Stay at Home Moms Can Make Money on eBay

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

In this economy, stretching the budget is necessary. eBay may not be the powerhouse it once was in terms of marketplace opportunities, but it is still a great option for making a little extra money. The harder something is to find, the better it will sell. If someone can go buy it at Wal-mart, they’re not going to buy it from you. I have had incredible success, however, by being smart about eBay selling, using the auction house as a method for keeping life simple, making a little extra money, and getting rid of clutter.

Over the years, I’ve used eBay to sell kids clothes, comics, shoes, and collectibles as well as perceived junk from local yard sales.  Kids grow so fast that they are often not in clothes long enough to wear them in, let alone wear them out.  As the kids outgrew their clothes, I packaged them in lots by size and post them on eBay. You should only sell clothing that is in good shape, with no stains or holes. If you smoke or have pets, your clothes are less likely to sell.

Opportunities exist everywhere. While out shopping at a local department store, I came across a clearance rack of baby clothing (a popular eBay category)—everything on the rack was marked down to $1.  I bought several different outfits in different sizes, brought them home, took pictures, packaged them in lots by size, advertised them on eBay.  I made $60 off 3 lots of clothing on which I had spent $8.  Garage sales are another excellent source of items.  I once bought an original Cabbage Patch doll at a garage sale for 50 cents which sold on eBay for $60 (Cabbage Patch dolls have fallen out of favor, as have beanie babies, but there’s always some hard to find collectible eBay shoppers are after).

Probably the greatest source of profitability available for me through selling collectibles. In the past, if my husband wanted to sell one of his comics, he would have to take it to a reseller. Resellers can only give you a portion of the value of the collectible (normally around 25%). eBay takes out the middleman and allows you to sell your collectibles for whatever the market will spend.  We’ve sold comic for $10 that we purchased at a garage sale for a dime, and sold an entire lot of comics for $1200 that were simply gathering dust in the basement!

eBay makes it easy to sell nearly anything (they have restrictions on health products, and frown on people who try to sell body parts – it always makes me laugh and cringe to think they have to have a policy about that!). eBay is an opportunity for moms and families to make a little extra cash.  All you really have to invest is some time.

Tips for success:

  1. Take the time to take decent photos of the item(s) you are selling – photos do most of the sales work for you
  2. Add a thorough description of the item
  3. Reputation matters, so be honest! If the item is not in perfect condition, say so
  4. Log in regularly to answer questions from sellers
  5. Be sure to factor in the cost of shipping & supplies, as you can end up losing money on shipping if you don’t
  6. eBay is not the only auction house, but they’re fully integrated with PayPal, and PayPal makes sales easy and safe. When you accept PayPal, you’re much more likely to find buyers

Become a Mompreneur: 7 Ways Stay-at-Home Moms Can Make Extra Money

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

Being a stay-at-home mom can sometimes feel like a full time job in itself. Aside from feeding, cleaning and entertaining the little ones, there are meals to cook, shopping to do and a home that won’t clean itself. However, in the rare moments that they do get a minute to themselves, many stay-at-home moms still yearn for financial freedom and ways in which they can keep their minds active.

Cue the new generation of ‘Mompreneurs’ – women who have set up businesses from home while still dedicating most of their time to bringing up their children. There are several ways moms can make extra money from home and it doesn’t always have to involve a complicated business plan – just a little dedication and free time.

1. One mom’s trash is another mom’s treasure.

One of the ways I contributed to the family finances when my babies were young was through an eBay store. I loved haunting garage sales, liked having a little extra money, and had the minimal technical competence needed to take digital images and upload them. In addition to selling treasured finds from yard sales, my husband and I opened an eBay store to sell his comic collection. It’s very easy to start.

My best sale: I bought an original Cabbage Patch Kid at a yard sale for 25 cents and sold it on eBay for $85.

Sign up to Ebay and begin selling. With an estimated 19 million users and 2 million visitors daily, eBay is a place where nearly anything is sellable and your potential market is far greater than any garage sale. Get rid of old belongings and make money at the same time without even having to leave the home…you can even print postage from home to ship your sales!

If you have a lot of books, consider selling them on eBay’s partner site, half.com. Amazon.com also offers amazing trade-in deals on certain books, movies, and electronics.

2. Words are golden

If you love words and have the ability to communicate well, freelance writing can be a great opportunity. The key is to build up your published portfolio while making a bit of money by writing for online content providers and freelancing sites such as Associated ContentHelium,  and Suite 101. These sites have different rules, themes and rates of pay so do your research first to see which one would suit you best. Writing for byline credit for sites like MomsGetReal or your local newspaper can also give you a start.

3. Creative Cash

I’m just beginning to explore my creative side and haven’t yet grown comfortable with the idea of selling my artwork, but you can turn your passion into profit by selling the results of your creativity. Whether you crochet, sew, paint, knit or create other handmade goodies, consider setting up your own online shop. Etsy is one of many online venues for selling your creations. This is a great way to make money doing something you already love. You can also save money around the holidays by giving your creations to your loved ones instead of purchasing gifts.

4. Childcare

While you’re at home looking after your little one, why not consider caring for a children for other families too. It may leave you exhausted, but it will give your children company and enable you to earn a little money simply by entertaining a bunch of children. While there are local and state laws that govern how many children you can watch and certain inspections you may be required to undergo, many counties facilitate the setup of home childcare facilities because of the desperate need of quality care.

5. Become a Party Consultant

If you like shopping, hosting and socialising than becoming a party consultant could be a great way to earn a little extra income. Full training is usually given, but the premise behind party consultancy is working for a company, holding parties and trying to sell their products to your guests. You will be given a percentage of the earnings, plus a hosting fee. There are many different companies that you can work for and with sellable items ranging from books to cosmetics and candles to adult toys you should be able to find something you feel comfortable selling.

6. Mystery Shopping

Going shopping often involves spending money, right? Now you can earn from your shopping experience by signing up to be a mystery shopper. Many companies hire inconspicuous ‘shoppers’ to go into their stores and report back about the level of service they received. Companies that often recruit mystery shoppers include ICC Decision Services and Beyond Hello.

7. Virtually Viable

If you have office skills you’d like to keep sharp, you can find virtual assistant jobs online through companies like Guru.com and elance.com. I strongly recommend avoiding odesk – every job I’ve explored there pays far less than minimum wage.

Just because you’re a stay at home mom doesn’t mean your time isn’t worth the going rate, so don’t sell yourself short. The advantages of working from home is the flexibility it offers to still be a mom first, so don’t be afraid to say no to a project that will tie up too much of your time. As your children get older, you may be able to transform your work-at-home hobby into a full-fledged business like I was able to do.

 

 

Become a Corporate Refugee and Work from Home Successfully

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

The unemployment situation is not improving and with more people exceeding the limit of their unemployment benefits, it’s likely that we are going to have to start thinking about alternate ways to survive and maintain our financial health. I believe that in the long run, these changes might actually be good for us as a country, forcing more of us to dig deep and rediscover that innovative part of us that was the foundation of our country.

I walked away from my corporate job in 2007. It has not always been easy, and while I’ve achieved a comfortable level of success, part of that comes from being frugal and careful with our budget to make the money stretch. But knowing that I can’t get fired, that I am in control of my own financial future, that I have the opportunity to build my life around my own schedule – and THAT makes it all worth it.

I take vacation time whenever I need or want to. If my kids are sick, there’s no boss telling me it’s not ok for me to use my sick leave to care for them. If I want to take a 2 hour lunch with my husband, I can. If I want to work through lunch and be done at one in the afternoon and spend the rest of the day at the mall with my daughter, I can. Better yet, I can choose what kind of work I do. I love to write, and I love to help others become successful. I have carved out a niche for myself that allows me to do what I love while supporting my family.

My business is focused on writing, editing, and social media management. It wasn’t an accident; I’ve been writing my entire life. My first article was published in my school newspaper when I was in second grade. It is my passion. That’s the secret, of course – you don’t need to be a writer, but you need to choose work that you can be passionate about.

I encourage you – whether you are dissatisfied with your job, unable to find employment, or simply need to make a little extra money, to consider pursuing your passions. I’m including some resources to help – some of them are writer-specific, but many offer opportunities to help you find work at home jobs in any field of interest.

What does it take to be successful (besides a little bit of luck)?

  1. Tenacity. Don’t let those who say no get you down. I submitted articles and bid on projects through Guru and suffered through many more rejections than I thought possible, but along the way, I picked up clients, did my very best work for them, always kept my promises and met my deadlines, and began to build a reputation.
  2. Be committed. If you really want to work at home or be your own boss or open your own business, you need to be professional, treat it seriously, and show up. You can’t just say you’re working from home and then spend the day in front of the TV. I get up and come to my office every single day of the business week; I do not have a TV in my office to distract me, and I don’t spend the afternoon shopping when I have no work – that’s the time you need to spend hustling up more clients!
  3. Get organized. You won’t last long in any business if you can’t keep track of when things are due to clients or what time the conference call is. You may not want to work for a corporation, but you can definitely steal some of their ideas for project management, organization, and logistics.
  4. Give yourself time to succeed. Have some savings set aside before you jump the corporate ship. Be patient enough to let your hard work pay off before you give up. And remember, even (or especially) when you work for yourself, you have to do the grunt work too. Taking the job that isn’t glamorous may lead to 10 that are, and they all add to your experience and credentials.

I’m happy to answer questions about how to work from home successfully, so feel free to get in touch with me at shadra@momsgetreal.com or leave a comment here.

Shadra’s favorite work from home resources:

Work at Home Moms
Guru
Elance
Media Bistro
oDesk

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Atrocious Boss Helps Me See the Light – and Afford It!

I’ve always loved writing, but turning writing into a career was, quite honestly, as much accident as anything else.

My husband was finishing school and I was working for a corporation in Boise. I worked long hours, often had to go in on Saturdays, and stayed past dinnertime nearly every night. We hated what my schedule was doing to the family – but what do you do when you have to pay the rent, feed the kids, and afford all the stuff it takes to survive?

Shortly after Christmas the second year I was with the company, I came down with pneumonia. I was sick for a long time, but missed being in the office for three days. I still worked from home, even when my doctor was threatening to hospitalize me. That’s the kind of pressure I had from my boss.

A couple of weeks later, my son became very ill and I called in sick to stay home with him and missed two days. When I returned to work, my boss called me into his office and informed me that I would no longer be allowed to use my sick leave unless I was sick. I could not use it to care for my kids.

I could have just sat by and said ok. I mean, that would have been the responsible thing to do to ensure that I could support my family. But you know what I realized at that moment? NO ONE should have the right to make me stay away from my kids when they were sick. I was selling my soul for the paycheck, and I realized it would be easier to take two lower paying jobs than to continue the crap.

As it turned out, my boss had stepped very close to the violation of FMLA laws, and HR assured me that my sick time was mine to use as needed…but by then, I was so fed up of the “don’t make plans for Christmas, that’s our busiest time – we don’t care if you have a family” mentality that I would have done anything else. Funny enough, HR was worried that I might sue them for my boss’s stray comments and we all decided it was best for all of us if we parted ways. The company, eager to keep me happy, offered me a very generous severance package for someone who’d barely worked for them for such a short time.

It was then that I vowed never to return to corporate life. That was nearly a decade ago, and so far so good. I jumped on the computer and went to work. While the work has changed and grown and morphed into something utterly different than what I originally started, I’m very grateful for the “atrocious boss” (as Parker likes to call him) that helped me get here.

In my next post, I’ll share some of the steps I took to get started. If you’re ready to make a change that lets you spend more time with your family and do something you love, it is totally possible!