All posts by Raymond Manley

Selling on Etsy: Part 1

If you’re the kind of person who likes to hand make gifts for friends, or is always being told that you take the best pictures, maybe there’s a business to be pursued there.

You might want to take your handcrafted items to fairs or flea markets, or find a way to present them for sale to your friends. But an even better idea would to be sell them over the Internet.

However, designing your own website from scratch is both difficult and costly. Fortunately there’s a low-cost way to bring your products to the public: Etsy.

Think of Etsy as the eBay of handmade and vintage items. The last figures I saw, and they’re almost a year old, said that 800,000 vendors are selling on Etsy. The message here is that competition can make it tough to catch the attention and interest of shoppers.

Etsy seller fees

Before we go any further and give you selling on Etsy tips, let’s talk cost. How much does it cost to sell on Etsy?

Every item you list on Etsy is charged an upfront fee of $0.20. And that’s not every type of item, it’s every item in your inventory that you’re putting up for sale.

If you sold a hand painted necktie and had five you wanted to sell, the listing fee would be $1. This keeps your items on Etsy for four months. After that, you need to re-list and pay the fees again.

Next, when you make a sale, Etsy charges a 3.5 percent fee on the sales price. Shipping is not included in this fee. And, if you use Etsy’s “direct checkout,” an additional 3 percent + $0.25 is tacked on.

It may seem like those costs are high, but compared to designing your own website, they’re dirt cheap. If your business takes off, you can go that route later, when you can afford it.

Etsy ideas

Are you wondering what things to sell on Etsy? Etsy has two major categories: handmade and vintage. Spend a good amount of time exploring Etsy to get a feel, and inspiration, for what sells. However, the minds at Etsy recommend that you sell something that you’re really into, that you’re good at and that you love. In other words, don’t just try to jump on a bandwagon that you think will lead to big sales.

With nearly one million sellers, it’s going to be difficult to come up with a totally new idea—although people do it all the time. If someone is selling something similar to what you envision, be creative and try to put your own twist on it.

Further reading

Etsy has volumes of information on how to best use the site. Check out the Etsy Seller’s Handbook. And, to get a great “behind-the-scenes” look at one Etsy seller—with a lot of excellent tips included—read this article about a woman who sells custom children’s embroidery.

7 Tips to Save on Energy this Summer

As I write this it’s the middle of April. We’ve had a few warm days and others more on the cool side. Thankfully our home has required little heating or cooling.

However, with summer right around the corner, that will soon change. Here are seven tips to help you save on energy and lower your electricity costs this summer.

1. Enjoy lots of cookouts.

To cut your summertime electricity charges you need to do everything you can to keep your air conditioner from cycling on. Preparing meals on your kitchen stove raises the temperature inside your home. Make use of an outside grill as often as possible and become an expert with your toaster oven. If you absolutely must bake cookies, why not avoid using your oven and bake them inside your car?

2. Be sportin’ cool shades.

Shade trees are popular for good reason. Take the same principle and apply it to your home. Keep blinds closed in windows that allow direct sunlight to stream into your house. And, if you’re really serious about how to save energy in the long run, survey your home. Do you have any south-facing walls that are bathed in sunshine all day long? A retractable awning might be a good idea.

3. Find your biggest fan.

All winter long the TV weather guys report the “wind chill factor.” Take advantage of this phenomenon in the summer. When they are blowing down onto you, ceiling fans create a wind chill factor that allows you to set your thermostat at a higher temperature yet feel just as comfortable.

4. Who’s hiding in the attic?

If you don’t already have an attic fan, get one. These cycle on when the attic temperature gets higher than the outside ambient temperature. They can really help lower your electricity costs, especially if your home isn’t insulated very well.

5. Readjust your personal thermostat.

When Jimmy Carter was president, there was a big push for families to set their home thermostats to a lower temperature in the winter and compensate by wearing sweaters. Over the years, most of us have adjusted to a lower home temperature in the cold weather months. Do the same in the summer. Set your thermostat a couple of degrees higher. You’ll get used to it.

6. Change your filters.

Keep your air conditioner fitted with clean filters. Dirty filters make your unit work harder. Not only will this cause your electricity charges to go up, it will stress your air conditioner and lead to more repair bills. In the same way, always clean the air filter in your dryer. A dirty filter reduces the warm airflow through your dryer. This increases the amount of time your dryer has to run to do its job. It’s also harder on your dryer.

7. Hang ‘em out to dry.

A few generations ago people weren’t asking themselves the question, “How can we save energy?” because they had far fewer appliances that required electricity and electricity was relatively cheap. Outdoor clothes lines were a part of every home. Get a retractable clothes line and take advantage of solar power.

Finally, check your local utility, they often have programs that will help pay for energy saving improvements. My utility, Nashville Electric Service, has a whole webpage devoted to these deals.

Incorporate these tips into your summer lifestyle and you’ll find that the power savings will add up to a lower energy bill. Further, finding ways to save energy is great for the environment and even our national security.

Best places to sell a phone and recycle electronics

Where to recycle and sell your cellphone and electronics.Recently I wrote an article about where to sell used electronics and where you can get cash for your old cellphone.

These sites have a history of going out of business fairly quickly, so I revisited them to give you this update. I’ve added a couple of sites and offer information about specific kinds of devices that some of the sites specialize in.

 Sell Cellphones

If I were looking to sell used electronics today, I’d start at these comparison sites. They look at several of the most popular sites that offer cash for used cellphones and electronics so you don’t have to do as much research yourself:

These sites focus on paying cash for your cellphone. Some also deal with tablet computers:

Sell used electronics

Along with answering the question, “Where can I sell a phone?” the following sites often offer electronic recycling, and they’ll pay you as well. By the way, if you need to recycle electronics, make sure you use a service that guarantees removal of your old data.