How To Take Your Side Hustle To A Full-Time Business (Interview With Chalene Johnson)


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We did an interview a few years back with Brock Johnson and Chalene Johnson so we thought we’d share it. They asked us some questions about Flea Market Flipper to learn how we turned a side hustle into a full-time business.

What Is Your Motivating Factor? 

I’ve been reselling since I was 16 years old. I went to yard sales with my parents as a young kid and reselling was a side hustle for them. They’d buy stuff at yard sales and would sell it via the newspaper classifieds for more money. I watched my parents do that to supplement their income. As I started getting older, I realized there was no easier way to make money than to be able to buy something at an auction and then throw it on eBay and sell it. You had control of your own schedule. I got hooked right away.

What Were You Doing Before You Started Flipping Full-Time?

Melissa was a personal trainer for 10 years and when she got pregnant with our third child, she decided to stay at home. I was doing home inspections at that time, but they cut our health insurance. The only reason I really had a job was because of health insurance. At the time I was making more money flipping than the job itself, but the job was easy and gave me health insurance. Once they cut it, I jumped into flipping full time. 


Does Your Side Hustle Need To Pass Your Full-Time Income Before You Quit? 

We got thrown into it because of my health insurance going away.We had to make a decision. We knew we were making $30,000 to $40,000 a year working about 10 to 15 hours a week. So we knew if we both put time into the flipping business that we could grow it.

It is a misconception that your current income or your side hustle income needs to replace your full-time income before you quit.

You just need to see that that potential is there and also have the enthusiasm for it. We made $130,000 our first year. 

How To Take Your Side Hustle To A Full-Time Business

How Many Hours Were You Working?

We were probably working 30-35 hours a week together. I was doing most of the listing at that time, but Melissa was also selling baby items. 

What Were Some Mistakes You Made In The Beginning? 

Way back in the day when I first started reselling on eBay, I overpromised on items. So I’d say the item was in mint condition, thinking it was great, and the buyer had different expectations of immaculate condition. I learned to underpromise and overdeliver since then. 

Even if you can’t even find a scratch on it, I almost always put “used” on the description, and “Please expect normal wear and tear. The item might have scratches, scuffs, or scrapes.” If I put that disclosure on every item, the people have proper expectations. They are often pleasantly surprised how good the condition actually is. 

How Did You Create Systems In The Beginning?

In the beginning systems was not our strong point. We started in a 575-square-foot house and we put everything in a little shed. A lot of people can resell small items and start with a system like this. They label Tupperware and create systems. We sell larger items, so we outgrew the shed. Now we sell items that we ship on a pallet. 

It’s not as difficult as people think. This allows us to take items in a local market that people can’t sell locally, and get them in front of a nationwide audience.

Our first big sale was 10 chairs, a huge table, and a buffet. We bought it for $350 and listed it locally for $700 but it didn’t sell. So I posted it to eBay and it sold for $2,200. I had to figure out how to ship it. If we have the will to do it, we can make some good money selling bigger items. 

Have You Grown To A Bigger Space?

We’ve had to upgrade our storage. We’re now renting a warehouse. We do a lot of exercise equipment, baby strollers, and other big items. 

How Do You Track Inventory?

We use a basic spreadsheet. One thing with being able to do larger items is you have less volume, so it’s a lot easier to keep track of the numbers. Monthly we work in QuickBooks and track shipping and other expenses. 

How Do You Make Your Money?

Our money is made by buying the item right at the right price. 

Why Is It Important To Teach Your Kids Flipping?

Our kids started asking for toys all the time and you hate telling them no, so we started figuring out if they could go to their closet and find toys to sell, they’d have money for new toys. 

They get excited about it too. Now they’re learning to source items. We take them through the process of it. They pick out the item and buy it with their own money and we walk them through listing and pictures and things like that. 

Reselling gives them the experience and they learn the value of money.

What Platform Do You Recommend For Someone Just Starting Out Reselling? 

Facebook Marketplace is great for the people just starting out. Look for items around your house as you learn. You can just meet up locally and don’t have to deal with shipping. Then as you get experience try eBay.

As a new seller you’ll want to work on getting feedback on eBay. As you build feedback it’ll help you get more sales. 

Show Notes

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