Monday, August 30, 2010

Work at Home Jobs for Moms Part 1: Re-Selling Stuff

There are many work at home jobs for moms that require little to no overhead, do not involve finding people to sell under you or host selling parties, and can be enjoyable as well as profitable. As a work at home mom who makes in the neighborhood of $3,000 a month primarily from my computer, I have several years' experiences and many ventures from which to draw on in order to share this knowledge with you.

I've earned money selling items on eBay, reselling kids' clothes at consignment sales, grading English papers from home, mystery shopping, forum posting, writing articles for hire, freelance editing, writing content articles, blogging, publishing websites, ebook writing and affiliate marketing. Two things I don't do, and refuse to do, are "paid surveys" and any type of multilevel marketing, whether it's selling makeup or microfiber cloths or kids' educational toys or kitchen gadgets at home parties -- no thanks.

It's very, very hard to build a passive income from multilevel marketing -- the cards are stacked against you. Conversely, it's actually quite possible -- with hard effort and some skills -- to make a significant income from home with a job you will enjoy and hours you choose.

Since I currently earn the bulk of my income through online sources, I'll focus on those methods in the future posts in this series. However, I first want to note several great sources for side income, especially since these can be used to build capital for  funding and growing an online business.

Work at Home Jobs for Moms:  Reselling Used Stuff

You can buy and re-sell kids clothes, home goods, collectibles and the like while working from home. This works best if you have a good sorting and storage area, such as garage or basement space, that you can use just for this purpose. as you'd assume, the key is to buy things very cheaply and to resell them for more.

eBay Selling
Don't dismiss eBay auction selling as impossible, overcrowded or not worth the time. If you find good items to resell, you can make money -- possibly even lots of money-- every week through online auctions. When I was first a stay at home mom, I built up a small eBay business and earned a few hundred dollars on the site every month, sometimes more. I simply bought things for a little and sold them for more. For example, I found a new Calvin Klein duvet at a thrift store for $5 and resold it for $60. A lamp I paid $2 for sold for $20 plus shipping, and there were many items like this where I was able to turn a  few dollars into more. Some work at home moms make a full time income selling on eBay, and most got their start finding used things to re-sell.

Good sources for items to resell include yard sales, consignment stores, Craigslist, giveaway bags from friends and family, clothing salvage stores such as Gabriel Brothers and Rugged Warehouse, discount places like Ollie's and Big Lots, and your own attic and basement.

A friend and fellow blogger, Suzanne, has tons of advice, information and free resources on making money from home with eBay at her eBay Selling Coach blog. If you have an eye for things that would sell well, or would like to develop one, check it out. Suzanne discusses ebay niches, eBay success stories -- like a thrift store find of vintage sewing patterns for 76 cents that sold for $75 on eBay -- and she is all around the best eBay blogger I've ever read.

Kids' Seasonal Consignment Sales
I sell used children's clothing, toys and furniture at semi-annual sales held in my area and make about $200-$500 per season for what amounts to a few hours' work sorting, cleaning, tagging, and  delivering my items. The money lets me splurge on new things for my kids and have extra money to spend on their birthday and Christmas gifts. If you get serious about it, you can earn thousands of dollars per sale (assuming you're selling at a sizable sale in a good area).

ConsignmentMommies is a great website and offers some key advice on top-selling kids' items and how to maximize your consignment profits. When you can source items very cheaply and resell them for great used-item prices, you'll do well. They have an extensive listing of consignment sales by state, too.
(By the way, if you are looking for affordable kids' clothing and don't have local consignments sales, you can also swap kids' clothes online for free at Thred-Up.)

 Consignment Stores
Despite the recessionary economy of the past year, or perhaps in part because of it, one of the new businesses that opened up in my hometown was a consignment store in the town's main shopping center. They accept everything from home goods to furniture to ladies' clothing to kids' toys. While the store/ consignor split isn't the best (they keep 60% of the sale price) it is an easy way to make extra money, using the same sources listed above for re-selling on eBay. for me, the consignment store is the least favorable selling option and used mainly for heavy items, home goods that wouldn't do well on eBay, and kids' clothes only in between the seasonal sales.

There are many work at home jobs for moms, and I'll discuss more -- especially online ones -- in future posts. My favorite ways to earn money form my computer involve residual income and being paid over and over for the same work. But as you can see, reselling things can be a great way to get started earning money from home. 

Have you made money selling on eBay or via consignment? What's your best re-selling success story?


The Recycle-ista said...

I have a 3yo and selling online at Ebay and Etsy has helped so much. It's a lot of work, but you get out of it what you (can) put into it. Sometimes it's just enough to cover buying little extras..sometimes I can cover a big bill.
I love the 'hunt' for stuff and flipping it for bigger bucks is such a rush!! It's what keeps me going.
Also, if you don't have time for searching for your own items...consigning (selling for your friends or others) is an option.

ccrock said...

Mostly just selling stuff on craigslist but nothing huge! I'm don't think I'm quite finished with having babies so I've been holding onto everything.

Maria said...

recycle-Ista, I know what you mean about the thrill of the hunt! Love it!

ccrock-- I really enjoy using Craigslist to find deals and sell stuff, too!