Viewing: Life Beyond Music - View all posts

Art of the Flip: The First Sale 

It tweaked the brain whilst choosing the best price to put on a crash cymbal.  After all, cymbals appeal to a niche market.

I studied Amazon, Ebay,, Craigslist, Offerup, and LetGo to determine the going rate.  The prices were all over the place!  I realized that I could measure the value of cymbals when I applied a cost-per-inch gauge to each cymbal.  This made it a lot easier to measure the market's opinion of each cymbal class: rides, hi hats, crashes, effect cymbals, etc.  This also helps me see when a cymbal is under or over priced.  Here are a couple of things I discovered about the various selling sites.

Amazon, Ebay, and seem to get a better price per cymbal.  The trade-off is you need to ship to the buyer.  The buyer pays the shipping, but you do the work and front the money to ship the package.  Plus it is possible that you may get the item back from an unsatisfied costumer.  There additional fees these sites charge so they can stay in business.

Whereas Craigslist, LetGo, and Offerup give both the buyer and seller the opportunity to negotiate the price (more on that in the next blog post).  It is rare to get full asking price through these sites, but you can work with the buyer to get the item to move.  You also get paid at the point of sale and it is a done deal when you and the buyer part company.  I have not heard of someone returning an item.

Ultimately, you need to decide what is most important to you... top dollar, or moving an item quickly.

Remember that I am starting out with $0 of flip money?  

My first sale came through Offerup.  I like this site a lot.  Good pictures and a good description are up to you.  The platform lets you post up to five pics; add the title, description, and price; and lets you choose if you want to keep it local or ship nation wide.  As of today, I keep the offers local only.  The best part of this site (like many others) is you get to rate the person on the other side of each transaction.  This levels the playing and forces everyone to pay attention to their own actions.  Reputation is everything.  Uber and AirBnB do this too.  Simply stated... you will not survive long when you do not play well with others.  And there is the social media component and its impact on your rep, but we will not dig into that in this post.

The buyer contacted me about a crash cymbal.  I listed it for $110 ($6.47 per inch of cymbal) and reduced the price to $90 ($5.29 pic).  The buyer inquired about this cymbal plus another listed cymbal, asking if I'd be willing to part with both for $150.  I wanted flip money so I agreed to his offer.  The costs per cymbal were $4.41 and $4.17... more than $2.00 less than originally listed.  So... I came in to this local market kind of high.

Let's talk about "The Market."

The market is an equal opportunity abuser for all who choose not to pay attention.  It has NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO emotion whatsoever.  Please check all your emotions at the door when you play in any and every market.  What you paid for an item is irrelevant when you sell it.  To drive the point in a bit: a guy bartered with me about a pair of hi hats priced at $85.  He made the following offer: "Can I trade for a Royals authentic jersey I got for $120 with authentication tag?"  I checked his profile.  He is selling this same jersey for $50!  Each transaction measures the value of the two things being traded at that moment in time.  Those two things could easily change in value five minutes after the transaction is completed.  That is the market, and it care not about your opinions.

Following my budget and spending plan, the $150 was split out as follows

$30 into GOD Money

$30 into INVESTMENT Money

$90 in FLIP Money... now I have a little cash to work with on future deals.

Niche markets are a game of patience.  There are not a lot of people looking for cymbals.  Drummers are, and parents of kids who are getting their first drum sets.  Plus, most people want the full set with all the bells and whistles. 

Perhaps you are thinking, "I do not have cool things like cymbals..."

Look around your house for the more common things people need and want: clothes, baby gear, toys, books, old phones and computers, Beats and Turtle Beach Headsets, etc.  Search out the markets for such items... they are out there.  Markets are fairly easy to find.  You must search them out cuz they usually will not just knock on your door and ask if they can stay awhile.  Find that market, learn how it values items, figure where things are under priced and over priced so you can capitalize on the difference, the "delta."  These are some fundamental ideas on how people play in all markets.

Got a hack you can share?  Love to hear about it.  

Art of the Flip: Ground Zero 

I decided not to put any lesson, gigging, or family money into the art of the flip.  My family and I survive on our income here in California, but there is not a lot of extra money to learn lessons with (that is a euphemism for losing money cuz of bad decisions).

This something worth paying attention too...

I have put no money into learning the art of the flip.

My immersion into the craft of the flip began when I sold some extra gear I have not used in a few years.  I sold the first cymbal in mid July, and have since received over $400 in exchange for crash cymbals. 

I'd love for you to get this important point!!!

There is a market for everything you no longer want.  Such items are begging you to convert them into money.  As a practitioner...

Do the work 

Get the results 

Gain the recognition 

That is the order of life

R l r r   L r l l   Remember? 

It is not enough to convert an item into cash... 

What are your plans for the cash that arrives?

Here is one approach to managing the extra cash today.  It will most likely get adjusted as I go along


There is no beer and pizza money, no new video game money, no new shoes and purse money in this system.  Just three categories...

  1. GOD MONEY (20%) - my wife and I created this category in October 2015.  We were very frustrated over our inability to give and help people with money and or gifts.  So we dedicated 10% of our income for that one purpose.  It has been amazing... liberating!  We spend this money on other people and never worry about where we'll take it from later on.
  2. FLIP MONEY (60%) - this is the money used to buy under-priced items to sell for a profit as well as pay for the logistics: shipping, packing materials, promotions, gas, etc
  3. INVESTMENT MONEY (20%) - I have not fully decided on this one yet.  It will most likely go into debt service first.

Create your own categories and percentage splits.  The point here is

  • Craft your plan for the new income
  • Faithfully execute your plan
  • Tweak it along the way to improve your performance.

Being a practitioner of a craft demands your commitment and discipline.  You're getting better at drums cuz you play every day, and focus your attention on skills you want to improve.

Mastering the Art of the Flip is no different: commitment, discipline, and focus are the first of the practitioner's tools you must learn to use.

A New Art Form... 

Yep... the drum coach is getting into a new art form.  Well... new to him!

It is the art of the flip: buying an under-priced item, and selling that same item in a market that is willing to pay more for it.

You see it on the grand scale in real estate. 

  • Buy house for $100,000
  • Dump $15,000 into improvements
  • Sell for $200,000
  • Walk away with $85,000 in profit.

The coach ain't going big like that.  He is a newbie to the art of the flip.  After all, he didn't decide to play drums one day and then go audition for Rush or Frank Zappa the following day.

What is the why?


I suck at selling things.  It doesn't matter what the goods or services are... I suck.  It is like I cannot sell a glass of water to a thirsty person!  Well... I finally embraced this one truth:

"I must offer things of value to other people, and create an income stream while doing so."

It is time for me to become a practitioner of this newly discovered art form.  The art form is as old as music, perhaps older.  And, like music, I must learn, discover and master this art form as a daily practitioner.  There are some principles that equally apply to all the arts 

  • Study the theoretical ideas and the history of the art 
  • Do 10,000 hours... and then another 10,000 hours on skills development and mastery 
  • Exploration, creation, and innovation 
  • Share the art form with others (Like on this blog)

The 10,000 hours is where it is at.  Read all you want about paradiddles, but you wont get more gooder until you play    R l r r  L r l l    incessantly... 10,000 reps and then 10,000 more.  Buying and selling demand the same commitment... incessant reps to achieve flawless and effortless "execution."

I hear of others who support themselves and their families through the art of the flip.  Candidly, there is some debt to pay off, and it will take a long time and a lot of interest payments to clear the debt out.  So, for the drum coach, there is real motive to learn, practice, and master this art form.

Stay tuned to see what happens next.  

And please share any proven tips you have.

What Is Your Foundation 

Most of my students hear a version of the following:

"The drummer is the foundation of the ensemble.  The other band members play with a lot more confidence and comfort when the drummer is rock-solid.  Like a house's foundation, nobody pays a lot of attention to the drummer unless there are problems in the drummer's playing."

January is usually a month of reflection for this drummer.  Sometimes it is a month of frustration.  As the January 2017 progresses, "The Foundation" seems to become a more prevalent concept to apply to life.

So... What Foundation is your life built upon?

Think about it and answer the question for yourself.

Future blog entries will reveal the different aspects of the drummer's foundation.  It's been an exciting endeavor thus far. 

Have fun with this one.  

Leave your answer in the comments.  Let us conversate!!!

Share with your friends.  

Let's see where this takes us!

"That's My Rumor, and I'm Sticking To It!"


The Most Important Day on the Calendar 

Jesus Christ or the Apostle Paul used the phrase, "Today, while it is call 'Today'...."  I do not remember the rest of the phrase.  Partly cuz I got hung up on that beginning. 

I've latched on to that phrase more in recent years, trying to live my ambitions and dreams each and every Today I receive.  Learn from yesterday... prepare for tomorrow... live life Today, while it is called Today

That's My Rumor and I'm Sticking To It!!!

You Ever Have THAT Opportunity? 

7:00 AM may not sound like the best time to be setting up gear at the intersection of 4th Street and Hughes Avenue in Clovis, California.  It certainly does not sound like THAT opportunity.  But yesterday, Veterans Day, was THAT opportunity! 

The air was brisk.  The sun and temperature were steadily on the rise outside the Clovis Veterans Memorial District as the band positioned guitars, basses, drums, and the sound system.  Lorenzo Rios, The District’s CEO, and Derek Snook, the District’s Operations Supervisor, were coordinating the day’s events.  Each gentleman made the band’s set up very easy. 

Lorenzo is a force to be reckoned with: he is a one-man-enthusiasm factory with an infectious personality and unwavering commitment to Clovis veterans.  His singular goal is to make sure all in Clovis and the surrounding area can see and experience what our country’s veterans have accomplished and sacrificed to insure freedom reigns supreme in America.  It truly was the band’s honor to support Lorenzo in his quest to keep the Veteran stories alive and well in Clovis.

8:30 AM… the temperature and sun continued to rise as the band started playing.  The streets outside the District teemed with energy and activity.  Camera crews and newscasters found their ideal spots to chronicle the day’s events.  District members were setting up chairs and the small stage for the unveiling ceremony.  Veterans and families were finding their way to the awesome VFW Post 3225 pancake breakfast inside the building.  Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Jr. ROTC cadets kept the food, coffee and tea flowing to all the participants.

The procession of Veterans was impressive to see.  The clothes they wore quickly summarized the story of their service to our country: “World War II,” “Vietnam Veteran,” “U.S. Marines;” unit designations and naval ship titles on hats, jackets, and shirts.  Former service members being there to pay honor to the service of their sisters and brothers-in-arms… both those who lived beyond their years of service, and those who had their years of service cut short by our nation’s enemies. 

The band stopped at 915 AM to witness the unveiling ceremony.  It was a simple gesture: the removal of the “Hughes Ave” sign to reveal the street’s new name…

With such a simple gesture, the city of Clovis made a loud statement to its veterans and all its citizens:

“This street is dedicated to the men and women of our community who committed themselves to the defense of our great nation.  We will never forget!”

The band started up again, keeping the festivities moving.  It played country and rock music that is distinctly American.  People danced and sang on the streets outside the District Building… most likely burning off some of that pancake breakfast.  Others talked with friends, tapped their feet, and joined in during the sing-along songs.

The band occasionally gets THAT opportunity to be a part of something very special.  Yesterday was THAT opportunity!!!!!

The Clovis Veterans Memorial District, VFW Post 3225, and the Last Chance Saloon (in fine Veteran style) marshaled their unique forces and talents to make yesterday’s morning events a grand beginning to a wonderful day of celebrating, remembering, and honoring the men and women of Clovis who kept their city and the nation-at-large safe and secure in the turbulent times of our great nation.

Visit the Veterans Memorial District when you are in Clovis.  It definitely helps you appreciate the cost of the unprecedented freedoms the United States of America enjoys

“That’s my rumor, and I’m sticking to it!”


Why is Tomorrow a Day of Privilege? 

Tomorrow is a special day as a member of Ron Rodgers and the Last Chance Saloon.  The band is invited to be a part of Clovis’ Veterans Day celebration at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.  I have not had this kind of opportunity to pay tribute to those who served our country, and am very excited to be a part of this celebration.

World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan are significant wars our Veterans fought in.  Some came home with wounds you can see.  The wounds of some are in their hearts and minds.  During times of war and peace, there are many other parts of military life and operations that elude the public eye: personnel in ICBM silos; sailors “standing the watch”; “Rear D” logistics positions that must be manned and ready; countless men and women “on alert”, prepared to respond to the threat of hostile forces.  And what about the Sea Bees and Red Horse folks… completely over looked and under appreciated by the population-at-large because such operations are more of a supporting role than the war fighting role typically associated with a military career.

Ron and I served in the Air Force.  He was a fireman. I was an aircraft mechanic.  Neither of us saw active combat because our jobs were not combat-oriented.  However, I personally take a lot of pride in the service I provided to the aircrews, the Air Force, and to our great Nation; that service of providing air worthy aircraft to pilots who faithfully executed Air Force missions in support of national objectives.

Finally… Ron and I get to pay tribute to some of the women and men who served the country as we did.  We’ll be sharing American music with our sisters and brothers-in-arms as our way of saying…

“Thank you for defending our country before us, with us, or after us.”

I’ll be rocking the 9th Bomb Squadron hat from my years on the “Bat” flight line.  Please wear your favorite squadron hat on Veterans Day… let everyone know there’s a Veteran in the House!!!!  Attach pictures of your hats in the comments block below.  I’d love to see all military branches represented.

Please join us tomorrow (11/11/2015) morning at 0830 (that’s 830 AM) at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District as we offer our sincerest thanks to those who served this great nation.

“That’s my rumor, and I’m sticking to it!”


Living in Your Community. 

It don't take much, really.

Find something you are passionate about and I am confident you can find a group of people who share the same passion. 
For me, one thing I am passionate about is our community's children.  Some kids are fortunate to have a stable home and a loving family. Some are not so fortunate.  I became a Court Appointed Special Advocate for kids in August 2014 because of the latter fact.  In its simplest terms, I make sure the court hears one kid's thoughts, feelings, and or concerns while his or her legal issues are being resolved.  The sad part of this all is that the vast majority of CASA kids endure such court proceedings through no fault of their own.  I could try to use a lot of more gooder words to describe why I do this.  However, I think this little video says it far better than I can...

Every Child's Eyes

You don't need to be a CASA Advocate... just find that something you are passionate about, search for those people and organizations in your community that share your passion, and you may discover that you "get more gooder" too!!!