Smart Reasons to Save, Use and Invest Money

Finding Opportunities in Unusual Places

Earlier this summer, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a “proof of concept” demonstration/lab for a future product that my employer is planning on using.

While at software company providing the facilities, lab and staff, we noticed that the software company had a special store for employees.  The rest of my team was pretty excited about that store so we all went down there during lunch, just to check it out.  We discovered that the employees only play a fifth of the price for their software as the normal public.  It makes total sense for a company to do this since they want their employees to be versed on and using company products!

That’s when I cooked up my evil plan (mau ha ha). 

You see, as a courtesy, the hosting company gave us a temporary pass into the store that allowed us to purchase up to $200 worth of software or hardware.  So I jumped on the opportunity and bought 6 software package.  The rest of my folks in my group purchased things too, but nobody took full advantage of the total $200 other than me.

Teaching Financial Lessons to My Kids

You might be wondering why a frugal guy like we would spend money foolishly on software?  Well, it’s because I saw 2 opportunities in their generous offer!


  1. I can get at least a 200% return on my investment, and anything I can get such an opportunity, I try to take advantage of it!
  2. I can teach my kids about business by selling the purchases on eBay.

While I would expect to net over $600 for selling the software packages, I decided to keep two of the packages I bought for my family and then split the money on the other four packages that my son and I are going to sell on eBay.  Such changes dramatically reduces my profits, changing my goal from banking $400 to instead just break even.

You might be wondering why I’m splitting the money with my son?

The answer is because it’s a great opportunity to teach him about business. 

I’m going to sit down with him and explain the cost involved in our eBay auctions.  Next, I’m going to have him do at least half of the work involved in the sale.  I also want him to see all the pieces involved in the business, especially the advertising, posting of the auction, the sale, the closing, the packaging and the shipping.  I also want to lightly discuss taxes with him on the matter too.

I hope to teach my son four things with this eBay experiment!

  1. I want my son to learn that very often, after the first time selling something, the second time selling something similar is much quicker, (on ebay) taking just a fourth of the time that it takes putting the original auction together.  This is also introduces the idea that at first it’s not worth the time put in, but as the selling process gets streamlined, it does become worth it.  This is true in business and life overall. 
  2. I want him to learn the excitement of using entrepreneurial skills to make money.  Hopefully this will help him look outside of the box in making money.
  3. I want him to learn all of the pieces involved in calculating profits from selling a product.  This is one thing that I love about ebay!  It’s a real business with real business processes!!!
  4. Sometimes you do have to spend some money to make more money!

This is one of those rare great opportunities about selling and working with a complete business system.  Plus it will be educational, profitable and fun, all at the same time.

Indirectly, I also hope to teach him that seeing opportunities that other might not see can be profitable and exciting.  Any of the folks in my group could have done the save as I did, but they chose not too.

Expect follow up post on this experiment in October (this is a better month for sellling since Christmas is near).





16 Responses to Finding Opportunities in Unusual Places

  1. I think it’s great that you are so intentional about teaching your son these skills. I can’t wait to hear how it turns out for you. :)

  2. It’s great that you are teaching your son the way to take advantage of opportunities. Isn’t there a non resell clause on many of these employee store? Just wondering.

    • Perhaps, I’ll have to look into that! Good caveat! If there is, I guess I could always give the software away as gifts at Christmas :) a win-win either way!

      • That’s what I was going to ask – the non-resale clause. I have friends who work at stores such as Best Buy and other retailers, and it is absolutely against the rule for them to buy with their employee’s discount and then to sell them. Not saying it didn’t happen, but I think on ebay it’s especially easy to catch. Just want you to be safe!

  3. Way to go teaching your son first hand about business. I think it is the entrepreneurs of tomorrow that will lead us out of this sliding economy. They will bring the jobs back with something critical we need.

    However, they cannot get started if we are not teaching them This is a great first step for your son.

    Best of luck with the endeavor

  4. Great job identifying this teaching opportunity. Economy of motion is one of your lessons I think, very cool.

    • Thanks, I’m going to take my time and do this right! I’ll do some pre-work so it flows more smoothly, and hopefully I’ll leave a good impression on my son with the entire experience.

  5. krantcents says:

    eBay certainly has made it easy! They call this a teachable moment.

  6. Are you authorized to re sell? Just make sure you are not teaching something wrong to your kid. In case you find you are not authorized, sell some old items on craigslist for teaching purpose.

  7. Evan says:

    What kind of software? I mean I can’t even think about what type of software I’d be buy in today’s day and age.