Online ‘hustle’: Carson High grad uses Internet to build wealth
Before graduating from Carson High School this year, Wade Wolford, 18, was named most likely to become a billionaire.
One glance at his bedroom, filled with a 50-inch plasma television, dozens of video game consoles and electronics, explains why.
“I don’t even know what to buy anymore,” said Wolford, who has been using Craigslist since 2008 to barter his way to bigger and better things, similar to the recent story of a California teen who used the popular website to trade a 1975 Ford Bronco – considered a collectors item – for a 2000 Porsche Boxster.
Wolford has owned six cars since he started bartering on Craigslist two years ago, including a Dodge Ram SRT-10 and his most recent ride, a 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, which is worth about $20,000.
It all started when Wolford needed to repair his Xbox 360, a video game console.
He went online, found a tutorial and performed the repair himself. He figured he’d see how far he could go with his newfound skill and started advertising his services on Craigslist. He then started buying broken Xboxes on online auction websites, repaired them and traded them for other electronic goods such as laptops, iPhones and car audio systems.
After he got a 1998 Ford Escort for his 16th birthday, Wolford figured he could trade his wheels for something better by sweetening the deal with iPhones and TVs he bartered for on Craigslist to net a better car.
“I call it my hustle,” Wolford said. “I’ve had a couple friends who try to do it like me, but they get frustrated and they give up.”
His father, Frank Wolford, said he’s proud of his son.
“He’s a motivated kid,” Frank said. “He does this on the side.”
Wolford held two part-time jobs through high school, but spent much of his free time scouring the web for potential trades.
“Because we live in a mobile home, my parents aren’t going to buy me all this stuff,” Wolford said. “I don’t have anybody to help me out with money … I had to start from scratch.”
Wolford said he plans on going to Western Nevada College this fall and then to the University of Nevada, Reno where he wants to study business and criminal justice.
As for his next trade? A 2009 BMW M3.
“It’s my new dream car,” he said.