Flipping Challenge Week 1 (Update): $1000 in 90 Days

This is the second post in a series wherein which someone who works with me (Dylan) is attempting to make $1000+ in 90 days, starting with no money and just 5 items he already owned. This challenge is the central theme to the course Flipping For Profit.

If you haven’t done so already, you are welcome to join the fun and post updates along the way.

Week 1 (Day 5) Update…

Hi Everyone!

I can’t believe I’m already 5 days into this challenge.

If you read the first post, you know that I started on Monday by picking 5 items and listing them on Craigslist right away. The 5 items I picked (+ what I thought I could get) were:

  1. A 63” plasma TV from 2011 that doesn’t work right ($50)
  2. A lightweight plastic bed frame for a queen bed ($20)
  3. An 18-speed purple bicycle ($40)
  4. A double stroller ($60)
  5. A pair of brown Chaco sandals, size 12 ($30)

I started by listing them on Craigslist because I’ve sold a few things on there before when cleaning out my house.

Brief adventures with Facebook

I woke up early on Tuesday so that I could get set up on facebook marketplace. Coming into this I have 0 experience with it, and I didn’t even have a facebook account. One day in and I already hit my first wall – they don’t let new accounts use marketplace. It gets worse too. I researched the topic some and found an entire Facebook help thread on the subject with many people reporting not getting access despite waiting for 3+ weeks. You can see that thread here.

Some people report not having access despite being long-term members too…

This means that I’m stuck with just Craigslist for now. I’m not going to let that stop me from completing the challenge but after reading about Facebook marketplace, I definitely see how listing on both would have helped me move items a lot faster. I’m going to try to get approved sooner rather than later. For now you can consider that my handicap.

Share in the comments if you are also blocked.

Updating original posts

So instead of spending Tuesday morning creating posts on Facebook, I shifted my attention to taking the “Creating a good ad” lesson from the course so I could update my existing Craigslist posts. The lesson is broken down into 4 sections: titles, descriptions, photos, and pricing.

I had significant room to improve in all four areas. Some of the points made in the lesson seem obvious in hindsight but that didn’t stop me from making the mistakes when I initially created the ads.

Over the course of an hour, I went through each post and updated them in all four areas, including adding more and better pictures for each item. One of the main things I kept in mind after reading the lesson was “Am I answering all of their questions?”

A slight twist that I added was “and am I making them want this?”

Addressing fears and making them want to buy…

For example, when I was updating the TV ad, I spent some time thinking about what objections people may have to buying it, or even to responding to the ad for that matter. I put myself into the shoes of the potential buyer and thought about what I would be concerned about. For an old plasma TV, my biggest concern would be wasting time and money on something that didn’t work at all.

I didn’t know all that much about the TV. It was something that was left behind by the original owner of my house because “it didn’t work right”.

I decided my best route forward would be to include the exact details for the TV, including why I had it and what I knew about. To decrease the potential risk, I took a video of the TV playing a youtube video through a chromecast and told anyone interested that I would send the video via email so they could see the TV working.

Picture of the TV

These updates were like flipping a switch on the post. After not getting any responses for the first day, all of a sudden my email inbox was flooded with people who wanted it.

It’s pretty incredible how many replies I got in a short period of time after updating the post. I see two takeaways from this: Better ads perform a lot better (shocking), and I should have asked for more money…

First sale!

By Tuesday night, the TV was gone.

I had it listed at $125, and the offers I got for it ranged from $50 to the full $125.

The two offers over $100 both needed me to deliver the TV over 30 minutes away, which I did not want to do. The TV was heavy and transporting it presented a risk of it breaking before I was able to sell it.

There were 4 offers at $50, and one at $75.

The $75 offer wasn’t able to pick it up until this weekend, so I ended up selling it to a guy who was willing to pick it up that night for $50. I could have gotten more for it, but I was excited about getting the first sale, $50 was my target for it to begin with, and I had just finished the lesson on speed. So I opted to move it quickly instead of waiting.

Additional Sales

The second sale followed close behind the first. To my surprise, it was the queen bed frame. I had it priced at $25, and someone contacted me on Tuesday and offered to pick it up the next day with no negotiation over the price.

Bed frame disassembled and waiting for pickup

This went extremely smoothly. A local delivery guy picked it up and had the money. I got his business card because I could see it being useful in the future. I have a truck for picking my own stuff up, but I don’t want to spend too much time delivering things. I’m going to refer people to him if they need something delivered outside the range I’m willing to travel in the future (this could have helped get more out of the TV).

Yesterday I sold both the Chacos and the stroller. The Chacos went for $25 and the stroller went for $60.

For the four items that I have sold out of my original five, two went for the exact prices I had hoped, one sold for $5 more, and one went for $5 less – so I am exactly on track.

This means that after 4 days, I already have $160! I’m feeling pretty good about this, and I’m hoping to sell the bike this afternoon. There is someone interested for $30.

One of Ryan’s lessons in Flipping For Profit talked about the importance of 100% reinvestment for early growth. It also called out people who normally would put the money in their pocket and spend at least a little. That is exactly what I would have done, so this mason jar is officially my flipping bank.

Time Tracker

Last week Monica suggested in the comments that I should make sure that I keep track of time as part of this challenge. I think that is a great idea, and I’ve been doing that this week…

  • Creating and updating ads: 90 mins
  • Meeting with buyers: 45 mins
  • Reading lessons in the course: 3 hours
  • Answering messages: ???

I spent about 90 minutes on the 5 ads overall. This is a lot more time per ad than I expect to spend in the future, a lot of this was because I updated the ads after learning some ideas for making better ads. In the future, I will be starting off with good ads.

I met with 4 buyers this week, and only spent about 45 minutes to do it. Two items were picked up at my house and only took about 10 minutes each to help load the items and talk briefly with the person who picked them up. The other two I met at a plaza about 5 minutes from my house.

I also spent three hours reading lessons in the course, which I would say counts towards the overall time I’m spending flipping.

The one thing that I did not track is time spent answering messages. I did my best to answer all messages as soon as I saw them, so this time happened in increments ranging from a few seconds to a minute or two for some of the emails. I would guess this would add up to about 20-30 minutes, though it could have been less.

Current Status of Challenge

Here is a quick rundown of my stats so far.

Cash: $160

Items Sold: 4

Items Currently Listed: 1

# of days into the challenge: 5

Time invested: ~ 5 hours 45 minutes

These are the main things I could think to include here. If there are other stats that you would like me to keep track of and include, let me know. These could be a good base to include in your comments as well.

Looking Ahead

I plan on spending at least an hour on reading the lessons on buying tonight and making a list of sales, stores, etc… to go to over the next 90 days. Tomorrow will be my first official day “sourcing”, and I will make sure to write about that in detail for next week.

My goal for the next week is to go sourcing at least 3 times, and sell at least some of the items that I buy over the weekend. I’d be more specific if I could, but I don’t really know how many items to expect to buy.

I’m also hoping to get Ryan more involved with this. He is having me do the challenge because he wants the results to be representative of a beginner, but I personally think it would be interesting to see what he could do with his skills and a similar challenge. We’ll see…

What about you?

How did you do this week? Comment below to share anything that you’ve accomplished or questions you may have.

If you have ideas for what I should include in the posts, please share that as well. Thanks again to Monica for the idea about tracking time.

If you haven’t gotten started yet, don’t let that stop you from joining in. Today can be Day 1 of the challenge for you.

Looking forward to hearing updates!

A new update will be published every Friday.

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14 thoughts on “Flipping Challenge Week 1 (Update): $1000 in 90 Days”

  1. I’m in. Just sent in ID docs and financials to Amazon to complete setting up an account. Will spend this weekend scanning books that I’ve picked up for free recently and see if there’s any value there.
    I’ll be listing an older triathlon bike, entertainment center, and will be looking through the garage for other items to sell through Craigslist. I’m not on facebook so I’ll keep it with just Craigslist and Amazon for books or any other retail arb that I may come across.
    Sidenote – Online Sellers Experiment folks, do you guys do any local meetups? I’m in the SW suburbs of the Twin Cities.

    1. Hi Jim,

      Thanks for joining in the challenge!

      As for Twin Cities meetups, we don’t have anything setup currently, but it’s an idea I’ve kicked around setting up from time to time. If you’re subscribed to the email list (which you can do on the homepage) I’ll plan on including it in an email if I ever set one up.

      Best Regards,

  2. Congrats Dylan! It sounds like you are off to a great start. Thank you for adding the break down of your time spent. If you don’t account for the cost of goods, it looks like you made almost $30 an hour and gained some space in your home. I consider that a big win.

    I am off to a slow start and hope that will change this weekend as the sun comes out and we get warmer weather. Most of this week was cold, rainy, and very, very windy. I have some potential buyers lined up and hope to have my own sales update soon.

    I did run into a couple of unexpected things during this process:
    1. My children expect a cut of the profit when I sell anything that was once theirs. 2. Facebook Marketplace dinged one of my items with a policy violation. I have submitted an appeal. The item is a board game and the violation stated that I am not allowed to sell animals on the marketplace. There are pictures of animals on the board game. They are drawings and do not look like photographs of actual animals. I have no idea how long the policy violation hid my item from the marketplace or how long it will take for FB to review my appeal. I was not notified of it via FB or email. I discovered it when I went to see if there were any tweaks I could make to improve the post.

    1. Thank you. I benefited from the opposite weather. This week we had unseasonably warm and sunny weather, and the temperatures are diving back down tomorrow.

      That is very interesting about the policy violation. Did you use any animal-related words in your post that may have triggered a filter? That would be good to know for the future.

  3. There were no animal related words. I didn’t even describe the game itself. It was a very short description noting condition and pick up information. I don’t know if someone reported the violation or if FB identified it. The appeal is still pending.

    1. Wow, that’s weird. They must scan all the images and have certain shapes trigger automatic blocks. You might be better off deleting the post and just reposting it with different images.

  4. Great job Dylan. Here are my 5 that are listed.
    1. Engino Ferris wheel set (new) – Engineering
    2. Set of 2 Primsacolor kits (new) – Art supplies
    3. Set of 2 boxes of Avery 5168 labels (new) and 1 box HP tri-fold brochure paper (new) – office supplies
    4. Heroes 3 blu ray set (new) & spiderman 3 blu ray (like new) – Movies
    5. Minecraft PS4 edition (new) – Video games

    I listed all 5 on Craigslist as of today 3/15. #1 is also on Facebook Marketplace as an experiment. Never sold anything there before.

    I set up a spreadsheet that includes a listed for price and a minimum will take price to keep track. My asking price total is $185 and my will take price total is $130. Spreadsheet will also contain the product titles, UPC, marketplaces listed on and the conditions listed at.

    – Bill

  5. Thanks, Dylan for this week one update! I need to get my head back in the game as I’ve not been as focused as I could and should be! Here’s to week two and hoping to see my first sale/sales! Keep up the great work!

    1. It’s very easy to not be as focused as you could and should be. Good luck and I hope to see an update from you next Friday!

  6. Hi to all,
    I signed up on Thursday 3/14 so that’s my day 1. I am still struggling selecting my 5 items but here they are:
    1) pair of newish Toms shoes $30
    2) Jamoji headphones for kids $16
    3) silver(plate) antique flatware set $50
    4) Lot of 6 vintage sewing patterns $24
    5) Minecraft How-to book, 2015 Ed. $20
    Which totals $140 and doesn’t leave much wiggle room. My categories are clothing, electronics, household, books, and crafts.
    That was the biggest challenge for me— My niche is electronics and video games, so limiting myself to one item from that category was difficult.
    The other reason (excuse) for dragging my feet is that the flatware set is old, tarnished, and needs some TLC. The sewing patterns need to be checked for completeness. The shoes I wore one time, and they need a little shine.
    I shall kick myself in the butt and just get it done!

  7. So, I just sold about $100 worth of stuff on Ebay and then stumbled across this challenge. I don’t have much else to list on FB or Craigslist, but would like to participate in the rest of the challenge if that’s ok. Here is what I sold.
    1. Canon Camera $47
    2. Coach wristlet $23
    3. Dresses $19
    4. Phone case $13

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