8 min 59 sec

Dynamic Sister Duo Bids Up Profits for Charities

Going, going, gone! Two sisters harness a unique skill to help charities “get in on the auction.”
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What It's About

Two sisters get in on the side hustlin' auction!

Business Model
Skills Required
Communication & Organization
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Like it's said in many fields, every event is an audition for your next one. Every time Katie and Missy are at one event, they receive 1-3 calls about another opportunity. She says that you never know who is in the audience and that you should bear that in mind.

Fun Fact

According to Katie and Missy, seasoned auctioneers say it can take up to six years for an auctioneer to really develop their own rhythm, sound, and filler words.

Notes from Chris

Episode 765
One night around 1 a.m., Katie Fitzsimmons received an urgent call from her sister Missy. “Buckle up, Kate. I figured out our future.” Katie and Missy grew up working in the family landscaping business. Katie now works full-time as Director of Student Affairs in the North Dakota University System. She’s also a mother to two young children. Her sister, Missy, is a Jill of All Trades, working mostly as a radio and event DJ in Bozeman, Montana.

On this particular evening that inspired the late-night phone call, Missy had been DJing a charity event. There, she watched a female professional auctioneer walk in and own the room. Missy recalls, “She was unbelievable. When it was all said and done she had raised $350,000. In Bozeman! In 40 minutes! It’s unheard of.”

The auctioneer had walked in, did her piece, walked out, and then jumped onto a plane to go home. Meanwhile, Missy had been at the event for 12 hours, setting up her gear, playing music, emceeing/warming up the crowd, and then loading out all of her gear after midnight in the snow and cold. That's when it hit her: "Screw this. I wanna be the auctioneer!"

So that's how it started. She called Katie at 1 a.m. that night and told her with determination, "You and I are gonna be auctioneers!"

A bold statement … but she turned out to be right on the money.

Katie had years of experience in the non-profit sector (as well as higher education) and enjoyed fundraising for good causes. Despite having zero experience in auctioneering, it seemed like it could be a perfect fit.

By the way, what IS the art of auctioneering?

“Essentially, auctioneering is like stand up comedy, mixed with selling, mixed with supporting a worthy cause.” Katie explains.

On the third day of Auction School, Missy happened to get a call from a contact back in Bozeman, wanting to book the two sisters for their first ever live auction event. The client was a nonprofit group that helps female entrepreneurs. It was the perfect first gig! They had minimal expectations and they wanted to support women, especially women in a male-dominated field.

Their side hustle was officially in bidness, and they dubbed themselves The Auctionisters.

Katie says that first gig went well, and they learned a lot.

Since then, they’ve done 40 auctions between them, and they work together whenever possible. They raise money for charities, organizations, scholarships, political groups, individuals, and specialized causes.

In 2018, Katie did 17 events. She typically charges a flat fee per event, around $300 when working locally in Bismarck. Other events that include travel have paid up to $2,500. So far, they’ve raised over $1.2 million for charities in just over two years.

So, do they hope to do it full-time? No … but that’s not the goal! Katie has a family and doesn’t want to be away from home too much.

The Auctionisters are a great example of a side hustle. It’s fun, it’s meaningful, they get to use a unique skill, charities raise a lot of money, and they get paid.

You could even say their auctions speak louder than words.



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
"Essentially, auctioneering is like stand up comedy, mixed with selling, mixed with supporting a worthy cause. It's rad as hell."
—Katie Fitzsimmons #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau