I may as well start with something I know well. When I started out as a freelance writer 20 years ago, things were very different. I wrote mostly for magazines, and I had to rely on snail mail to send out drafts and queries. I’d wait weeks for a response from my editors. Not many people had the patience for it, and few stuck around long enough to ever start earning a real income from it.
Bulk Selling: For all practical purposes, you can sell as many items as you like on Decluttr. If you reach the 500-item-per-order limit, just start a new order. This is a big advantage for folks staring down huge boxes of old DVDs, CDs, and textbooks. And it’s a distinct competitive edge on retail trade-in platforms, which may require users to enter their items one at a time.
Advertising. You’ll need to get the word out about your sewing business, and one of the best places to start is with your friends and neighbors. Make sure they are all aware of your services and are willing to pass around your business cards. In addition, you should put up fliers in local fabric stores and get to know the employees so that if someone asks, they’ll be able to refer you. Any business needs a website, and yours will be no exception; you can put up a simple one that outlines what you do, and tells the reader what kinds of prices to expect. Finally, by joining organizations like the American Sewing Guild, you’ll be able to stay in touch with others who are doing the same thing as you.
Finances. You need to be good at quick math and be able to make quick decisions. You have to be careful how much you pay for a book, and then keep careful track of the expenses involved in selling it. For instance, when you sell on a website, they’ll take a commission from the sale. In addition, some sites, like eBay, will charge you a listing fee for each book. If you request that your money be deposited via PayPal, then you’ll be charged a transaction fee per book. If you’re not careful, the fees will quickly negate your profits.
Service. Another key aspect of successful B&Bs is the level of service that the hosts provide. You’re not just offering room and board, but an experience. If they need help planning a day seeing the sites, offer to sit down with them and help them plan their itinerary. If a businessperson needs copies for a presentation, offer to go and make them. Remember, your job as host will be to make your guests’ stays as comfortable and pleasurable as possible. If you succeed, they’ll remember you the next time they travel through your town.
Ratings. Whenever someone buys a book from you, they will have the opportunity to give the transaction a rating. This is when they’ll tell other potential buyers whether the book was in the condition that you described, whether it was mailed on time, and if your communications were pleasant and helpful. One bad rating can hamper sales, and a couple of them can downright stop them. Excel at customer service and your ratings will help your company grow.
You might be desperate for work, but don’t necessarily jump at an opportunity that sounds too good to be true. In my article about common Craigslist scams, I wrote about fake employers who “hire” new employees, then “accidentally” send them too much pay. They’ll ask their victims to wire back the difference, but a few weeks later, when the bank discovers that the initial check is a fraud, the “employee” is on the hook for hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars. If a job offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
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Before you really roll up your sleeves and monetize your personal or professional skills, why not right-size your life? Selling your unwanted stuff is a great way to downsize and declutter your life while earning some income on the side. If you’re transitioning to full-time work-at-home status, that income could provide a critical boost to your plans for a proper home office, or allow you to maintain your lifestyle during lean times without resorting to voluntary simplicity.
The best part is that people who use bed and breakfasts are more likely to pay more for the experience. The challenge is that there’s a lot of competition in this field, so if you think earning money this way is right for you, you’ll have to set up your home in a way that makes for a memorable experience for guests. Here’s a checklist to get you started: