The Real Truth About Selling Stuff At Home
OK, we get it that if you have to work from home, there are certain jobs you probably don’t want to do:
- Cold-call as a salesperson
- Processing paperwork
- Medical billing
- Multi-level marketing
- Doing tasks for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
Heck, throw in running a daycare center at your home if you want to.
What we’re getting at is that some jobs that are meant to make you lots of money by working at home are so monotonous and a pain in the neck to do that you’d rather work anywhere but at home. And definitely not in these jobs.
A global pandemic, however, can upset that work-life balance and require you to work at home. Or you could be out of a job and are looking for something to help pay the bills. Or maybe you want to earn a little extra cash on the side.
Whatever the reason, you could try working at home by selling stuff.
And we don’t mean selling things by calling people at random on the phone to convince them they need an insurance policy or whatever.
We mean selling something physical. It can be something you create and are passionate about. Or it might be something you’ve found a deal on and can resell at a profit.
Whatever it is, it’s yours to sell. Here are some places to start:
If you have a knack for finding vintage clothes at thrift stores, you could turn around and sell them for a profit as an eBay seller.
Look at the site’s listings for similar items so see what the demand is and what prices are being charged. The lower you price items, the more they’ll show up in searches.
Take professional photos of your products by buying a mini photo studio box (Google it) for less $20 or make one yourself.
Selling your old stuff or old stuff you’ve bought elsewhere is one thing. If you want to sell new products, Amazon has a few options.
The first is to sell private-label products that you resell with your own packaging and logo.
Private-label products are generic products that already sell well on Amazon. You just find a way to package them uniquely and market them better than anyone else.
Look up the rankings of the best-selling products on Amazon. If a generic item ranks high and doesn’t weigh much, you can ship it to customers inexpensively.
Suppose that water bottles or solar flashlights are selling well. You could create a logo and packaging. You then find a supplier for your product, create a compelling listing on Amazon, and use the Fulfillment by Amazon, or FBA, program to pack and ship orders.
FBA can also be used to sell items you’ve bought elsewhere, such as at clearance sales. FBA is also used to resell items that are shipped directly to Amazon, which stores them in its warehouse before sending them to your customers.
Now we’re getting into the business of making products yourself. If you have any sort of crafty or DIY bone in your body, Etsy can help you sell it.
This fun online marketplace is where home-made custom jewelry, picture frames, craft kits and other unique items are sold by independent sellers.
Photos and detailed descriptions on your Etsy store can make a buyer feel like they’re physically in a store and are touching the merchandise. Sharing your personal story is key to being successful.
Many items are unique and are priced high enough to earn a good profit. We’ve never even heard of crayons shaped in the letters of a child’s name until we saw them on Etsy. At $20 for four letters, the profit margin must be high.
Can you sew? We can’t, but wish we could.
If you can, maybe you can turn it into an at-home business like a woman who was profiled by The Penny Hoarder did. She sews cosplay costumes for $300 each as her side gig.
That might be enough to get you interested in sewing or doing some other kind of craft work at home.
Masks are a big seller right now, if you didn’t notice.
Your huge, empty backyard may be calling you to become a farmer. You could grow vegetables, but we’re thinking about bigger profits than selling a few tomatoes and squash.
How about raising chickens in your backyard? You could sell the eggs or sell the chickens.
Raising livestock is a lot of work and may require following rules set by your local government or state’s Department of Agriculture. Be sure to account for setup costs and any licensing fees if required.
If livestock isn’t your thing, maybe you want to be a beekeeper at home and sell local honey.
A starter hive costs about $125, and you’ll need some protective equipment and tools to collect the honey. Selling it may require following more local or state regulations, so check into those before you get too far into it.