At first glance, the “Flipster System” described by Daren and Nancy Baughman in Buy It, Sell It, Make Money may look like just another online get-rich-quick scheme. The disclaimer at the beginning of the book (“readers who employ the Flipster System do so at their own risk”) doesn’t necessarily help matters. But it would be unwise to dismiss this book. Buy It, Sell It, Make Money is actually an engaging and interesting extended case study of how the Baughmans created a lifestyle they call “frugal luxury,” primarily through conducting business on eBay. In telling their story, the authors describe how the Flipster System works, and how anyone can put it to good use.
The Flipster (Frugal Luxury Investment Purchasing) System is essentially based on the simple concept, “buy in the off-season and sell during the in-season.” It is best implemented by buying low and selling high, which the Baughmans admit is not as easy as it sounds. They do, however, provide extensive information, supplemented with numerous real-life examples, to point the reader in the right direction.
The authors cover the basics of how to invest wisely in assets and how to make smart purchases. A chapter called “Getting Started” addresses such issues as choosing whether or not to use a “trading assistant,” what to sell first, the science of setting the price, whether or not to use the “reserve” feature on eBay, shipping, returns, and effective item listing strategies.
Subsequent chapters discuss how and what to buy, how to negotiate, ethics in reselling, and places to find and sell goods. The Baughmans believe strongly that serious resellers should scout auctions, outlets, consignment sales, thrift shops, and similar venues for items to resell on eBay.
One of the most useful parts of the book is “The Field Guide to Buying” (Appendix 1). This guide provides valuable information about item categories, such as art, clothing, coins, collectibles, jewelry, and musical instruments. For most of these categories, the Baughmans include a “good-better-best” scale to help prospective buyers determine item quality by brand name. Appendix 2 lists helpful Web sites.
Daren and Nancy Baughman make it clear that their system takes commitment, time, and work. One must learn the nuances of buying and selling, practice using the system, and make inevitable mistakes in order to succeed.
Thankfully, the Baughmans do not promise that readers will be able to quit their day jobs and make a million dollars. Instead, they share the principles they learned for starting and running a profitable online business. It is up to the reader to apply those principles successfully.