My Story

How I went from being broke and unemployed to earning a very good living buying and selling on Craigslist alone.

My name is Ryan Finlay and I’m 33 years old.  I’ve been married to my wife Candice for almost 10 years and we have 3 boys and a two sweet little girls.  Four years ago, after getting my contractor’s license and realizing that I had no desire to be a contractor, I quit.  There was no use in delaying the inevitable.  The problem was I had no clue in the world what I was going to do.  I had no money, tons of debt and a family to support.

So I got together with a few friends of mine, and after talking for awhile, we decided that I should give buying and selling on Craigslist a serious run.

I started off buying and reselling anything you could imagine.  Electronics, computers, tools, appliances, anything that I could make money on.  I did well the first week and have only gotten better every week since.  I’ve migrated from buying a little of everything to buying appliances almost exclusively.  Probably 90% of my transactions are washers, dryers, ovens and refrigerators. I’m on pace this year to buy and sell a thousand appliances.

Along the way I was featured on one of Time magazine’s best blogs of 2011,,  JD Roth’s outstanding financial blog in this post.

I got another mention from JD in this Time Moneyland article 

That led to my guest post for GetRichSlowly that was picked up by Forbes

I’ve also guest posted for about How to Make it on Craigslist published my story of  How I Earn My Living Buying and Selling Appliances on Craigslist had this nice write up Tricks Of The Trade From A Craigslist Appliance Salesman

Most recently my site was recommended to others by former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul.

A few years ago, a friend of mine told me that as I got  better at what I was doing, I would be tempted to start adding to the scope of my business.  He told me to instead, focus on the most profitable area and master it.  That’s exactly what I’ve been doing, and I would pass on the advice to anyone. It’s taken my most profitable area (appliances) and made it even more profitable.  I’m working less and making more than I ever have.

This is just the beginning of my story. It will be exciting to see what this turns into in the months and years to come.  Sign up to my email list on the main page to receive new posts and updates as they come.  Thanks for stopping by!

14 Responses to “My Story”

  1. barry cunningham Says:

    Hello Ryan, I’m very interested in learning how to make a living by selling items on Craigslist. Up to this point, making a comfortable living has been a real struggle. I’ve sold a number of items on Craigslist for myself and others and have made some money, but not nearly enough to make a living. However, I’ve found that I really enjoy it.


    Barry Cunningham


  2. Russ Says:


    This water fall/cascade looks like a Seward Hwy spot just outside Anchorage, Alaska.

    Where do you live?


  3. Sandi Felch Says:

    Your story is inspiring. I created a blog several years ago, just for family and friends, and gave up after about ten posts. I’ve never really thought of using it to generate income, even though retirement is looming on the horizon. Guess I’d better think about this. By the way, you’ve convinced me to repair, rather than dump, the “mature” Whirlpool Top-loader that was given to me a while back.


  4. mark slater Says:

    This story is inspiring Ryan..Im trying to get into the business but i dont know what products to start with…i had no idea washers, dryers, and ovens sold that much


  5. mary Says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Love your blog!
    We have a fairly new dishwasher that is eco friendly, which means it uses almost no water and the dishes do not get clean.

    How can I find one old enough to still use lots of water and get the dishes actually clean?




    • Ryan Says:

      Thanks Mary! I would go with just a standard used Whirlpool dishwasher that someone is swapping out in a remodel. Whirlpool dishwashers in general are very good machines. Also I recommend using the Finish brand wash tablets, I think they work great.

      Hope that helps!


  6. Alan Says:

    Hi Ryan! Your story and this website are both very inspiring, especially as I live in the Portland area! I am always looking to supplement my income. I write resumes and other small writing tasks on the side, but it has been very difficult to get customers, despite my advertising on Craigslist and also passing out fliers and business cards from time to time.
    Possibly doing what you’re doing may help me more. I’ve sold a few things on craigslist and have sold items at a weekly flea market at my local grange, but this gives me more ideas, especially using the free items section.

    Please check out my website and blog. I’ve written a few regarding both craigslist and selling and buying at flea markets. Any advice you can give me is most welcome.




  7. Todd Says:

    That is 3 appliances per day! Do you live in a high population area? I find this very interesting but I have doubts that there is the volume of activity here to generate much income. Thanks for sharing.


    • Ryan Says:

      We live in Portland Oregon, so there is access to a pretty big population. In smaller markets, you have to use channels outside of Craigslist more to get more sales, unless there really isn’t much competition in your area.

      Hope that helps


  8. Carol Coffey Says:

    Ryan I have a whirlpool washer loaded it yesterday it made a noise and started washing I smelt a rubber burning could my belt have broken can’t afford new washer


    • Ryan Says:

      It’s 95% likely that the coupler needs to be replaced. They are only $4-$5 on ebay, and you can watch a youtube video on how to replace it. It’s a pretty easy repair if you have a few basic tools. Hope that helps.


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