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$12k in one week: How one thrifty Aussie built a thriving side hustle

More than 85 per cent of Australian households have unwanted or unused items sitting around their home.

Aussie households have as much as $7,000 worth of unwanted or unused items sitting around their homes but many of us are sitting on this potential lump sum without even realising it.

We also often feel we're too busy to liquidate our unwanted items, or simply don’t know where to start. But Kylie Wallace, who works full-time in the not-for-profit sector, has found a way to help people unlock cash in their homes and she's turned it into a successful side hustle.

“I have been [selling second-hand items online] for as long as I can remember,” she told Yahoo Finance.

Compilation image of Kylie and her side hustle business partners and piles of goods they have sold
Aussies like Kylie are taking on side hustles to keep up with the rising cost of living. (Source: Supplied) (Samantha Menzies)

Do you have a story to tell? Contact yahoo.finance.au@yahooinc.com

“It evolved from selling and trading things as a kid to helping friends and family sell unwanted items through my eBay store in my teens and 20s.”

Now, Kylie and her two friends, Elliot Costello and Sheena Boys, run Upcycle. The trio act as a proxy reseller for people wanting to sell second-hand items from their homes, storage cages, garages, or even deceased estates and businesses that are closing down.

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Users submit their job on the Upcycle website, and agree to a $100 callout fee to anywhere in Melbourne. If their job is accepted, Kylie and the team visit the space, sort through sellable items, take high-quality images, and list them on second-hand marketplaces. They then liaise with all buyers, negotiate pricing, and coordinate the sale. Profits are then split 50/50 with the owner.

Kylie earned $12,000 in less than two weeks

“We recently provided an Upcycle service for a deceased estate, and sold 98 items totalling $24,000," Kylie said.

Split 50/50, that’s $12,000 banked from one job alone. Being able to take on big resale projects makes Upcycle a win-win for both parties.

People with large amounts of unwanted stuff can outsource the enormous task of listing several items, meaning spaces are cleared faster, and they’re able to make money rather than paying to take items to the tip.

Also by Emma Edwards:

There is money to be made in the second-hand economy with just a few hours per week.

“At this stage of Upcycle’s journey, I spend about eight to 12 hours per week on the project,” Kylie said.

But of course, anyone who has ever used Facebook Marketplace will know coordinating buyers is no mean feat.

“There have been nights where I have gone to bed at 2:00am catching up on over 150 messages on Facebook Marketplace. But it all pays off when you see all the stuff gone, happy sellers and happy buyers who feel like they are getting a good deal and also helping the circular economy.”

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Making bank and saving stuff from landfill

As well as being a stellar money maker, Kylie’s side hustle responds to a critical environmental need.

“We have been shocked at how so much quality stuff ends up at the tip because people simply don’t have time or don’t know how to sell it, or are really worried about being scammed online," she said.

“Landfills are overflowing and Victoria has only five years until capacity is reached."

Not only is the team redirecting high-quality items away from landfill, they’re also stimulating the second-hand economy by making these items available to everyday people.

Kylie’s advice for budding side hustlers

If Kylie’s entrepreneurial pursuits have got you fired up to start your own money-making side hustle, here’s her advice.

Starting a side hustle can be time-consuming, difficult, and frustrating,” she said, suggesting people find something they “genuinely enjoy working on” and that brings them “purpose and meaning”.

Time management is also critical when it comes to managing a side hustle with other commitments. “Set realistic goals, establish a schedule that works for you, and prioritise tasks that drive sales and income.

“Be willing to experiment with new ideas, listen to customer feedback, and pivot your strategies as needed to stay relevant and competitive in the market.