Want to quit your job and start something new on your own? Looking for start-up ideas to consider?

Let’s take a look at 4 potential businesses that are worth considering.

Writing/Editing

This kind of work requires verbosity, language skills, and certain computer skills (which most of millennials already have). It offers a wide range of jobs, such as content and SEO writing, proofreading, ghostwriting, and web page writing.

This type of work is usually freelance based, meaning you could be lounging in bed and getting paid for it. If you’re well experienced and good at what you do, companies may offer you a steady stream of work and compensate you well for your time. Build a report with them, and you could find yourself with a steady stream of income.

Check out this post for a list of freelance sites you can start making money with today.

Dog Walking/Sitting Services

If you’re a dog person, then you know what a joy it is to spend time with the pooches. Imagine getting paid to hang out with them! These services are mostly required by busy or disabled people, or those who can’t take their pets on a trip. Depending on your agreement, you’ll probably walk and feed them, along with endless playing and cuddling.

Nowadays, they have dog sitting services very similar to baby sitting, where you would stay at the person’s home while they’re away and take care of their dogs.

Here’s a short list of sites you can sign up with to get started. While you’re not going to get rich, the more gigs you get, the more money, and the only limit here are the amount of days in a week.

Making Accessories

This is a hobby which can turn into a full-time job, with some talent and good fortune. All you need is creativity, different materials, and a bit of practice. Creativity and ingenuity will go a long way. This type of start-up includes all kinds of items, from jewelry, to clothes, bags, hats, pillows—whatever you can think of!  Really, there is no limit to your imagination. What matters here is the advertisement, uniqueness, and quality of your products, since many people already do this sort of thing.

Here are some sites you can start selling your handmade accessories through:

  • eBay
  • Amazon
  • Shopify
  • Square Space

Opening a Pub

Another blooming business idea is running a pub. Pubs are the all-time favorite places for grabbing a drink (or nine), having a delicious bite, and enjoying some great music. Starting a pub can be risky, since you can never know whether it will be an instant success or a failure. However, there are some things you can do to stand a better chance.

First of all, you’ll need a business plan where you’ll state what kind of pub you want to open, and what it will offer to its customers. When looking for a place, bear in mind that it needs to be in a prominent spot –  a convenient location with plenty of parking for customers.

Finances are the most common problem with this type of start-up, so if you lack money, you should definitely consider a loan or find someone to invest in your business. This move isn’t without risk, but if you’re savvy and have passion for craft beers, it can be a good business move.

Aside from finances, the look and feel of your pub will set you apart from other pubs. It’s important to keep this in mind and budget for changes to the decor and possible renovations that will need to occur. The type of seating is important, including eye-catching, comfortable bar stools where people can enjoy their drinks while chatting, watching gigs or a game.

Also, make sure you’re aware of local ordinances pertaining to pubs and how they could affect your business, and you’ll also want to make sure that any alcohol licensing that may be required is obtained prior to opening for business.

So, if you want a clean start where you’ll be your own boss and in control of your day-to-day life, a start-up job may just be the ticket for you. Granted, this is just a fraction of the possibilities that are out there. It’s important to figure out what you’re passionate about, as this will be the catalyst that propels you forward. The rest is entirely up to your creativity and abilities. Good luck!

If you are among those who have always wanted to start their own business but the notion of leaving the current 9 to 5 job seemed too risky, do not give up on the entire idea yet. The best way to go is to gradually start developing the kind of work you dream about as a side business. The risk involved is significantly lower and if the success starts to grow, giving up your current job will not seem that scary anymore. Consider these ideas; there is a great chance you will be able to find one that will work for you.

Home Repairs

If you are handy with household tools and proud in keeping your home perfectly functional and representative state all by yourself, offering such services to others is a clear win-win situation. The majority of people have a problematic experience with household repairs. They are either unskilled or lack time and equipment to do them. On the other hand, you have both the tools and the knowledge. If you have been doing it for a longtime as well, you will hardly find a better side work occupation.  

Make Your Hobby Profitable

Being passionate about a practical hobby is something that can easily slide into a beneficial additional occupation.  You would be doing what you like in the first place and make money at the same time without really noticing that you are doing a side job. For example, if you are good at knitting or sewing, find pleasure in making different flower arrangements or excel at any other arts and crafts creation, it is high time you offered that talent to others. Start by doing it online and see where it takes you. 

Pursue Your Talent

Talented people, as well as the products of their work, have the innate potential to stand out. Naturally, it takes being in the right place at the right time, but you will never know if the opportunities in front of you are just right unless you give them a try. If someone wants to have a great piano player at their wedding reception, order a portrait as a birthday present or hire a comedian for a special occasion, it is your ad and recommendations from satisfied customers they will see both in the local paper and online.  

Tutoring

Transferring knowledge to other people, even though rewarding in itself, can be turned into a profitable side business. If you are proficient in any of the regularly sought after areas of expertise, offer tutoring services to those in need. These include a variety of school subjects (particularly math, sciences and literature) at any level of education, painting techniques to playing an instrument or business counseling, to name just a few. Having people come over to your place for classes will make it even more profitable and naturally less time consuming.

Blogging

Tutoring is not the only way of transferring knowledge and making profitable use of your expertise. If you have a writing gift and a wish to share your vast knowledge of a particular subject with others, starting a blog would be a perfect opportunity. It will not happen overnight and it does rely on selling ad space and having a continually expanding list of followers. Still, by regularly providing new, useful and intriguing content there is great chance your blog will bring steady profit.

There are numerous side business ideas to choose from. Opt for the one you will feel both competent and relaxed doing; there is no point in starting a side business and feeling stressed and pressured doing it regardless of how profitable it may be. Enjoying your extra job and earning additional income is the most rewarding way of doing it.

Many people know precisely what they wish to be when they grow up, perhaps following in the footsteps of a family member or having been inspired by some experience. But for others, just choosing what to study at college was hard enough, never mind what to do upon earning their degree. If you majored in accounting, for example, you have many career options to explore.

You’ll be glad you completed this degree, since the earnings gap between those with and without four-year college degrees in accounting has widened in recent decades, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that holders of bachelor degrees earned 63 percent more than those with high school diplomas and 35 percent more than those with associate degrees.

This article is going to focus on various options you have at your disposal once you’ve obtain a degree in accounting.

What Accountants Do

First, let’s cover the basics and find out exactly what an account does. Many people are unclear as to what accountants actually do. This is essentially score keeping for business activity. Accountants reduce costs and suggest ways to improve financial efficiency; they examine financial statements for accuracy; they organize and store financial documents; they ensure that taxes are paid on time; they keep all accounting systems and books up-to-date; they ensure that financial records comply with local and federal regulations; and they audit financial systems and particular documents.

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 1.3 million accountants in the United States, with a median annual salary of $66,000; partners in the Big Four accounting firms of Deloitte, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Ernst & Young, and KPMG can be paid more than $2 million a year. Accountant came out as #3 Best Business Job in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report Ranking. A retirement wave is sweeping through the baby boom generation, and these places must be filled. It’s little surprise that accounting is a field where more than 80 percent of graduates find work within six months of graduation.

Public or Certified Public Accountant?

The first path is that of public or certified public accountant (CPA), the most obvious for people with this major. Public accountants provide a wide selection of financial advisory services for their clients, who can be private individuals, companies, non-profit organizations, or government bodies. Services include assurance (audit), estate and financial planning, mergers and acquisitions due diligence, and tax compliance. You could even find yourself working for a big-name actor, musician, or author.

Special mention is warranted for financial forensics, which is investigation of embezzlement, insurance claims, money laundering, and other forms of fraud; this might lead to your being called as an expert witness in court. It is a forensic accountant who will examine criminal enterprises to recover ill-gotten cash or identify money laundering. Or, they might scrutinize the financial affairs of individuals undergoing divorce or bankruptcy or under suspicion of fraud. Financial forensics can require additional qualifications as a CPA or Certified Fraud Examiner. Starting salaries range from $30,000 to $60,000.

The most frequently-requested certification asked of accountants by employers is a CPA certificate. To be a certified CPA it is necessary to work in the field for at least two years and pass exams. In most states, 150 semester hours are called for. All accountants must pass the four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in an 18-month period. Certification is required to be able to submit filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Employment is expected to grow by 13 percent from 2012 to 2022, more than the average. The median salary for CPAs was $65,080 in 2013.

Private or Industry Accountant?

A private or industry accountant works for a company. One avenue is that of internal auditor, reviewing and verifying the company’s financial results, policies, and internal controls. Others are those of staff accountant and financial analyst. Experience in a corporate structure can be most valuable, as evidenced by the number of high-level executives and political leaders with backgrounds in accounting and particularly internal auditing.

The FBI

While it may not be the most glaringly obvious career choice for holders of an accounting degree, many agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are CPAs. Most are in fact either attorneys or CPAs. It’s possible to work as an internal accountant or Special Agent. It’s necessary to pass a physical fitness test, but, in its favor, the FBI was once named as one of the 10 most desired places of employment for undergraduate business majors. The starting salary was $47,297 in 2013.

Stockbroker

Stockbrokers facilitate the trade of bonds, stocks, or other securities. They can also provide investment advice or education. While a degree is not formally required, most stockbrokers will have one in the field, if not accounting then business management, economics, finance, or mathematics. Stockbrokers must acquire four months of experience at a brokerage firm and pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination. The median salary in 2013 was $72,640.

Teaching

Another available option is teaching college level courses. This might not be suitable for recent graduates lacking work experience, but it’s great if you have a few years of accounting practice under your belt. This skill is marketable on account of the ever-increasing demand for CPAs. Additional certification would be required to teach at elementary or high school in most states.

Accounting Information Technology

Accounting information technology is a career field rather than a specific job. Serious companies shouldn’t be using pen and paper to track their finances, and such software as QuickBooks has made accounting considerably less time consuming. In addition to programmers, companies require accountants to come up with this.

Other Job Options

Some options are non-traditional. Environmental accountants possess a degree in accounting and a knowledge of environmental law. They work with businesses that must comply with environmental regulations. Entertainment accounting encompasses copyright law and royalties. Possible clients include organizations such as film studios, production companies, radio stations, and television networks and individuals who include actors, musicians, and writers. Agricultural business and economics examines the relationship between economics and industrial practices in agricultural production, which extends from harvest to consumption. This discipline oversees the management of farms, ranches, and farm-related industry.

If you specialized in accounting but desire to use your degree in some other area of business, you will have acquired transferable skills, including self-management, teamwork, relationship management, ethics, IT, attention to detail, organizing, and problem solving. Skill with words as well as numbers is called for in order to read business documents critically and make compelling presentations. Bear in mind that employers hire people, not degrees, and accounting teaches you what many people term the language of business. You could end up as a real estate broker or in some other sales-related position.

With an accounting degree, you could become a loan officer, interviewing applicants and determining their creditworthiness then negotiating borrowing terms and monitoring loan repayments.  Or you could be a personal financial adviser, helping clients to understand their investments and plan for such things as retirement, paying for college education, or divorce. Claims adjusters evaluate insurance claims. Other choices are those of actuary, bank examiner, commercial banker, estate planner, or consumer credit officer.

Joining a professional association can be a fantastic way to enhance your career, giving you the opportunity to grow your professional network, participate in educational opportunities, or volunteer to gain leadership experience. The leading options to hand are the American Accounting Association, the American Institute of CPAs, and the Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business.

These are just some of the choices open to anyone with a degree in accounting. Every business needs employees proficient in money management. You could work in finance departments, education, sales, production management, client management, product development, banking or financial planning. You’re spoiled for choice.

Going into the storage unit business can be great, but before you do, you should consider what expenses you will have and what you need to have your business become a success. It will take more than just simply advertising to attract customers. The main thing to consider is the location and that the layout of the storage units allows for easy access by customers. You will also want to make sure you offer a variety of sizes of units. But, there’s more to it than just that, though, right?

Let’s take a look at some other things you will need to consider before you take the plunge into the storage unit business.

Research the Costs of Starting the Business

Delving into business means that you have a ready-made budget and that you have accounted for all foreseeable expenses. Keep in mind that even though building costs alone can be high, you also need to make sure that you understand what it means to manage all of your expenses.

Utility costs, property taxes, employees, insurance and many other underlying costs should be accounted for.

Know Your Competition

You cannot simply rush into opening up a business. You must look at your competitors. Doing so will give you insight into how you can offer even better services and stand out from the competition. Nevertheless, it’s often difficult to compete because you have to live up to the expectations that the industry has already set and then find a way to exceed that.

At the least, it’s a good idea to follow and mimic what others are doing when you are first starting out. You can tweak things and perfect your business as you go. Keep an eye on Dexion NZ if you want to learn from the best and make sure that your business can boom in this competitive field.

Location, Location, Location

The location of your overall facility should be big enough to allow for expansion down the road if the need arises. The facility should be easy to find and have a standard address – this will ensure that modern day GPS and mapping services will direct people to your location without issue. A road sign that is visible from a distance will help guide motorists directly to your facility.

On-site, you will want to have a building designated as an office for employees and for customers and potential customers to stop by. Your office and storage units should be efficiently located on the property for easy access in and out, both to the office and storage units.

Something else to consider, depending on your budget, is to have a security system in place. Key-coded access cards with a security gate will allow monthly renters quick and secure access to the facility without any hassle. Security cameras should be located in prime areas around the facility with as much coverage area as possible.

Having a conveniently located, secure and hassle free facility will help attract potential customers to your business.

Portable or Fixed Storage Units?

Your storage units don’t have to be fixed because some units come prefabricated, meaning that you can transport them to a destination and have them set up there. Even more so, you can expand your business to have both types, which will attract a variety of customers who could help your business prosper. Take into account operating costs to ensure that you don’t sign up for something your business cannot handle, otherwise you will go into crippling debt that could ruin your business.

Finding Customers

People need to find out about your business (if you want to be successful), and it will be difficult to do so via only one media outlet. Make sure to use various promotional sources if you want to have your business marketed. If you can offer better services than your competition, people will be more inclined to spread the word about your business. Press releases are also a great free marketing method you will want to consider. Contact your local radio stations and newspapers; most are always looking to do news pieces on new businesses in the area.

Don’t be tame about promoting your business or you could miss out on some great opportunities. Make sure to let people know why you’re better than your competition and how you plan on expanding in the future. Before you start your business, look into what it will cost you and how to set your budget to be able to run with minimal issues. Focus on promoting your business as well, since the competition is quite strong and you have to point out your best features to get more customers.

Life is better when you love your job. It’s true. Imagine spending 8 hours a day, five days a week, for the next three decades doing something you hate. Sounds like a lengthy prison term, doesn’t it?

There is good news. Unlike the inmate, you do have a choice. You can choose a career that suits your personality, your interests, and your aptitudes. You can pick a job that fits like a glove and leads to a lifetime of happiness. And, it all begins with getting to know thy self.

child-with-magnifying-glass

Ask Your Inner Child

Kids know what they like. They don’t let big salaries and fancy benefits cloud their judgement. Yes, very few kids will stick to a task they despise–no matter what extrinsic rewards are offered. Why? Kids prefer to do what makes them happy.

And the things that made you happy in your youth can provide you with valuable clues about what would bring you joy as a adult. If you loved to spend hours dissecting the family toaster, you may enjoy working in electronics or as a mechanic. Perhaps, you were a beautician-in-the-making–plying your younger siblings with makeup and curlers. Or, maybe, your beloved role as mom’s “assistant baker” foreshadows a successful culinary career.

guy-swinging-golf-club

Examine Your Free Time

Free time. Ah. Those are two beautiful words, aren’t they? Free time is your opportunity to do what makes you happy. How do you spend your free time?
Are you an avid golfer? While becoming a pro golfer may not be in the cards for you, it may reveal career preferences. Perhaps, you would be happiest working outdoors. Maybe a job in recreation is suitable. Or, you may be happy working in a sporting goods store.

As “Finding the Right Careers” asserts, it is important to consider all types of activities including volunteering, hobbies, and life experiences. These will provide valuable insight into your preferences, your aptitudes, and your skill sets.

time-flies

Watch for Flying Time

Time really does fly when you’re having fun. And it marches slowly when you’re doing something you hate. Nobody ever leaped out of a dental chair and said, “gee, that felt like it took no time at all.”

The Pursuit of Happiness defines “flow” as occurring when someone is completely absorbed in an activity which makes them feel strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of their abilities. Have you ever experienced flow, and if so, what were you doing? This activity will reveal a great deal about what you enjoy and what comes naturally to you.

fingerprint

Uncover Your Unique Design

Your design is as unique as your fingerprint. And, like a fingerprint, breaking down the intricate design into individual traits can be tricky. This is where inventories come in handy. An “inventory” is a psychometric test that can be used to indentify personality traits, interests, values, and aptitudes.

While you should never base a career decision on inventory results, alone, they can help you tremendously when it comes to your journey of self-discovery. Here are a few that you may be interested in trying.

The last thing you want to do is feel like an inmate–sentenced to decades of drudgery. According to “Changing Careers at 50 or After: 3 Tips for Doing it Right,” 75 percent of Americans expect to work for as long as they can, while a mere 39 percent says it’s because they like to work.” By finding a career that you are passionate about, you can love every hour of your life. Even the period between 9 and five.

Have you had a “flow” experience? What were you doing?

Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer, avid blogger, and Career Counselor. You can follow her at The Embiggens Project.

You’ve done it! You have officially created the next big item–the greatest thing to hit the marketplace since wheels became round and bread got sliced. Yes, your thingamajig is exactly what the world has been waiting for. The only problem is that you have no idea how to take the next step–turning your brilliant idea into a tangible product available for sale. And making a return on your investment.

invention

There are several paths that you can take in order to bring your new product to the marketplace.

The DIY Path

Before embarking on a quest of this magnitude, it is important to ask yourself some big questions–and answer them honestly and realistically. Do you have the desire and the ability to commit your time and money into manufacturing, marketing, and distributing your thingamajig? Do you possess the knowledge, confidence, and stick-to-itiveness to see this monumental task to fruition? If you can truthfully say “yes,” to these questions, this may be the route for you.

While a patent is not a must-have in order to do this, “The Three Most Common Ways to Make Money from Your Invention” warns that if you “start selling your invention, or otherwise disclose it, and one year passes, you can kiss any hope of getting a patent goodbye.” It is also important to be realistic about the capital required for such a massive undertaking. Depending on the type of product, the manufacturing process, and the raw materials required, you may need to partner with investors. You will also need to become well-versed on how to start and operate a business and create a solid business plan.

If you are new to the world of entrepreneurialism, you may wish to start small by selling your thingamajig in your local market. This enables you to iron out any wrinkles in your supply chain, develop a small-scale marketing campaign, and test your product before making a sizeable investment. Selling at local stores, trade shows, fairs, and other public venues will enable you to generate some income while learning the ropes. Other options you could explore include setting up an online store or selling your product on a home shopping channel.

The License Path

This is a viable option for anyone who wishes to retain some control over their brainchild, but does not want to bite off the huge time and financial commitment involved in the DIY option. In this scenario, you will require a patent. You then license the rights to manufacture, market, distribute, and sell your thingamajig to another party. In return you will receive a set fee, a royalty on each unit sold, or a combination of both. According to “How to Make Money from Your Inventions,” these royalties vary from less than once percent of net sales up to about eight percent, but the majority range from three to six percent. While this may seem like a small return, it is important to note that the licensee is the one assuming all of the business risks.

The Sale Path

If you would simply like to sell your patent for a profit and move on to your next big invention, this option may appeal to you. You will have to secure a patent as no one will actually pay money for an “idea.” It is also important to remember that as “Turning an Invention Idea into Money” states, once you sell your patent, you have permanently transferred ownership and that any future financial gains such as royalties will no longer be yours. You will be kissing your brainchild goodbye.

Selecting a path is a life-changing decision. If you are unsure of what route is best for you, “How to Become a Successful Inventor” recommends seeking the help of professionals who are experts in the field of making your inventions materialize.

There you have it. You are one giant step closer to unveiling your thingamajig to an eager public. And seriously fattening up your wallet. So go ahead and do your happy jig.

What advice can you offer a budding inventor?

Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer, avid blogger, and lover of thingamajigs. You can follow her at The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.

Mechanical Turk is an Amazon.com-owned property that allows users to make money by completing Human Intelligence Tasks, or HITs. These HITs are found over a variety of different categories and pay once you complete them. Before working on these projects with Mechanical Turk, it is a good idea to learn about how the entire process works and consider a few tips that will give you the best chance of maximizing your earning potential.

Don’t Get Scammed

Since Amazon does not regulate Mechanical Turk, you could come across some scams. In the worse-case scenario, you could even become a victim of fraud, so use your common sense on every HIT you come across. Never give out your real name, your email address or your home address to anyone. In addition, there is no reason for a requester to ever need your credit card information, so ignore any requests that ask for this.

Complete Tasks Quickly

The faster you can complete a topic, the more money you can make. This means that it is smart to avoid topics that will require you to do a fair amount of research before you can begin. If you can complete the task right away without having to read up on it beforehand, you can complete it and then start your next task immediately, allowing you to make more money throughout the day.

Avoid Low-Paying Tasks

Even if you can complete a task in just a few minutes, your overall pay will stay at a low level if you take poor-paying tasks. For example, if a task only pays you about 50 cents, you would have to complete 16 of them in an hour to average $8 per hour. These low-paying tasks are not worth your time, unless you can complete them in just a few seconds, and even then you can probably find better options by searching the site more thoroughly.

Consider Taking Tests

In some cases, you will have to take a test to become eligible for a certain assignment. While this might seem like a waste of time, it can actually open up the door to a number of new assignments, with many of them paying well. The people who set up these tests want to ensure that they are getting high-quality applicants, and are usually willing to pay for this quality.

Be Patient

Just because you do not see anything worthwhile the first time you visit Mechanical Turk does not mean that these assignments do not exist. Hit the refresh button a few times to see what comes up before giving up completely. You can also return later on in the day or week, as this can prevent you from getting frustrated. The more desirable jobs are taken immediately, but persistence will allow you to earn some of these jobs if you stay on the site.

Read the Instructions Carefully

One of the easiest ways to have your work rejected is by not following the directions. Always read what the requester wants and return every item to these exact specifications. Failure to read these instructions usually wastes your time, as it is highly unlikely that you will ever be paid for this work. In addition, regularly having work rejected limits the number of assignments that you can accept in the future.

Look for Reputable Requests

Look at each job and consider how realistic the request is. When a request seems like it is too good to be true, it probably is and you are unlikely to receive payment. Surveys are often requested by reputable organizations like universities, hospitals and drug rehabs, so you are much more likely to have a positive experience when you go with one of these requests.

By following this advice, you can make the most of your time and maximize your earnings on Mechanical Turk.

The arrival of spring puts me in the mood to open up the windows and let in that fresh, new air. It also gives me the urge to get rid of all those old, unwanted items that are taking up space in my attic and basement. Spring is the perfect time to clear out that clutter, and the best way to do it is with a good old-fashioned yard sale. It’s a great way to clear out all that stuff and make some money in the process. If you’re considering holding a yard sale as part of your spring cleanup process, here are some tips to make it a successful and profitable one.

Get the Word Out

What if you had a yard sale and nobody came? Make sure that doesn’t happen by advertising your sale as widely as you can. Create some professional-looking, colorful (and therefore attention-grabbing) signs and post them in your neighborhood, at grocery stores, coffee shops, churches and schools. Community and senior citizen’s centers are also good choices. You can also post an ad on Craigslist and send out a mention through your social networks. You can buy an ad in your local newspaper, but free options work just as well, especially if you’re on a budget.

Begin advertising a week in advance in order to get you sale on people’s calendars. Post additional signs at major intersections in your neighborhood the day before the sale to help direct traffic to your home. Add balloons to really get drivers’ attention; they look fresh and make your sale seem fun.

On your signs, be sure to write “Yard Sale” in large, easy-to-read letters and clearly list your address, the start and end time of your sale, and some of the items you are selling. Be clear, concise and to-the-point.

Make a Display

You’ll want to make it easy for people to find items they are looking for, so be sure to organize items appropriately. Place like items with like, and display them in creative ways. For example, place books on a bookshelf and hang clothes on a rack. If you have small items, like jewelry or little trinkets, display them in trays or cake stands. Make sure things are up and off the ground, such as on folding card tables or even wooden wine crates, instead of haphazardly placed on blankets.

Keep things neat and organized, which makes for a more pleasant shopping experience. Display your items as if they were in an exclusive boutique. Shoppers will appreciate the attention to detail and accessibility of the merchandise.

Create a Party Atmosphere

In addition to displaying your items with panache, make sure your yard sale radiates a fun and enjoyable atmosphere. Make sure your lawn is mowed and your flower beds are neat, and tables are arranged so people have space to move around. Buy some dollar-store tablecloths to jazz up your card tables and add a splash of color. Hang bunting or banners along your porch and tie some balloons to your mailbox. Make your sale look festive to draw people in.

You can also offer refreshments, such as plates of cookies and pitchers of lemonade and iced tea. This will encourage people to linger and browse, with the added potential of driving up profits.

Price It Right

Keep pricing simple. There’s no need to price every single item; put up a sign stating that all books are 50 cents or that all gardening tools are $1 each, for example. This makes things easier for both you and your customers.

Also, be sure that items are priced fairly. Prior to the big day, visit some other yard sales or look up items online to see what things generally go for. You don’t want to price yourself out of the market by listing items too highly. In general, used items in good condition can sell for about a third of the original price.

If items are not selling, drop the prices as the day goes on, and always be open to bargaining. If an item is listed for $5 and someone wants to buy it for $4, then let it go. Why lose a sale over $1?

Be sure you have a master list of all items for sale and their prices so you can track sales. Also, keep money safe in a fanny pack and not in a cash box. Always keep that money close and safe! You worked hard for it.

Organize a Parking Plan

One of the biggest deterrents of yard sales is that there’s rarely anywhere to park near the yard sale location. Don’t let all of your marketing efforts and weeks of preparation go to waste! Find some space for potential visitors to park their vehicles to avoid mayhem and potential auto accidents. Consider talking to a local organization like a church or another facility that has extra parking room. Maybe you could even trade them an item you were hoping to sell in exchange for using their parking lot.

Now that you know what it takes to hold a successful yard sale, you can start your preparations and earn a little extra cash for yourself and your family!

Ali Express is an extremely popular online merchant service that allows users to purchase goods at low prices. Consumers have the opportunity to buy goods on this website in low denominations, making it easier for the average person to use Ali Express as opposed to similar websites like Alibaba, which happens to be Ali Express’ parent company. Before attempting to sell items on this website, however, you should come up with a business plan. Follow your plan to ensure that customers are able to find you and trust you as a retailer when they do.

Find a Niche

Do not try to sell a wide range of products, which can be overwhelming for the customer. Generally speaking, sellers who provide one type of product tend to offer lower prices because merchants with a variety of products on the market are usually trading companies.

When customers realize that you are potentially part of a trading company, you will see your sales drop; customers know that they can find better prices elsewhere. By focusing on one particular niche, you can establish yourself as a trusted source and increase your overall performance.

Keep in mind that visitors to Ali Express are looking to save some money and are often willing to sacrifice quality to do so. Someone who is in search of a water quality monitoring device, for example, probably isn’t looking for a top of the line device like the YSI 63 meter from Environmental Equipment & Supply. Instead, this individual would want something less expensive, even if it is lesser in quality.

Tell the Truth

Never try to trick customers into purchasing from you, as this strategy always backfires in the end. Provide the customer with your real location. Do not claim that you sell brand name goods if you do not. Most of the goods sold on Ali Express are not real brand name products, so customers are generally not looking for these items.

The customer does, however, want to save money on whatever he or she buys. Be upfront about the quality of the goods that you are selling. Attempting to convince customers otherwise could lead to negative reviews.

Be Realistic

Set your prices in a way that appeals to the customers and is similar to the market value for your products. If you charge too much for your products, the customers will obviously go elsewhere for a better deal.

You might be tempted to use the Wal-Mart business model, where you undercut all of your competition and hope that you can put them out of business, but this is unlikely to work online, especially since most of the sellers are based in China and are prepared to offer even lower prices. Instead, focus on providing your customers with an overall great experience and be realistic about what you expect from your online store.

Provide Customer Service

When a customer asks you a question, answer it as quickly as possible. If you do not answer the questions that customers ask before the sale is made, the customer will view you as being unreliable and will be unlikely to bother with you further.

Customer service is often ignored online because there is no face-to-face interaction, but by making great service part of your brand, you can separate yourself from many of the other sellers on Ali Express. The money is there to be made; you just have to come up with a strategy that will work.

Be Patient

While you might find it difficult to compete with some of the other sellers on Ali Express right now, patience is key. This is because global expansion is likely in the coming years, due to the company’s recent level of sales and its desire to become a publically traded company.

Expansion is sure to drive the prices up in the marketplace. The website will be forced to start selling premium goods, much like eBay and Amazon do today. The combination of ultra-cheap goods and high-quality brand name products will attract a much wider segment of consumers, which is sure to bring more traffic to the products that you wish to sell.

Blogging has become a mainstream outlet in today’s generation, with bloggers writing on topics ranging from fashion to cars to food. Blogging, however, can also be a source of revenue. Just about any site can be made profitable through the use of cunningly placed and topical advertisements.

One preferred ad service is Google Adsense, which provides topical advertisements based on keywords gathered from your website or blog. Setting up the service is simple and intuitive, but the real question is…

How can you make the most of it?

How Adsense Works

In a nutshell, Adsense functions via a pay-per-click system. In other words, every time someone visits your site and clicks on one of the ads, you receive a percentage of the money Google makes from the advertisers benefiting from the exposure. The amount of money you receive per click varies from a couple of cents to a few dollars, but the average amount is about 20 cents.

The types of ads Google places on your site are directly related to the keywords used in your site copy. There are two types of keywords: commercial and non-commercial. Commercial keywords, naturally, tend to be more profitable.

But what are the differences?

Words That Pay

Non-commercial keywords are those that people search without having the intention to buy something. An example of non-commercial search words could be, “How do you send picture mail?” Because sites containing this type of information typically don’t deal with commerce or shopping, advertisers rarely place ads there, or may only place low-paying ads.

Commercial keywords are just the opposite — these keywords mention products or services and can lead to profits for both website owners and advertisers. An example of a search query involving commercial keywords might be, “Where can I get the best mustang parts?” Someone searching for this obviously intends to purchase car parts, so advertisers would be smart to place relevant ads on pages that feature these keywords.

In fact, advertisers are willing to pay more to have their ads shown on pages featuring commercial keywords. Featuring a few can bring in more opportunities — and more money for the savvy webmaster.

Location, Location, Location

Since Google Adsense is pay-per-click, it is important that website visitors notice your ads. Look at other people’s websites and think about which areas your eyes are drawn to. Your ads should be placed in those areas. Research shows that ads located at the top and right side of the page do not generate as much revenue as ads placed on the left side. Advertisements shown at the bottom of the page are fairly unprofitable, as well.

Alternately, try positioning your ad so that you can see only a part of it without scrolling down the home page. This could cause people to click on the partially visible ad to see what it is they are looking at. Don’t forget to consider differing screen sizes, browser windows, and so on!

Other Factors to Consider

One of the ways that strategic ad placement helps you augment your revenue is through increasing your click-through ratio. However, placement isn’t the only way to maximize the amount of clicks you receive. Other ways to strengthen this number include choosing colors that stand out on your page, or picking styles for your advertisements that are easily seen.

Unsurprisingly, the amount of visitors your site receives also plays into the determination of how much each click is worth. Increasing your ad impressions can be done by increasing your traffic — something you’re probably already working on! One way to beef up your traffic is by promoting your website via social media platforms. If your blog or website hasn’t already branched out into Facebook or Twitter, consider it — it’s a quick, easy way to self-promote and show what your blog is all about.

Advertisements are also worth more per click if the other links on the page are less numerous. The more links you have on a page, the less likely it is that your reader will choose to click on your advertisements. If your page is peppered with outgoing links, consider trimming them down to give your visitors a little less to chew on.

Your blog may already be a place for you to write about topics you love. However, with only a little effort and the help of Google Adsense, you may find that your interests can pay big dividends. By following the above tips, you can help maximize your income from any blog or website. Give them a try and see if Adsense can work for you!