How This Physical Therapist Is Flipping Items To Find Financial Independence After Divorce

board games

The pain of divorce is something nobody ever wants to go through. Not only that, it can destroy people financially. There are many, many people trying to find ways to gain back financial independence after divorce.

Divorce is ugly and it can destroy someone’s financial future if they allow it. 

Today we have an amazing interview with Amber, one of our course members, who recently went through a painful divorce and struggled to find ways to gain back her financial independence. 

She could have allowed her sorrows to overtake her in that situation. But she picked herself up, learned a new skill, and is now using flipping as a way to regain financial independence after her divorce. 

Let’s hear from Amber:

My vision for financial independence

My name is Amber and I’m 31 years old and live in rural New York. I love hiking with my two dogs, reading, and writing. 

I’m a full-time physical therapist; my favorite part of the job is seeing my patients get their function back and be able to return to things they love without pain or functional limitations.

I’m also very passionate about the environment and wildlife. I volunteer time and money toward the causes that mean a lot to me. 

I went through a major life change in 2020, as so many people around the world did. My divorce was by far the worst thing I’ve ever gone through. But, I’ve come out the other side a much more confident, empowered, independent person. 

Now and in the future

Once I was in the right place mentally and emotionally to focus on what I wanted my life to look like, I decided I needed to be able to take care of myself and my dogs financially without having to rely on anyone else. That got me researching investing and saving money, something we aren’t taught nearly enough about in school.

I’ve always been a naturally frugal person and always valued the importance of saving. The idea of investing for my future (outside of my 401K) was foreign to me. I found a podcast called “The Millennial Investor,” which was too advanced for me at the time. But, there was an episode talking about financial independence. It was a guy named Mr. Money Mustache. It caught my attention.

Now, I’m not a big blog reader but he piqued my interest. I didn’t spend much time on the blog but through Mr. Money Mustache’s website, I discovered ChooseFI, which is set up incredibly well to help people understand paths to financial independence and gives concrete action steps to help you get there. One of the steps was to pick a “side hustle” to earn more money and increase your savings.

The perfect side hustle for me

None of the suggested side hustles stood out to me except for the “Flea Market Flipper” idea of reselling items on eBay and other reselling platforms. I immediately got excited about the idea. I grew up with a mom who always told me to shop the clearance rack first, then the sale rack, but never pay full price for anything. Because of that, I LOVE a good deal but I’m also frugal and don’t spend much money on items I don’t need. 

Flipping gives me a great reason to shop deals more often than I usually would. Selling stuff on eBay is the perfect side gig for me. You get a triple dopamine rush from it. Buying something for cheap, selling it for much more, and seeing that money go into your bank account. It’s so much fun and I’m totally hooked! 

How Flea Market Flipper helped me start over and make money

There is a learning curve to this gig and I’m the type of person that wants to limit mistakes and losses of time/money as much as possible from the get go. I like to do things right the first time and feel prepared before I jump in. 

That’s why I signed up for the Flipper University program and it was 100% worth the money. That’s also how I learned where to start. With Rob and Melissa’s guidance, I helped my parents declutter their home and I decluttered my own possessions as I moved from a 1600-square-foot home to a tiny basement apartment in 2020.

It was amazing to see how much money I could get for things that were lying around unused. I also loved the idea that those items would get a second life with someone that would appreciate and use them more than me. 

What kind of items do you sell?

I sell small items since I don’t have a lot of space right now but I’ve seemed to have fallen into a niche of selling vintage toys, board games, and collectibles. It all started when I found a board game called Masterpiece on the curb in front of someone’s house and sold it for $40 + shipping on eBay.

I’ve been developing an eye for vintage things, naturally knowing what’s worth money and what’s not, and I’m really enjoying the learning process. I’ve been watching YouTube videos and documentaries and reading books about these types of items. 

The “work” doesn’t feel like work to me. It’s a lot of fun and it’s not very time-consuming. I also really like that items like the board game that one person didn’t value anymore can get a new life with someone who feels nostalgic over it and will cherish it. 

Now that you found a valid side hustle, what are your financial plans with extra money? 

My first goal is to pay off student loans and be debt-free. My long-term goal is to have enough money to “buy” peace of mind and freedom with my time in the future. Time is our most limited resource that we can never get back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. 

That’s something that’s discussed often in the financial independence community. What I mean by “buy” freedom is that I don’t want to go down the traditional route of working full-time until I’m 65 (or more likely 70 for my generation) and then retire and finally get to do the things I want to do in life. 

My ideal future has me working part-time or per diem as a physical therapist. I want to volunteer more, and flip items on eBay for extra spending money (and because it’s fun), and spending more time writing books, exploring the world, hiking and appreciating the incredible natural spaces we’re lucky enough to have on this planet are things I look forward to doing. I am not interested in spending all week in an office and missing out on experiencing the natural beauty all around me.

How has community support helped you succeed in your flipping business? 

Taking Flipper U gave me the confidence to get started. I have friends, patients, and coworkers who tell me all the time they would love to flip items, but are afraid to get started.

Others tell me stories about how they had a bad experience flipping something on eBay and lost money because they didn’t understand what they were doing and that they haven’t tried again because of that. 

It’s a cool experience to see people become empowered by this gig. The Facebook group that comes with this course is invaluable. I can’t stress that enough. It’s tough to go it alone, but there’s so much knowledge and experience between the people in the Facebook group that I’ve learned so much. 

When something comes up with a buyer,  my first instinct is to panic and not know what to do. It’s pretty simple to figure out. I just ask the people in the group instead. It’s pretty much guaranteed that someone in the group has had the experience you’re having and can direct you and give you advice on what to do. 

Everyone in the group is also very supportive and we love celebrating each other’s achievements. There’s always encouragement ready to be given when someone needs it. 

I’ve stopped being a people pleaser to be successful with flipping

Sometimes there are people that think of reselling as not being a legitimate or profitable gig. I’ve come across these people and felt like I needed to prove myself. But after everything I’ve been through in the past year and all the personal growth I’ve achieved, I don’t care as much about what other people think.

I’m much less of a “people pleaser” than I was before 2020 because I’m more confident in myself, my actions, and my goals. 

I love the business no matter what people think about it. I’ve been able to make more money, and I’m enjoying my work like never before. Flipping is a great fit for me regardless of what people’s opinion about it is. 

There are items to flip everywhere. What are some of your favorites? 

 I recently sold a 6-foot inflatable Tony the Tiger that hangs from the ceiling My grandmother gave it to me as a gift when she worked in the food industry. I used to use it as a pool float (hahaha),  but I’d always fall off it. 

Between the purchase price and shipping, someone spent $100 on Tony! I also sold my 1999 American Girl Dolls calendar. I don’t think a 1999 calendar is very useful in 2021 but it was valuable to a collector who was ecstatic to receive it.

Another thing that many people in the facebook group know is that I’ve been selling lava lamps on eBay. There are certain ones that are worth a lot of money right now. I bought one locally for $10 and sold it for $140.50 + shipping on eBay in an auction. 

There is no shortage of items to source and sell, and there is definitely money to be made. I am currently on my way to financial freedom because of my flipping gig.

You recently went through a painful divorce. How has flipping been a valuabe part of your journey to healing? 

The saying is true that, “Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over, instead of craving control over what you don’t.” -Steve Maraboli. 

For 9 months after my separation, I could do nothing but get through each day. The emotional turmoil was a lot to handle and anything extra that came up was overbearing. I did what I had to do, but couldn’t handle any more. 

I never missed work. I had to move myself and my dogs into a tiny apartment in my parents’ home. I’m grateful and privileged to have had that as an option because no landlords would take two large dogs in an apartment. Also, housing prices were out of control. 

We were in the middle of a raging pandemic and I worked in healthcare… It was a lot. But, after that 9-month mark, things started turning around. Poetry became my therapy and I learned about other people’s experiences with what I was going through.

A New Way of Life

I realized that I now had the opportunity to get my life back on track and work towards the goals I’d lost sight of as my marriage was falling apart. I had spent too much time trying to keep someone else happy and sacrificing my own happiness. 

I started reconnecting with good friends I’d lost touch with. I started envisioning what I wanted my future to look like. I learned more about myself than I ever had before. 

Out of necessity, survival, and the will to thrive, I had to become independent. I was now taking care of myself and my two dogs financially by myself for the first time. Flipping played a big part in me being able to do this. 

As a physical therapist 7 years into my career, I was making decent money, but always felt buried by my student loan debt. I graduated with $130,000 in debt and started out making $53,000 a year.

Through the Financial Independence community, I learned to let go of the limiting belief that this was my career, this is the amount of money that career makes, and it is what it is. 

I’ve found multiple paths to make more money and one of those paths is flipping items on platforms like eBay. I feel in control of my life and my finances for the first time ever and my path forward is a happy one.

I Still Have Some Rough Days But Nothing Like I Did Before

I love myself, the person I’m becoming, and my life too much to waste more time wallowing and feeling sorry for myself, and letting time pass me by. 

I’ve learned that my passions, hopes, and dreams matter. I allowed myself to go through the stages of grief I needed to heal and I’m moving on with a fuller, happier life.

Flipping has been an avenue for me to create more income, cut my debt, and give me the resources to move closer to my dreams and goals than ever before. I am thankful to have found Flea Market Flipper and taking the courageous step to learn flipping items as a side hustle. 

Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us Amber. We look forward to seeing how flipping can bring you closer and closer to your financial goals and your dreams. 

What about you? Are you going through a tough time and want to take more control of your finances? Check out our free intro webinar to see if flipping could be a valid side hustle that fits your lifestyle.


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Robert Stephenson

I grew up in Central Florida and have lived here my whole life. I first got into buying and selling items when I was 16 years old, and have been hooked ever since. It has mostly been a hobby that makes some extra cash, but sometimes it serves as my main income as well. I don't plan on stopping any time soon. I find too many fun toys for my family (or myself), and just love the whole process.

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