Hustling Housewife Series:#3 Another stream of income: Etsy shop

 

etsy

 

 

We have all heard about etsy right? For those of you that don’t know, etsy is a handmade website for creative’s and artisans all over the world. You can find everything from a dog tutu to a blog templates, wait, what? Yes, you can even sell digital products! More on this later but this is a very good thing. Omg, did I just channel Martha Stewart on that one? Ok, back to business.

If you are creative in any way you may want to consider starting an etsy shop. If you have even ten hours a week to dedicate to it. You can get it up and running in no time.

Here’s how I got started with etsy. I was at a really hard place in my life, I was struggling with infertility. I came to the realization that I probably wouldn’t be able to have kids after ten years,  three surgeries for endometriosis, and with the third ending in the removal of one ovary. I needed a distraction, something to throw myself into full force to get my mind focused in something else. I thought about it for awhile, then stumbled upon etsy, it was perfect. Finally a place to sell the things I had been making for years. I started sewing when I was 8 years old and I loved it, I even considered going to the Fashion Institute of San Fransico in high school, but after I graduated I followed my boyfriend( who later became my husband, now ex) to Oregon, to get out of my mom’s house really.

I started sewing again when I was around 20 years old. I started spending a lot of money on the supplies needed to make all the things I was crafting. The main expenditure being fabric. So it was either stop sewing or find a way to save on fabric. I ended up upcycling old clothing, sheets, pillow cases, really anything that had a large amount of usable fabric. I then started making quilts, dresses, purses, hats, even dog clothes, anything I felt like making. I ended up settling on women’s clothing.

I then started my shop earthangelclothing.etsy.com and it actually did pretty well, I ended up starting another shop, which is now closed, to expand my customer base. I was selling things like custom swimsuits for upwards of $120 each. Times sure have changed and now it seems like everyone and their grandma has an etsy shop, it’s a pretty staturated market now, and etsy started allowing other items that were manufactured into the market place, which was a bad mistake. There is just no way to compete with manufactured items when you only make handmade items. Something handmade just can’t be sold for the same amount or you wouldn’t make any money. So that’s the bad news.

Here’s the good news. You can still open a shop and be successful but it takes a very strategic plan. You need amazing lighting, great pics and a great presentation. I even recently invested in a full size mannequin to boost my sells.

 

pastel tunic front full view

This is the best deal I have found online for full sized mannequins

Here is the link to this one.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EDOOMM6/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00EDOOMM6&linkCode=as2&tag=mommfrugfind-20&linkId=SFHGK5XEFW4TGGAJ

 

After presentation, the next thing to do is market your  items on all social media outlets like, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and above all Pintrest. You need to analyse your competition and see what they are pricing their items at that are similar.

Another  important tip. Keep your expenses low. You really don’t need to invest in much from the get go. You can take pics with your iPhone or android phone, you can find supplies at thrift stores, yard sales, or even go through what you already have. You can even find crafting supplies at the Dollar Tree. I’ve seen everything from glue, floral items, felt, paint, plaster, modge podge. Think outside the box, I’ve even got some good ideas by going to my local hardware store. There might be something you could use there. Cut pipe cut for bracelets, washers painted and used for jewelery, use what you have and what you can get cheap or even free. Maybe even repurpose things like milk jugs you could cut them and use them for something. You could save baby food jars and make bath products and decorate the jar really cute. The sky’s the  limit.

braclet.jpg

Here’s a handmade bracelet cuff.

*More on etsy to come. Also, check out Renae Christine on youtube. She’s an Etsy guru. She helps launch etsy businesses and gives tips, tricks and ideas on getting started and being successful with your handmade business.*

 

 

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Embedding An Email Opt-In Form Into WordPress

Monetize WordPress.com

The TOS doesn’t speak against WordPress.com being used to legitimately collect email addresses for marketing messages. Any email service provider will generally offer an embeddable opt-in form. It’s possible to add that form to the WordPress widgets or sidebars:

Embed Email Opt-In FormAnd your blog readers will be able to opt-in to receive further communications directly from you. Just remember to follow email marketing best practices. Any SPAM complaint (email related, but sent directly to WordPress) could make you a spammer in WordPress’s eyes as well (As you’re using their platform to opt-in recipients to SPAM)

If there’s somewhere “data collection” “opt-In” or anything similar is prohibited, could someone please let me know so I can update this?

I’ve scoured their TOS and other resources and have never found anything against it. Doesn’t seem very “WordPress.com-ish” to allow for this though and it honestly surprised me.

Here’s a list of email marketing platforms. Hint…

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How to make $100-$200 extra income every single week using one free website!

baby with computer 2

Kids these days! Am I right?! My 2 year old knows how to use my Kindle to watch youtube videos,  while my 5 year old son keeps wanting a cell phone and a laptop. I remember being happy with barbies and dressing up my cat when I was little. Times sure have changed. If you have a child that’s computer savvy and likes taking pics, you can get them on board to help with this way of earning. It’s a great way to learn how a business operates and helps to promote creative thinking and how to think outside the box. For me I hope that I can teach both my kids to think this way and inspire them to see other ways of living and ways to promote self reliance.

This method of earning is one that I have done so many times I could do it in my sleep. I actually figured this out really because I got lazy about doing this the way I had been doing it years ago, I was still earning money but it was very time consuming. I thought to myself. What if there was a way to do the same thing, earn the same amount,but simplify and streamline the process. Here is what I did and why this works.

I started selling on ebay in 2000. Ok, just say it, I’m old. I turned 38 this year, time flies. So anyhoo, I have learned so much from this website. I learned the value of my time, how to work smarter, not harder. How to take great pics (a picture is worth a thousand words right?) How to deal with customers, how to under promise and over deliver! How to print labels, pack and ship, how to mark up at least 40%..so many amazing things that have laid the foundation for the way I think today, independently. Yep, I’m a bit of a free spirit. oK maybe a little stubborn, but I like to think of it as determined. 😉

So here’s the million dollar question for you? Do you have free 2-5 hours a week? If so read on. If not, this might not be for you and be sure to check out my other posts.

So how can you make $100-$200 a week with only 1-2 hours of time? After all time is money right? It’s all about trading your time for money. But what if you could trade less of your time for more money, would you be in?

Of course you would. Who wouldn’t?

This is the simple process….

You will be selling…drum roll please…clothing lots!!!!

What are clothing lots?

Clothing lots are a group of clothes sold together. This is a time saver for so many reasons.

#1 Less pictures to take and upload

#2 Less listings to complete, this is a very tedious process for those of you that are new to this.

#3 Less packages to ship

#4 Less annoying emails, questions and customer service work involved.

#5 One consistent product

You have to first figure out how to get these clothes at the cheapest, most rock bottom price to maximize your return.

Now some math, I know I hate math too, but this will be easy and lead you to a great profit so it’s worth it.

Let’s look at selling baby clothes as an example, you can sell any you kind you want, kids, womens o r mens, but this is just an example.

Think about this. On  ebay each piece of baby clothes goes for about .50- $1 in a lot so you need to find this stuff for .10-.25 a piece to make it worth your while. I find mine for around .10 a peice.

If you have 100 pieces of name brand baby clothing for example you could fetch $100 for this lot. If you sell them for .50 each @ 100 pieces this lot is $50. Easy right?

Here’s what a typical transaction looks like.

100 pieces $10.00 cost out of pocket

Sell for $100-$10.00=$90 profit minus ebay and paypal fees about $15

so I’m left with a $75 profit on one box..not too bad. Now if I sell two a week that’s an extra $150

$150 x 4=$600 extra income. You might have to sell between 4 lots a week to make it to $200. Which is totally reasonable. Only four-eight boxes to pack and ship. And USPS comes and picks them up if you ship priority.

So where do you find things this cheap?

#1 Frequent rummage sales. I always look on craigslist. Either under garage sales or community. The best ones are church ones. I love bag days because you can get bags of clothing for $1 or $2 each. If you go on the last day, they just give you stuff a lot of the time because they want to pack up and go home.

#2 Garage sales. These are probably one of the best places to buy used clothing since you can get things so cheap. If I see something in a box and I know I could re-sell the whole box I will just make an offer on the whole box instead of going through everything. I’ve gotten full boxes of name brand clothing it way for $15-20. The downside to this is most yard sales and garage sales happen on the weekend so you might have to give up a day each weekend or at least the morning.

#3 Thrift stores. Most thrift stores have a discount day. Even goodwill has these days. Sign up for newsletters and sale alerts. A thrift store in my area has dime day once a week where everything downstairs is a dime, clothes, household items, shoes, kids clothing, tons of stuff. This place is a rare find and how I get most of my re-sell items.

#4 Make thrift store owners you new BFF. Be friendly, ask questions. find out when the best stuff comes out. Ask what they do with stuff that doesn’t sell. They might either give it to you or give it to you for a huge discount. Let them know you are a re-seller and you are basically in the same business. It helps to network and connect with others in the same business. I have a good friend that owns one thrift store down the street from where I live, he basically let’s me have first dibbs on things that come in or he will hold something for me that he thinks I would be interested in.

#5 Start with what you have. If you have kids I’m sure you have a bunch of stuff they outgrew just sitting around. Why not start with this as your foundation. Sell and now you have some money to use to buy some clothes for you next lot. A great way to start free!

Now some tips.

You need a scale (you can buy on…you guessed it ..ebay for about $15 free shipping)

Use calculated shipping based on the persons location. Make sure to not over look the shipping. Since this is a large, heavy package going out, you need to calculate this right or you could lose your loot quickly.

Make sure to inspect for rips and stains. Don’t sell anything you wouldn’t want to receive yourself.

Always wash everything and dry with some good fabric softener. I always include a dryer sheet in the box so when the customer opens it everything smells fresh, I think customers really appreciate that because they know things are clean and ready to wear.

Go the extra mile. Include a little thank you note saying how you appreciate the business and how they are helping a stay at home mom.

Make sure the pics look nice and everything is folded.

Take several pics and highlight the main best items in some close ups.

Natural lighting works best. If you can open a window and take in front of a window this works great.

Let me point out. I haven’t done this consistently, i.e. each week for a month like this because I have had so many other things going on lately but I will try to do this for one month consistently and show you profit vs. costs and time etc.

If you like this post. Please leave me comment and let me know. I plan on doing a lot more of these so stay turned.

*helping moms build (real) multiple streams of income at home, on the cheap!*

The dark side of blogging!

lady with computer

 

I always knew in my heart that I should be working an “unconventional” kind of job, no, not pole dancing or singing on Broadway but *gasp* writing and blogging.

I should have listened to my gut instinct years ago, but instead I pressed on , doing the whole daily grind thing, like a rat on a proverbial wheel.I kept trying to fit into a mold that society crafted a long time ago, like a two year old trying to fit a square block into a round hole ( ok, enough analogies already right?), it just wasn’t working, and I was miserable.

I knew I had a passion for writing, for business and for helping people,with the work I do now, I fulfill all facets of my passions. Sounds amazing right? But wait! Could I actually make money doing what I love I asked myself. It’s not rocket science creating a website or blog it’s easy right? Then comes the challenging part. Growing an audience and monetizing you blog for income.

Let’s take a step back to 2010. After I gave birth to my first son I stumbled across a blog called hip2save.com one day when my two month old was napping.It was out of necessity that I came across this website, because quite honestly I was scared! Let’s be real! I was freaking out! My husband had just lost his job and I was a stay at home mom…we had no income briefly, yes a very trying time in my life and I’ve had quite a few of those. What I’ve learned from the struggles is this, in the most challenging times is actually when we experience the greatest discoveries. When we are tested and backed into a corner, what I like to refer to as ‘sink or swim time’ only then do we have a period of self discovery and growth

Would I be a bloggger had I not went through the challenges? Would my passion be helping moms who are in the same position I once was, probably not.

In the months to come I became so excited about money saving and couponing that I ended  up starting my blog mommiesfrugalfinds.blogspot.com (yes it was free, I had no money)

I eventually also wrote a best selling ebook on secret couponing strategies. Here’s the link if you would like to check this out.

extreme couponing ebook

Just copy and paste this code into browser

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FXNCS7W/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FXNCS7W&linkCode=as2&tag=mommfrugfind-20&linkId=PZJBKBH7OMCZ37S3

So, that’s how this whole ‘blogging thing’ came about.

Now on to the dark side of blogging

Here are things no one tells you about blogging…

The struggle is real. If you are starting a blog for just income alone, you are in the wrong business.You will not make a living the first month, the second or maybe even in a year. For me it started as a hobby and it was free. Blogging for me was a way to vent and help other moms, it was my creative outlet when my son napped. Sure I wanted to make money with it. I just didn’t have the tools to do it right. In October of last year I decided I would either delete my blog and four years worth of posts, or I would give it everything I had and absorb as much knowledge as I can about this industry. I’ve spent countless hours doing research, watching videos, podcasts, youtube videos, reading my favorite blogs, looking into social media marketing and SEO.

Your blog title is the core of your business. Don’t pick something in five minutes. Think long term. Are you going to hate it five years from now? I do. I wish I would have put more thought into my other blogs title. I was trying to be cutesy and clever, oh yeah,  and momsfrugalfinds was taken. So, the name didn’t catch on and now it just looks like I’m illiterate. Think about what your blog is about and don’t have such a narrow focus in mind that you can’t expand and  grow. Make sure it tells potential readers what they are clicking on. I kind of wish I didn’t use the word ‘frugal’ in the title too because it kind of gives the impression of someone re-using paper towels and pulling apart 2-ply toliet paper (Tyra Banks does this). Extreme frugality isn’t what my blog is about. It is more about living a good life on the cheap. I still like nice things like designer clothes, I just refuse to pay full price, like ever.While there are a lot of very successful frugal living blogs, it is kind of self limiting.

It’s pretty cut throat. It’s not for wimps.You will be putting yourself out there which opens the door for negativity and criticism. You have to be able to take rude messages with a grain of salt. I just have to remember if someone is taking the time to read my post then they are still making me money in the long run, hater or not.Some people feel so protected by the internet that they can just say anything they feel or they are just bored and want to stir the s$%t pot(who ever stirs licks the spoon right?) Ok that was just wrong.I’m obviously getting so tired right now I’m losing it). You have to understand not everyone is going to agree with what you have to say, and that’s ok. It opens up interest as well as conversation and that’s what you want.

The hours are awesome but they also suck at the same time. What do I mean by this? Sure, you can set your own hours it’s 12:40a.m as I type this so some days (early mornings rather) I can work when my kids sleep which is wonderful…but. Yes, there’s a but and a big one at that. The hours are grueling. You might be working 60 hours a week to get your blog really up and running, to gain followers, set up social media, market social media, design pin and blog posts and still make time for family, friends, cleaning, phone calls, helping out at your sons school, etc. There is just not enough time in my day, ever. I never feel like I got everything done at the end of each day. I always feel like I’m slacking in one area or another. As women we try to be everything to everyone, we just can’t *period*. My son always picks out super woman t-shirts for me when we go shopping, I’m obviously not superwoman but he thinks I am and that’s ok with me. As long as he’s happy, I’m happy. I have to keep reminding myself to slow down and just be present in the moment. Make time. Schedule well and delegate tasks.

It takes money! Yes you can start free but to take it from blog to business it is going to take money! Once I realized this myself and started to put a little money here and there into it. I started seeing progress and gaining momentum. Let me tell you FIverr has been a god send for my business. Using this service has saved me time, money and my sanity.

Sometimes you have to be a b@#ch! Being nice doesn’t get you paid. Don’t devalue yourself by giving too many things away free or trading services. If someone wants your services, set your price, be fair but firm. Once you start seeing value in your work, others will too.

More blogging tips to come! Stay tuned for more helpful insight and a little craziness!