Some History of SecondMoonshot

Let me give out some history of how all this [SecondMoonshot] started, a small family business created by me and my partner, Zabrina. To begin with, from the age of 13 I have never not had a job, whether it be mowing lawns, delivering newspapers, short stint doing Sunday night DJ at a local radio station (well sorta, more an operator of pre-recorded content), pizzerias (more than a few), office supply and furniture clerk/manager/delivery, Family Dollar as assistant manager (while the manager blew coke in the office), sold Apple Macintosh’s at the Charleston Naval Station PX, and on and on. Much of this was to work my way through college, at which I was not a great student. It only took me 9 years to get my degree (with a probation and a couple DUIs thrown in). Once I graduated with a BS Computer Science degree, I did what we did back in the day, printed out 200 resume’s and sent them to every IT company in South Carolina and landed a job in the Healthcare IT space in 1990. Fast forward 30 years later, was still there (or some version of it), reasonably successful at it, but was just downright miserable for an extended period (the details of which, I will not be sharing on this blog). Then COVID came along and everyone was working out of the home and I just decided that I think I am done, so I retired at the ripe old age of 55….I was very fortunate to have a financial mentor as a partner and she guided me very well throughout the years to be able to do this financially.

Now, she is also in Healthcare IT and has a job, so we were able to get the Health insurance with her company, that was a key component to fall into place. So the first thing I did was to find ways to stay busy, yet not bleed my savings and retirement dry before their time. So up into the attic I went to dig up my 30 year old comic collection and hundreds of McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys, with the clear intention that this stuff must be worth thousands by now. Let me see what this whole eBay thing is and put them up for auction…that was a wake up call.

Over the last few years we have been going to estate sales on and off, maybe a few times a year. Once I started doing little efforts on eBay, we also started going to thrift stores. I was poking around the books (no, not a scanner guy) and picked up a Nicholas Sparks book and noticed it was signed. So I started at the beginning of the books and looked at each and every one and walked out with 20+ signed books (some of which were not, but that’s another story) for $20. I found that I could sell these on eBay between $5 and $10 or more pretty easily, so started trolling every thrift store in a 50 mile radius. I got pretty efficient at it and learned what ones to look at and which to skip so can knock out a thrift store in 15-20 minutes usually (I’ll share my tricks on this in a future post). I built up around 600+ of these signed books and they trickle through on a daily basis.

Next I figured we needed some diversity in our listings (well, Zabrina thought that) and started getting heavy into vintage mugs…again, $5 if were lucky to sell, but we get them normally at 50 cents, so weren’t losing, but clearly $5 per sale even if pure profit (which it wasn’t) is not going to work.  Our tag line was “SecondMoonshot - Books…and Mugs”. There is so much more going on and the learning process, this will take multiple posts. But at the end of it all, I put together a loose plan on how this could be a viable method of income based on average item sales, volume counts, target daily average sales, etc..  I needed a goal, I needed to build something and grow it.

But what about the “SecondMoonshot”…well, that’s pretty simple. A common phrase in my corporate job was “We need something big, guys! a Moonshot”, second, Zabrina like taking pictures of the moon (all of which you see related to SecondMoonshot are taken by her), and third, this is effectively my second career…so SecondMoonshot was born more or less in January of 2021 (the same date I stopped shaving too btw). It helped that the domain name was available too! Got me some business cards (because that’s always the first thing you do when you start a business), got a Tax Use/Exemption Certificate in NC, and then took over the dining room, breakfast area, craft room, spare bedroom, attic and garage.

Never looked back, couldn’t be happier. Maybe next I’ll talk about cars and how they play into this. I don’t do as much with signed books at thrift stores (but wont pass it up either), try to focus on higher dollar sales, and also most importantly…have fun! Doesn’t hurt that my company car is a Porsche 911…sweet…bigger grin.

Oh, and Sydney our cat!

John





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