Your trash is my cash – how I make money from garbage

If I told you that I make money from another person’s garbage, would you believe me? Better yet, if I told you that I picked up the once TV unit above from the trash and made $120-dollar profit from two hours work, would you keep reading? Good. Keep fuckin reading. Now the truth of the matter is if you’re reading this you either want or need more money. Whether you’ve lost your job, want to be your own boss, pick up a new hobby that you can profit from or save for that next vacation – we all want more. I’ve found the way. The life-hack. The ultimate DIY and the best thing of all? Anyone can do it.

Something you may not know about me is I live in Downtown Toronto. Canada’s very own New York City. People from all over the world migrate to this city with dreams of a better life. We currently have the fastest growing housing market in the world where the average single-family home can easily sell for $60,000 over asking price. It’s insane. The cost of living is increasing drastically and our pay rates are staying the same.

What does that mean you ask? What does one have to do with the other? Guys it means I’m fuckin poor. I’m barely scraping by and this to me is just unacceptable. I used to accept this but I’m done.

Fact: the average millionaire has seven sources of income.

Do you know how long I’ve spent working a 9-5 job miserable just to come home, watch TV while stuffing my face just to do it all again the next day? Since my first office job. It sounds pathetic because that’s exactly what it was. It was fuckin pathetic. I have been living the life of a robot and I refuse to do this any longer. When you realize that life is about progression and working towards goals and aspirations and that you can achieve ANYTHING you put your mind to then you will not fail. You will have set backs but you will learn from them and understand that they make you stronger.

Okay I know you’re all thinking “Lindsay, get to the point. Tell us how to make the $$$$$$.” Here it is:

  1. Find your driving force
    My driving force is the criticism I receive and my current position in life but understand that my driving force is different than yours. It takes time to figure it out so don’t beat yourself up over this. Like everything, it takes time.
  2. Analyze and assess
    I don’t pick up just ANY piece of furniture I see. I take a moment to assess it. You must know what you’re getting yourself into. Yes, the furniture is free but how much work does it require? How much money do I have to put into it before I make a return? How will I fix it up? And most important: Would I buy it? I’ve gotten this assessment down to two minutes. Don’t bull shit yourself. It either works or it doesn’t.
  3. Find your target audience
    I say to myself during an assessment “Would I buy this” because I am the market I want to target. I want to appeal to people in their early 20’s up to mid 30’s because I have more knowledge on styles and trends they tend to follow. This allows me to apply it to the project at hand for a maximum return.
  4. Find your platform
    This one is fun because the options are endless. There are many ways to sell the furniture you’ve restored and you can use as many as you need when you’re first starting out. A few of my favourites are: Facebook Groups, Craigslist, Kijiji, Etsy and Instagram. Now don’t forget about step 2 when finding your platform. There are many things to take into consideration. How much is shipping? How much will it cost me to deliver? How much will I profit?  Remember these questions are crucial to your success.
  5. Get to work!
    I loved this project because I knew the moment I saw it I wanted to turn it into a seating bench. My original assessment was no more than .5 seconds long. I wanted to paint it white and make some seat cushions. I wanted to market it as an outdoor bench. I began sanding it down and when I grabbed my paint I noticed I had teal. A light bulb went off and I changed my approach. I’ve always wanted a nice statement piece in my house. A rustic piece of furniture in a random colour to make a room pop. I want people to walk in and go “OU! Where’s that from!” so I decided I’d go with an antique TV stand. I couldn’t be happier with this split-second decision.
  6. Stage. Stage. Stage.
    I cannot reiterate the importance of this step enough. Drill this process into your brain and you can send me a thank you note later. The rate in which a product will sell is dependent on many factors and one of the easiest factors to fuck up is staging. People underestimate how much faster a house will sell if is staged right. What do I mean when I say staging? I mean making it livable. Functional. You want your audience to look at it and think “that would look great in the living room!” or “That’d be perfect I never thought to use it for that!” You must share your vision for it so others are able to picture it in their own space. People need visuals. This gets me every sale. Every time. I pick a couple different ways in which I think it could be used and decorate it accordingly. 
    I originally set out to stage this as a TV stand or coffee table but while staging it as a TV stand I couldn’t help but wish I turned it into a bench. Another light bulb! I went for lunch the day prior at a cute little restaurant and sat on the patio. The reason I share this is because I remembered they had wood benches with a pillow behind it. I ran to my room and grabbed every pillow I had and started playing around with it. I couldn’t have been prouder of the outcome.
  7. Final assessment
    Final step!! Assess your work! Consider the quality. Consider the time and money you’ve put into it and decide on a price that you find to be reasonable and that you yourself would be willing to pay. This assessment took me two minutes. I spent a couple hours on this project sanding it down, painting, staging and posting it. I did not have to spend money because I had the paint but I was damn proud of this shoe bench and would have been happy to keep it for my home. I wanted my price to reflect that. I decided on $120 and posted it just to have it sold and picked up three days later.