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Why a 40-year-old quit his job of 18 years to resell items on Amazon

  • “Retail arbitrage,” or the practice of buying items in physical stores and reselling them on Amazon for a premium, has become increasingly popular, especially during the pandemic.
  • One 40-year-old who started arbitraging as a side hustle in July has already brought in over $40,000 in sales on Amazon, according a screenshot of his Amazon seller account viewed by Business Insider.
  • He learned the trade via paid membership to an exclusive group of nearly 500 arbitrageurs on Discord, where members have sold over $400,000 worth of goods since May.
  • This arbitrageur, who asked to remain anonymous for privacy concerns, recently made the decision to resign from his job in insurance after 18 years to pursue reselling full-time.
  • “If you’re going to sell through Amazon, you need to be committed,” the Amazon reseller said. “You need to run it like an actual business.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Side hustles can be more than just a way to supplement primary income. And with the economy currently in flux, more people are turning to atypical yet profitable jobs to find success in the world of entrepreneurship.

“Retail arbitrage,” or the practice of buying items in physical stores and reselling them online for a premium, is becoming common in the US. This practice is increasingly popular on Amazon, especially with the pandemic sending the demand of certain goods to all-time highs.

Business Insider recently spoke to the founders of Arbitrage Ops, an exclusive group of nearly 500 arbitrageurs, where some members have sold over $400,000 worth of goods since May, when the group was founded. According to records from 20 different individual members’ Amazon seller accounts, sales in the group have ranged from about $29,000 to $488,000. The group is run on Discord and costs members $50 per month, a fee that includes a robust training course and advice for how to master arbitraging on Amazon.

“I’ve always wanted to run my own business,” explained one 40-year-old arbitrageur who joined Arbitrage Ops in July. Business Insider viewed a screenshot of his Amazon seller account, which showed over $40,000 in sales on the platform since July. “I’m doing well so far with this. It is early, but I can see the path to success.”

This arbitrageur, who asked that his name be withheld to preserve his financial privacy, began reselling for the first time in July as a side hustle to supplement his main income as an insurance underwriter. After just four months, he made the decision to leave his job — and an 18-year career in the industry behind — to pursue his Amazon business full-time. 

“I took a look at this and said, ‘all right, do I stay in a job that is stable, pays me well, [and is] a great company to work for? Or do I try a new venture and something that honestly excites me?” the Southern US resident said. “It’s kind of betting on myself that I can make this work.”

Starting from scratch

Like many members of Arbitrage Ops, joining the group was the former insurance underwriter’s first exposure to arbitraging. 

“It was very eye opening,” he explained. “I had no idea what it was. [I] just saw that people were making money.”

Initially, this member worked on his Amazon business in the early hours of the morning and late at night, mostly selling fitness equipment, toys, and sporting goods. Thanks to the tricks and tips offered to him in the group, he was able to hit the ground running. But juggling two jobs in addition to balancing time with family eventually took its toll.

“That’s when it became clear to me that it was quickly becoming something that I needed to change and choose one thing or the other,” the reseller said.

The 40-year insurance veteran is not alone in taking that leap. In a recent interview, the founders of Arbitrage Ops said that other members have also decided to quit their day jobs to focus on growing their arbitrage businesses.

But even for those who see their businesses as side hustles, having the proper mindset and drive is essential. 

“If you’re going to sell through Amazon, you need to be committed,” the 40-year-old reseller said. “You need to run it like an actual business.”

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