"I just decided to hang it up and do my own thing and make my own economy if the if the broader economy wasn't working for me," he says.
Things accelerated when he shifted from buying offline and selling online to doing both through Reverb, an online marketplace dedicated to used and new musical equipment, in 2013. Sales quadrupled when Brown was able to more easily find the perfect products to flip.
"I learned that, due to my experience being a musician for so many years, I had accumulated this sort of nerd storehouse of information about instruments, and that I knew something that somebody didn't," he laughs. "What I'm essentially monetizing in my business is my knowledge."
Brown scoops up vintage amps, guitars, pedals, drums and other equipment, which he can fix if necessary, and then sells it for a profit. After receiving the gear, he takes a few photos and writes a description for the site. Once someone purchases a piece, all he has to do is ship it. To maximize his efforts, Brown focuses on gear he believes he can flip for at least twice as much as he paid.
In his most successful deal so far, Brown bought a 1958 vintage Sony tube condenser microphone for $1,200 and sold it for nearly $5,000. With a single sale, he pocketed more money than he would have made in a month waiting tables.
But it's not all about the money.