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Creating Opportunities To Become Rich Using eBay

I once worked with a technical contractor (let’s call him Bill) that had the special gift of seeing opportunities that others would consider as garbage.  Not only was Bill a technical contractor, Bill was also became an accidental eBay entrepreneur!

During a four-year time span, my friend became an expert at creating opportunities on eBay which helped him become rich!  Today, I’m going to tell his story of the way he made over $100, 000 on eBay by selling what some considered junk Cisco parts and routers!

It was the year 2001, and the tech industry was coming out of a spending freeze.  A few years in the tech market is like 20 years in normal time, or so it seems.  Many of the companies had old outdated Cisco routers and now those businesses suddenly had a budget for spending on new technology once again.  So many companies pitch or sold their Cisco routers at bargain prices since most businesses considered them junk because they were older and slower than the new Cisco stuff.

Back then, Bill had a desire to learn the ins and outs of Cisco routers, so he went on eBay and started looking to buy a few routers that he could use to setup a lab to help him get Cisco certified.  He quickly found a few cheap routers and bought them.  To his surprise, he realized that the price he paid for the router didn’t take into consider the  T1 communications card.  The T1 card was worth as much as he paid for the entire router!   Also surprising was the fact that there were a huge number of these exact routers for sell on eBay.  Instantly, Bill realized the great opportunity that he had!

You see Bill only paid around $1,000 for each router, but he could take the T1 card out of the Cisco router and turn around and sell both the card and the Cisco router for around $2,000!  That is a $1,000 profit, and a 100% profit margin percentage return!  He didn’t waste any time buying and selling this Cisco cash cow that he discovered!

As he was making money via his discovery, he still got his Cisco certification with the routers that he bought to learn with.  This is when he came up with the brilliant idea of creating a Cisco Certification kit!   He would provide the configuration need to accomplish 2 types of certification and sell his new creation for a more profitable price that just selling the Cisco routers alone.  This little modification increased his profit margin percentage return to 160% on his Cisco certification kits!

Both fortunately and unfortunately, demand outstripped the amount that he could buy.  Since we worked as a contractor, he would miss deal during work hours and during night.  At least until he came up with the idea of writing a program that would detect the auctions of this particular Cisco router target, and email him.  He had his application setup so that if he replied to an email, his application would buy the Cisco routers for him!  This enabled him to overcome the supply problems because he was not buying them up as fast as they would be listed on eBay!

He actually went so far as to modify this program to automatically buy such auctions when they came online, but he only used it a few times because of the potential risk associated with a bad buy.

During these times, Bill confided to me that he was making over $80,000 a year on his little eBay business that he created.  And the beauty was that it was big bucks right from the start!  Often times a new business could take years to build up to profitability, but here he was making great money right of the bat!

Just guessing what he was making as a contractor at the time, I would have to guess that he was clearing over $200,000 per year from working as a contractor and selling his lucrative Cisco kits!

I learned from my friend to keep my eyes open for opportunities, because there are opportunities all around us, waiting to be discovered.


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27 Responses to Creating Opportunities To Become Rich Using eBay

    • Finding a niche is definitely the key to getting into any consumer market, let along eBay. The tough part is just finding a niche market you won’t get bored when you are still in it two or three years later!

      • Taking his lead as an example, I found a niche, but it dried up on me after 1.5 years. The profit margin percentage was only 50 to 100%, so that made it less appealing too (vs the effort).

    • You are correct! The niche that he was in was very technical and not understood as well as it should have been by the sellers of the Cisco products.

      Kudos to him for being on the ball… It was a limited time opportunity too, as it has since from the most part dried up.

  1. A very inspiring story. Sometimes it’s all about timing, and at other times it’s about luck. You’re absolutely right about opportunity, it’s present everywhere you look.

    -Ravi Gupta

    • The guy I’m blogging about above is an opportunity monster! I consider myself a smart guy, but the way he seems things makes me feel a bit on the slow side sometimes.

      That said, I have some stories about his youth that I’ll cover too someday, so we’ll see he has had a long history of seeing opportunities.

  2. Most of the time an opportunity knocks at the door but I miss it and I always have.

    Robert Pirsig once said:

    “The truth knocks on your door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away.”

    That’s the story of my life.

    • Me too!

      I was raised to doubt everything, so I missed those few things that were golden opportunities.

      But now I believe and I’m doing a little better. Hopefully next year I’ll really start being even more productive.

    • He made a boatload of money in those 3 or 4 years, but it dried up as other folks caught on via oversaturation (there are a lot of clever people out there).

      He still get a few opportunities from this eBay steam, but it’s less than 10 sells (and buys) a year.

      He’s a smart guy though and branched into developing online websites. He loved technology and has a few niche auction sites out there on the internet. Surprisingly, he doesn’t personally own any of the sites though… Go figure!

  3. sounds like you have some interesting friends.

    Great story. The more I hear stories like this, the more I realize that B2B, not B2C is the way to make real money as an entrepreneur.

  4. That is so cool! I remember about 5 or 6 years ago I had this cool idea to place coin operated items in bars (specifically coin operated breathalyzers and games)…the overhead was low each machine was $300. When I found that I didn’t have the drive to pitch the idea to bars, I sold it on ebay for A LARGE PROFIT – I figured out there was an inefficient market that I could force myself upon.

  5. That’s awesome! Keep the great stories and ideas coming. 😉
    I’ll forward this to a buddy who used to work at Cisco and show him his missed opportunities.

  6. Great idea! It helps that you either know a lot about the subject or you can learn it. I believe there is a saying ,luck is preparation meets opportunity

  7. this is a cool story. i do taxes for a friend of mine, who quit his job at IBM some years back. what he does now is buys IBM laptops that come off corporate leases and other cheap ways of acquiring them. he dismantles them and sells each part individually. his cost is roughly $100 per machine and grosses over $600 in parts. he has hired 2 full time listers on ebay, and last year his gross income was nearly $220k. he does stay busy…

    • wow, that’s awesome! It’s funny, one of my relatives had a laptop that broke and she was going to toss it. I said I’ll take it and I sold some of the parts on eBay too. I got over $300 for the parts, but I never thought about buying the entire machine and then breaking it down and selling the parts.

      These are opportunities that I should not be missing!!!

      It’s amazing the opportunities that exists if one looks!

      Great add by the way! Such comments add to my post’s value!!!

  8. That really goes to show that if you find a good money making opportunity, multiply it and exploit it before the good times run out.

  9. I totally enjoy these types of posts. Although exciting to read about, it is quite rare to make the big bucks in such a short time. That said, I couldn’t agree more with the idea of looking for opportunities!! this one’s going in my next round up 🙂