Samples. You’ll need some samples before you can really begin marketing yourself. Figure out which market you want to approach first, and then find or create some related samples. For instance, if you want to try your hand at blogging, study some successful blogs, and then write a few posts of your own to use as samples. Do this for any and every market you’d want to write for.
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.
I have been really disappointed with the survey gig. They underestimate the time they take to complete by like a third and often I find myself spending 10 minutes in what seems like a survey only to find out it’s a pre-survey qualifier, where it feels like I’m giving them so much personal information that I ought to be paid, but at the end of it I’m told I don’t qualify but the award like the equivalent of a penny or two to thank you for your time.
Research Pricing (And Set Fair Starting Prices): Before setting prices for each item, research your local Craigslist website and (if possible) nearby yard sales to get a sense of how to price them. Remember that many buyers will try to haggle – so set prices a bit higher than your bottom dollar, but not so high that you’ll scare off first bids. 10% to 15% is a good rule of thumb. Consider bunching low-value items, such as old CDs, into lots of five or 10, or offer x-for-$y deals.
Photographs. Because your customers won’t be able to touch or hold your items, you need to give them as much of a visual feel for the products as you can. You’ll do it with photographs – but not just any photos. They have to be pleasing to the eye and make the item look fantastic. You’ll have to learn the art of photography, and if you can’t get the hang of it, you’ll have to hire someone to do it for you. Yes, it’s that important.
Online business is how I’ve made a living since 2003 and what has helped me retire early. I make over $40,000 a month through my blog. You can create your own blog here with my easy 15-minute step-by-step tutorial. You can start a blog for as little as $2.95 a month (less than a cup of coffee!). Create a blog and leverage it into affiliate sales or product endorsement deals. Consider topics like:
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Comfort. Perhaps the biggest thing that you’ll need to do in order to create a successful B&B is to make sure that your guests are as comfortable as they can be. Remember, they’re paying more for the experience of being comfortable away from home. As a trial, spend a night in the room in your house that you intend to rent and view things from a guest’s point of view. Is the temperature comfortable? Is the bath in the room, or at least a comfortable distance away while still being private? Is the bed soft and inviting? The pillows? Is the bedroom interior design, including colors, soothing? Can you hear household noises, or do you feel that you’re in a world of your own? All of these are important questions to ask yourself, but the answers will determine whether or not your guests recommend your place, or come back for another stay. Think about all the minor inconveniences and discomforts that you’ve just gotten used to over the years, and remember that a paying guest might not tolerate those problems for a night. You may need to spend a little money to fix these issues.
Storage. Depending on how big your business gets, you’ll need ample room to store the books. You can’t get lazy or disorganized about it, either. You have to keep the books in good condition, and you need to be able to find them when someone wants them. For instance, if you list a book in “like new” condition, and then the pages get smashed during storage, you’ll be in a bind if someone places an order before you realize what happened.
I have yet to find a survey site worth the time. They ask you tons of information about yourself then send you surveys where you have to answer the exact same questions over and over again. Then, after spending 10 to 20 minutes answering questions, you are told you don’t qualify. I want a survey site that takes the information I have already provided and only sends me surveys I am qualified for. Most times I feel they have gotten the answer they wanted and then say I don’t qualify just so they don’t have to pay!!!
Amazon: Many people don’t realize that Amazon is a haven for third party sellers, including regular Joes and Janes cleaning out their attics and garages. If you plan to sell more than 40 items per month on Amazon, consider registering as a professional seller. You’ll need to pay a $39.99 monthly subscription fee, a referral fee that usually ranges from 6% to 20%, and a $1.35-per-item closing fee for media items. You won’t pay the $0.99-per-item selling fee, however. Alternatively, register as an individual seller. The fee schedule is the same as for professionals, except you do have to pay the selling fee and don’t have to pay the subscription fee.
Nice writing style Ben. I’m finding out very quickly that to make any money writing, you have to read, read, and then read some more, no matter how smart you feel you are on a subject, before writing your first sentence. I have always been a fan of multiple income streams and am thrilled by the ideas of proofreading, editing, blogging, freelancing and transcribing. Having spent one of my careers doing just that for a large corporation, it’s a perfect fit, but now I can get credit for my work, thanks again for a great article.