hero: How to Earn Money Without Any Investment
I’ve read a lot of posts claiming to help people earn money without spending any money only to find that behind it all there is an offer that is required to take advantage of. I’m not faulting those that do that as I understand that they need to make money. Personally, I think they should be upfront about it. So how can you earn money without any investment when in fact you have to spend money to get started?
So, I’ve done a bit of testing over the last month and have developed a solid plan that I believe anyone can implement.
You will need a couple of things to get started.
- Car or access to transportation
- A smart phone
- Access to a computer/laptop (not required, but useful)
Now starting out we are running under the assumption that there is no money to spend (outside of a few gallons of gas) which is all you need to get started.
Next let’s lay some ground rules.
- You need to reinvest most of the money you make initially
- You need to acquire items that you can use or sell fairly quickly
- If you do spend money you need to make sure that you can at least get your money back when you sell it
Let’s get started
Look around your house to see if there is anything that you don’t use anymore that you might be able to sell. If so, take a couple of pictures and list it on letgo, offerup and Facebook marketplace apps. You may be wondering why you need to list it on all three and the answer is that not everyone uses all three apps. Just copy and paste the description and title when listing on the others. It doesn’t take long to list on all 3.
Now if you don’t have anything to sell that is perfectly fine. Having something to sell helps initially because that will give you some extra gas money, so you can drive a little further. All I initially had was a tony little gazelle that we no longer used so I listed it for $10 and it sold pretty quickly.
When listing items, you want to maximize the price you get and how quickly it sells. I could have sold it for around $50-75 but it would have taken a couple of weeks instead of a couple of hours. Also, you want to leave room for negotiation. So, if you want to sell it for $10 list it for $15-20 so people can feel like they got a better deal.
A lot of people are simply looking to get rid of things which is where you come in. You help the get rid of it and then you can turn around and sell it for a profit. When you get an item for free it’s pretty much pure profit minus a couple bucks in gas. You need to make it fun. Unless you have a lot of extra room I would stay away from furniture as it’s harder to sell and takes up a lot of space. In my case I decided to upgrade my furniture. I threw out my couches, bookshelves that were falling apart and a make shift dresser. Since I have a mini van and the seats come out I can easily load in most furniture. A lot of people that are getting rid of multiple pieces of furniture are also getting rid of other valuable things as well.
On my third free trip this guy was trying to get rid of everything in this room. His brother passed away and he needed it gone as he was trying to get the house ready to list. Inside the room there was a personal sauna that goes for $2,000 new that was in awesome shape, 2 tennis tutors that go for $748 new, and a lot of other things that could be sold for $5-20. He had a lot of people tell him they were going to show up and never did and since I was there, he was glad that I was ready to help him out. I had to make 3 round trips to get everything.
Immediately took pictures of things before I loaded them up so I could list them quickly. After the third trip I took the tennis tutors to play it again sports to check em out. They weren’t in the best shape but he recommended to sell them for parts for around $75-150 each. Music to my ears! I also listed the sauna up for $250. I was able to sell a tennis trainer thing to play it again sports for $2.
Since my total was up to $12 and decided to dive into the next phase! As you can see the first phase is the key to earn money without any investment!
Now you want to keep picking up free stuff and selling it to grow your cash but as you have some cash you can move into the next phase which is my personal favorite: Garage Sales!
There’s a couple of things you need to know about garage sales to have some success and save yourself some time. Most people that put on garage sales are in the same boat as those giving stuff away for free. They just want to get rid of it, however they want to make a little bit of cash while doing so. If you come early in the day they are less willing to negotiate so the best time to stop by is between 12-2p or whenever the are closing up and you simply ask this magic question:
“Would you take X(amount) for everything?”
For this particular garage sale I was on a mission to find more silverware and kitchen utensils as with 4 kids they always see to go missing. Low and behold he had 2 big bins full of kitchen utensils that he was selling 2 for $1. I asked him would you take $6 for all 3 bins. He hesitated and I said I don’t want the knifes but the other 2 bins I’m willing to do $6. He said yes. Since I already got him to say yes once I noticed a nice circulon pan (goes for $40-70 new) and said would you take a $1 for the pan. He said he paid $70 for it. My response “that’s great, would you take $1 for it. He said yes again. So I spent $7 at a garage sale and got a bunch of stuff that I can use and sell.
I put up the pan for $20 and bunch of other things for $5-10 so I’ll definitely get my $7 back and have a fully stocked kitchen! Well at least until the kids lose it all.
My personal favorite items to get are baby clothes are garage sales because they don’t take up a lot of space and you can sell them in lots of 3-5 on ebay for around $8-15 depending on the brand. There was one time when I got around 300-400 pieces of little kids clothes for $10 asking the magic question during closing time. Granted I actually needed those clothes for my 3 daughters at the time, however I would have turned that into 100 lots of 3 items for $8 and sold the on ebay for a total of $800. After ebay fees and the $10 I spent I would have had a net profit of $680.
Some other things to look out for when doing garage sales (as long as they are in good condition)
- stuffed animals
- kids clothes
- small appliances
- some books
- kids toys
- board games
Keep in mind if you can get a bunch of items for $5 you can very easily get your money back and make a profit only by selling a few. So after the first phase of earning without any investment you can use that investment in second phase to start increasing your cash flow!
Now that you have some cash flow you can start to enter in the world of arbitrage. This phase is a warm up to retail arbitrage as it’s relatively low risk and you will have a decent success rate. I coined this as “library arbitrage” Most libraries I know and I’ve been to quite a few as a kid and as a parent are just like any other business. They have limited space. So they have books they need to get rid of so they typically have a section toward the front that is a book store. They sell books anywhere from $.05-$.5 each. As a kid in southern California, I remember the Fullerton public library used to do a buck a bag sale.
So what you do is pull up the craigslist app and start scanning barcodes. When you do a search, you need to filter for sold and completed listings and those in used condition. This way you can actually see what’s selling.
In my research I spent about 10-20 minutes scanning books at a local library and found at least 5 books that were selling on ebay for $4-10 in used condition. The books were only ten cents each!
So after you’ve hit up a couple of garage sales on a Saturday then head over to your local library and see if you can find some books to pick up and flip on ebay.
If you spend a couple hours a week doing all three phases then you should be able to generate an extra $100-300/month depending on the items you are able to acquire. To make it easier I would recommend getting a free bookshelf and put it up in your house as your inventory rack. You can have the different shelves be for the different amounts you spent or organized by product type. This way you can easily store your items.
Once you hit the $500 mark meaning that you have an extra $500 in your account not total sales then you are ready to move into phase 4. I would recommend to also have some inventory that hasn’t sold yet so you can still have some cash flow coming in. The more successful you are in the first phase of getting free items to earn money without any investment will help you in this phase to really set yourself up for phase 4!
For this phase you are going to need some additional supplies to start out which is why you need to have an extra $500 to get started.
Here’s what you will need
- Bubble wrap
- Shrink wrap
You are now ready to get started in the awesome world of retail arbitrage. To get setup you simply need to register with Amazon FBA program.
You can start with a free account, but you are limited to 40 items and have higher FBA fees (usually $1 more/item) To get started that is perfectly fine as you can use what you make in the first month to upgrade to the $40/month option. Once you get rolling the $40/month is not a big deal at all. When you have a $1,000 day what does $40 matter? ????
How this works is you simply send stuff to amazon and they will handle everything for you: shipping, customer service, returns, etc. That is why there are fees associated. The basic concept is you find stuff at stores that is cheap, scan it to see if you can make a profit after fees, and if you can buy it and get paid when it’s sold on amazon.
Amazon FBA is pretty big subject, so I’ll keep it high level. If you have any questions on it you can drop it in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer it for you.
Stores need to clear items out to make room for new items coming in which is why they discount products aka “clearance”. Basically, you start scanning away and find ones where you can make a profit. Personally, I like to make sure it will sell quickly (lower sales rank) and I’ll make at least $3. Ideally there’s multiple items so I can buy a bunch and make a lot of $3+ profits in one shot. For example, Walmart is currently doing Christmas clearance so while I was there,
I came across this scrapbooking girl’s set discounted to $10.
It’s been selling on Amazon for $28 and after the $14 FBA fees, shipping costs, and my $10 cost to purchase I’ll make a net profit of $2.90.
Granted this is below the $3 mark but only .1 and there were 15 available. That means I’ll have a $43.50 profit in one shot. That’s a no brainer.
Retail arbitrage works in pretty much any store, TJ Max, Dollar Tree, Target, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and even thrift stores. The key is that you need to get to know the stores and their schedule. Also get to know the managers and introduce yourself. They will give you a call when they need stuff cleared. In a lot of cases they will typically mark down the clearance to what you need to make a profit. Remember you are doing them a valuable service by clearing out space. Just remember you aren’t going to find products are every store you visit. You will be scanning a lot of products. In fact I would recommend either a Bluetooth scanner as well as an external charge for your smart phone.
Basically, the goal is to use the first four phases to funnel in as much as possible into capital for retail arbitrage. This way you can have a steady flow of sales. Eventually you will be making enough with retail arbitrage so all you will need to focus on is retail arbitrage. Just set a goal of what you want to make each month and figure out how many items it will take to get there.
For example, let’s say you wanted to make an extra $3,000/month. That means you would need to send amazon at least 1,000 items (assuming a minimum profit of $3). You would need to get 250 items each week or 35 items a day. Assuming that each item has an average purchase price of $10 that means you would need to have a bankroll of $2,500 each week to purchase the items. It will take a little time to build up to it but the good news is that you most certainly can do it!
Hope this helps empowers you with the knowledge to earn money without any investment. As you can see all it takes is a little drive, desire and hustling!
If these five phases do not seem like your cup of tea and you are looking for a way to get started making money online you can check out a great place to learn called Wealthy Affiliate. Although there is a premium membership that does cost money there is a lot of value in the free membership. You can learn a lot as well as get 2 websites!