By Dan and Sheila Gendron
We hear from many people that they are “stuck in their jobs” and feel that they will be trapped in that rat race forever, afraid to join the growing ranks of the unemployed and those displaced from their homes. They believe that they will forever – or as long as the current paradigm holds out – have to face that daily commute, with their income fixed by whatever future raises of which their employers feel they are worthy. But we are here to tell you that there are many ways to free yourself from that grind.
With the institution of “Obama-care” many employers are cutting employees’ hours – or just closing their doors altogether – because they can’t afford the required “benefits package”. Even many of the “work-at-home” offerings on the Internet still make you reliant on a large company for your daily bread, requiring that you have a phone to make telemarketing calls to their prospective clients or sit at your computer all day answering complaints as a customer service representative. The biggest benefit in these types of schemes is to the company that doesn’t have to list you as an employee per se, and so does not have to offer you benefits. Working for yourself, in your own home, having control of how much money you can make based on how much time and effort you decide to put into it is the key to personal freedom. Here are some ways you can break free.
Ebay.com (or other “auction” sites such as ioffer.com, bitcoin.com, etc.) can be used as a viable income stream. Consider going to local yard sales, flea markets, estate sales and such and purchasing items that can be sold on auction sites. How do you know what will sell on eBay, for example? Do a search for those types of items that you generally find locally and see how they are doing. Go to the Advanced Search section, where you can see not only what is selling in that category, but you can see how much they have sold for, say in the last 30 days, as well as what items don’t sell at all. If you see that porcelain tea pots are selling for about $10, you will know not to purchase one locally for $20 and expect a profit.
There are still many people who are not completely “computer literate” enough, or who don’t have the time themselves to sell a few of their own items on these sites. Put up flyers in your neighborhood offering your services as an auction site seller to them for a percentage of the sale price. Don’t forget that there are listing and other fees involved that you must account for. Generally, you want to have the item owner pay the fees whether the item sells or not. What commission is typical (and fair)? Items that don’t easily sell (and may take multiple times to list) can garner commissions between 20% and 50%. Popularly selling items can get between 10% and 20%. High-ticket items (cars, boats, etc.) generally get 10% commissions.
A great opportunity for finding items to sell on auction sites are retail stores. These days many retail stores have stock that is just not moving at their retail location and would be happy to either sell you those items in bulk for a substantial discount, or simply give it to you on consignment (to be paid when it sells or returned if it doesn’t). Last year we bought $120 Minnetonkas for $20 on eBay, new in the box – obviously an overstock purchase that the resourceful seller had made, and made a profit on. Hardware stores, crafts stores and jewelry stores are some of the good retail locations to check out for doing this. Don’t be afraid to ask. Walk through your local mall or local strip-mall shopping center and ask to see the owner or manager of each of the stores. It won’t do you any good to talk with a sales clerk who can’t make that kind of decision. The owners of these stores are business-people who would be glad to reduce their inventories, even at less than their marked prices. You’d be doing them a service. There’s nothing better than a win-win situation!
Another way you can work for yourself is to learn a trade that has value to the public. One such trade that is actually simple enough to learn is watch repair. You can have your own watch repair business many ways: at home via mail order, as a contractor at a retail jewelry store, or in a battery-changing kiosk or flea market set-up. You can also offer watch repair services to the public on the Internet.
Very few retail jewelers have a watchmaker on staff. Most watches that are brought in for service are mailed by the jeweler to a “tradeshop” (you), where they are repaired and mailed back to the jeweler (with appropriate insurance, of course). We know people who live in densely populated areas who leave flyers in apartment and office buildings offering watch repairs with pick-up and delivery service and were quite successful.
With knowledge of watch repair you can also purchase non-working watches at very low cost, many of which need only a 25-cent battery and a little clean-up, that you can re-sell at yard sales or flea markets for less than the cost of a new watch and still make a good profit. You can place a low-cost classified ad saying that you buy non-working watches. Quartz watches are very profitable to repair and very easy to do. Most people don’t know that batteries cost around 25 cents each or that most quartz watches can be repaired with a replacement movement that can cost as little as $5.
This is also a great business for stay-at-home Moms. One such course that will get you on your way is available here or on Kindle.
Yet another service you can offer is computer repair. If you are handy enough to take apart and/or rebuild laptop computers, replace bios batteries, swap components, you can offer this service at lower prices than factory service centers. Auctions sites are replete with non-working laptops that can be bought at very low cost that will supply you with working parts that you can use. Many office supply stores and electronics stores charge $50 just to tell the customer what is wrong with the computer. Again, flyers, low-cost classified ads and word-of-mouth can get you as much business as you can handle.
With as many guns as are currently bing sold, if you have any gunsmithing skills you will be in high demand.
These are just some of the self-employment opportunities that are out there waiting for you. And you can begin any of these as a part-time ventures while you still hold onto your job – until you don’t need it anymore. Once you get going in your own home business, you will have the freedom to live where you choose, and to make as much money as you are willing to put in the time and effort for in offering your service. Being your own boss is much more rewarding than working for someone else.
We wish you all love and freedom.
Dan & Sheila are the authors of Surviving Survivalism – How to Avoid Survivalism Culture Shock, available at survivingsurvivalism.com.