How I Flip Garage Sale Items On eBay As A Side Hustle

Hello! Please enjoy this article from a reader, Rush Walters, on how he flips garage sale and auction items on eBay as a side hustle to make extra income.

Depending on who you ask, there are pros and cons to being a high school teacher. One con: income, One pro: having summers off.How I Flip Garage Sale Items On eBay As A Side Hustle

How I Flip Garage Sale Items On eBay As A Side Hustle

Both my wife and I are teachers in a small mid-Missouri town. During my first year (2015) as a high school teacher and head boy’s tennis coach I was making a whopping $38,000 a year.

Needless to say, the budget was tight some months.

When I got married in 2018, I thought a second income would be very helpful, but a second salary would not come until 2019. Long story short, my wife is from Bolivia and was not able to legally work for a year until she received her permanent residency status (green card).

Two people living off of one middle-class paycheck, let alone a teacher’s paycheck, was challenging. Thankfully my wife and I were decent at budgeting, and have been using a successful budgeting process since we have been married, but I’ll save that story for another day.

Financially we were fine, but what about the fun money? What about going out to eat with friends during the weekends? What about going to the movies? What about my “want” purchases?

This is when the idea of flipping items on eBay from garage sales & auctions came into full effect.

At the time, I heard about one of my coworkers making a significant amount of money from flipping sports memorabilia on the side. I thought to myself, “I could do that, I don’t have much of a sports background, but I do have an eBay account and I have been to garage sales before.”

So I began waking up Saturday mornings at 6am, grabbing my coffee thermos, heading to the local gas station to purchase the local newspaper, and marking up the classifieds with my pen.

(Sifting through the junk at garage sales to find the gold!)

Sifting through the junk at garage sales to find the gold!

I would circle all of the sales that started that day only. Forget the 2-day garage sales that started the day before. I am not saying that you cannot find anything of value at these sales, but everything has already been picked through and all the good stuff has been bought. 

Flipping items on eBay quickly became my side hustle! Starting out I sought some advice from my coworker I mentioned earlier.

I mean this guy is really into it, he would travel on the weekends to trade shows in other states and if he was going solo he would sleep in his car to save money. He is frugal, well some people like to call it “cheap,” haha.

Along with advice from him, I honestly learned a lot through experience. Trials & Tribulations. From a good flip I gained money and joy, from a bad flip I learned a lesson. Throughout this process I also learned about the value of my time.

Is it worth spending half a day at auction just for one item that may bring me $20?

I am going to share with you my step by step process for beginners flipping items on eBay. I have made mistakes and I have enjoyed successes, but most importantly is that I learned from my experiences. Experience is one of the best teachers you can find.

Related content:

How I make extra money reselling items on eBay.

Step 1: Mining for Diamonds

You will be mining for the “diamond(s) in the ruff” as they say.

There are three specific tools you will need before you hit the ground running. Let’s start with the most obvious: cash money. Make an effort to go to the bank the day before you go garage saling.

In the morning when I would buy the newspaper at the gas station, I would ask the register if they could change a $20, but I quickly found out that changing a $20 at the local gas station isn’t always reliable. Some gas stations have enough one dollars bills to spare, some do not. That being said, I have done it many times, but sometimes I am only able to get 10 or 15 one dollar bills at a time.

This limits my bartering power. You are not going to be able to go to the bank in the morning because they are closed and ATMs do not output dollar amounts in increments of 1.

My top tip for cash is to always carry $1 bills on you. Reason being, when you barter you will need to have the ability to pay any amount, not just increments of $5. I try to carry twenty one $1 bills on me at all times when I’m garage saling. If you make a purchase that you have larger bills for, use your large bills. Only use your dollar bills when needed.

Tool #2 is the newspaper. Always buy your local newspaper the day of the sale. Your local gas stations should always have a copy. As soon as you get in your car, pull out the classifieds portion of the paper, throw the rest in your backseat, pull out your pen and start circling all the garage sales that open for the first time that morning. Make a mental note of the times, obviously you want to go to the earliest ones first. Don’t spend forever doing this, you are on a schedule!

Have a game plan, you know the town you live in, take the most strategic route you can. Do not go all the way out to the East side of town then turn right around to go all the way to the West side of town. Go to the East side and hit up all the sales along the way. There isn’t a specific game plan that I can give you for what sales to hit first, only some pointers.

Obviously hit the first ones that are open first. Hit the ones that are in the same vicinity. Hit what you are looking for. I personally like to flip old video games for a number of reasons, so if I see a listing mentioning video games, I will put that sale on the top of my list. The final thing you need to consider is the type of garage sale listing. Here are the top 3 listings you need to know:

Moving Sales – The name the game is in the title: “moving.” These sellers are motivated to move and get rid of their items. Sure, getting some extra money is a plus, but they just want to get rid of items so they can move without having to worry about them. They are motivated to sell and are very open to deals.

Estate Sales – The best of the best in my opinion. These sellers are not moving, but they want to get rid of everything. I would argue that they are more motivated to sell compared to anyone else because they are just cleaning the estate of everything, sometimes for any price.

The normal “Garage Sale” – The most common sale, these sellers are more motivated to make money rather than to get rid of items. They are the hardest to barter with, but have some of the most valued items because they are priced to sell.

(Online Garage Sale Ad from my local newspaper)

Online Garage Sale Ad from my local newspaper

All in all, you can probably find deals at any of these sales, the title of them only helps me prioritize which one I am going to first. If both a garage sale and estate sale begins at 7am you better be dang sure that I am going to the estate sale first.

Some local newspapers have a digital version of the classifieds listed as well as a paper copy. The only benefit I’ve found to this compared to the paper copy is that it helps me make my decision on whether or not I want to go garage selling the next day. Typically my paper posts the day-of classifieds for Saturday online starting at midnight, which makes sense. You will have to do your own research if your paper offers this.

So if I see that the online classifieds are only listing two garage sales for the next morning, chances are I will not go unless the listing description is promising/convincing.

Also, people do post ads on Facebook and they should be considered, but I have found that if it is on Facebook it will be listed in the paper too, at least if it’s worth going to.

As soon as you’re done marking up the classifieds and establishing your game plan, head to your first sale, it never hurts to be early. I am going to repeat this, it never hurts to be early. I stress this because although the listing may say that they open at 7am, I have seen them open at 6:50am. Yes 10mins. makes a difference! A 10min window could be your chance to cash in on a great deal or could be a missed opportunity to cash in on a great deal if you show up at 7:00am. If you are there before it opens, no worries, wait in your car until they open. Yes I know I know, it may seem creepy to wait in your car outside their house but hey it will not be creepy when you’re walking away with great items to flip.

Always make every effort to be first.

You need to be the first person at the sale so that you are the first person to see what they have to offer and the first person to land the best deal. People are vultures out there, they want the best meat first and do not care who is in the way.

Last but not least, you will need your smartphone charged and the eBay app up and running. On the app you are able to conduct a search for previously sold items. This tool is your key for finding the current values of items. This tool is great because it is always updated and always accurate.

You find the “Sold Items” button under the filter when searching for a specific item, as shown in the picture below.

Left image: “Sold Items” button              Right image: Sold Items Search Results

Once you have learned more about what sells and what does not, you can move quicker.

Again you are on a schedule, I am not saying you need to run from sale to sale, but if you don’t find any deals at one you are wasting your time just walking around.

Your time could be spent better at another sale, where you could be beating someone else to the punch.

Step 2: Bartering

Here comes the pivotal point. When to say yes, when to say no, what price to ask?

When bartering for objects in the $20 and under range, I most often start by offering half of what they are asking. Example: the item is priced at $10 so I will offer $5. Now I know that 8 out of 10 times I am probably not going to get the item for half off, but it’s a starting point to get the item for at least 25% off the original price. So why do I shoot for half off you might ask?

There is a good chance that they are going to counter your original offer, therefore if you start your offer at 25% off the original price they could counter with 10% off the original price. The seller, as well as the buyer, wants to get that satisfied feeling. You as the buyer are satisfied with getting a deal whereas the seller is still happy with making money although it might be a little lower than what they were asking.

You also need to take in mind that most garage sellers are not out there to make money for a living. Their purpose is to get rid of items they do not want anymore and it is a bonus if they are able to get cash in return, it’s not like they are running a pop-up business. Most of the time they are more motivated to get rid of items compared to just making money.

When you are bartering you also need to establish your stopping point. What is too expensive for you?

The lower the price you purchase your item for, the larger window of opportunity you have to make money. This decision all depends on how much you want to make. The details are in the margins, if you see a video game that sold on eBay for $15 and you bought it for $5 that’s a decent amount of profit.

You tripled your money.

When you look up an item on eBay  you need to be as specific as possible, so your search results are as accurate as possible. If you cannot find an exact copy of the item that was sold, find the most closely related item and use it to set your standard for the value of an item and establish what you are willing to pay for it.

Do not get caught up in the excitement of the deal. Yes it’s exciting and yes it’s enjoyable to have success flipping products, but do not let it cloud your judgement or your knowledge. I am going to be honest, money does not care about your feelings.

Stay focused, get what you set out to get for the right price.

When I run into an item that I am still learning about I always ask myself is it worth the risk of X amount of dollars?

Are you comfortable with potentially losing X amount of dollars?

Risk is always involved.

I can remember when I purchased some collectible Harley-Davidson Steins. I did not know too much about them, I saw what they sold for on eBay and then decided to take a risk. The seller gave me a price that I was comfortable with so I purchased two of them. I broke positive, but only made a few bucks for a good amount of work. I am glad I did not lose money, but I lost my time.

My time is valuable and so is yours.

Behind every flip, there is a lesson to be learned.

Before we get into the final step, I am going to share with you lessons I have learned from my faults and successes.

Lessons to be learned

After dropping my wife off at the airport in the city, I figured I might as well hit up some auctions on my way back home.

At the time, I had been to auctions before so I knew the routine, but I had never been to an auction with the goal in mind to flip items. I had a few successful garage sale flips under my belt so I figured auctions are the next level in my side hustle pursuit.

I saw this collection of old American coins, mostly Kennedy half dollars and some steel pennies that were made during the war due to the shortage of copper.

I did the math, if I sold 50 of them at $5 a pop I would make $250 so I’d be comfortable with spending $200 for the lot. I remember that I liked that fact the coins are a small item so they would be easy to mail. I also liked that it was a collection therefore I could build my inventory without having to go to multiple garage sales to keep my eBay listings updated. I bought the coins, but I had to bid against others which drove up the price and my valuation was wrong 😬.

I did not know much about coin collecting and on top of my little knowledge of the items, I did not have good cell phone service in the building so I could not follow my rule of valuing items on eBay.

I knew that there was a market for collectible coins, but I did not take into consideration the specifics of coin collections. Collecting coins and currency is a whole other ball game. Let alone the quality certifications behind them.

Let’s just say I was in the negative on this flip. I believe I sold around $50 – $70 of the around $200 I spent on them. I also bought a collection of lighters that day for around $90 and sold them for around $20 – $30.

Sad day.

On the flip side of things my first big sell was a fishing lure. I bought a small tackle box of fishing lures and gear for $15 at a local garage sale.

When I was evaluating the price of the lures on eBay I was confident that I could make my money back and I was comfortable with risking $15. I had trouble choosing a listing price for the lures, I just did not know what to start them at.

Let me remind you that this was when I was first starting out. I asked my coworker what he thought, he suggested that I start auctioning them at 99 cents. So that’s what I did. That way I could see if they are worth anything and learn from my first attempt at selling lures.

Certain Fishing lures are very collectible.

I sold one for $100!!

This was my first big sale and I was ecstatic! I caught the eBay fever!

My first big flip: collectable fishing lure

My first big flip: collectable fishing lure

Step 3: Quality eBay Listings

I am not going to go through how to list an item step by step by step, but I am going to discuss my top recommendations when listing an item.

The reasoning I’m not going to go through it step by step is because eBay does a great job at outlining what is required for item listings.

I am going to give you what you need to take your listings from a default basic level to a high quality level.

By now if you were using the “sold items” feature on eBay during step 1, you should already have the eBay app installed on your phone. To list items you need to make a free account on eBay. The company does a great job and gives you a straightforward process for setting up an account.

I don’t have much complaints to say about the app, it provides an easy and understandable process for listing items.

Starting out, I would recommend that you focus on the “auction” listing more than anything else. You have the potential to make money and you can learn how expensive people value your specific item.

When you set up a “buy it now” listing, you set a constant price that won’t change.

Whereas buyers in auctions determine the final price; the sky’s the limit.

Another beautiful aspect that auctions offer is that they drive competition! Think about it, say you’re missing the last few presidents in your campaign button collection and president #3 is up for auction. President #3 is hard to come by so you know that you’re going to do whatever it takes to obtain his button……so is the next guy…..and the next guy…..and the next guy.

That means one thing for you: $$$$$$. I think you get the picture.

I believe this is what happened with my $100 fishing lures. Two guys were going at it, to add to their collection.

Now this doesn’t happen with all items, not all items are a part of a collection. The principle of supply and demand rings true and through auctions you are able to witness this process as a seller.

Let’s get into pricing.

Always start your auction at a price below what the previous item sold for. This may seem like common sense, but I have seen plenty of auction listings starting at the price they are valued at. Let me remind you that they have zero bids!

I wonder why. 😐

My rule of thumb is that the lower the starting price, compared to what it is valued at, the higher attention your listing is going to attract.

With a low starting point, potential buyers are going to see it as a deal to be made! I typically start the listing from $10 to sometimes $20 below what it is valued at. Also do not forget to take into account eBay’s 10% listing sellers fee. For most items eBay only takes 10% of your sold price. Here is a detailed list of eBay’s fees.

Once you have an idea for a ballpark price, you are going to want to take quality pictures of your product.

Display:

  • the back
  • the front
  • the sides, and
  • a bird’s eye view

Display every picture necessary to give potential buyers a full understanding of your item.

Once your pictures are uploaded you need to complete the description of the item, this is often overlooked/partially completed.

Now do not over do it, but your item’s description needs to be specific.

Example, if I am selling a video game that I have never tested on a console and the case is missing the original manual I would put the following in the description:“Untested and missing manual as seen in pictures.”

By saying this, it both informs your buyer and covers your butt. I have had it happen to me a few times where a buyer will purchase a produce that has a defect, that I mentioned in the description and showed pictures of 🙃, complaining that it is broken or not what they originally purchased. I then reference my original posting and they can’t win the argument. I will not refund them their purchase because they did not read the description.

What about reviews from the buyer!?!

If a buyer who is in the wrong attempts to give you a bad review, you can call eBay’s customer service, explain the situation, and ask for it to be taken down. Of course eBay must agree that you are in the right, but if you are right they will back you up.

1 point eBay, 0 points grumpy buyer.

Last tip on listing an item: shipping.

When starting out, always have the buyer pay for shipping. Ebay has a good system in place that calculates how much it will cost per person based upon their location.

All you have to do is enter the item’s weight and dimensions of the box/package that you plan to ship it in. When filling out the shipping portion of your listing, be sure that everything is correct otherwise you will be charged for extra shipping if your items actually cost more than you anticipated.

This is a lesson that I had to learn more than once.

Conclusion

  1. Establish your game plan for garage selling. Know where and how to mine for gold.
  2. Barter like it’s nobody’s business! The lower the price the greater the window of opportunity you have to make money.
  3. Simply follow directions when creating a listing, be thorough with your pictures and description.

Finally and most importantly, learn as you go.

After you do your research and read up on how to flip items on eBay, you need to try it! Experience is one of the best teachers.

I have experienced bad flips and good flips.

The path to success is not perfect otherwise everybody would be doing it.

Author bio: Rush is a Mid-Missouri high school engineering teacher and tennis coach. He and his wife Mia have no kids, only a smart Bernese Mountain dog named Zion. Along with teaching, he runs one blog; Clim & Joe’s. He enjoys exploring, cooking, board games, and time spent with his wife and family. 

Are you interested in flipping items for resale? What questions do you have for Rush?

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Source: makingsenseofcents.com

10 Cities Near Seattle To Live in 2021

With its natural beauty and laid-back culture, there are many excellent reasons to move to the Seattle area. But the city has seen rapid population growth in recent years, along with an increased cost of living — causing a drawback for some. Fortunately, there are plenty of cities near Seattle that offer fantastic alternatives for every lifestyle.

Whether you’re looking for a safe suburb to raise a family in, a home base for outdoor excursions or a hip neighborhood with a thriving nightlife, there’s a city that offers what you’re looking for, all without traveling more than 30 minutes or so outside downtown Seattle. Consider adding the following places to your list.

Kirkland, WA. Kirkland, WA.

  • Distance from downtown Seattle: 11.1 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,069 (down 3.1 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,521 (up 5.8 percent since last year)

Located on the Northeastern shore of Lake Washington, Kirkland offers easy proximity to downtown Seattle combined with a wooded, suburban feel. Many families find Kirkland appealing as an alternative to Seattle. They can find more space, excellent schools and the opportunity to live close to an urban center.

The city of Kirkland is on the waterfront. Its popular public parks on the lake offer opportunities for boating, swimming and beach volleyball. It also showcases a picturesque collection of restaurants and shops, perfect for an evening out.

Commuters to Seattle will enjoy a short drive into downtown, or you can choose the excellent public transit connections.

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Redmond, WA. Redmond, WA.

  • Distance from downtown Seattle: 15.3 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,141 (down 7.3 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,712 (down 5.8 percent since last year)

Redmond is perhaps best known as the home of Microsoft. A resulting concentration of tech talent has attracted other tech companies as well as their employees, creating a diverse community of young professionals and families.

Redmond is sprawling and spacious, with wide sidewalks and plenty of trees. Many streets have bike lanes and paved bike paths connect to other nearby cities.

The city is in a beautiful natural setting and is home to Marymoor Park, which hosts outdoor concerts and features dozens of sports fields and a climbing wall.

Redmond also has excellent schools and a pleasant, walkable downtown core with many shops and restaurants.

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Des Moines, WA. Des Moines, WA.

  • Distance from downtown Seattle: 14.9 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,425 (down 1.4 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,767 (down 1.8 percent since last year)

Des Moines is a quiet, affordable waterfront city located midway between Seattle and Tacoma along the Interstate 5 corridor. The municipality stretches along the water, with many options for stunning views of Puget Sound.

The small downtown includes some great restaurants and waterfront walks, with plenty of nearby trails and parks that offer hiking, biking and even camping.

Des Moines is on a rapid transit line that makes it easy to access nearby SeaTac and the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport or commute south to Federal Way or Tacoma.

The city will appeal to families and young professionals seeking an affordable option without sacrificing livability.

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Issaquah, WA. Issaquah, WA.

  • Distance from downtown Seattle: 17.2 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,013 (down 13.0 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,389 (down 14.7 percent since last year)

The city of Issaquah spreads from the Sammamish Highlands down across the valley and into the hills known as the Issaquah Alps. Homes on these hills have beautiful views of the valley, while those in the lowlands are close to the quaint downtown core, which offers restaurants, cafes and many shopping options.

A dispersed, suburban city with an excellent school system, Issaquah has long been a popular choice for families. Recent development has also added housing choices for young, single professionals seeking an option outside the city.

There are plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities in the area, including hiking and mountain biking trails at the popular Tiger Mountain. Close enough to the wilderness for the occasional cougar sighting, Issaquah is also near enough to Seattle for an easy commute along Interstate 90.

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Sammamish, WA. Sammamish, WA.

  • Distance from downtown Seattle: 21 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,665 (up 1.0 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,945 (down 2.5 percent since last year)

The Sammamish Plateau is known for world-class golf courses, but that’s not all it has to offer. This city to the east of Seattle frequently appears on best-of lists for livability, yet it is still more affordable than many similar cities nearby.

Some areas of Sammamish have an almost rural feel, while others are much denser. It’s possible to find a home that feels tucked in among the woods or an urban apartment, all in the same city.

In addition to golf, outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the bike path around nearby Lake Sammamish and the proximity to wooded trails in the mountains.

Families will appreciate the above-average schools and quiet, safe streets.

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Snoqualmie, WA. Snoqualmie, WA.

  • Distance from downtown Seattle: 28.5 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: N/A
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,699

If you’ve chosen to live in the Pacific Northwest for the outdoor adventure opportunities, Snoqualmie has a lot to offer. Just under 30 miles east of Seattle along I-90, Snoqualmie is perhaps best known for the iconic Snoqualmie Falls, which are not only a scenic tourist attraction but also power generators that provide electricity to the town.

Natural beauty surrounds Snoqualmie, with plenty of opportunities to get out and explore the surrounding Cascade foothills in all seasons.

While it has become increasingly popular as a bedroom community for Seattle, Snoqualmie retains its own identity and small-town feel. It has a vibrant arts community, restaurants and shopping options.

In 2019, it was rated the safest city in Washington.

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Everett, WA. Everett, WA.

  • Distance from downtown Seattle: 28.6 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,570 (down 6.1 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,758 (up 3.6 percent since last year)

For those looking for an urban feel at an affordable price, Everett offers a great alternative to Seattle.

With an economy historically based on manufacturing for companies such as Boeing, Everett retains a blue-collar sensibility that does not prevent it from offering a vibrant art and culture scene, as well as many interesting restaurants and bars.

Sports fans can cheer on the Everett Aquasox, the local minor league baseball team, and for hockey enthusiasts, there is the Everett Silvertips. The Angel of the Winds Arena is one of the major sports and concert venues in the region, offering plenty of entertainment options.

With Puget Sound to the west and the Snohomish River to the East, Everett, like many nearby cities, has a deep, natural beauty that adds to the appeal.

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North Bend, WA. North Bend, WA.

  • Distance from downtown Seattle: 29.3 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: N/A
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $3,014 (up 12.9 percent since last year)

North Bend is the ultimate destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Its location amid the Cascade mountains’ foothills puts you close to hiking trails, mountain biking and winter skiing opportunities.

Popular local hikes, such as Mount Si and Rattlesnake Ridge, are just minutes away. Even for those who are less inclined to search for adventure, picturesque peaks provide a gorgeous backdrop for everyday life.

Famous as the filming location of the TV show Twin Peaks, North Bend has a genuine small-town feel, with a quaint downtown featuring cafes, restaurants, boutiques and breweries.

North Bend has grown rapidly in recent years, with many of its 7,423 residents choosing it for its rural location. Despite the remote vibe, it is just over 30 minutes from Seattle along I-90, making it a popular choice for commuters.

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Tacoma, WA. Tacoma, WA.

  • Distance from downtown Seattle: 33.9 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,734 (up 11.2 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,978 (up 13.1 percent since last year)

Tacoma is a city with a lot to offer at an affordable price.

The historic downtown faces Puget Sound, with gorgeous waterfront views. You’ll find great restaurants and shopping options. The downtown area is compact and walkable, but you can also get around easily by bus and rapid transit.

In the downtown core, you’ll encounter young professionals and students from the University of Washington Tacoma campus.

Up the hill, you’ll find residential neighborhoods, each with its own unique feel. Families enjoy good schools and quiet neighborhood streets.

Anyone who has driven through the city will have seen the Tacoma Dome, an event space that hosts events from car shows to concerts. Those in search of culture will also enjoy the Tacoma Art Museum and the Museum of Glass.

On the waterfront, Point Defiance Park is a popular destination for hiking, boating or picnicking with a view.

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Lake Stevens, WA. Lake Stevens, WA.

Photo source: City of Lake Stevens, WA / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown Seattle: 36.6 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,500 (up 22.5 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: N/A

Located on the lake for which it’s named, Lake Stevens is a growing community that is particularly popular among families with children.

With more affordable prices than many surrounding cities due to its slightly longer drive time to Seattle, Lake Stevens has a small-town feel with an emphasis on community. The city is a good option for those looking for a calm, quiet location well outside of Seattle.

Lake Stevens is a popular boating destination in the summer, and the town and its surroundings are full of natural beauty.

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Make one of these cities near Seattle your next home

Find a home that’s right for you in one of these Pacific Northwest cities. Your next apartment near Seattle awaits.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory pulled in April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

What Does it Mean to Rent to Own?

Some things you don’t want to rent to own. Bowling shoes, for instance. But a home? Yes indeed, that’s a great option for many people.

A rent-to-own agreement is a solid option for people who long to live in an honest-to-goodness home, but who can’t get a mortgage or don’t have a lot of down payment money. Any legal agreement requires intense scrutiny and understanding, so read up on the basics of rent to own before going any further. It’s for your own good, promise.

What does rent to own mean?

The phrase “rent to own” is fairly straightforward.

Renters pay a set amount per month in rent. On top of that, the renter also pays a preset amount. These extra funds go into an escrow account for future use as a down payment on this particular home. This is also known as a rent credit or rent premium and is usually 20 percent above-market rent.

So, a person could pay $1,000 per month in rent, plus $250 per month for the eventual down payment. Think of it as forced saving, if you will. It’s also standard for the renter to put down 3 to 5 percent of the home’s value as a nonrefundable deposit before taking residence.

Rent-to-own agreements can vary in length but are usually one to three years.

A rent-to-town lease agreement A rent-to-town lease agreement

Types of rent to own agreements

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that legal mumbo jumbo sounds the same, so it means the same. In fact, that’s a pretty financially perilous error. There are a number of different ways to structure a rent-to-own agreement. These are the two most common.

Option to buy agreement

This type of agreement lets the tenant choose whether or not to buy the home at the end of the agreed-upon period. The risk here is that if the renter chooses not to purchase the home they forfeit any accrued rent premiums, not to mention the option fee. Ouch. This is also known as a lease-option agreement. In order to proceed at the end of the agreement, the renter must obtain a mortgage. The owner cannot sell the home out from under the renter during the agreement. The renter can also opt not to buy the home at the end of the agreement. The purchase price is usually frozen at the beginning.

Obligation-to-buy agreement

Also known as a lease-purchase agreement, there’s no wiggle room here. This type of contract means that you will buy the home once the lease expires. Hence, the word “obligation.” If you don’t buy the house, you’ll lose any premiums paid during the process. There might also be legal ramifications. Clearly, this is a much riskier option.

How to rent to own

So you want to rent to own. How do you go about it? Here are some solid options.

Find a real estate agent

It might be tempting to do the legwork yourself, but a great agent can save you tons of time and money. First, they have access to search resources and property networks that you don’t. Second, they work with sellers all the time and can spot crooks from a mile away. They are also adept at helping to negotiate a contract that’s reasonable to both the tenant and the seller.

Find a rent-to-own program

Companies have emerged in recent years that will actually buy the home you’re interested in, and agree to lease it to you for a period of time. After which you can choose whether or not to purchase. Renter and seller choose a purchase price at the beginning, which is a big boon for the renter if the market trends upward.

One of the most well-known such companies is Home Partners of America, which doesn’t even require the renter to build equity during the process. This is ideal in areas where rentals are scarce, such as good school districts.

Approach the landlord directly

Perhaps you’re already renting a home that you love. Ask the landlord if he’s interested in selling in the future. Who knows? He might be about ready to cash out. Or, keep an eye on the real estate listings. If a home hasn’t sold after a long time with no movement the owner could entertain other options.

A backyard of a blue house. A backyard of a blue house.

Things to remember before you rent-to-own

Whether you use an agent or not, denote in the contract if the landlord or the tenant (you) is responsible for home maintenance, repairs, landscaping, homeowners association dues, property taxes and so on. Failure to do so could cause some nasty and expensive surprises.

Also, complete a thorough home inspection before you sign the contract. No one wants to rent to own a home with a major foundation or other pricey problem. While you’re at it, check out the seller’s disclosure to find out about any hidden past problems.

Lastly, make sure to discuss your situation with a future lender. You’ll need to be able to afford the home in one to three years. Are you on the right path? If not, what needs to change?

Pros and cons of rent-to-own

  • Pro: A rent-to-own agreement with a rent credit forces the renter to put away money. Saving for the future is a good thing!
  • Pro: Rent to owns are a good way to break into a desirable area.
  • Pro: The purchase price is typically set at the beginning of the agreement, so this could be great if the market explodes.
  • Pro: A contract leaves little doubt as to who’s on the hook for what.
  • Con: If a renter chooses not to purchase the home they forfeit rent credit money (and any deposit).
  • Con: Many rent-to-own homes are not located in such desirable areas, so it might take extra legwork and patience to find one.
  • Con: The market could also tank, leaving you to weigh whether to pay more than the current value of the home or not.
  • Con: Be sure to follow your contract to a “t,” so that you don’t wind up losing a deposit or get fined.

There’s no place like a rent-to-own home

The path to homeownership has changed tremendously just in the last decade or two. As long as you consult with trusted experts and weigh your individual situation carefully, selecting a rent-to-own home is a great route to take.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or financial advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional legal or financial advice as they may deem it necessary.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

10 Cities Near Dallas To Live In 2021

Dallas is the largest inland metropolitan area in the U.S., which probably seems daunting if you’re considering a move. Luckily, there are plenty of great suburbs and nearby cities that let you take advantage of everything the Big D offers from a lower-key base camp.

No matter what reason you have your sights set on the area, the following 10 cities near Dallas should also be on your radar.

Richardson, TX.Richardson, TX.

  • Distance from downtown Dallas: 12.8 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,442 (down 1.9 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,763 (down 7.3 percent since last year)

With a population of just over 120,000, Richardson has a tight-knit community feel with big-city amenities.

The University of Texas at Dallas is in Richardson, and within the city, there are very desirable public and private schools. It makes living here attractive to young families.

There are excellent city services and fun community programs, including farmer’s markets, festivals and events.

The recreational facilities are top-notch and include gyms, aquatic centers, over 35 parks, playgrounds and nature preserves.

Richardson’s location is perfect — it’s bordered by Dallas and Plano and also provides access to four different DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) stations, which can get you to downtown Dallas in 20 minutes.

farmers branch txfarmers branch tx

Source: Apartment Guide / The Luxe at Mercer Crossing
  • Distance from downtown Dallas: 14.1 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,343 (down 0.5 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,993 (up 7.2 percent since last year)

Farmers Branch is one of the fastest-growing cities near Dallas and a great place to call home. Over 4,000 companies and more than 250 corporate headquarters are in Farmers Branch, making it Texas’s third-largest business center.

Its restaurant and entertainment scene have fully blossomed, and the area is now in high demand for families especially. The neighborhoods are safe and the schools are both excellent while the recreational facilities are state-of-the-art.

Farmers Branch is known as “The City in the Park” because it’s so green with over 30 award-winning parks, a community garden, rose gardens, walking trails and a 104-acre nature preserve.

Addison, TX. Addison, TX.

  • Distance from downtown Dallas: 14.3 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,533 (down 13.4 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,181 (down 17.1 percent since last year)

If you’re looking for a cool city near Dallas to work and live in, Addison fits the bill.

Many perks include free membership to the Addison Athletic Club, a front-row seat to the famous firework show called Kaboom Town and easy access to the plethora of shopping and dining options.

There are more than 180 restaurants within the 4.4 square miles that make up Addison, ranging from fine dining to family-style establishments.

Addison is a small town in terms of numbers, but it doesn’t feel far from the action. It’s just 20 minutes from Dallas’s downtown with easy access off the tollway.

Plano, TX.Plano, TX.

  • Distance from downtown Dallas: 18.3 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,764 (up 12.8 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,372 (up 12.5 percent since last year)

Plano is a highly desirable city to live in near Dallas. It’s just a short commute north of Dallas’s downtown and is home to some large corporations like J.C. Penney Company, Frito-Lay and Toyota, to name a few.

Plano is a great place to live and work. It takes on a life of its own with a small-town vibe even though it’s anything but small. Plano stands out because it has a charming historic downtown area with trendy shopping and dining, excellent schools and a strong sense of community.

There is no shortage of recreational activities in this city either with over 70 parks to explore, including hiking and bike trails.

carrollton txcarrollton tx

  • Distance from downtown Dallas: 18.6 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,312 (up 4.4 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,660 (up 4.7 percent since last year)

A precious gem tucked into the Dallas metro area is Carrollton. Residents enjoy a high quality of life with top schools, safe neighborhoods and lots of recreational parks.

In this city, slightly northwest of downtown Dallas, you’ll find beautiful, spacious homes to fit a relaxed lifestyle. Carrollton real estate is some of the most expensive in Texas but proves to appreciate in value faster than neighboring cities.

The pristine Indian Creek Golf Club, a 36-hole golf course, is in Carrollton. You can also find many hiking and biking trails, picnic areas and playgrounds scattered throughout the city.

Additionally, there are more than 250 restaurants in Carrollton — so much variety, your tastebuds will thank you.

Grapevine, TX.Grapevine, TX.

  • Distance from downtown Dallas: 22.2 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,419 (down 3.3 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,966 (down 3.5 percent since last year)

Located in between Dallas and Fort Worth is the city of Grapevine. Home to DFW International Airport, the third-largest airport in the world, this city offers accessibility like no other.

Living in Grapevine provides major conveniences with a suburban feel. There are plenty of restaurants, boutiques, wineries, art galleries, jewelry stores and more in the Historic Main Street District, a hot destination.

The beautiful Lake Grapevine offers 8,000 acres for outdoor recreation like fishing, stand-up paddleboarding, boating and hiking, making this an exciting place to live.

As the name Grapevine might hint, you’ll find many wineries linked by the city’s Urban Wine Trail. There’s even a multi-day annual wine festival called GrapeFest.

Rockwall, TX.Rockwall, TX.

  • Distance from downtown Dallas: 23.4 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,472 (down 5.3 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,750 (down 1 percent since last year)

Rockwall is one of DFW’s best-kept secrets. The city has much to offer its residents, making it an attractive place to live near Dallas. Rockwall Parks and Recreation offers year-round events and classes for kids, as well as summer music events and movie nights in the park.

It’s a great city to raise a family and combine work with play. There are a few large employers in Rockwall, including many manufacturing companies and Texas Health Hospital Rockwall, which employs more than 600 people.

One of North Texas’s largest lakes, Lake Ray Hubbard, is in Rockwall and is great for fishing, skiing and recreational boating. Overall, Rockwall is a fun and relaxing place to live.

Allen, TX.Allen, TX.

  • Distance from downtown Dallas: 24.2 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,330 (up 1 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,648 (down 3.7 percent since last year)

Allen is a booming suburb and a great place to live near Dallas. It’s known for premium shopping, excellent attractions, safe neighborhoods and a highly-ranked school system.

Some of the best shopping destinations in Allen are Allen Premium Outlets, which has over 120 outlet designer and name-brand stores, and Watters Creek at Montgomery Farms, a scenic, resort-style shopping center and entertainment destination.

Another perk of living in Allen is the number of recreational offerings. You can head to Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium, which offers an indoor water park, a competition-sized swimming pool and a rock-climbing wall, or try wakeboarding at Hydrous at Allen Station. Meanwhile, skaters can enjoy the Edge at Allen Station Skate Park, the largest outdoor skatepark in Texas.

Frisco, TX.Frisco, TX.

  • Distance from downtown Dallas: 26.4 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,624 (up 17.3 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,269 (up 22.1 percent since last year)

Frisco has so much to offer — in 2018 Money magazine put it at number one on the “Best Places to Live in America” list. The city has undergone extreme growth in the last couple of decades and is an ideal place to raise a family.

Frisco is safer than surrounding areas, with a crime rate of 86 in 2019, which is 3.1 times lower than the U.S. average. Families also appreciate the excellent education opportunities. The school district is known for academic excellence and innovative programs.

Frisco is additionally becoming the epicenter for football fans since it’s the site of the Dallas Cowboys’ 91-acre campus, known as the Star.

McKinney, TX.McKinney, TX.

  • Distance from downtown Dallas: 30.8 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,277 (down 4.7 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,704 (up 1.5 percent since last year)

McKinney is an excellent option if you’re looking to live near Dallas but crave a slower-paced feel.

This blend of big-city and small-town culture is one of the many reasons young professionals and growing households move to the area. The historic downtown square draws visitors from all over with its unique locally-owned boutiques, gift stores, art exhibits, restaurants and coffee shops.

There are a few breweries in McKinney which add to the life of the city. There’s also a plethora of picturesque parks and the eight-mile Erwin Park Hike and Bike Trail for residents to enjoy.

Make one of these cities near Dallas your next home

If you’re looking for the amenities of a metropolis but prefer a more laid-back vibe, you’re bound to find it in these 10 great cities near Dallas. No matter where you decide to hang your hat, there are some things you’ll need to know before living near the Big D.

Get the 411 on living in Dallas and start preparing for your move today.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory pulled in April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How Sarah Earns $5,000,000 A Year With Shopify

Today, I have a fun interview to share with you that will show you how to start an online store. I recently had the chance to interview Sarah Titus of Million Dollar Shop and SarahTitus.com, who explains exactly how to start an online store and make extra income. If you want to learn how to make passive income, this is a great option!

How Sarah Earns $5,000,000 A Year With Shopify #howtostartanonlinestore #makeextramoney

How Sarah Earns $5,000,000 A Year With Shopify #howtostartanonlinestore #makeextramoneyHere’s her easy-to-understand definition of what she does:

An online store is the same thing as your local grocery store, except that it’s online. So you go to your grocery store, you see a bunch of products and you buy them. Same thing here. It’s a digital store. So instead of buying celery, you’re buying printables that help you organize your entire life, that create calm in the chaos for you.”

If you are looking for a new business or even just a side hustle, learning how to start an online store may be something that you want to look into.

Check out the interview below for more information. She answers questions such as:

  • How much money she currently earns
  • How much time this takes her
  • What exactly an online store is
  • What you can sell with an online store
  • How she finds customers

And much, much more!

Read below to learn more.

Related articles on how to start a Shopify store:

1. Please give us a little background on yourself, how you started your online store, and how it’s going for you right now.

I was walking by my husband’s phone and he got a text. For some reason, it caught my attention and I looked at it. It was from a girl. She was saying she loved him.

My whole world, tears, came crashing down in an instant. He ended up taking my debit cards, then physically abusing me. I had ¼ tank of gas and had to get away. I called a local Pastor who helped me get out safely and ended up living in a homeless shelter with my two babies.

Fourteen years of marriage, down the drain in a millisecond.

After I got out of the homeless shelter, I got my first apartment. I was bent on not working outside the home. My kids ALREADY lost their dad. I wasn’t going to let them lose ME TOO!

I did what I knew. I sold on eBay. I’d go to yard sales, pick up stuff to resell. I’d get things, whatever I could, to survive and be home with my little ones.

I started doing pretty well. Making enough to pay all my bills. Then, I started niching down on eBay to selling Littlest Pet Shop toys. I was the highest paid Littlest Pet Shop toy seller in a market with over 40,000 ads on any given day.

My store on eBay was thriving. I was doing really good, and I learned how to sell something better than my competitors. I would dress them up like Barbies. Ship in pretty organza bags so they felt like they were getting a GIFT. I gave them coupons for future purchases ($10 off $50). I created a free website for Littlest Pet Shop coloring sheets, wallpaper, games, everything. I created a Pinterest account to drive traffic to my eBay store for Littlest Pets.

I was making good money ($18,000 a year at the time). Things were great.

But I wasn’t satisfied in my SOUL, you know what I mean? I was feeling like, selling a toy doesn’t change the world. It doesn’t help people.

I wanted to do more with my life. Be more.

So, I started blogging. Friends were asking me a ton of questions about how I was making income from home and living so well on so little.

They told me they were making $60,000 a year, yet here I was, making $18,000 a year and I had way more than them. WHY? HOW? They asked. Each question they asked, I turned into a post and that’s how I started blogging.

A few years into blogging, I was making really good money. Six-figures/year at that point, but I wanted to not have to work so much. Yeah, I was making six-figures, but I was working 80-120 hours a WEEK (yes, a WEEK!) for three YEARS straight.

I thought to myself, if I ever DO get married, I’m sunk. I can’t even date someone. I’ll never get married because I’m too busy always working my guts away. I wanted a different life. A life that could be more autopilot. I had this dream that, if I ever got married again, I’d make enough, passively, that we could travel or do whatever. We wouldn’t be tied to the computer working so much. And he could be home with me, as a family.

So, I took six months to start closing loose ends and systematizing everything. Once I got a handle on things, I wanted to sell my first product, a Blogging Binder. I put it on Podia but it didn’t sell but a couple copies.

I sat there in the middle of the night contemplating, what will I do? Give up? Is it the binder? No one likes it? I decided to make one last ditch effort, put it one more place. Through a google search, I found Shopify and tried that. It sold 52 copies! Just the platform alone did that!

My Blogging Binder released on May 9, 2017 and by June 17, 2018, it had sold 13,667 copies. Just that ONE product. No shipping, no envelopes, no lost in the mail, no post office fees. I’ve been able to keep a lot more profits than when I sold physical items. Plus, it’s not like eBay, where they nickel and dime you for everything. With Shopify, it’s one small low-monthly cost and a tiny transaction fee (for the debit card processing part). Easy peasy!

2. How much do you currently earn through this?

Within my first month on Shopify, I made $52,060!

I knew pretty quickly into it, I hit on something pretty major. All those 21 years on eBay paid off in Shopify. I knew how to market, how to sell, how to give discounts, how to treat customers, and most importantly, how to set up a store in a way that GETS people to give you their debit card number and BUY!

Since opening my store in the middle of the night on June 1, 2017, I’ve made $6,481,108.60 to date (July 12, 2019). I make $5 million a year currently in Shopify.

What started out as a bad situation, turned into something much better than I ever thought imaginable. It sucks about my ex-husband.  I’ve been blessed more than I ever thought possible.

Opening a Shopify store for me, has been one of the best things I’ve ever done in my entire life! 😊 Not just because of the money, but because now I don’t have to work a bunch of crazy hours. I’m truly FREE!

3. How much time do you dedicate towards it?

Between me and my team members, we work a combined 16-20 hours at the moment (this number includes everything I do: my blog, the store, courses, etc.)

I work around 9-10 hours a week myself. I do work on printables sometimes online as a hobby, but it’s just goofing off or stuff I wanna do. I WORK 10 hours a week. 😊

Mostly, I only have to MAINTAIN the store now. In the beginning, I had to put more time into it because I was creating products to sell. Now, I just create one new binder every month. It takes me 2-3 days to create a new binder usually. If it’s a really hard one or super lengthy, a week, but on average, it’s just a few days to create.

Binders for me, are what I use to GET people to the store as well as to stay on my list. I give the binder free for the first three weeks, then charge for them.

Outside of that, it’s just email support, which is VERY low because I have most all of that automated. This helps keep the customer service requests down so I can spend my time creating more products. 😊

The last thing I do for my store is email my newsletter list. Most of the time, it’s just about getting them to the store with the free binder and they do the rest. They see other things they like and buy them or there’s a deal in the header bar at the top of the site that gets sales. So, I just focus on that and it’s not salesy or pushy in any way. They build up my reviews and then because of the reviews, others come along and buy.

My audience also sometimes pays for things that are free. They are seriously sweet. They say they receive so much free stuff from me, they wanna pay. It’s the sweetest thing ever.

I don’t do any paid promoting at this time. I would like to get into Facebook ads soon, but right now, how I get all my sales is simply giving out free stuff and coupons to drive traffic to my store.

Related: How One Blogger Grew His Blog to Over 2 Million Visitors In A Year

4. What exactly is an online store? Can you explain this more for those who have no idea? Do you have to be a blogger?

An online store is the same thing as your local grocery store, except that it’s online. So you go to your grocery store, you see a bunch of products and you buy them. Same thing here. It’s a digital store. So instead of buying celery, you’re buying printables that help you organize your entire life, that create calm in the chaos for you.

You can sell absolutely anything you want to (within reason, not illegal stuff, etc. obviously) 😊 in your store and best of all, you own it. It’s stable because it can’t be taken away from you!

You don’t have to be a blogger to sell on Shopify. But if you want to start a blog, you can have a separate blog, or you can even have your blog on Shopify, which is great as well.

The only upside there to having a separate blog while selling on Shopify is that Google tends to send more traffic to a great SEO’d website over a shop, but one of my friends gets just as much traffic as me to JUST her Shopify blog/store, as I do to my separate blog and store.

So if you’re just starting to set up a store, I wouldn’t recommend setting up a blog at the same time. It would be too complex. Just focus on one at a time and then add another as time goes on if you want them separate.

Either way, you do not have to be a blogger, as long as you promote your store. You have to have a way to drive traffic to it. That could be on social media, YouTube videos, talking to friends about it, handing out business cards, handing out fliers. I mean, there’s a bazillion ways to get traffic to your store, ESPECIALLY if you offer something FREE!!! 😊

5. Is Shopify easy to use?

Shopify is THE most easiest thing I’ve ever learned to do online. No kidding. I literally remember setting up my shop in around 5 minutes and was like…am I done?

I was actually done. Then, it was just about making things pretty and professional and using my knowledge of how to get sales and get those conversions.

That’s the part that no one seems to know. And using my 21 years’ experience on eBay, I know EXACTLY what to put and where to make people feel comfortable enough to buy my stuff. Your store is like a map. You need them to come and buy, not come and leave and it’s all about HOW YOU SET IT UP that matters. 

It’s easy to set up. But so many people set up a Shopify store and never make more than fifty bucks.

There is a lot more than goes into it. People are giving you more than their email address. They are giving you their home address, phone number, and debit card number.

Do you just give that stuff out to anybody?

No, right?

Neither will your customers. You have to set up your store in a way that makes them feel SAFE. Like they TRUST your site and YOU. So you have to set it up very specifically or sadly, it won’t convert. All of that is taught in my Million Dollar Shop® course. 😊 

How to get reviews, how to set up reviews so you get them and why it’s so important, how to set up your store so they buy, what free apps to use that’ll make your life so much easier, what bylines and legal verbiage you need to use to protect yourself, how to systematize your store to keep customer service requests low, how to set up products and what to say to get people to buy, and so much more is included in that course! I go through it all. Absolutely everything you need to know to run and have a successful Shopify store.

Click here to check out Shopify.

6. What can a person sell? Where do you find products when starting an online store?

You can sell literally anything you want (within reason). There’s a list here of things a person CAN’T sell on Shopify here under the B.5 section. Things like drugs, copyrighted stuff, gambling, pornography, get rich schemes, etc. These are all outside to scope of what any of us would want to sell.

But for example, if I wanted to sell Littlest Pet Shop toys again today, I’d have my OWN store on Shopify rather than go through eBay, where there’s SO much competition. Having my OWN store, makes the sales come easier (if it’s set up properly) because I’m not fighting anyone else for that sale. The buyer is just seeing MY stuff at the time. I have their full attention.

However, after selling physical products for SO long, I highly encourage you to sell digital products instead. There are far lower overhead costs with digital products. You don’t have to worry about shipping, people not getting orders, things breaking in the mail, a wrong order being sent out, cost of the product, shipping costs, gas to pick up or find items to sell, etc.

Some people try to drop ship as well. I find most of those stores fail. Most drop shipping (99.9%) is just a scam. The other, legit 0.01% is not worth it because of the things mentioned above. I’ve seen a lot in my years of making money online and wouldn’t touch drop shipping if my life depended on it. It’ll just ruin your credibility and it’s not something YOU own. You can’t control it when they ship the wrong order and you lose a customer because the customer gets mad. I’d stay away from drop shipping. You just don’t want a business that relies so heavily on someone else like that. If they go out of business, your whole empire you built is gone in an instant.

For me, I sell printables. If you don’t know how to make printables, I have a full course where you get to sit side by side with me and watch as I create them from start to finish! I show you the entire process. It’s one of my favorite courses, because it’s so much FUN. Creating printables is addicting for me. It’s the most funnest thing ever and I get really into it. 😊

One of my other courses, Top 13 Things To Sell in Shopify (That Makes the Most Money), is a great course if you’re trying to determine which path is right for you to sell. It covers the top 13 most profitable things to sell on Shopify and then gives a bird’s eye view of good, working strategies of HOW to go about selling that particular thing successfully.

7. How does an online store owner find customers?

This is the fun part! You can find customers in any way you want!

There are a bazillion and one ways to find people who will fall in love with your stuff and pay you to have it. You’re only capped by your imagination really, but the first thing you’ll want to do is establish how YOU want to go about getting traffic to your store.

The easiest way is to work off what you already have going for you. So, if you have a blog already, add a store and drive traffic that way. If you have social media pages or groups, drive traffic that way.

Another way to drive traffic is by paying for advertising. This is something that I haven’t ever done yet (I hope to in the future, but haven’t yet). Things like Facebook ads or Instagram ads would work great.

Likewise, having an Instagram account for your store is a great thing to do. One of my friends, makes $5k/month in her Shopify store consistently and she drives traffic from her blog, her newsletter, and she created a cool Instagram account specifically for Instagram. She says she gets most of her sales from Instagram (she does a mix of posts and little videos showing how to use her products).

Social media is great! You can create YouTube videos (unboxing videos, product videos, etc.) For me, I have videos that show the printables like a book with the pages turning. I show how to create those specific videos in the Million Dollar Shop® course under the products section.

Another way to drive traffic is by installing an affiliate app. You can get affiliates to help spread the word. I don’t currently have affiliates on my store as I just sell way too much to keep up with what I have now, but I know there are some affiliate apps out there worth giving a shot to.

After a while, you become known and people remember you. For my site, direct traffic is the #1 way I gain traffic. People remember, know me, and come back, and they’ll do the same with you.

The best overall way that I’ve personally found to drive traffic to my shop, is to give away something highly valuable to other people. For me, that’s a 100+ page binder. They like it, sign up for my newsletter, and instead of giving them some download straight from my blog, I make them order it free, using a discount code, in the store.

This gets them used to the process of ordering in my store, they already have an account, etc. so the next time they want to order, they are already in the system and feel comfortable using the platform and have no reservation purchasing.

My returning customer rate is really high. In the past 30 days, it’s at 70.2% and I’ve gotten 8,775 traffic sessions (this is sessions, not pageviews).

You definitely want to strive to get repeat customers because it’s MUCH easier to sell something to the same person then selling something to a completely new person. However, you do want new customers too, so a good balance is what you want to shoot for.

I personally shoot for no more than 75% repeat customers. This means I’m getting at least 25% of people in the store that are new and I’m growing, gaining traction, and getting new word of mouth sales. You can determine your own goals and what works best for you. When I first started, it was near 50/50 and that’s a great balance too. 😊

Both the Top 13 Things to Sell in Shopify and Million Dollar Shop® courses go over how to get traffic in a much deeper way.

8. How much does it cost to start this type of business and how much on a monthly basis to maintain it?

It doesn’t cost as much as you’d think. A Shopify store is only $29/month and that includes a blog if you want it. Then they have super tiny transaction fees by PayPal when you make a sale. If you want additional apps, those can vary in price. I use several apps, which I go over in Million Dollar Shop® and only pay $15/month in apps.

Then, when you start making $1k/month+, you’ll want to move to the $79/month Shopify plan because that includes better analytics. You can see how much sales you’re making for each product and that helps you determine what KIND of products to create MORE of.

All in all, it’s very inexpensive. They don’t nickel and dime you like some other platforms do and if you ever get stuck, they have 24/7 chat support, which is a really great feature that most other companies do not offer.

Another great thing is that they give you the theme free. They have many themes to choose from and I’ve BETA tested a few of them and share all my findings in the Million Dollar Shop® course. A free theme on Shopify is great, so that’s another thing you don’t have to worry about paying for.

If you want to save even more money, you can talk to chat and they can give you deals if you purchase by the year or 2 years, etc. Since my store is extremely stable and makes me a lot of money, I bought the 2-year plan and it saved me some significant money.

When you’re just starting out though, you’re only looking at $44/month + tiny transaction fees based on the price you sell your item at. Shopify gives you a generous 14-day free trial period to take it for a spin too and get things set up before you have to start paying, which makes it super nice.

9. Are there any other tips that you have for someone who wants to learn how to start an online store?

I think the main thing is really deciding if starting a store is right for you and if it is, going for it full throttle. Not saying, “Well, if it works, it works, if it doesn’t, it won’t”. That kind of wishy-washy attitude won’t get anyone anywhere. You have to be bold and just jump in!

Having your own online store is such a fantastic way to earn money. In my 20+ years of making money online, I’ve quite literally seen everything, and this is by far, THE BEST way to earn money the fastest and easiest, that I’ve ever seen.

Think about it. After 20 years of my selling on eBay, I was making $3k/month. After 2 years blogging, I was making $23k/month. After 2 years on Shopify, I’m making $5 million/year.

The other ways of earning money are fantastic and nothing to sneeze at, for sure (!!), there’s just a lot more POWER and profitability when earning money in a store. It’s also the fastest way to go. If you start a store today, you can be earning money by this afternoon. With other options, it takes more time to set up, to establish yourself, etc.

They are all great ways to earn money, but I believe that Shopify has a lot more power to make money quicker. If you wanna make money online, that’s the way to go, for many people.

10.Why should a person take a course on this subject? Is it hard? What will they learn with your course?

The truth is that a lot of people set up Shopify stores and they think they can go it alone. But they can’t. They crash and burn and never get any sales and wonder why.

The problem is because they haven’t laid the proper foundation. Even if they try to mimic or copy me, they don’t know WHY they’re doing what they are doing. Not having that knowledge of WHY do this or that or how to make their own decisions of how to determine what works best for them, isn’t going to make someone succeed.

Another problem is that, some people try to start a store on their blog and use plug in stores like WooCommerce, etc. Those plug in stores, out of all the people I’ve coached, I’ve only seen it work for ONE person and that’s because her husband is an engineer!

100% of the people I’ve coached, who’ve started out on a store plug in on their blog, move to Shopify and they INSTANTLY start making more sales. This is because customers TRUST Shopify and PREFER THEIR checkout over other solutions. My last customer I worked with, made 400% more just by switching platforms (WooCommerce to Shopify). Like my own fail with Podia, it really IS all about the platform and how you set it up.

After you set up your store on the right platform and in the right way, you need to begin your strategy of how to get people to your shop and how to get sales. Million Dollar Shop® teaches all that, from start to finish. It guides you through the entire set up process, then teaches you how to get sales, in a hand-holding friend style.

Then, if you want to sell printables and don’t currently create them in professional software (that’s key to your sucess) or don’t know how to make them, How to Create Printables, is the perfect course for you.

Million Dollar Shop® trainings (the whole platform) has sold over 40,000 products to date. These courses aren’t just something put up by someone, somewhere online. They are taught by someone who’s been in e-commerce for 21 YEARS and have been tested by tens of thousands of students to work! 😊 You just can’t get this information anywhere else. It’s a complete system that I created myself and have perfected over the years.

P.S. You can get 15% off by using the code MAKINGSENSE15.

Are you interested in starting an online store?

How To Start A Blog FREE Email Course

In this free course, I show you how to create a blog easily, from the technical side (it’s easy – trust me!) all the way to earning your first income and attracting readers. Join now!

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Source: makingsenseofcents.com

10 Things to Know About Living in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is a great place to live with more than 130 distinct neighborhoods, excellent dining and entertainment venues and one of the most diverse population’s in the nation. Many people think that everyone in D.C. is a lobbyist or a bureaucrat. While politics is a prevailing part of the culture, Washington is more than just a government town.

Recognized for its top-notch colleges, non-profit associations, high-tech and biotech companies and healthcare facilities, Washington D.C. offers opportunities and impressive cultural experiences.

1. One of the nation’s strongest job markets

As the capital city, Washington has historically ranked as one of the strongest job markets in the U.S. D.C. area residents typically work for the federal and state governments, universities and hospitals, government and private contractors, information technology companies, law firms, business and finance companies, non-profit organizations, hotels and tourist attractions.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, long-term projections predict that the job market will stabilize and continue to grow in the coming years.

2. It is pricey to live here

The cost of living in Washington D.C. is higher than the U.S. average, especially high housing costs. On average, you’ll find a one-bedroom apartment for about $2,400 and a two-bedroom apartment in D.C. for around $3,200 a month depending on the neighborhood. Both of these prices are considerably higher than the national average.

Living in the city is more costly than in the suburbs. When making a decision of where to live, it’s important to consider the stress of commuting and the cost of public transportation. D.C. has a good transit system, but the Metro is one of the most expensive subway systems in the country with prices ranging from $2.25 to $6 for a one-way ride. D.C. sales tax is relatively low at six percent. A beer at a bar will cost $8 while a meal at a sit-down restaurant will set you back $35-50, on average.

Evening traffic overview in Washington D.C. Evening traffic overview in Washington D.C.

3. D.C. has some of the worst traffic in the nation

Traffic has to be one of the more frustrating things about living in Washington D.C. Rush hour lasts for three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. There are too many tourists who don’t know the roads. There are traffic circles that are confusing. But there are also plenty of public transportation options.

However, if you live in the city, it’s pretty easy to get around. Many areas are easily walkable.

4. Washington is bike-friendly

The nation’s capital is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S.

Capital Bikeshare was the first bike-share program in the country and allows people to use a bicycle to easily get around the busy urban areas. In recent years the city has expanded bike lanes across the city. With many parks and green spaces, D.C. residents enjoy bicycling for recreation as well as transportation.

Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

5. Many free things to do

Washington D.C.’s most famous landmarks are free to visitors. National memorials dedicated to the country’s founding fathers and war heroes are aplenty. The Smithsonian museums and many others exhibit a wide range of historic artifacts ranging from dinosaur fossils to early spacecraft to modern art and technology.

All branches of the armed forces offer free concerts throughout the summer and a variety of festivals are also held throughout the year. In addition, as home to 175 foreign embassies, D.C. has endless opportunities to celebrate cultures from around the world.

6. Diverse population

Washington is much more diverse than the average U.S. city. with a wide variety of people from different ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, religions and economic levels.

Many residents are transplants who moved to the nation’s capital to work for the government, a law firm or a non-profit organization. Most are highly educated and ambitious to get ahead in their field or to make a difference in the community. In recent years, the population has been growing with an influx of young people who enjoy the city lifestyle.

Row houses in Washington D.C. Row houses in Washington D.C.

7. Centrally located on the east coast

Washington D.C. is centrally located on the east coast within an easy drive to cities including Baltimore, Philadelphia and Richmond, the Chesapeake Bay or Atlantic coast or the mountains in western Maryland or Virginia. The region offers a wide range of places to visit and things to do. Getaways are endless.

8. Great live music and theatre

Washington D.C. attracts some of the nation’s top talent to perform at its venues. Theatergoers enjoy performances at the Kennedy Center, the National Theater, the Warner Theatre, Arena Stage, Fords Theatre and other theaters. The Capital One Arena, Constitution Hall, the 9:30 Club and other venues around town hold concerts throughout the year.

In summer, free concerts are held in various neighborhoods throughout the city. The Capitol grounds hosts its annual concerts for Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. The National Mall is periodically used for special events that include live music.

9. Washington loves its sports teams

D.C. sports fans are dedicated to their home teams. The Washington Nationals are a member of the Eastern Division of the MLB’s National League and have a state-of-the-art ballfield built in 2008. Washington Football plays at FedEx Field and has long had a strong following. The Capitals ice hockey and DC United soccer games are fun to watch at the Capital One Arena.

Washington D.C. Capital Hill at night.Washington D.C. Capital Hill at night.

10. Endless ways to volunteer

People flock to Washington D.C. to make a difference. There are hundreds of non-profit organizations that are in constant need of volunteers to help with fundraising events and the daily operations to help promote their cause.

You’ll find something to love about living in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is a great city with endless opportunities to learn new things and take in our nation’s history and culture. Whether you prefer a quiet residential area or a bustling urban community, you’ll find a neighborhood that fits your budget and lifestyle.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

My 8 Year Blogiversary: How I Made Money Blogging In July 2019

How I Made Money Blogging From Home In July 2019 #howtomakemoneyblogging #howtomakeextramoney

How I Made Money Blogging From Home In July 2019 #howtomakemoneyblogging #howtomakeextramoneyWelcome to July 2019’s business report where I show you how I made money online and traveled full-time last month. It’s time to look at this month’s update and see how I did.

If you’re new to Making Sense of Cents, you may be wondering why I would want to publish my business report each month.

This all started out as my extra income report because, in the beginning, it was all about the money I was earning from my side jobs. In my side income reports from the beginning, I included all of the income I made except for what I made at my day job.

However, I left my day job as a financial analyst in October of 2013 and now my monthly business reports consist of the many ways I earn a living with my business.

Many have asked why I would ever want to publicly talk about what I’m working on each month. Some think I’m crazy, whereas some are glad I’m open about what I’m doing. Whatever you think, I enjoy publishing my monthly business reports and I share them publicly for three main reasons:

  1. Before I started blogging, I knew nothing about side hustling and making money online. I didn’t think side jobs were worth the effort and I thought the only way to significantly increase your income was through raises at your full-time job. If it weren’t for others publishing their monthly income reports, I don’t know if I would have ever tried side hustling. I want to help show others the positives in side hustling and how it can change a person’s life. There are many different ways to make money online, and I like to share my story each month to help motivate others to improve their financial situation by making more money.
  2. Secondly, I like to publish my business blogging reports because it’s a way for me to look back, learn from my mistakes and actually see what areas need improvement. I use my monthly blogging reports as a way to track how I’ve done and it helps to keep me accountable.
  3. Lastly, I like to show others that making side money is possible and that there are many legitimate ways to make money from your home.

I know I say this every month, but it’s the truth. Life is great now that I’m my own boss and a full-time blogger. I look forward to each and every day and it’s a wonderful feeling. I truly love waking up every single morning.

Above are just a few of the reasons for why I enjoy publishing my monthly income reports. I like to show others that you don’t have to hate your job and hate your life. You can make changes to your life and make money in a way that allows you to truly enjoy the life you are living. I’m not saying that you have to LOVE your job, I’m just saying that your job should, at least, allow you to do what you like to do outside of work (whether that be spending time with loved ones, doing crafts, hiking, etc.).

A quick reminder on the recent announcement.

I want to repeat the announcement again because I have been asked – How I Made Over $1,500,000 In 2018 – Is This The End Of Income Reports? so that no one is confused. I’m sure I’ll receive many questions from readers who missed it.

How was business income in July of 2019?

In case you are new to this blog, the main areas I earn a living from include:

I regularly earn over $100,000 a month blogging, and I have earned over $5,000,000 from my blogging business total over the years.

Check out How I Successfully Built A $1,000,000+ Blog for all of the different ways you can make money through a blog.

July of 2019 was another great month for Making Sense of Cents and the whole blogging business. I earned a great income and enjoyed my month. In fact, it was an amazing month!

I have many plans for the rest of 2019, and I have a jam-packed to-do list that I am very excited to start crossing off and accomplishing. I am wanting to grow Making Sense of Cents in many areas – income, readers, more helpful blog posts, and so on.

Some of the things that I plan on doing in order to grow Making Sense of Cents include:

  • Focusing on SEO. I will be taking an SEO course soon from start to finish, in order to start growing Making Sense of Cents in this area. I tried a few years ago, but stopped. While I get decent traffic from SEO without much effort, I do think this area can be a great way to further grow my website.
  • Learning about Pinterest advertising and Facebook advertising. I would like to use social media advertising to grow traffic as well as to grow my email list.
  • Adding an online shop to my blog. I would like to create a shop for Making Sense of Cents, where I sell products such as printables.
  • Creating new optins. I don’t have many optins for my email list, and haven’t added a new one in quite some time. This is currently on my to-do list so that I can reach new readers and gain more subscribers.

The month was great in many areas – blogging, course-wise, life, and everything else. The business is doing well and I’m very happy with it. My business is doing well, I have a lot of ideas for the year, and I am very excited about everything. I really love my business and I don’t know where I would be without it.

Below are some of my monthly online income reports. I publish an online income update every month but only included some of them below as it would be a very long list. If you head on over to my income page you can find all of my monthly income reports from the past few years.

  • $672 extra in May (2012)
  • $6,523 in January Extra Income (2013)
  • $11,927 in October Income – I Finally Left My Job (2013)
  • $12,640 in January Income (2014)
  • $23,758 in February Income – My Monthly Online Income Report (2015)
  • How I Made $300,000 Online In 2015
  • How I Made $979,321 In 2016
  • How I Made $1,536,732 In 2017
  • How I Made Over $1,500,000 In 2018

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I created a tutorial that will help you start a blog of your own for cheap, starting at only $2.75 per month (this low price is only through my link) for blog hosting. In addition to the low pricing, you will receive a free website domain for the first year (a $15 value) through my Bluehost referral link if you purchase, at least, 12 months of blog hosting. FYI, if you are asking yourself “can you make money blogging?” – my top tip is to be self-hosted. This is essential if you want to monetize your blog as you will appear more professional and this will help you monetize your blog tremendously. My blogging income did not take off until after I switched to self-hosted WordPress.

Follow our travel adventures on Instagram. 

Blog/life news

July was a fun month! We finished up our long chore list on the boat and secured it for hurricane season. We are now living in our van for the next couple of months and have been having a ton of fun.

In case you missed it, you can read more about it here – We’re Going To Start Living In A Van!

We’ve been outdoors a ton since we moved into the van, and it’s been amazing! We’ve climbed eight 14,000+ foot mountains in just the past month, have mountain biked several times, and more. It’s been great to get back in the mountains, and it’s making us even more excited to get back to the boat in a couple of months too.

And…

August marks 8 years since I first started Making Sense of Cents. It is just so crazy to think about how much life has changed since I first started this website.

I started this blog and worked on it in addition to my full-time day job as a financial analyst, and around two years after I started, I quit my day job to blog full-time.

Blogging changed my life for the better, and it allows me to earn a great income, all by doing something that I love.

You may have heard this from me before, but the funny thing is that I created my blog on a whim after reading about a personal finance website in a magazine. It started as a hobby to track my own personal finance progress, and I honestly didn’t even know that people could make money blogging!

I knew absolutely nothing about blogging and I didn’t have any goals for Making Sense of Cents.

In case you are new here, I used to work as an analyst at an investment banking and valuation firm. I chugged along working the 8-5, Monday through Friday grind and didn’t see myself having an enjoyable future there. I had a stressful job filled with lots of deadlines and responsibilities that just didn’t interest me. Yes, I know this is the norm for some people, but I just couldn’t imagine myself living like that for 40+ years.

Blogging was an outlet for my stressful day job, and my interest quickly grew, even though it was just a hobby. It gave me space to write about my personal finance situation, have a support group, to keep track of how I was doing, and more. I did not create Making Sense of Cents with the intention of earning an income, but after only six months, I began to make money blogging.

A friend I met through the blogging community connected me with an advertiser, and I earned $100 from that advertisement deal. That one deal sparked my interest in taking my blog more seriously and learning how to make even more money blogging.

Today, I earn a great income from my blog, and it all started on a whim, not even knowing that blogs could make money.

Blogging completely changed my life for the better and just thinking about how everything has improved over the last eight years is an insane/wonderful thing to think about.

Blogging has allowed me to take control of my finances and earn more money. It means I can work from home, travel whenever I want, have a flexible schedule, and more!

I have had some of the most amazing experiences ever since building my blog – I have lived and traveled across the U.S. in an RV, bought and now live on a sailboat, and take some pretty incredible vacations!

And, all of this happened because I started some random blog eight years ago.

I made so many mistakes, and I still make mistakes today. But, I continue to learn and improve, which has shaped this blog into what it is today.

I was so afraid to quit my job when I did, especially for a blog.

So many people thought I was absolutely crazy and making the worst decision of my life. Especially since my husband quit his job at the same time!

It’s now been almost six years since I worked for someone else.

When I sit back and really think about it, I am still in disbelief that starting some blog has led me to where I am today.

Thank you all for being here and being wonderful readers!

Below are several other business and blog-related updates:

  • I’m currently around one month ahead in blog posts. I would like to be around 2-3 months ahead. I do have several months of blog posts planned, though, I just need to finish writing them and hand them to my editor.
  • Traffic for the month was over 400,000 page views.
  • I am working on a series where I will help readers with specific financial questions, and tutorials to go along with them. Topics such as: How to open a bank account, How to write a check, Finding an online bank, Building and creating an investment account, etc. What other topics would you like to see me cover?
  • My community group for Making Sense of Cents is continuing to grow. This is a Facebook group in which you can seek advice from other readers on all sorts of topics such as finance, blogging, travel, running a business, and so on. There are already over 15,000 members!
  • I released my How To Start A Blog FREE Course. If you’ve been wanting to start a blog, then check this out. I created this email course for those who are interested in starting a blog, but haven’t done so yet. The course is free, and over 50,000 people have already signed up. Thank you, everyone, for the kind emails about how great the course is. Glad everyone is enjoying it!
  • Due to how well my first free course went, I also created the free Master Your Money email course. It’s full of great money management lessons and financial worksheets (such as a free budget template), and I’m loving the positive response from this email course as well.
  • Other freebies I have include 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income and 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.

Popular new posts on Making Sense of Cents last month:

Featured Question: How do you have internet while traveling full-time?

I feature one question from a reader in each monthly income report. Please leave a comment below if you have a question that you would like me to answer. 

I hear this question all the time, and it’s one of the top things that stops people from traveling more.

And, I completely understand the hesitation!

When we first thought about traveling full-time, I had no idea what would happen to my business. I didn’t know how I would connect to the internet, if it would be super expensive, or anything else. I didn’t even really know if it was possible.

I still remember telling Wes (my husband) that I would not be able to travel full-time unless we had internet, and I just did not even think that it was possible.

But, now I know it’s actually not too bad. There is usually some form of internet, and I almost always use my own source. It’s not terribly expensive either. Yes, sometimes there is absolutely no internet. However, I usually try to prepare for that by working ahead as much as I can.

We currently have AT&T for our phones and internet. We used to have both Verizon and AT&T (many full-time travelers have multiple sources because you travel to different areas), but we switched to just AT&T and have been happy with it.

Even with that being said, sometimes our internet connection is not that great. This means I always try to work ahead as much as I can so that a lack of internet or a bad connection doesn’t create any stress.

I did just get a WeBoost which I have put on the van so that I can improve my signal and work in more places. Since living in a van means we will be off the grid a little more often, this will be a must for us so that I can still work! So far, it has been amazing and I have been able to have internet almost everywhere that we’ve been due to the WeBoost. About half of the places that we have stayed so far in the van have had no internet, and the WeBoost has boosted our signal to something where I can actually work! I don’t know how I’ve gone the previous 4 years of full-time travel without it!

And, surprisingly, I’ve found that internet is better in the Bahamas than anything we ever had in the U.S. while traveling full-time. We used a new company called MyIslandWifi. It is truly unlimited internet for just $75 a month (and there’s no contract!). I can make phone calls, text, and hop online whenever I want, and it’s always a fast speed. For people in normal homes, this may seem expensive, but keep in mind that when traveling full-time you don’t have access to affordable (and FAST) wifi that is usually found in a home.

When we start going further outside of the US and Bahamas, I know that internet will be more difficult. I’ll update you as I go along!

If you’re wanting to know more about the various options (and there are a lot of options!), I highly recommend RV Mobile Internet.

Everyone’s situation is a little different and different options exist due to that.

Past featured questions:

My plans and goals for my blog and my business.

I have so many plans right now for my business that sometimes I feel like I don’t know where I want to start! But, that is a good feeling to have.

Plans and goals can help you run a successful business. I believe that working towards a goal can help keep a person motivated too.

Below are some of the areas I am currently working on:

  • Complete the Facebook Ads For Bloggers course. There are two courses that I am really wanting to finish so that I can continue to grow Making Sense of Cents. Learning about Facebooks ads is so important and I think I will benefit from this course a lot.
  • Complete the Stupid Simple SEO course. This is the second course. SEO is something I just have never really spent much time on, so I know that this course will be extremely helpful! I’m hoping to finish the above course and this one by the end of the summer.
  • Create a freebie optin for affiliates to share for Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I have been asked by several affiliates for this, and I’m glad to finally start working on it! This is a great thing to do because my affiliates can easily promote my course with this freebie optin, and then be credited for future sales. For me, as an affiliate for other products, freebie optins are usually the very first thing I promote (as well as my favorite) because it’s a great way to introduce an audience to a new product/service/company.
  • Get at least three months ahead on Making Sense of Cents posts. Being ahead in blog posts makes life much more enjoyable because I can focus on other things knowing that the majority of my writing work is already done. This is one of my major 2019 goals!
  • Work less than 30 hours per week. For the most part, I am working less than 30 hours per week. However, there are some weeks when I spend all day and night on my laptop, not even sure where the day went. Due to that, I would like to continue to work on a better work/life balance.
  • Be more present. My main goal in 2019 is to be more present, and I recently wrote about it here – My Quest To Be More Present And Enjoy Life More. I’m excited for the year of travel and sailing we have ahead of us, and I want to enjoy it as much as we can. I’ve been so focused on the business the last several years, that I want this year to be focused on life outside of business. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE running Making Sense of Cents, and that’s what makes it so hard to break away and be more present outside of work.
  • Have fun. Okay, so this isn’t really a goal that is quantifiable or something that I’ll track, haha, but I am really looking forward to 2019!

Affiliate marketing results.

Affiliate income was at a normal Making Sense of Cents level in July of around $60,000.

It will be increasing in August and the following months as I will be promoting a few affiliate offers to my readers. I have the rest of 2019 planned for affiliate offers, which is great. I am also currently planning and booking for 2020 already too!

I’m also hoping to improve my affiliate income by growing my traffic through SEO, as well as advertising on Facebook and Pinterest.

Some of the areas that I am working on to improve my affiliate income include:

  • Planning out 2019 for affiliate offers. I’m not really much of a huge planner, but I am changing that in 2019. I already have affiliate promotions planned out for all of 2019. This will help to keep me organized and better prepared.
  • Learning about SEO and applying techniques to my blog. This past guest post has me super interested in starting to take SEO seriously – The exact template that helped my site earn $95,000 in affiliate income last year.
  • Using Facebook ads to my affiliate marketing advantage. This past guest post also has me interested in growing in this way as well – How One Blogger Grew His Blog to Over 2 Million Visitors In A Year.
  • Creating a high-quality funnel. Funnels are something that I have never really spent any time on, but I would like to change that. I want to create a high-quality funnel where I continue to give valuable information to my readers, and keep them happy for the times when I may not have the greatest wifi.
  • Continuing to grow the reach of Making Sense of Cents. Traffic has been a little stuck lately, and I want to change that! I want to see what I can do to grow the traffic, as that will help me to reach new readers.
  • Analyzing popular affiliate blog posts to see how they can be improved for the future.
  • Seeking out new affiliate products to promote, and seeing what my audience is interested in.

And more!

Earning affiliate income is something that I’m extremely grateful for, especially lately. We have been so busy lately and I haven’t spent as much time on the business as I would normally like.

Even though I am spending less time on the business, I am still earning a great income each month and this allows me to focus on a better work-life balance.

I’m a very big fan of affiliate income, of course. It’s something that I enjoy due to how passive it can be. It makes full-time traveling much more enjoyable when I know I can bring in an income while having fun seeing new areas.

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, I recommend getting the free guide 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income. With this time-saving cheat sheet, you’ll learn how to make affiliate income from your blog. These tips will help you to rapidly improve your results and increase your blogging income in no time.

I also have a course too!

In the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, there are 6 modules, over 30 lessons, several worksheets, bonuses, an extremely helpful and exclusive Facebook group, and more. I go through everything that you need to know about affiliate marketing, such as:

  • A quick introduction to affiliate marketing and how it works
  • The exact steps I’ve taken to earn over $500,000 from a single blog post
  • How to correctly pick affiliate products to promote
  • The steps to increase your conversion rate
  • 80+ affiliate program ideas for different niches
  • How to build trust with your readers (this is a MUST!)
  • The required disclosures you need to know about
  • The many different strategies to promote your affiliate links

My course is anything and everything about affiliate marketing. This course is perfect for you whether you are a new blogger or if you’ve been blogging for years, no matter what topic your blog is about, what country you live in, and so on.

Sponsored partnership results.

July was an average month for sponsored partnerships. I secured a couple of deals with new advertisers that I’m excited to work with, and I’m thinking that the fall months will be quite busy as well.

For some reason, sponsored blog posts and sponsored social media ads seem to scare bloggers, whether they are brand new or have been blogging for years.

What do I charge? How do I find companies who will want to work with me? What are the rules?

There are SO MANY QUESTIONS when it comes to sponsored posts.

I started Making Sense of Cents in August of 2011, at the age of 22, without any hopes of ever earning an income from it. It started as a hobby – just a way to journal my life and talk about my personal finance situation.

Then, around six months after I started my blog, a blogger friend of mine connected me with an advertiser and I earned $100 from that advertisement.

It wasn’t a lot of money, especially considering the amount of time and work I had already put towards my blog. However, it was very motivating to see that something I absolutely loved to do could actually make money. I honestly had no idea that blogs could even make money when I started mine!

After that first $100, my blogging income quickly grew.

I now charge, on average, around $5,000 per sponsored post.

You can learn more about sponsored partnerships in my free guide 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.

Are you interested in earning blogging income?

Related Posts

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Source: makingsenseofcents.com

10 Cities Near Salt Lake City Where You Should Live

Salt Lake City is a popular place where many people are finding new homes, but with new activity and businesses rapidly growing, the downtown areas have become crowded.

If you want to head to Utah but the heart of the city isn’t for you, consider these 10 cities near Salt Lake City to live. All located within 20 miles of the city center, you’ll find many of the best places to live in Utah.

Bountiful, UT. Bountiful, UT.

  • Distance from downtown SLC: 12 miles
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,090

Drive 15 minutes north from downtown Salt Lake City and you’ll hit the city of Bountiful. Ranked as the fourth-safest city in Utah, it’s no wonder so many people are moving there.

Bountiful is a great family-friendly suburb, offering affordable rentals and housing options near top-rated schools. The schools are part of the Davis County school system, home to two of the top 10 high schools in Utah — Viewmont and Bountiful High.

The city also offers many activities for its community. There are many different trails and parks to enjoy — try out Mueller Park Trailhead or Bonneville Shoreline Trail.

Bountiful has also expanded its restaurant scene in recent years. There are many delicious restaurants such as Smokin Bones BBQ.

Cottonwood Heights, UT. Cottonwood Heights, UT.

  • Distance from downtown SLC: 15.2 miles
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,139

Cottonwood Heights is a great place to live, plus it is only 15 miles from downtown SLC. It’s settled between the Salt Lake Valley and the Wasatch Mountains.

This town is close to not just downtown but world-renowned ski resorts. Cottonwood Heights is between Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood Canyon. These canyons are home to resorts such as Brighton, Alta and Snowbird. If you’re not a skier or snowboarder, the canyons are beautiful in the summer, too.

In addition, Cottonwood Heights is close to the University of Utah, making it a great area for students, as well.

Draper, UT. Draper, UT.

  • Distance from downtown SLC: 18.8 miles
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,412

A little further away from downtown is the city of Draper. This city is one of the more religious communities in Utah and most residents here are part of the LDS church.

Draper is home to many young families and has a more suburban feel to it. It’s a popular location for its schools and family-friendly atmosphere.

Draper is also booming because it’s near the tech-center of Utah — or “Silicon Slopes.” Several large tech companies have their office buildings nearby, so if you’re migrating to Utah for work, this is a good place to consider.

Because of the recent business growth, there are several restaurants, businesses and shopping areas. Draper has different outdoor activities as well as fun activities for families such as the Living Planet Aquarium.

Holladay, UT. Holladay, UT.

  • Distance from downtown SLC: 11.5 miles
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,657

Located at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, Holladay is a hip, up-and-coming city about 10 miles southeast of downtown SLC.

While the area has primarily been home to families, there has been some major development in recent years. New apartments, condos, restaurants and stores have all recently been built in Holladay and it’s continuing to grow.

This city has a great mix of old-school charm and new elements. It is also a pretty walkable area with restaurants close by. Some of the local favorites include Copper Kitchen, Cupputos and 3 Cups. There are many parks and outdoor areas to frequent as well.

It’s a great place to raise a family as it’s quiet and offers several schooling options. While Holladay is a prime area, it is on the pricier side.

Midvale, UT. Midvale, UT.

  • Distance from downtown SLC: 12 miles
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $989

Midvale is one of the more affordable cities to live near Salt Lake City. Just 12 miles from downtown, it’s a great place for families or young singles to settle.

Relatively close to Fort Union, a popular shopping and restaurant center, Midvale is also close to several freeway entrances making it a great spot for anyone who is on the move. Being close to the freeways allows people to head up to Park City, downtown Salt Lake or to the canyons for ski season.

Millcreek, UT. Millcreek, UT.

  • Distance from downtown SLC: 7.4 miles
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,012

Millcreek is known as one of the best places to live near Salt Lake City. It’s a beautiful city full of restaurants, nice houses, affordable apartments and so much more. Sitting at the base of the beautiful Mount Olympus, this city has it all.

Millcreek is close to the base of Millcreek Canyon, a popular area for hiking. It’s dog-friendly, too, which is a major perk for dog owners. Check out delicious restaurants such as Stellas and Sicilia Mia.

Murray, UT. Murray, UT.

  • Distance from downtown SLC: 8.1 miles
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,615

Murray is a close-knit community close to downtown Salt Lake City.

In Murray, you’ll find restaurants, grocery stores, small shops and friendly people. If you’re looking for a family-friendly city that’s walkable, full of great schools and affordable, Murray checks all the boxes.

You’ll be close to the freeways, too, so you can hop on and head up to the ski resorts or Park City or head downtown to the city center.

Sandy, UT. Sandy, UT.

  • Distance from downtown SLC: 17.6 miles
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,198

Located 17 miles from downtown Salt Lake, Sandy is a family-friendly neighborhood with affordable apartments and fun neighborhood amenities.

For soccer fans, the Rio Tinto soccer stadium is close by and is home to the Real Salt Lake MLS team. Each summer, you can attend a soccer game and cheer on the local team.

Sandy is also within 15 minutes of some ski resorts, which is a great perk for people who want to enjoy the great Utah snow.

Taylorsville, UT. Taylorsville, UT.

  • Distance from downtown SLC: 10.4 miles
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $952

Taylorsville is a unique city just a short distance away from downtown. It’s a community full of families and tight-knit communities.

Every year there is the annual Taylorsville Dayzz, a carnival-themed celebration of the city. It usually hosts new and local artists as well as rides and food. The neighborhood has been growing in recent years as it’s one of the less expensive areas in SLC.

There are several schools for kids from elementary to high school in this area. If you’re looking for a neighborhood where you’ll be close to your neighbors and enjoy neighborhood festivals and events, this is a great city near Salt Lake to consider.

West Jordan, UT. West Jordan, UT.

  • Distance from downtown SLC: 13.5 miles
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,084

West Jordan is one of the quickest growing cities in Salt Lake City. Due to the recent influx of residents, many restaurants and stores have followed suit.

The city has also recently updated its public transportation system making it much more accessible. The area has many different unique activities to enjoy such as the famous Kennecott Copper Mine.

Best places to live in Utah

No matter where you pick to live near Salt Lake City, you’ll find a great neighborhood full of friendly people, affordable housing and several amenities in the community.

Make sure to take the time and do your research before settling down in a city. Each city offers something different and unique. Whether you’re looking for a more outdoorsy feel or suburban area, cities near Salt Lake have you covered.

Comments

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How I Made Money Blogging In September 2019 + Best Ways To Grow A Loyal Audience

Welcome to September 2019’s business report where I show you how I made money online and traveled full-time last month. It’s time to look at this month’s update and see how I did.

If you’re new to Making Sense of Cents, you may be wondering why I would want to publish my business report each month.

This all started as my extra income report because, in the beginning, it was all about the money I was earning from my side jobs. In my side income reports from the beginning, I included all of the income I made except for what I made at my day job.

However, I left my day job as a financial analyst in October of 2013 and now my monthly business reports consist of the many ways I earn a living with my business.

Many have asked why I would ever want to publicly talk about what I’m working on each month. Some think I’m crazy, whereas some are glad I’m open about what I’m doing. Whatever you think, I enjoy publishing my monthly business reports and I share them publicly for three main reasons:

  1. Before I started blogging, I knew nothing about side hustling and making money online. I didn’t think side jobs were worth the effort and I thought the only way to significantly increase your income was through raises at your full-time job. If it weren’t for others publishing their monthly income reports, I don’t know if I would have ever tried side hustling. I want to help show others the positives in side hustling and how it can change a person’s life. There are many different ways to make money online, and I like to share my story each month to help motivate others to improve their financial situation by making more money.
  2. Secondly, I like to publish my business blogging reports because it’s a way for me to look back, learn from my mistakes and actually see what areas need improvement. I use my monthly blogging reports as a way to track how I’ve done and it helps to keep me accountable.
  3. Lastly, I like to show others that making side money is possible and that there are many legitimate ways to make money from your home.

I know I say this every month, but it’s the truth. Life is great now that I’m my own boss and a full-time blogger. I look forward to each and every day and it’s a wonderful feeling. I truly love waking up every single morning.

Above are just a few of the reasons for why I enjoy publishing my monthly income reports. I like to show others that you don’t have to hate your job and hate your life. You can make changes to your life and make money in a way that allows you to truly enjoy the life you are living. I’m not saying that you have to LOVE your job, I’m just saying that your job should, at least, allow you to do what you like to do outside of work (whether that be spending time with loved ones, doing crafts, hiking, etc.).

A quick reminder on the recent announcement.

I want to repeat the announcement again because I have been asked – How I Made Over $1,500,000 In 2018 – Is This The End Of Income Reports? so that no one is confused. I’m sure I’ll receive many questions from readers who missed it.

How was business income in September of 2019?

In case you are new to this blog, the main areas I earn a living from include:

I regularly earn over $100,000 a month blogging, and I have earned over $5,000,000 from my blogging business total over the years.

Check out How I Successfully Built A $1,000,000+ Blog for all of the different ways you can make money through a blog.

September of 2019 was another great month for Making Sense of Cents and the whole blogging business. I earned a great income and I had a fun month.

I have many plans for the rest of 2019, and I have a jam-packed to-do list that I am very excited to start crossing off and accomplishing. I am wanting to grow Making Sense of Cents in many areas – income, readers, more helpful blog posts, and so on.

Some of the things that I plan on doing in order to grow Making Sense of Cents include:

  • Getting more media mentions. I’m about to take a course that will teach me how to be featured in the media more, and I’m super excited. I will share more information on this course soon.
  • Focusing on SEO. I am taking an SEO course soon from start to finish, in order to start growing Making Sense of Cents in this area. I tried a few years ago, but stopped. While I get decent traffic from SEO without much effort, I do think this area can be a great way to further grow my website.
  • Learning about Pinterest advertising and Facebook advertising. I would like to use social media advertising to grow traffic as well as to grow my email list.
  • Adding an online shop to my blog. I would like to create a shop for Making Sense of Cents, where I sell products such as worksheets and printables.
  • Creating new optins. I don’t have many optins for my email list, and haven’t added a new one in quite some time. This is currently on my to-do list so that I can reach new readers and gain more subscribers.

The month was great in many areas – blogging, course-wise, life, and everything else. The business is doing well and I’m very happy with it. My business is doing well, I have a lot of ideas for the year, and I am very excited about everything. I really love my business and I don’t know where I would be without it.

Below are some of my monthly online income reports. I publish an online income update every month but only included some of them below as it would be a very long list. If you head on over to my income page you can find all of my monthly income reports from the past few years.

  • $672 extra in May (2012)
  • $6,523 in January Extra Income (2013)
  • $11,927 in October Income – I Finally Left My Job (2013)
  • $12,640 in January Income (2014)
  • $23,758 in February Income – My Monthly Online Income Report (2015)
  • How I Made $300,000 Online In 2015
  • How I Made $979,321 In 2016
  • How I Made $1,536,732 In 2017
  • How I Made Over $1,500,000 In 2018

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I created a tutorial that will help you start a blog of your own for cheap, starting at only $2.75 per month (this low price is only through my link) for blog hosting. In addition to the low pricing, you will receive a free website domain for the first year (a $15 value) through my Bluehost referral link if you purchase, at least, 12 months of blog hosting. FYI, if you are asking yourself “can you make money blogging?” – my top tip is to be self-hosted. This is essential if you want to monetize your blog as you will appear more professional and this will help you monetize your blog tremendously. My blogging income did not take off until after I switched to self-hosted WordPress.

Follow our travel adventures on Instagram. 

Blog/life news

In September, we spent the majority of our time in Utah and western Colorado. We also drove to Estes Park to attend a wedding that Wes was a groomsman in.

We explored several national parks, tons of beautiful backcountry, did lots of mountain biking, offroading, hiking, and more. It was an absolutely amazing month and I’m so glad that we were able to spend the summer in the van.

We’ve also been able to see our family a lot in the last couple of months, and that has been great. We stayed in a lot of driveways visiting family and friends in September, and it was so great to catch up with everyone before we head back to the boat. One of my favorite parts of RVing is being able to visit family and friends so easily!

In case you missed it, you can read more about our decision to spend the summer living in a van – We’re Living In A Van!

Below are several other business and blog-related updates:

  • I’m currently less than one month ahead in blog posts. I would like to be around 2-3 months ahead. I do have several months of blog posts planned, though, I just need to finish writing them and hand them to my editor. I have so many good ideas, but now I just need more time, haha!
  • Traffic for the month was over 400,000 page views.
  • I am working on a series where I will help readers with specific financial questions, and tutorials to go along with them. Topics such as: How to build credit, How to open a bank account, How to write a check, Finding an online bank, Building and creating an investment account, etc. What other topics would you like to see me cover?
  • My community group for Making Sense of Cents is continuing to grow. This is a Facebook group in which you can seek advice from other readers on all sorts of topics such as finance, blogging, travel, running a business, and so on. There are already over 15,000 members!
  • I released my How To Start A Blog FREE Course. If you’ve been wanting to start a blog, then check this out. I created this email course for those who are interested in starting a blog, but haven’t done so yet. The course is free, and over 60,000 people have already signed up. Thank you, everyone, for the kind emails about how great the course is. Glad everyone is enjoying it!
  • Due to how well my first free course went, I also created the free Master Your Money email course. It’s full of great money management lessons and financial worksheets (such as a free budget template), and I’m loving the positive response from this email course as well.
  • Other freebies I have include 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income and 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.

Popular new posts on Making Sense of Cents last month:

Featured Question: What are the best ways to connect with your audience?

I feature one question from a reader in each monthly income report. Please leave a comment below if you have a question that you would like me to answer. 

Many of you have asked me how you can form a better relationship with your readers. This is something that I am very happy about, as I think it’s so very important when it comes to building a successful blog!

There are several emails I’ve received from readers in which they’ve told me that they feel like I’m their friend, that I care about how they’re doing, and that they feel like they’re just having a casual talk with a friend when reading my content.

I always love it when I hear this, as I feel like I’m helping.

There are many great reasons why you’d want to improve your engagement rate, such as:

  • You can grow a loyal following. By engaging with your audience, you can create a more loyal and interested following.
  • You can better help your readers. As talked about above, your readers may feel more connected with you and put what you say into action (such as paying off their debt, starting a side hustle, etc.)!
  • It can improve your social media stats. Your posts on social media will do better if you have a higher engagement rate. You’ll be able to reach more readers and help more people due to this.
  • You’re a real person. Readers like to know that they are talking to a real person. I don’t recommend automating this part of your blogging business. I have heard of people using robot-like generic answers for replies even on social media, but I don’t think that can help you connect with your audience better. Quality is better than quantity when it comes to engaging with your readers.

And more! There are so many reasons for why connecting with your audience can help you.

Here are ways to connect with your audience and build a loyal following:

  • Ask a question. Whether it’s a blog post or a social media post, asking a question at the end can improve your engagement rate as it will persuade your reader to interact with you.
  • Respond to their comments. Whether it’s on your blog or social media, you should try to respond to comments as much as you can. If a reader is taking time out of their day to leave a comment, then you can build a bond with them by replying to them.
  • Be personable. This will vary from blogger to blogger, but I always try to write my content as though I’m talking to a friend or family member. This is not only easier for me to write as I enjoy this writing style, but I have heard from countless readers that it makes personal finance more enjoyable.
  • Be active on Instagram. I believe that Instagram can be great as it can show more behind-the-scenes, which can help readers see that you are a real person and relate to you more.
  • Answer their emails. It’s a lot of work, but I answer my own emails and I enjoy it! I receive many, many each day, and while my replies may not be as long as they once were (due to not having enough time in a day to do so), I do read all reader emails and try to help them to the best of my ability.

Do you have a good relationship with your readers? Do you think it’s important?

Past featured questions:

My plans and goals for my business.

I have so many plans right now for my business that sometimes I feel like I don’t know where I want to start! But, that is a good “problem” to have.

Plans and goals can help you run a successful business. I believe that working towards a goal can help keep a person more motivated as well.

Below are some of the areas I am currently working on:

  • Complete the Facebook Ads For Bloggers course. There are two courses that I am really wanting to finish so that I can continue to grow Making Sense of Cents. Learning about Facebooks ads is so important and I think I will benefit from this course a lot.
  • Complete the Stupid Simple SEO course. This is the second course. SEO is something I just have never really spent much time on, so I know that this course will be extremely helpful! I’m hoping to finish the above course and this one by the end of October.
  • Create a freebie optin for affiliates to share for Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I have been asked by several affiliates for this, and I’m glad to finally start working on it! This is a great thing to do because my affiliates can easily promote my course with this freebie optin, and then be credited for future sales. For me, as an affiliate for other products, freebie optins are usually the very first thing I promote (as well as my favorite) because it’s a great way to introduce an audience to a new product/service/company.
  • Get at least three months ahead on Making Sense of Cents posts. Being ahead in blog posts makes life much more enjoyable because I can focus on other things knowing that the majority of my writing work is already done. This is one of my major 2019 goals!
  • Work less than 30 hours per week. For the most part, I am working less than 30 hours per week. However, there are some weeks when I spend all day and night on my laptop, not even sure where the day went. Due to that, I would like to continue to work on a better work/life balance.
  • Be more present. My main goal in 2019 is to be more present, and I wrote about it here – My Quest To Be More Present And Enjoy Life More. I’m excited for the year of travel and sailing we have ahead of us, and I want to enjoy it as much as we can. I’ve been so focused on the business the last several years, that I want this year to be focused on life outside of business. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE running Making Sense of Cents, and that’s what makes it so hard to break away and be more present outside of work.
  • Have fun. Okay, so this isn’t really a goal that is quantifiable or something that I’ll track, haha, but I am really looking forward to everything that life has to offer!

Affiliate marketing results.

Affiliate income was at a normal Making Sense of Cents level in September of over $50,000.

I believe that it will be increasing in the next several months as I will be promoting a few affiliate offers to my readers. I have the rest of 2019 planned for affiliate offers, which is great. I am also currently planning and scheduling for 2020 already too.

I’m also hoping to improve my affiliate income by growing my traffic through SEO, as well as advertising on Facebook and Pinterest. The media course that I mentioned earlier should be super helpful too.

Some of the areas that I am working on to improve my affiliate income include:

  • Planning out 2019 for affiliate offers. I’m not really much of a huge planner, but I am changing that in 2019. I already have affiliate promotions planned out for all of 2019 and for the first several months of 2020. This will help to keep me organized and better prepared.
  • Learning about SEO and applying techniques to my blog. This past guest post has me super interested in starting to take SEO seriously – The exact template that helped my site earn $95,000 in affiliate income last year.
  • Using Facebook ads to my affiliate marketing advantage. This past guest post also has me interested in growing in this way as well – How One Blogger Grew His Blog to Over 2 Million Visitors In A Year.
  • Creating a high-quality funnel. Funnels are something that I have never really spent any time on, but I would like to change that. I want to create a high-quality funnel where I continue to give valuable information to my readers, and keep them happy for the times when I may not have the greatest wifi.
  • Continuing to grow the reach of Making Sense of Cents. Traffic has been a little stuck lately, and I want to change that! I want to see what I can do to grow the traffic, as that will help me to reach new readers.
  • Analyzing popular affiliate blog posts to see how they can be improved for the future.
  • Seeking out new affiliate products to promote, and seeing what my audience is interested in.

And more!

Earning affiliate income is something that I’m extremely grateful for, especially lately. We have been so busy lately and I haven’t spent as much time on the business as I would normally like.

Even though I am spending less time on the business, I am still earning a great income each month and this allows me to focus on a better work-life balance.

I’m a very big fan of affiliate income, of course. It’s something that I enjoy due to how passive it can be. It makes full-time traveling much more enjoyable when I know I can bring in an income while having fun seeing new areas.

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, I recommend getting the free guide 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income. With this time-saving cheat sheet, you’ll learn how to make affiliate income from your blog. These tips will help you to rapidly improve your results and increase your blogging income in no time.

I also have a course too!

In the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, there are 6 modules, over 30 lessons, several worksheets, bonuses, an extremely helpful and exclusive Facebook group, and more. I go through everything that you need to know about affiliate marketing, such as:

  • A quick introduction to affiliate marketing and how it works
  • The exact steps I’ve taken to earn over $500,000 from a single blog post
  • How to correctly pick affiliate products to promote
  • The steps to increase your conversion rate
  • 80+ affiliate program ideas for different niches
  • How to build trust with your readers (this is a MUST!)
  • The required disclosures you need to know about
  • The many different strategies to promote your affiliate links

My course is anything and everything about affiliate marketing. This course is perfect for you whether you are a new blogger or if you’ve been blogging for years, no matter what topic your blog is about, what country you live in, and so on.

Sponsored partnership results.

September was an average month for sponsored partnerships. I secured a couple of deals with new advertisers that I’m excited to work with, and I am beginning to line up partnerships for 2020 as well.

For some reason, sponsored blog posts and sponsored social media ads seem to scare bloggers, whether they are brand new or have been blogging for years.

What do I charge? How do I find companies who will want to work with me? What are the rules?

There are SO MANY QUESTIONS when it comes to sponsored posts.

I started Making Sense of Cents in August of 2011, at the age of 22, without any hopes of ever earning an income from it. It started as a hobby – just a way to journal my life and talk about my personal finance situation.

Then, around six months after I started my blog, a blogger friend of mine connected me with an advertiser and I earned $100 from that advertisement.

It wasn’t a lot of money, especially considering the amount of time and work I had already put towards my blog. However, it was very motivating to see that something I absolutely loved to do could actually make money. I honestly had no idea that blogs could even make money when I started mine!

After that first $100, my blogging income quickly grew.

I now charge, on average, around $5,000 per sponsored post.

You can learn more about sponsored partnerships in my free guide 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.

Are you interested in creating your own blog?

How To Start A Blog FREE Email Course

In this free course, I show you how to create a blog easily, from the technical side (it’s easy – trust me!) all the way to earning your first income and attracting readers. Join now!

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive regular updates and get access to the free course.

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How We’ve Turned A Free Chair Into $103,000

Hello! Today, I have a great article from Melissa. You may remember her from How Melissa Made $40,000 In One Year Flipping Items. I recently heard about her fun challenge and asked her to share her story with you all. Enjoy!

How We've Turned A Free Chair Into $103,000 #makeextramoney #flipper #fleamarketflip

(This is not the chair that was flipped. You can see the image of it below.)

Have you ever taken something that was old and worn out and turned it into something desirable again?

Do you love finding things that other people no longer value (and have maybe even thrown away!) and finding a new home where that piece will be wanted again?

I do! And my husband and I get to do this every day.

Hello! My name is Melissa Stephenson and my husband Rob and I flip items full-time.

Rob has been flipping items for 22 years now (I married into it 12 years ago). It’s always been our part-time gig, but three years ago we made the jump to full-time with our three young kids.

So what exactly is flipping?

Flipping items (also known as reselling) is finding undervalued items in one market and bringing them to a new market where they are desired and valued for more.

Related content:

For example…

Every Saturday we head to our local flea market to browse the many booths full of items. We are looking for items that are being sold for less than what they are worth.

If we find something that catches our eye, we check the comps on eBay and decide if it’s worth it or not.

If so, we buy it, list it on eBay and sell it for a profit.

And most of these vendors are doing the exact same thing as we are! They bought their items at an auction or thrift store (or picked it from the trash) and are selling it for more than they paid for it.

It’s the life cycle of the flipper.

We’ve bought and sold items of all shapes and sizes over the years and now we also help other’s do the same over on our blog Flea Market Flipper. Please check out our FREE workshop to see if flipping items is a good fit for you.

I’m sure you have heard the phrase:

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

We have taken that phrase and run with it this year!

In January we started a flipping challenge for our audience, and we have taken a chair we found in the trash and turned it into $103,000 of inventory! 

I’ll dive into that in just a second.

The guidelines for the challenge are:

  1. Find an item for $25 or less (from a thrift store, yard sale, flea market or even curbside in the trash).
  2. Resell that item. (using eBay, OfferUp, Letgo, Facebook Marketplace or other platform)
  3. Take the money and reinvest it in other items to resell.
  4. Keep reinvesting the money until the end of the year and see how much you can save.

We started in January with a chair that we found in the trash.

It was a nice little accent chair from Target – retail was around $200.

One evening we were walking with our three young kids (we try to do a walk almost every evening), and we spotted this chair sitting on the side of the road.

It looked to be in great condition so once we got home, my husband brought the car back and picked it up.

When we got it back to the house we realized there was one broken piece of wood underneath it, so he cut a small piece of wood and attached it where it was broken.

A $2 fix that took 5 minutes and we had a new chair!

We listed the chair on Facebook Marketplace and sold it for $50 in a few days.

Next we took that $50 and bought two exercise bikes. One was $15 and the other was $25.

We sold both of those bikes for $500 each on eBay!

They both had to be shipped freight on a pallet and we included shipping in our price, so the end profit for both together came to  $473.

All from a chair we found in the trash.

But we didn’t stop there.

We have kept reinvesting the money in items to resell and have now made over $11,000 in cash, and have over $100,000 in inventory and in less than 5 months!

Our goal is to be at $150,000 cash by the end of the year and buy a rental property with the money.

We are currently home owners and have one rental property, but have always wanted to expand our rental portfolio.

Our goal is to be at 10 rental properties in the next 10 years.

We are on our way to number two this year – and all from a chair from the trash!

People throw things out all the time.

Just in our few blocks of walking each day, we have found numerous items that we have picked up and resold.

Why do people throw perfectly good items in the trash?

Sometimes we wonder the same thing, but don’t complain because it makes us extra cash. Ha

There could be several reasons why people throw things away.

They could be redoing an area in the house and no longer want/need the furniture that used to be there.

Maybe they’re Marie Kondoing their house and the item no longer brings them joy…

Sometimes a piece may be broken and they don’t want to take the time or the money to fix it.

But why throw it in the trash and not donate it?

Sometimes people just don’t want to mess with the time it takes to donate items. (Not a great excuse to not recycle).

And also they know if the item is in good condition most likely someone will come take it out of the trash. (That’s where we come in.)

Just the other day we were walking and saw a bed that was thrown away.

We picked it up, dusted it off and sold it on Facebook Marketplace for $100 in just a few days!

It’s crazy the amount of nice things that people throw away.

And the amount of money that ends up sitting on the curb.

We like to think of ourselves as not only resellers, but recyclers too. Our society can be very wasteful at times.

When something breaks on an item, instead of trying to fix it, many people just get a new one and put the old one in the trash.  (YouTube can teach you to fix almost anything!)

Or sometimes people upgrade to new colors or design in their house and have no need for the old décor – so curbside it goes.

On the flip side of that, there are people who would love to have that old décor – and for a fraction of the cost.

And we get to connect the two.

And get paid for our time.

We are so excited to see where this challenge will take us at the end of the year!

And the best part is – anyone can jump in at any time! It doesn’t have to be January to start.

What if you started today and were able to save up an extra $2,000, $5,000, $10,000 or more!

All from a $25 investment.

What would you do with that extra money?

Take a cool family vacation?

Slash a credit card debt?

Buy a car?

Whatever it is, know that it is possible to make it happen with a little work.

People ask us all the time if anyone can do this – and our answer is ABSOLUTELY!

You don’t need a special degree, you don’t need any special tools. If you have a smart phone and transportation you can start this side-hustle today!

So where do you start?

We have boiled it down to 10 steps to get started with a flipping side-hustle, and here is our top 3:

1. Clear out your closet

First start by selling your own unwanted items from home. Get your feet wet on the reselling apps by going through your own items and see what you haven’t used in a while.

A good general rule is if you haven’t used it or worn it in over a year you most likely can live without it.

Wouldn’t you prefer a stack of cash sitting on your night stand instead of something you aren’t using anyway?

2. Take good pictures

There is no need to be a professional photographer, but having a clean, well-lit area for pictures is very helpful when selling items online.

People can get fancy with their photo set ups, but that can evolve as you make more money reselling.

A phone camera and a solid wall or sheet work great when starting out.

Some things to remember when taking pictures:

  • Keep out the clutter in the background
  • Take pictures of all angles of items and especially any imperfections
  • No pets in pictures (I know, shouldn’t have to be said, but we see it happen)

3. Cross-post items

There are many platforms to sell items on, and it can get a bit overwhelming.

  • Local selling apps – Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, LetGo, Craigslist
  • Global selling apps – eBay, Amazon, Mercari, Poshmark

Now Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp are starting to offer shipping, but until they really break into it, we will keep them in the local selling category.

We sell 80% of our items on eBay, about 15% on Facebook Marketplace, and the other 5% a mix of OfferUp & Craigslist.

We recommend cross-posting on local selling apps and on global ones because you never know where the item will sell!

You don’t have to list on every app, but once you find the ones you enjoy the most, you stick more with those.

If you love reselling clothing and fashion (and now home décor) Poshmark may be your best app.

If you love selling unique items and reach a large audience like us, then eBay may be your best app.

Each app is a little different, and has a little learning curve, but the best way to get started is to just jump in!

For those who are ready to make a great side income or full-time income from flipping, and who want to dive into the rest of our 10 steps, check out our FREE workshop to see if flipping items is a good fit for you.

And don’t forget to jump into the flipping challenge with us and see how much you could save up by the end of the year!

Can’t wait to hear about your flipping success!

Thank you so much Michelle for having me!

Are you interested in learning how to buy and sell items?

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Source: makingsenseofcents.com