8 min 31 sec

College Student Pays Off Loans by Flipping Classic Video Games

Wanting to get out of debt, a college student pays off a $4,000 student loan by buying and reselling classic video games.
Low Startup Potential Product Reselling Video Games

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What It's About

There's more than nostalgia hidden in those old game cartridges!

Business Model
Skills Required
Observation & Coordination
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Why is this a good market? Well, Cesare operated using the "sell what you know” principle, but I'm going to offer some contrarian advice: sell what people buy.

Whether you like a particular market or not, consider these qualities of the video game market: 1) there's a large user base, 2) they are used to spending money, 3) there's an established marketplace for buying and selling items, and 4) there's a global supply chain that lends itself to arbitrage opportunities. 

Fun Fact

You might have already known Super Mario Bros. was the first video game to be made into a movie. But did you know that an up-and-coming actor named Tom Hanks campaigned for the role of Mario? At the time, Nintendo execs worried he wouldn’t have enough box office clout to carry the film.

Notes from Chris

Episode 679
Cesare Esposito was born in 1986, the year after the Nintendo Entertainment System [NES] launched in North America. I remember that time very well myself. I was 7 years old, and when I got a Nintendo, my life changed. I spent hours upon hours playing the very early NES classics: SMB, Duck Hunt, Excitebike, Ice Climber, and the list goes on all the way to Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy and more. Video games affected and shaped my entire childhood—so when I stumbled on this story, of course, I paid attention.

  I’m about eight years older than Cesare, but we’re in the same generation—his life was also shaped by games. Growing up, he played the NES, then the SNES, on and on through many different consoles. In fact, at one point he owned a dozen video game consoles and thousands of games. I thought I was hardcore. I had maybe 5 systems at once… obviously, I tip my hat to Cesare.

  This podcast is not about video games, so let’s fast-forward a bit. Cesare was in college and had also just gotten married. He worked the usual part-time jobs, and he was one year from earning a degree in geographic information systems, but he also had a student loan of $4,000 that was bothering him.

  A lot of people listening probably think that a loan of $4,000 is no big deal. I understand that—but let’s focus on what his problem was and how he solved it.

  First, he realized he had a ton of inventory just lying around that he could potentially sell. He began with listing those games on eBay, Craigslist, and another auction site that no longer exists. By doing this, he improved his process. He was really excited about gaming, so when he wrote his listing titles and descriptions, that passion shone through.

He began going to yard sales and flea markets. Inevitably, most of them—at least the larger ones–would have at least some games for sale.

Once in a while, he’d hit the motherlode, like when a family was selling more than 100 classic NES games, as well as a comprehensive collection of Activision games for the classic Atari 2600 system.

Most people don’t know much about what these old games are worth. And to be fair, it’s not like all of them are worth a lot of money—most of them aren’t. Knowing how to spot the diamonds in the rough collection of cartridges was Cesare’s competitive advantage.

He kept buying and selling, and within 2 months, he’d mad enough to pay off that $4,000 loan that was bothering him. He kept going, earning between $1,000 and $3,000 a month for most of the rest two years. After that, he moved on to other things.

However, he likes the fact that even though he’s not gaming as much now, he still has this knowledge he can use to make extra cash whenever he needs to or whenever he has extra time.


Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"If you're not sure what kind of side hustle to launch, start with what you know. You'd be surprised to see how far it can take you."
—Cesare Esposito #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau