Feeling stuck in your 9 to 5, or simply want a way to make extra cash? Selling knick-knacks from your home seems like much more trouble than its worth. Yet it doesn’t have to be. Below, three FIRST readers share how they started up their online businesses to earn extra cash. In fact, these savvy women were so successful that the extra cash has become a form of secondary income. (One earns up to $2,100 per month.) While these hobbies require a time investment, the payback is worth it. Read on to learn the secrets of making money from home off of items in your closet.
For Selling Clothes: This Reader Earns $600 Monthly on Poshmark
“About five years ago, I was looking to change over my wardrobe and purge clothes that no longer suited my style,” says Dani Mackey, 57. “I saw an ad for Poshmark, a social marketplace for new and secondhand items, and I decided to give it a try. I listed items I knew I wouldn’t miss, and when they sold, I was thrilled. I realized it could be an easy way to make cash.
“I signed up and came up with a creative name for my closet (@fancyflea). I then played around with different ways to take pictures of the items so they would look appealing. After some time, I invested in a mannequin to display the clothes. I wrote the descriptions, included measurements, posted photos, and shared the items in my closet. I also searched the platform and Google to determine the best prices for the items. I sell dresses, jeans, workout clothes, handbags, and shoes, as well as my husband’s clothes and items I find in thrift stores and even in retail stores.
“Today, I have 70,000 followers. I love making money on Poshmark because people get to enjoy the items I have loved, and it’s a great way to recycle. Each month varies, but I can make up to $600 a month — money that pays for extras like gifts and takeout. It also feeds my blacksmithing hobby: I make decorative hooks, handles, key chains, and knives and give them to friends and family.”
For Selling Jewelry: This Reader Makes $150,000 Annually on eBay
“Fifteen years ago, I was a divorced, single mom and I needed to find a way to make money. I worked as a manager of a jewelry department, but realized that wasn’t the life I wanted,” says Rebecca Mayfield, 59. “Through the years, I collected rosaries, fine jewelry, DVDs, shoes, and purses. I thought about selling them to simplify my life, make money, and help others. Since I had purchased items on eBay in the past, I thought I would try selling there. I listed a few items, and when they sold, I knew it was the perfect opportunity.
“I found eBay simple to use. I set up a storefront (Becca’s Vintage Hidden Closet), which cost me $75. To sell, I take clear photos of the items using my phone, write thorough descriptions, and list any flaws. I find items at thrift stores, estate sales — and on eBay, Etsy, and Poshmark. My goal every day is to have 25 items listed. I also include the ‘best offer’ feature, which states the lowest amount I’m willing to take for an item. I often offer discounts for people who buy three or more items. Some items I pay extra to promote and get more visibility, and eBay takes 5 percent commission.
“I have great feedback — about 4,000 responses — and I have a reputation for being a friendly seller. I also have a lot of repeat customers, some of whom have been around for 10 or 15 years. I love connecting with my customers, and the work is fun and flexible. I can even go on vacation and still earn money. I make up to $150,000 a year. Selling on eBay has allowed me to purchase a home in cash, support my family, and take trips with them.”
For Selling Books: This Reader Earns $2,100 Monthly on Amazon
“In 2020, I quit my job working in customer service for Airbnb, and I was looking for a way to make money. I listened to the The Side Hustle Show with Nick Loper podcast and learned about selling books on Amazon. Since I’m an avid reader and an author, selling my books seemed like a great way to earn cash and declutter my home.
“I applied for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), a service that picks, packs, and ships the orders. I had to do a video interview with them so they could make sure I was a real person. You can list books for free, but I paid for the ScoutIQ app to scan the books and see how much they’re worth, as well as the ScanLister app, which makes listing the books easier. Both apps are available via a paid subscription. I ship about 30 books at a time. Once Amazon receives them, they handle all of the customer service and shipping, which costs about 40 percent of the selling price. I check my listings regularly to make sure my prices are still competitive. Today, I also resell books I find at thrift stores.
“This work allows me to get out of the house to search for books — it’s fun to go on a treasure hunt. And I can earn up to $2,100 a month. That money pays for travel in my RV and allows me to work on my blog, SoloWomenRV.com.”
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.