How to make money while spring cleaning

Corked
If you’re like a lot of people, spring weather means spring cleaning. It’s a time for putting up those winter clothes, putting away those extra blankets on the bed and (most importantly) getting rid of clutter. While sorting through all the items in the house and garage isn’t the most pleasant of tasks, it can be a great opportunity to make money by selling all the stuff that has been taking up so much of your precious space.

Here’s some ideas on how you can make some money:

List your old winter clothes
It may seem like it doesn’t make much sense to list sweaters when the weather is getting warmer, but that’s because you live in the northern hemisphere instead of the southern. In places like Australia, the weather is turning cooler and the sweaters and coats are starting to come out. If you’re someone who likes to dress in the latest styles every season, here’s your opportunity to eliminate some stuff in the closet and take the money to the bank.

Turn your trash into treasure
Interestingly, there are a lot of items that we throw away that could actually put a little change in the pocket, but we just don’t think about it. As an example, did you know that people buy the toilet paper rolls that toilet paper comes on? They are used for all kinds of crafts and if you look on Pinterest you’ll see why they are in such high demand. It usually helps to save them up for a while, but if you have a large family you’ll have a good supply to sell in no time.

Check that recycling bin
You may not have thought about it, but some people like to use wine bottle and wine corks for decorating. Older is usually better and you’ll find you have the best luck with ones that are an unusual shape or color. Meanwhile, cork boards made out of real corks are a popular kitchen decorating item these days, so there’s some money to be made there too.

Old newspapers
Finally, you knew you were saving those old newspapers for a reason, right? Well, guess what! A lot of people like to buy newspapers that were around on the day they were born and if it’s in good shape you can get $15 or more for them and more if they are actually older or vintage. Newspapers with big news events actually do well too. This is especially true when a big anniversary date for an event comes around and people get nostalgic.

World First for International Payments

If you’re trading overseas on eCommerce marketplaces then World First is the go-to specialist for

repatriating your profits.

World First works with online merchants who sell products on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and

Rakuten or any other global marketplace.

The ecommerce offering from the company began when founders Jonathan Quin and Nick Robinson

spotted a gap in the market when it came to repatriating overseas marketplace income. Previously

sellers had no control over when or how to bring their overseas income back to their own currency,

reliant on the marketplace to do it for them. World First offered the ability to open local receiving bank

accounts for online merchants in the UK and Europe, giving sellers more control over when they could

being their money back. Now they can also open receiving bank accounts in the US and Canada.

So how does it work?

Once you’ve signed up with World First, they assign one dealer to work with each client – which means

that you’re working with someone who understands your needs and preferences. They are smart, quick,

and can be your eyes and ears on the market, so that you can get back to running your business. When

you prefer to work online, you can transact whenever and wherever you like using World First Online.

Because World First deals only with foreign exchange, the overhead is minimal compared to the banks –

which means they are able to offer competitive rates.

And World First’s accounts are segregated, which means if another online seller is closed down by a

marketplace, your funds will not be affected. Believe it or not, this is not always the case with

international payments specialists.

So how does pricing work?

It’s pretty easy, actually. Registering with World First, transacting, and opening and maintaining bank

accounts – it’s all free. World First makes their profit between the exchange rate they offer you and the

exchange rate they get from their banking partner – but they charge a lot less margin than the banks or

your marketplace. You can talk to your designated dealer more about rates and where World First’s

profit comes from – they believe in transparency!

If all of this sounds like something you can get on board with, there are a few ways you can connect with

World First. You can learn more at their website, or you can cut to the chase and get registered. You will

be connected with a real person and can be ready to transact as early as the next business day.

That Kat Radio – Podcast 13 – April 21, 2015: Debbie Franklin, Ron LaBeau and Ali Young

In this episode, Kat spoke with Debbie Franklin, Ron LaBeau and Ali Young

 

Debbie Franklin is an International Best Selling Author (Superwoman Myths), founder Feathering Your Empty Nest, Wellness Advocate, & Business Strategist. She helps woman reinvent their income and lives now that their children are grown. She teaches them how to create a business they love that generates an income, and be more productive with their time, which allows them more freedom to do the things they love!

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. Can you tell us about your story and how you got to where you are now?
  2. What is the most important thing from your background that brought you to this point?
  3. Was becoming a grandmother a big turning point for you?
  4. What misconceptions have you encountering as you entered the ‘empty nest’ phase of your life?
  5. Why turn to eCommerce and Online marketing at this point in your life?
  6. What advice would you give to a new ‘empty nester’?

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. What exactly is your business, Feathering Your Empty Nest, about?
  2. What is the heart of your business? The purpose?
  3. Please tell us what you can do for a fellow Empty Nester and how you do that?
  4. What mistake have you learned from that you’d be willing to help our listeners avoid?
  5. What are your top three tips for other entrepreneurs to learn from your story?
  6. Where can the audience connect with you online?

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Ron LaBeau and Ali Young are web and eBay Store designers that saw a need for successful eBay sellers to share their stories. So, in Sept. 2014 they launched their “So You Wanna Sell On eBay” podcast show. The response has been far greater than they could have imagined and they love the fact that what they are doing helps so many. Their show has been #1 in iTunes and they have interviewed some of the top eBay Sellers and entrepreneurs in the eCommerce space around the world.

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. Can you tell us about your story and how you got to where you are now?
  2. What is the most important thing from your background that brought you to this point?
  3. Who are you interviewing for ‘So You Wanna Sell on eBay’?
  4. Who is the target audience for the podcast and what will they learn by listening?
  5. What were some of your funniest moments doing the interviews?
  6. Should our listeners contact you if they’d like to be interviewed on the show?
  7. Are you focusing strictly on the eBay Marketplace?

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[smart_track_player url=”http://filesource.abacast.com/wsradio/thatkat/042115/segment4042115.mp3″ title=”Segment #4″ ]

Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. Can you tell us about your new product Premium DIY eBay template product?
  2. What kind of seller would benefit by using these templates?
  3. What about mobile – are the templates mobile friendly?
  4. Do you think using a template on eBay helps you sell more? Why?
  5. How much is the “Premium DIY eBay Template?
  6. What custom services do you offer and where can our listeners find them?

Links from the show:

http://debbiefranklin.com/

You can follow Kat on TWITTER, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. Read the blog on ThatKat.com.

Purchase one of Kat’s books on Amazon. Kat’s Sales Tax Book or Ultimate Guide to Savings by Store.

Join her Facebook Group to be notified of upcoming shows.

Selling 101: So You Want to Sell on Amazon

Amazon.com logo
I have to admit, when I first started selling on Amazon I found the whole process to be somewhat intimidating. Unlike eBay, which was super-friendly to new sellers, Amazon seemed kind of like a stern school teacher who keeps a close eye on you and tells you that you better not screw up. It’s really not that bad though although there is a different dashboard to get use to and a different kind of fee structure.

If you’ve been wanting to sell on Amazon here’s some things you should know that can make the process simpler:

Pay attention to Amazon’s Rule and Guidelines. You do not want to have your account suspended at Amazon. Trust me. Take some time and read over the Amazon rules in the “Help” section. Learn about the categories you can sell in and what products are allowed and what products are restricted. Although it didn’t use to be that way, you will discover that some categories have restrictions on who can sell in them, so make sure you find out what hoops you have to jump through before you run out and buy a lot of product that you then find you can’t actually sell there.

Decide what kind of seller you want to be. Amazon allows you to either be a professional seller or an individual seller. As of April 24, 2015, if you want to be a professional sellers it is $39.99 a month. If you want to be an individual sellers, there is no monthly fee, but every time you list something you get hit with a .99 fee when it sells. Plus, with both account there are other types of fees to pay as well.

If you’re just getting started, it’s usually recommended that you try it as an individual. See if you like how Amazon works and then you can start looking at becoming a professional seller and setting up a Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) account if you want to ship your items to their warehouse. You can learn more about the two types of plans here.

Decide what your profit margin is going to be. This is where a lot of new sellers get into trouble. They run out and buy some stuff to list on Amazon, but don’t consider all the fees they are going to have to pay. If you ship it to Amazon there’s a fee. There are also fees if you sell something, monthly fees (as a professional), and if you ship the items to the warehouse there is even a fee for the storage space you are using. Although Amazon can help you calculate a lot of this, you might find it useful to initially start with a written spreadsheet so you can see your actual costs and what you will make sitting right in front of you.

Handle with care. Whether you go the professional route and ship to the warehouse or the individual route and ship from home, you need to invest in some shipping supplies to ensure your merchandise arrives safely. If you are shipping to the warehouse, there are some certain requirements you have to meet, so do some research on that too before sending in your first shipment.

It’s all about the holidays. Keep in mind that Amazon sellers live for the holidays. Since you can sell up to five times your normal sales during that time period, you need to do some planning in advance. Believe it or not, a lot of sellers start thinking about Christmas around July. Decide what products you want to sell and if you see them on sale, you might want to go ahead and get them for later. Pay attention to what the retail stores are doing, when Christmas stuff starts showing up, it’s time to get ready to list your seasonal items and/or prepare to send them in to the warehouse.

Target’s Line of Lilly Pulitzer Products Provides Big Bucks for Lucky Ebay Sellers

lilly pulitzer collage2
During the incredibly early hours of Sunday morning, if you weren’t at a Target store or waiting impatiently in front of your computer, you no doubt missed it. That was when Target launched its collaboration with the Lilly Pulitzer Palm Beach fashion brand, making some eBay sellers very happy and other sellers and fan of the bran…well, not so much.

As you might expect, the collection didn’t last long in the stores or online either. In fact, if you thought you would take a leisurely stroll into a Target to pick up a few pieces of the collection around lunchtime, you were most likely greeted with a completely empty display area. Both eBay sellers and just plain old fans of the fashion brand had patiently waited in line for hours before the stores opened, just so they could be there around 8 a.m.. As you can imagine, once customers were inside, the items quickly flew off the shelves.

Since Target doesn’t limit the amount of product their customers can buy, as one can imagine, chaos ensued. Those who chose to order online got a head start with east coasters being able to buy around 5 a.m….if…they could get online that is.

Unfortunately, Target had several problems with their website after the product went live online along with a bunch of glitches. The site crashed, then was taken down for 20 minutes. There were internal service errors, shopping carts emptying by themselves (after online buyers had frantically filled them). Even worse, some people couldn’t even get on the website and those who did, didn’t even know for sure that their orders had been taken since the confirmations didn’t get sent out. Still, there was a bright note to the confusion, some items actually showed up online on the mobile application just before midnight.

Regardless of all the chaos, some of you obviously had pretty good luck. There are currently 65,327 products showing up for Lilly Pulitzer and quite a few of them already have bids.

Did you get in on the Lilly Pulitzer craze or did you stay far, far away? Leave a comment below.

Common Sales Tax Pitfalls eCommerce Sellers Face

Mark Faggiano is the founder and CEO of TaxJar, a service built to make sales tax compliance simple for taxjarlogoeCommerce sellers. Mark’s passion is solving complex problems for small businesses. He previously co-founded and led FileLater to become the web’s leading tax extension service for both businesses and individual taxpayers before being acquired in 2010.

Sales tax can be one of the biggest headaches eCommerce sellers face. There are so many pitfalls on the path to sales tax compliance that it can be downright treacherous, but if you already have a handle on the most common mistakes, you are going to be just fine.

So what are the four most common sales tax mistakes and how do we fix them?

Nexus – What’s That?
It is common knowledge for most online sellers that they should collect sales tax from buyers in their home states. By operating your business in that state, you have sales tax nexus. But It can come as a shock though to find out just how easy it is to create sales tax nexus in other states. Some activities that create nexus include:

● Having items stored in a state
● Having an employee in a state
● Using a distribution center in a state
● Having delivery vehicles in a state
● Attending a craft show, exhibition, or trade show in a state

If you do have nexus in a state and you didn’t realize, you can register for a sales tax permit with that state. However, if you have been operating for awhile without a permit, you should probably check with a sales tax expert to see what you should do about all the unpaid sales tax.

No Permit? Uh, Oh.
If you have been operating for awhile and you know you have nexus, but you don’t have a permit, you could be in trouble. Most states consider it illegal to collect sales tax without a permit. Be sure to check with your state’s department of revenue to make sure that you have a permit and that it doesn’t need to be renewed. If you have nexus in multiple states, you need a permit from each state.

Collecting the Wrong Amounts
Many sellers have trouble calculating sales tax rates. Let’s say for example that you live and operate your business in Minnesota. Because Minnesota is a destination based state you will calculate sales tax based on where your customer lives. The Minnesota base sales tax rate is 6.875%, but you must add any applicable local rates.
So for example, although the base rate is 6.875%, if your customer lives in St. Paul, you would pay a total of 7.625%. If they live in the Anoka area, you would pay 7.125%. This can be trickier than you think, especially when you sell online and have to set up your shopping cart to collect. You can learn more here about which sales tax rate you should charge to buyers.

So Many Platforms
This mistake happens frequently. Let’s say you are selling on Etsy and you set up to collect in the states where you have nexus. You think you have it all taken care of, but what about all the items you sell through your personal website? The next step is making sure that you have all the platforms you sell on set up for sales tax collection. So if that’s eBay, Etsy, and your website, make sure that you have all of those platforms set up to collect sales tax from buyers in every state where you have sales tax nexus.

That about sums up some of the most frequent sales tax errors. (Though, with sales tax being so complicated, there are thousands of other pitfalls!) If you have questions about sales tax pitfalls, start the conversation in the comments.

Need help with sales tax? Check out our Sales Tax 101 for Online Sellers Guide!

How to overcome your business fears and share your work

Boteh Scarf
If you are like a lot of online sellers who have a creative side, you probably want to create your own products to sell online but something keeps holding you back. Maybe it’s the fear of failure or perhaps it just scares you to put your work out for the entire world to see. Overcoming these insecurities can be hard, but taking that giant leap of faith may just turn out to be worth it. These three tips can help you battle some of the fears that many sellers first faced when they think about selling their own products online.

What if no one wants to buy what I make?
Creating something by yourself is a very personal experience. When an artist chooses to sell something they have made, it is only normal to have a lot of self doubt. Unfortunately, this sometimes causes sellers to under-price their work when they first start out. There is such a doubt that anyone would actually want to buy it, the seller is almost willing to give it away. Take a deep breath, do some homework and find out what similar types of artwork (they are your products!) are selling for. Price your item in the middle. You don’t want to be lower than everyone else, but avoid being the highest one either.

Someone else has already made what I make
Although you do have to worry about intellectual property rights, this doesn’t mean that you can’t sell a similar product just because their are some already out there. You aren’t infringing on someone else’s intellectual property unless you are intentionally trying to copy them. Obviously, you can can’t run around creating your own version of “Olaf” from “Frozen” unless you want to get into a lot of trouble with copyrights, but if you’ve always liked making stuff snowmen and have your own entirely different version of a snowman to sell, there is nothing wrong with making them t sell.

I feel like I’m giving away my own child
It can be a really hard decision to sell something you created by yourself. It not only feels like you are giving away a piece of yourself, you may even feel like you have hurt or betrayed the creation by your consideration to sell it. One way to get around these feelings is to realize that it is all part of the creative process. You can always make more and as your talent grows, the creations will be even better than the ones you made before. If you find you are becoming too attached to one of your creations, you can always keep it for a while until you create something you like even better.

How to avoid getting scammed on eBay

The scam truck
If you sell on eBay for any length of time, you are eventually going to encounter a scammer. In fact, it’s so prevalent on eBay that it is often the reason many new eBay sellers are afraid to get started. Fortunately, while there are some things you can do to help keep yourself from becoming a victim.

Create some requirements for your buyers
Block the bids from buyers who have a feedback score lower than the number you are comfortable with. I don’t allow buyers with no feedback unless they specifically contact me and even then, a lot of stuff has to check out on them for me to let them bid. Block buyers who have had an unpaid item recorded on their account. This is usually a really big red flag.

Make sure that all your buyers have PayPal accounts. I do accept money orders, but they have to be from the United States Post Office. This way, you can go to the post office and check right away as to whether the money order is any good or not. If it is, the post office will go ahead and give you the money right away, no wait.

Block bidders you have had problems with in the past
You wouldn’t think that someone who bid on something previously and then caused a big stink would come back and do it again, but it does happen. Fortunately, you can block bidders you don’t want to have to deal with and if they don’t like it — too bad.

Buy the insurance
If you use Priority Mail from the post office, you get some insurance for your packages for free. They give you $100 if you use Priority Mail Express and $50 if you use regular Priority Mail. If you are shipping it another way (i.e. Media or Parcel Select), go ahead and buy the insurance unless the amount is small enough that it won’t feel like a punch to the stomach if the buyer says the item is damaged or never arrived. My own rule of thumb is to ensure for anything over $10 and the higher the dollar amount gets – the more precautions I take (signature confirmation, etc.).

Trust your gut
There’s an old saying that goes “if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…it’s a duck.” Sometimes you will just get a bad feeling about a buyer. Something won’t seem quite right even though you can’t put your finger on it. If you start getting the feeling something is wrong, don’t let the person talk you into something that you are going to regret.

One of the most popular ways to get scammed is to convince the seller to ship the package somewhere other than the confirmed address. The problem with doing this is that if it’s a scam, you are out your money and PayPal won’t protect you because you have done something they told you not to.

Have you ever been scammed by a buyer on eBay? Leave a comment below.

That Kat Radio – Podcast 12 – April 7, 2015: Big Commerce with Rachel Garcia and Ylan Kunstler

In this episode, Kat spoke with Rachel Garcia and Ylan Kunstler of BigCommerce

 

Bigcommerce is a robust, flexible ecommerce platform that provides established and emerging brands with everything they need to launch, promote, manage and scale a successful online store. Bigcommerce merchants earn 75% more than retailers on competitive ecommerce solutions thanks to advanced features, better site performance and streamlined business processes. Founded in 2009, the company has received $125 million in funding from SoftBank Capital, American Express, Telstra Ventures, General Catalyst, Revolution Growth and FLOODGATE. Bigcommerce supports more than 70,000 retailers around the world from its offices in San Francisco, Austin and Sydney. For more information, visit Bigcommerce.com.

Rachel has enjoyed 15+ years marketing new technologies and 8+ years working with partners for various industries around the world and have been fascinated about what drives individuals to adopt new methods and tools for being more successful at their jobs. Her current role at Bigcommerce as strategic business development partner manager allows her to work closely with key strategic partners to package, educate, and promote Bigcommerce’s integrated offerings for impacting how SMBs can sell more online and grow their overall businesses. Previous experiences include marketing and partnership positions at National Instruments, Socialware and as her own boss as a freelance consultant.

Ylan has had a wide range of entrepreneurial experiences in the fashion and apparel industries, restaurant and startup endeavors and more. He has been working in digital and ecommerce industries since 2008, and today is a senior member of the Strategic Business Development Team at Bigcommerce where he helps to define the strategy behind Bigcommerce and its partners to bring more powerful business solutions to merchants. As an active member of the tech community, Ylan is always looking to leverage his network to assist other startup entrepreneurs and technologists.

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. Why do you think it’s important for marketplace sellers to have their own website in addition to selling on eBay, Etsy, Amazon or other marketplaces? (control, fees)
  2. What type of marketplace seller should be considering their own website?
  3. When (at what point in sales) should a marketplace seller start their own site?
  4. It used to be hard to get buyers to trust independent websites but it doesn’t seem like that is an issue now. What do your statistics tell you?

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. Can you please tell us about the website offerings from BigCommerce?
  2. There are so many options on the market now, what makes BigCommerce the best choice?
  3. Can you tell us a little about all these options included with a BigCommerce store?
    • SEO
    • Blog
    • Social Media
    • Coupons & Promotions
    • Email marketing
    • Integrations
    • Responsive design
    • Product variations
    • Secure checkout
    • Payment options
    • Mobile app for managing store?
    • Reporting
    • Tech support
    • BigCommerce University

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. Does a BigCommerce store support multi-channel selling? What channels?
  2. How does BigCommerce manage my inventory over multiple channels?
  3. With a BigCommerce store, does it includes my blog, about me pages, contact forms and all?
  4. If I have a store somewhere else, can I import my inventory?

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Questions that were asked and answered were:

  1. Do you offer a free trial?
  2. Are there any contracts to sign?
  3. Can I use my own domain name?
  4. Do I need my own newsletter provider?
  5. Do I need my own domain name?
  6. Do I need my own SSL (Security Certificate)?
  7. What payment gateways to you support?
  8. What other software do you integrate with?

Links from the show:

https://www.bigcommerce.com

https://twitter.com/Bigcommerce

https://www.facebook.com/BigCommerce

https://www.linkedin.com/company/103315?trk=tyah&trkInfo=clickedVertical%3Acompany%2Cidx%3A2-1-4%2CtarId%3A1427919783338%2Ctas%3Abigcommerce

http://www.instagram.com/bigcommerce

https://www.youtube.com/user/bigcommercedotcom

https://www.pinterest.com/bigcommerce/

https://plus.google.com/+bigcommerce
http://bidonfusion.com/

http://stamps.com/
http://www.bubblefast.com
http://wsradio.com/040715-rachel-garcia-and-ylan-kunstler-of-big-commerce/

 

You can follow Kat on TWITTERFacebookGoogle+ and Instagram. Read the blog on  ThatKat.com.

Purchase one of Kat’s books on Amazon. Kat’s Sales Tax Book or Ultimate Guide to Savings by Store.

Join her Facebook Group to be notified of upcoming shows.