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Whether you need a full-time income or just a bit of extra cash on the side, selling items from your home may be the way to go. You can follow a number of business models to be successful at this endeavor, but you'll be most successful with a plan that best fits your personality. Remember to treat selling things from home as a business rather than a hobby if you really want to succeed.
An effective way to get started making money from home is to sell the items you have around your house that you no longer need. You can do this at a garage sale, through a local classifieds website such as Craigslist or on an auction site such as eBay. Once you've got the hang of it, you can expand your business by seeking out garage sales where you can buy items cheaply, then sell them for higher prices online.
Items You Make
Selling items that you make, such as crafts, food or gift baskets, can earn you money while you express your creative side. Whether you enjoy sewing, crocheting or jewelry making, there's a niche of people who are interested in your products. Sell these goods through an online site such as Etsy.com or create your own website to sell the products. You may also be able to strike up a consignment deal with local stores in your area. Note that certain areas allow you to sell foods that you make, but others have strict restrictions, such as needing a separate kitchen just for your business. Check with your local state revenue agency about regulations for your area.
If you don't want to bother creating items but do have a wide network of friends, direct selling through a party plan might be the right option for you. Partner with a company that sells a product that interests you — makeup, candles, home goods, kitchenware or purses are all good ideas — and organize parties to introduce people to your products. You make a percentage of the sales that you earn. You can earn more money when a friend or acquaintance decides to host a party, introducing you to a larger circle of people.
Your time and skills are worth money, too — in some cases, they might be worth more than a product that you could sell. Consider selling services such as consulting, writing, tutoring or planning. You can keep in touch with your clients through email and phone.
Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.