Category Archives: Selling online

Sell stuff online and make money.

2 Keys to Starting a Successful Home Based Business

Tips for a home based business or how to make money on the Internet.I started writing these articles to show readers how to make money online and I’ve written about several specific ways to leverage the Internet to improve your finances. I’ve done them all.

Here’s my problem. I’m getting so busy earning money on the Internet that I’m left with little time to share these ideas with you. However, I wanted to share a “big idea” or two that, if taken to heart, can dramatically increase your income and reward you with a strong launch as you’re starting a home based business.

First, Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than facts.”

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, that may be today’s “fact” but can you imagine a better tomorrow? That’s the first hurdle you need to overcome.

For some reason there are people who would like us to think that the rich will always be rich and the poor will always be poor, but that’s not the picture painted by U.S. income statistics.

During the decade between 1996 and 2005, half of all U.S. taxpayers moved to a different income bracket. For example, half the earners in the bottom fifth of income, moved up to a higher bracket by 2005.

At the other end of the scale, 75 percent of the people who were in the top 1/100 of 1 percent of all earners—the most wealthy—fell out of that group. To put it another way, different people came up from below to knock them out of that ultra-elite group of earners. For the top 1 percent of earners, the turnover rate was about 60 percent.

Can you imagine yourself rising above your current income level? These statistics show that it happens all the time. Why not for you?

Maybe you think that’s easier said than done. I want to give you a one-two punch that will help you take the first steps to start a business from home:

  • Figure out how to create value, and
  • Start out small.

I’ve written a lot here about how to make money on the Internet selling on eBay, Half.com and Etsy. Underlying all of those ideas is your ability to recognize or find value in something that you can turn around and sell.

I’ve also discussed making videos and writing as ways to make money on the Internet. Writing has been where I’ve been able to create value, and I started out small. The first articles I wrote for the Internet paid as little as $1.50. Some of the articles I write now earn me $100 and I expect that to increase even more over time.

What do you know or what can you do that creates value? Start doing it. If you have a regular job, but you see it as a dead end, start to pursue your “value creating” activity on the weekends or in the evenings. You can start a home business with a very small investment, at least in terms of your finances—you time is another story.

The beauty of the Internet is that it is a low-cost way to reach people. Let’s take two simple examples: house cleaning and catering. These are two businesses you can start on either a full-time or part-time basis.

If you have a presence on Facebook, you already have potential customers, or at least potential references. Let all your friends and family know what you want to accomplish. If you can afford it, build a very simple, clean website to communicate what you’re doing. Make it reflect the value you are offering.

Start small and then ramp up. Again, using our housecleaning and catering examples, you can start as a one-man or one-woman show and as you become successful, add employees. When you’re small and make mistakes, the mistakes are small, but the lessons learned can be huge. The most recent example of this approach is Mark Zuckerberg, who started Facebook with just the students in the dorms at Harvard. Now there are nearly one billion active users.

Find a way to create value, start small and scale up.

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.

Sell Your Stuff and Dish Your Dirt

Sell the artifacts of your broken love for quick cash.While it’s true that “revenge is a dish best served cold,” getting paid while getting revenge is even sweeter.

That’s exactly what you can do at Never Liked It Anyway.

It seems like a new website designed to sell your old stuff is popping up every day, but here’s one with an interesting twist. Not only can you list your items, you can list every grievance you have with your former lover.

Are you divorced and stuck with a set of wedding gift dishes you don’t want to stare at anymore? Dump the china and dish some dirt on the dude who dumped you.

There are three parts to this website. The place you go to list your items and let the world know how your ex done you wrong. The place you go to buy things. And, the place you go to read about breakups more painful than your own…hopefully.

As you might expect, jewelry—including a boatload of wedding, engagement and anniversary rings—is the site’s biggest category of merchandise, although you can also get some great deals on several wedding dresses still in their original packaging, as well as some only worn once, or so the former owners say.

As valuable as some of the merchandise on the site may be, the stories can be priceless. After one woman finally figured out that the guy she was dating was only seeing her to make his real girlfriend jealous, she broke it off. But, that led to this:

“He pursued me for a year, freaking out if I didn’t answer my phone, climbing the fence  into my neighbor’s garden drunk trying to climb into my window, spray painting a heart with our names in it on the side of my house. He even bought non-refundable tickets to go to Costa Rica.”

Apparently spray painting the side of her house with a heart worked. They did the Costa Rica trip together, during which Mr. Right went into a “diabetic coma, ran out of money and got an ear infection.” Ouch! I hate ear infections!

While sites like eBay and Craig’s List encourage you to describe what you’re offering up for sale, unfortunately these kinds of juicy details aren’t really appropriate. If you want to get your ex’s stuff out of your life and vent at the same time Never Liked It Anyway is perfect.

The fee scale isn’t bad. You pay a flat $2.50 for a regular listing or $7.50 for a “featured listing.” They don’t take a percentage cut. You also have to create a Paypal invoice, which isn’t difficult.

There’s no extra charge for venting, which by the way you can do even if you don’t have something to sell. In addition to some great deals on wedding rings, I suspect that this site will save some people a lot of money on counseling.