What It's About
There's more than nostalgia hidden in those old game cartridges!
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.
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 679Cesare 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.
- Gamer Levels Up Life With eBay Side Hustle: This production supervisor always loved buying video games—but it wasn’t until he stumbled upon some of his favorite games on eBay that he thought about selling them
- Living the Dream: Man Gets Paid to Play Video Games All Day: When he began live streaming his video games for a faraway friend, he had no idea he’d end up building a 30,000 person community and earning up to $3,000 a month
- Nestle Employee Doubles Salary By Playing Video Games at Night: Hard work pays off! After three years of streaming video games to an audience of thousands every night, this marketing manager now earns more from his side gig than he does from his day job
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