The selling of goods is an often overlooked portion of the gig economy, yet dominates the market. About seven in 10 of all gig economy workers made money from selling goods online, in some form. That can include used goods - like second-hand books - and handmade items that you might find on a website like Etsy or Big Cartel.
This is how Eric Fanelli has chosen to earn his living. He can be considered a success story, and iIt all started with a grumpy family cat.
It was (the year they moved TK) when the Fanelli family had just moved into a new house, and one of their cats was not happy about it. One day, Fanelli walked down to the basement to find all of his hockey equipment had been urinated on. Desperate to find an affordable alternative to the expensive hockey gear that was for sale, he stumbled across a pair of hockey pants from the University of Connecticut that cost significantly less than the other gear available. A lightbulb went off. He too could buy and sell used gear for a profit.
The side hustle killed two birds with one stone: it provided some extra income for his family, but it also started to fulfill a childhood dream. Fanelli always wanted to own a local hockey shop, but reality got in the way. Once he started working for Ryder Transportation in the sales department, it seemed less than practical to own a brick-and-mortar hockey shop.
Thus, Fanelli Hockey was born. Fanelli’s first ever purchase was $750 worth of hockey gloves from Boston University. He sells the gear on SidelineSwap.com, an online marketplace for sports gear. Over the past few years, he’s sold more than 3,000 items on the site. Currently, there are more than 700 pieces of hockey equipment listed for sale.
Fanelli Hockey is now Eric’s full-time job. He left Ryder — and a salary around $100,000 a year — after 13 years in late 2017. There were certain things that helped Eric began this side hustle in his late 30s. An already-established source of income was one of them.
“This wouldn't have been possible if I started out in my 20s,” he said. “My parents helped me out, I got a bank loan that was based off of years doing business with a bank. When I took my loan I was working full time and had income from the full-time job. It wasn't just like ‘oh hey i'm going to start this business.”
“Being young, I don't think it ever would have been possible.”
The venture came at a cost, though. Fanelli’s annual income hovers around $45,000 now, less than half of what he made at his former day job. His family is able to obtain benefits such as healthcare through his wife. But the flexibility gives him more time to spend with his three daughters, whose hockey teams he coaches in addition to a Hartford-area high school. Eric spends his precious time focusing on what he wants to do. It’s worth it.