Written by Shoemaker Scholar Nic Narducci
Nick Baird is the founder of Nick of Time Textbooks, a business that provides an option for students to sell their used textbooks that is both convenient and fairly priced. Nick is a second year Masters student in O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs studying public policy and community development.
What is your story?
I’m a millennial. Our experience of jobs and careers have been bookended by two once in a lifetime recessions. Like many, when I graduated (2016) I discovered just what the undergrad degree I worked very hard for and paid a lot of money for was worth. Around that time a family friend showed me his “e-commerce” business. He flipped stuff on Ebay.
I saw it and thought “I can do this.”
It wasn’t the “meaningful” work I had hoped for in college, but I’ve paid (most) of the bills with it since 2016. I hustled to learn at first…. My time was split between all manner of ways to find flappable inventory. Garage sales, bookstores, library sales, classified ads, Facebook marketplace, and more… As I learned, I naturally gravitated towards books. They were the most efficient use of my time. It kind of grew up from there.
Nick of Time Textbooks is small, but I’ve found enough success to get by with the book money while experimenting with better career paths. Without it I never would have been able to take an unpaid internship with the Democratic party and wouldn’t have worked the Iowa presidential caucuses for Andrew Yang.
I’m in school to figure out what’s next and the textbook hustle helps pay for that privilege.
What entrepreneurial or innovative business or project are you currently working on?
Expanding my textbook business onto the IU campus.
How did you get here? What were some of your entrepreneurial and innovative highlights?
As it turns out, selling things on Amazon is actually pretty simple. It’s also free and virtually anyone can sign up to try. The tough part is finding something to sell…
What has been the most useful entrepreneurial resource or experience at the university?
Working in the Shoebox has provided me with connections to people I’d never have come across on my own. Law firms, startup incubators, and locally connected small business owners. They’ve been a great help.
What has been the most useful entrepreneurial resource or experience outside the University?
Find like-minded people to discuss your ideas with. Other entrepreneurs. You’ll often find discouragement from people who aren’t in the same headspace as you are.
What is the best advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?
- Everyone fails, keep going. I once came home from a garage sale with $200 worth of random knick knacks that never ever sold…. I threw it all out in my next move and chalked it up to a good learning experience. Someone check scammed me through the mail while I was buying an Xbox and I nearly fell for it.
- Go find someone doing what you want to do and observe, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel.
Are you open to connecting with other students if they are interested?
Of course! Please reach out to me via my student email!