How to earn a 100% profit margin every time

There IS a way to earn a 100% profit margin on each and every sale you make.

Most people however completely overlook this method, for three reasons:

  1. They consider it too obvious.
  2. They decide there is no money in it.
  3. Even if there is money in it, they decide that it’s not worth their time.

Question: What exactly can sell for a 100% profit margin?
Answer: Items you acquire for free!
The usual reaction: “Really?” and then a recital of the three reasons just listed.

But wait a minute… What’s so wrong with the idea? I sell stuff all the time which I originally got hold of for free, nada, zilch, and I can assure you it most certainly IS profitable and has been worth my time.

Ever since I was a kid I have collected things. Not to the extent as seen on the recent TV program Collectaholics maybe, nevertheless collecting just become a state of mind, tempered only by available time and storage space.

On family holidays I would collect everything and particularly whilst en-route to our destination. I would accumulate match books, coins, brochures, luggage labels… everything! (My poor parents!)

It was only when I got a little older and started to apply a little method to my collecting madness, did I start to make any money from my hobby.

The two basic rules I always followed (and still recommend) are to:

  1. Always collect what I liked – that keeps it pleasurable.
  2. Always follow through with your collection i.e. finish what you started. Amass the whole set or collection of whatever you have started to squirrel away, rather than dropping one collection after a few days or weeks and moving onto another.

Here is a list of free collectables to resell

All of these can prove profitable when later re-sold on sites like eBay and Etsy, particularly if whole complete sets are involved…


  • Holiday brochures – The more unusual and off the beaten track, the better.
  • Tourist maps – Particularly ‘local’ tourist maps picked up on location, which are unlikely to be generally available outside of the region. I have sold maps of regional whisky distilleries in Scotland for instance, which were freely handed out at the time, for really good profits.
  • London Underground maps – More on this interesting topic another time.
  • Rail and airline timetables
  • Travel freebies – Think ‘trains, planes and automobiles’. Anything from railway timetables to embossed pens and ashtrays; particularly any with company brand names on them, e.g. Eurostar and Concorde – now long gone.

Pub memorabilia

Beer mats – I pick these up whenever I visit a pub… Most landlords don’t mind; they get them free after all, and it good advertising for the brewery.
Beer pump labels – Labels from standard beers and guest ales can often be acquired, simply by asking the landlord nicely… or maybe by buying the barman a pint.
Pub ashtrays – Again, those featuring a brand are more collectible. Do ask before taking.
Newspaper and magazine freebies

  • Regional travel and walking guides – Popular.Music CDs and movie DVDs – My thanks to Gordon for reminding me about this one. Over the years I have collected and sold many of these ‘newspaper freebies’. This is another topic I intend to elaborate on at a later date.
  • Knitting patterns – These are always collectible and in demand.
  • Cookery recipes – This is an evergreen topic, and people will pay for the convenience of cherry picking the ones they want, when they want, rather than having to collect them themselves.

Paper-related ephemera

  • Bookmarks
  • Greeting cards
  • Movie and concert tickets
  • Old passports

The fact that you might have acquired an item or collection of items for free does not detract from the value, when selling on sites like eBay and Etsy.

What people are really paying for is the time and passion that you have spent accumulating – curating – information, all relating to one specific topic.

Whilst I love coming up with money-making tips, I do find it frustrating merely rattling off ideas to you in the form of a brief list.

That’s why I am so pleased to be able – along with the team at Canonbury Publishing – to work on an exciting new project; one which will allow me to really flesh out my ideas into fully-fledged money-making blueprints.

Launch date expected around end May/early June.

Speak again same time, same place, next week.

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