Most of us have probably taken a deep, exasperated breath while surveying our homes, wondering how we managed to accumulate so much clutter. But there might be a way to turn that clutter into cash. It comes down to one word: Craigslist.
8 Tips for Selling on Craigslist
Selling on Craigslist seems easy, but it requires some know-how to get the intended result and money in your wallet. We scoured the Internet for the best tips.
So list that chair you’ve always hated. We’re here to help you find success and sell more of your items on Craigslist.
1. Take Photos That Work
Ever seen a Craigslist listing with an object you can’t quite make out? Is that a nightstand or a coffee table? Are they selling the whole dining room table set or just one chair?
A good photo can make your listing stand out while a bad photo has the potential to shut down any business. Take a good photo by posing your object in a well-lit spot, whether it’s in natural light or a warm artificial glow, and focus on the details that make your object special. Only photograph what you’re selling — leave extraneous things out of the picture.
2. It’s In the Details
Your listing can’t simply be a photo and the name of the object. You need a description and any relevant details — think dimensions or number of items or even age of the item, if relevant. It’s ideal for your listing to answer all of the questions a potential buyer might have so they don’t have time to really agonize over their purchase.
3. Tell the Truth
That being said, it’s important to be honest in your listing. If your couch has stains or your wooden dresser is chipped, add images that show the damage. Point that out to potential buyers in your description. People will be more likely to buy an item when they feel they are getting an upfront understanding of it.
One example: do not post the catalogue image of your piece of furniture from when it was brand new. (People do this.) Take a photo of your furniture piece as is — after all, that’s what you’re selling.
4. Be Simple
While you should absolutely share relevant details, there’s no need to tell the story of how your kids bounced around on these couch cushions or how the table was passed down in the family generation after generation. Potential buyers know they’re browsing for a used object, but they don’t want the legacy that comes with it. They want it to feel like their own.
And stick to simplicity in your listing title. Potential buyers often search for specific objects — trash cans or mirrors — and they likely won’t be searching with various adjectives.
5. Offer Delivery
Potential buyers love it when Craigslist sellers offer delivery. It’s an added perk and makes things easier, especially when the site caters to people from all over. Make sure to add a higher cost for delivery — whatever seems worth it to you based on location — and be safe. Bring someone along with you when you go to deliver.
6. The Price is Right
It really does boil down to whether the asking price is right. Craigslist is known for sellers that practically give items away, so it’s better to price your listing lower rather than higher. Interest is always key, and if you price it too high, you may have no takers.
But make sure you price your item at a level with which you’re comfortable. It’s not worth giving something away if it has sentimental value and you think it can go for more.
7. Reach Out to Your Network
Word of mouth is a powerful tool. If you think you might know someone in your social network — whether that’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or more — who might be interested in what you’re selling, share it on those forums.
And better yet, if you have a specific buyer in mind, feel free to be direct and share your listing with friends and family. If it doesn’t work for them, they may know the right person.
8. Always Be Safe
Always remember that you are dealing with strangers online on Craigslist. If someone is coming to your house or you are going to theirs, have a friend with you. Don’t assume that you will be fine if you are alone. Entering a stranger’s house or allowing a stranger to enter yours always comes with risk. It’s better to be prepared and meet in a public place if that is the only way the meeting can take place.
Writer Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder, often writing about selling goods online through social platforms. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Smithsonian Magazine and the Tampa Bay Times.
Delivery jobs are no longer limited to the Post Office and the boxy brown trucks of UPS.
Thousands of delivery gigs, which stem from a plethora of on-demand delivery apps, are available nationwide. Delivery services have been booming during the pandemic, creating a surge in demand for delivery workers. The vast majority of delivery app jobs are categorized as 1099, which means the workers are independent contractors.
Requirements are overall very low. In many cases, all you need to start earning are a valid driver’s license and a functioning car with proper auto insurance.
But the reality of delivery work is tough. In addition to the work itself, apps glitch, customers stiff on tips and cars deteriorate. Pay can vary based on a number of factors outside of your control. And, depending on location, you may earn less than minimum wage.
Despite the downsides, many drivers love the work and find delivery apps a flexible source of extra money in the short-term. Each app works a little differently. We analyzed the top ones, looking at wages, frequency of pay, job and vehicle requirements, dress code, driver reviews and more to help you choose the best delivery app for your next side gig.
Delivery App Jobs
Here are the top contenders for package-delivery gigs. Generally speaking, these delivery jobs require larger vehicles because of the potential size of some orders. Some heavy lifting may be required.
Package delivery is the latest in a long list of industries the e-commerce giant has upended. Currently, delivery gigs with Amazon Flex are among the highest paying, as the company says hourly wages range between $18 and $25 depending on your area. Through efficiency and good tips, it’s possible to earn more.
Flex requires you to sign up for shifts, aka “blocks,” for most deliveries. Blocks typically run four hours at a time, unless the shift is specifically for Prime Now packages. Those blocks are shorter.
Insured four-door sedans or SUVs are required for most Flex packages. For Prime Now blocks, smaller cars are allowed. To apply, you must be at least 21 years old. No dress code or special materials are required to start delivering.
Glassdoor reviews: 3.6 out of 5.
Dispatch is an on-demand package delivery app marketed toward businesses. The service is currently available in 48 major cities and metropolitan areas.
According to Glassdoor reviews, drivers report earning between $14 and $16 an hour. Dispatch pays weekly through an app called Stripe, provides supplemental auto insurance and reimburses tolls along the delivery route.
You must be at least 23 years old to qualify. Your vehicle just needs to be in “fair condition.” Once accepted, Dispatch will send you a branded badge and hat that are required during deliveries.
Glassdoor reviews: 3.5 out of 5.
Postmates is well known for food delivery, but most store-bought goods and packages are fair game too.
All models of cars are welcomed as long as they’re insured. You can also deliver on a bicycle if you prefer. Wages vary based on location, demand and quantity of deliveries per hour, but Glassdoor says the average salary is $17 an hour . Hourly rates aren’t guaranteed by Postmates, but tips go 100% to the drivers.
Postmates services more than 600,000 restaurants and stores in every state. The company doesn’t provide supplemental auto insurance and doesn’t require any dress code.
You must be at least 18 years old to apply.
Uber recently acquired Postmates, but for now, nothing changes for couriers.
Glassdoor reviews: 3.7 out of 5.
Food Delivery App Jobs
Many well-known delivery apps specialize in food delivery. Here’s how they work.
BiteSquad transitioned its delivery drivers to independent-contractor status in February 2020 after Waitr bought out the company. (BiteSquad workers were previously hired as W-2 employees.).
As a BiteSquad driver, you’ll be required to wear a branded hat and shirt on the job. BiteSquad supplies your clothing, but you’ll need to purchase a hot bag.
Because of the strict dress code and shift-based work, delivering for other apps while scheduled with BiteSquad isn’t realistic. Delivery jobs are available in 14 states. All you’ll need are an insured, reliable vehicle and a clean driving record.
Glassdoor reviews: 3.7 out of 5.
Overall, Dasher requirements are low. The minimum age is 18, you need a driver’s license and you can deliver with any mode of transportation — a properly insured vehicle, a scooter or a bicycle. There’s no dress code, and the company provides a hot bag for free. Payment is on a weekly basis, or you can access your funds early through Fast Pay for a fee.
DoorDash is available in all 50 states.
As of September 2019, all Dashers (DoorDash drivers) receive 100% of their tips, plus an increase in their base-pay per order. DoorDash also acquired food-delivery company Caviar and has been combining the services. Through the DoorDash app, drivers can choose orders through either Caviar or DoorDash. The driver app for Caviar no longer exists and is now channeled through the Dasher app.
In August 2020, DoorDash announced it’s offering grocery-delivery services in a handful of major cities in the Midwest and along the West Coast — adding to the ways Dashers can earn.
Glassdoor review: 4.0 out of 5.
GrubHub operates in more than 4,000 cities. Depending on the location, the company guarantees hourly wages. Drivers tend to earn around $12 to $15 an hour, and they get to keep 100% of their tips. GrubHub pays weekly.
Wages can be accessed early through Grubhub Instant Cash Out and a partnership with Chase Bank. If you have a Chase bank account, the early cash-out service is free, otherwise it’s 50 cents per transaction.
Auto insurance and a reliable vehicle are required, and drivers must be 19 or older. There’s no dress code. While the company recommends its drivers use a hot bag for deliveries, it doesn’t provide one.
Glassdoor reviews: 3.9 out of 5.
You only need to be the legal driving age of your state, plus have one year of driving experience, to deliver for Uber Eats.
A two- or four-door vehicle is required, as is auto insurance. Uber provides additional coverage with a $1,000 deductible. And in some regions, scooters and bicycles are accepted.
You’ll earn around $10 to $15 an hour and get to keep all of your tips. Payment comes automatically every week, or you can pay a fee to access your earnings early with Instant Pay. You’ll need a hot bag for deliveries, but the company doesn’t provide one.
A notable perk: Drivers can switch between Uber and Uber Eats on the same app.
Uber Eats operates in all 50 states.
Glassdoor reviews: 4.0out of 5.
Grocery Delivery App Jobs
Delivering groceries can be a little more time consuming and laborious than delivering food or packages. Typically, these gigs involve an extra step: shopping for the items. You’ll also need to be able to lift and carry heavy loads.
But the extra effort could pay off through better tips.
Instacart offers part-time W-2 jobs as well as independent delivery gigs.
The part-time positions don’t have a delivery component, they’re in-store only. In-store shoppers work in partner grocery stores, readying orders for delivery.
Full-service shoppers are independent contractors who, depending on the order, shop as well. Full-service shoppers report earning between $10 and $14 an hour and keep all their tips. Instacart pays weekly.
To become a full-service shopper, you’ll need a reliable vehicle with auto insurance. Instacart doesn’t provide additional insurance coverage or insulated bags. No dress code is required.
Gigs are available in all 50 states.
Glassdoor reviews: 3.6 out of 5.
To start delivering with Shipt, you’ll need to be 18 or older and drive an insured vehicle from 1997 or later. Shipt says shoppers earn an average of $22 an hour, depending on location, and you’ll pocket all of your tips.
Shipt pays every week via direct deposit, but you can’t access your funds before then.
A branded Shipt shirt is the only uniform requirement, which the company provides for free. Reusable grocery and insulated bags are on you, though.
Glassdoor reviews: 4.0out of 5.
GoPuff is a new general-store delivery service that currently operates in more than 500 cities in 40 states. In most locations, services are available 24/7, which means the delivery gigs are too.
There’s no shopping involved because the goods come from local GoPuff warehouses that aren’t customer-facing. Warehouse employees schedule your shifts and prepare orders for you.
You must be at least 21 years old and have an insured vehicle (any model) to deliver for GoPuff. Drivers typically earn $10 to $14 an hour and keep 100% of their tips. GoPuff guarantees an hourly minimum wage that varies by location.
A paid alcohol-delivery training course is required in some areas.
Glassdoor reviews: 3.4 out of 5.
Adam Hardy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Staff writer/editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors updated this post for 2021.
The American Council on Aging strongly recommends finding a Medicaid planner to help with applying for caregiver roles and other benefits.
Medicaid wants its elderly clients to be safe, but prefers they be safe in a financially efficient way. With that in mind, it benefits the government agency to keep aging clients living in their home instead of a long-term care facility.
How to Become a Paid Caregiver for a Family Member
State-specific eligibility can be found here. If a senior is already enrolled in Medicaid, the next step is contacting their state’s Medicaid office.
“The vast majority of older adults want to stay in their homes as they age, and allowing them to pay a friend or family member to help with their daily needs can make that possible,” said Susan Reinhard, senior vice president of AARP’s Public Policy Institute. “The pandemic provided a push for states to expand this option, and we hope many of them will make their policy changes permanent.
Home and Community Based Services Waivers are offered by the majority of states. But many have a limited number of these waivers, so there may be a waiting list. This waiver allows the Medicaid participant to hire a friend or relative as a personal care assistant. This is also referred to as the 1915 C waiver.
The Self-Directed Personal Assistance Services State Plan Option allows a Medicaid participant to hire, train and pay the personal care assistant they choose. Based on the budget Medicaid offers, the participant decides what the assistant is paid. One unique part of this option is the participant pays employment taxes on the assistant. An intermediary helps with this financial aspect of the process.
Community First Choice, also called the 1915 state plan option, actually applies to Medicaid recipients who are in nursing homes but need personal care services. Instead of paying extra for a staff member at the facility to provide that care, this option allows friends or family to help with bathing, grooming, light housekeeping and transportation. According to the American Council on Aging, the following nine states offer this option: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Montana, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
With the Caretaker Child Exception, Medicaid doesn’t pay the adult child a wage to care for their parent but allows the parent’s house to be transferred to the adult child as a form of payment. This comes into play when an elderly Medicaid participant is moving into a nursing home but wouldn’t qualify for Medicaid because they own their home.
Learn More About Medicaid
Katherine Snow Smith is a staff writer for The Penny Hoarder.
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Clients must show they need a certain level of care, and caregivers must show they are capable of providing that care. If the client needs medical care and the loved one isn’t trained for that, they cannot be designated as the caregiver. Genworth, a Virginia-based provider of long-term care insurance, conducts an annual survey on the cost of care for retirees. The median price for one month in a private room in a nursing home in 2020 was ,821. A semi-private room cost ,756 a month. The amount of money family caregivers are paid varies by states’ Medicaid programs, the level of care the individual needs and the average wage for a home health aide in each state. The programs that allow family caregivers to be paid also go by different names and have different caveats and benefits in each state:
Medicaid eligibility in general, not just for these programs and waivers, is not consistent across the country. A general rule of thumb as of 2021 is senior applicants can’t have more than ,382 in income and ,000 in assets.
Taco Bell will hire 5,000 people at 2,000 stores across the country. The fast food chain will be taking COVID-19 precautions by conducting interviews in parking lots. Photo courtesy of Taco Bell
When you order Nachos BellGrande at the Taco Bell drive-thru on Wednesday, April 21, you can request a job as well. The fast food empire is hiring 5,000 people at “hiring parties” in parking lots at 2,000 stores throughout the country.
The chain is growing toward its goal of operating 10,000 stores across the globe by the end of the decade, according to a hiring announcement. Taco Bell currently has 7,000 company-owned and franchise locations in the United States and 600 in other countries.
The jobs available vary based on location but include all levels, from “bellhops” who take orders on tablets at drive-thrus, to general managers. Click here to see what positions are open in your area. Interested candidates can fill out an application on that same site in advance or do it in person at a store on Wednesday
Not every Taco Bell is having a hiring party so job seekers should go to TacoBell.com/locations to get phone numbers of stores near them and call to see if they are participating in the event.
Taco Bell will interview candidates outside in order to follow COVID-19 precautions. In some locations applicants won’t even have to get out of their cars. Everyone must wear a mask and stay six feet apart. You can bring a resume and references, but that is not necessary, according to Meagan Ashner, a spokeswoman for Taco Bell.
“While we are hopeful for strong, qualified talent among all applicants, attending a hiring party does not guarantee a job,” she added.
According to Indeed.com, Taco Bell’s wages start at $10.26 an hour for kitchen team members. A shift manager can make $23,494 a year and an assistant manager can make $43,969.
The restaurant gives employees a free meal during a shift, according to Indeed.
Benefits for general managers of company-owned stores have recently been expanded to include up to four weeks of accrued vacation a year and four weeks of “baby bonding” time for new parents and guardians. The company also offers eight weeks of fully-paid short term disability after the birth of a child.
Taco Bell fared well during the pandemic, adjusting quickly to the shutdown of indoor dining. The drive-thru was already a key part of its business, and the chain made it easier for customers to order and pick up food.
The rollout of new “Go Mobile” stores this year is fueling part of the need for more employees. These smaller restaurants cater only to digital orders and drive-thru pickups.
Katherine Snow Smith is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.
Still, on Raise you can list a card without paying up-front fees, so there’s no risk.
What’s better? Online gift card exchange sites. They’ll purchase your gift card for 90% or more of its value and resell it for you.
Whether it’s a birthday, graduation or holiday, it’s likely that you’ll get a stack of gift cards for any celebration. Also likely: you’ll end up with a few you can’t use or don’t want.
If you do decide to sell a gift card, shop around and find the best offer. Check with two or three companies before handing over your gift card.
There is, however, one notable exception that you probably should avoid when it comes to gift cards: eBay.
Tips to Sell Gift Cards Online
Suddenly, your 0 gift card is only worth .
On top of that, you may be responsible for eBay’s insertion fees, a final value fee and a performance fee if your eBay seller account isn’t in good shape. Then, if you’re using Paypal for payment, expect an additional 2.9% fee. Yuck!
Consider Ways to Get Paid
Ebay has always been a popular place for buying and selling things online — but it might be the worst way to sell gift cards.
You can sell any gift card for store credit — new or partially used. Most cards sell within 24 hours, and Raise takes 15% of the selling price.
Or your Aunt Rita gave you a gift card to a steakhouse, but you’re a vegetarian.
Depending on the service you choose, when you sell a gift card you can receive a check in the mail, a Paypal payment or a more useful gift card.
Don’t Sell Gift Cards on eBay
Here’s what to keep in mind as you find a buyer for that unwanted present.
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder
Dana Sitar is a former branded content editor at The Penny Hoarder. Adam Hardy is a former staff writer.
As with any product, the more demand, the more you can ask for it. Gift cards for major retailers — Walmart, Target, Best Buy — tend to sell on the marketplace for 95% of their value.
There are plenty of websites to sell your gift cards, and each is a little different. Some will let users bid on your gift card, while others will purchase it from you and then sell it themselves.
Here are the top sites that put the most money in your pocket.
4 Best Websites to Sell Gift Cards
And remember, you can buy discount gift cards on all these sites, too. Keep them in mind when you need a gift.
The gift card exchange site Raise has always been one of my favorite places to sell my unwanted gift cards because I get to set the price. However, as with eBay, you don’t get paid until the gift card sells.
There is no reason for this well-intentioned gift to go to waste. You can sell gift cards online for cash.
Gift Cards Still Need a Home? Auction Them Off on Raise
Each selection has its own perks, so choose whichever best fits your needs.
You also maintain control over your listing. If your card doesn’t sell in the first couple of days, you can always adjust the price to attract more buyers. Or you can unlist it if you change your mind.
I picked three leading online gift card buyers and asked for quotes on a Walmart gift card. Here are the results: First, an eBay buyer isn’t likely to buy your gift card for more than 80% to 90% of its value. For a 0 gift card, you can count on a loss of between and .
Maybe your boss gave you a Starbucks gift card, but you aren’t a coffee drinker.
Paypal might be a quick form of payment, but keep those pesky fees in mind if you want to maximize your payout. Checks may take a little longer, but they’re as good as cold, hard cash. And depending on your spending habits, another gift card might be the best choice, as the conversion rate is going to be the highest. Source: thepennyhoarder.com
To get a quote on your gift card, all you need to do is input the brand and balance. On most of these sites, there’s an option to enter the gift card number to sell it and receive payment electronically — no need to mail anything.
Rates will vary depending on the service and the brand, so I thought it would be fun to see which would offer me the best price for my gift cards.
Instead of turning to Uber, Lyft, DoorDash or Grubhub, these college students started their own food delivery businesses to make money and show their entrepreneurial expertise to potential employers.
Two met a demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic, while two others started their delivery businesses before 2020. They all saw a need on or around their campuses that wasn’t being filled.
Here’s what they did.
4 Successful Examples of How to Start a Food Delivery Business
1. Deliver Produce from Farms to Kitchens
Will Gentry and Gray Carlton devised a way to help local farms get produce safely to consumers during the pandemic and make money for themselves with their new business, Lexington Harvest Haul.
The seniors at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., started thinking about their future enterprise last summer.
“There are a lot of farms that surround us, and we were noticing there wasn’t a great way for them to sell their stuff except at a farmers market once a week,” Carlton said. “We started brainstorming, thinking of what would be a good way to get their products to people. We came up with a system where we take orders based on what the farmers anticipate they’ll have each week.”
The students started by talking to various farmers at the farmers market to see if they would be interested in having their products delivered.
“They were extremely excited right off the bat. I was kind of surprised,” Gentry said. “I figured they were going to be set in their ways. But they are always looking for more sales avenues.”
The boys started a Facebook page, built a following in the community and collected more than 100 emails.
Here’s how the food delivery business works:
Customers place their orders on a website, Lexharvesthaul.com, by a weekly deadline. Carlton and Gentry go to five farms every Tuesday to buy all the produce, then sort the goods to assemble each customer’s order and deliver it all the same day.
“We don’t hold any inventory. It’s really unique,” Carlton said. They charge a $7.50 delivery fee, plus a markup of around 18% of the total order.
“Another benefit of what we do is customers can order from several different places and have it all come in the same package,” Gentry said.
So, a customer can order butternut squash from Sunflower Flats Farm, free range chicken from Hearthstone Farm, pimento cheese from Mountain View Farm, maple ginger cheesecake from Abundant Life Kitchen and Pink Lady apples from Dickie Brothers Orchard on one website, pay in one transaction and get it all brought to their doorstep for one delivery fee plus the markup.
Lexington Harvest Haul takes orders on a website powered by Shopify, which offers free templates for e-commerce sites, then charges $29 a month. The domain name cost $10.
In order to set up a bank account for the business, Gentry and Carlton paid $300 to form an LLC.
I figured they were going to be set in their ways. But they are always looking for more sales avenues.
“We also wanted some protection (from possible lawsuits) because we were handling food. Not that either of us has too much to protect,” Carlton said with a laugh. “Having an LLC allowed us to plug into the local business community and open a membership in the chamber of commerce. That’s beneficial because there’s a pretty strong small business community in Lexington.”
They hope to sell the business to other students or someone in the Lexington community when they graduate in May.
“Sometimes I do think about how we could build a bigger business out of it,” Gentry said. “I try not to let myself go down that rabbit hole and make sure we get it right the first time.”
2. Deliver Food from Dining Hall to Dorm
BC GET was created when a Boston College student realized how much he and his friends dreaded going out in the cold to pick up food from the campus dining hall.
J.B. Bruggeman got the idea to charge a fee to deliver dining hall takeout and soon partnered with fellow student Jack Antico.
At first, there was very little technology involved. Students could order takeout from the dining hall, then text Bruggeman and he would go get the client’s student ID card then go pick up the food, swipe the card to pay for it, deliver the food, return the card and get paid around $5 via Venmo. After a proof of concept was established, Antico got involved.
“Then there was an issue with the dining hall because you aren’t technically allowed to swipe someone else’s card,” Antico said. “I went to (Boston College) and said we proved there is a demand for this.” So, the college added a delivery option to the app students could already use to order food to-go.
As the demand grew, Bruggeman and Antico contracted with “getters,” who would receive a group email when a delivery order was placed. The first taker delivered the food and made $3.50. Antico and Bruggeman put the remaining $1.50 back into the business; they also delivered hundreds of orders themselves.
They marketed their meal delivery service in various ways, from a $150 banner hanging on a Boston College parking garage to a stunt in the middle of campus.
“I set up kind of a dorm room on the main quad and called it the Day of GET. J.B. lived in a tent, we had a TV set up outside,” Antico said. “We delivered all the meals to J.B. for 24 hours to showcase how useful the service could be. People walked by and wanted to know more about it.”
At its peak, BC GET had about 25 orders a day. Getters could make around $500 a semester. The founders made more, of course, though Antico declined to say how much. The two students ended their business partnership after a couple years when they each had different business interests and Boston College revamped its dining program.
We proved there is a demand for this.
The delivery business, however, must have looked impressive to potential employers. Bruggeman now works as a product manager for Facebook, and Antico, a BC senior, scored an internship at national grocery delivery business Shipt last summer and now owns a web development business.
3. Deliver Groceries to Homes — Without the Big Apps
When Manhattan College in the Bronx halted in-person classes because of COVID-19, Joseph Chionchio moved home to Bay Shore, Long Island. Soon, his mother told him about friends and neighbors who were waiting up to two weeks to get groceries delivered using the most popular apps.
“I saw a clear-cut opportunity right there. I started an Instagram page and made some posts saying I’d shop and deliver groceries,” Chionchio said.
At first, customers emailed him their grocery lists, but soon he set up a website where they could submit orders. He delivered during a timeframe he set each day around his online classes.
Chionchio named his new venture Smart Shop Delivery and spread the word on Facebook, along with asking local restaurants and influencers to post about his effort to help people who were having trouble getting groceries.
Most customers paid via Venmo, but if they were older and hesitant to use an app or share credit card information Chionchio smartly allowed cash and checks. He also accepted handwritten grocery lists. By taking a little extra time for these customers, he reached a market that wasn’t being served at all.
He charged a 15% fee based on the grocery bill for his delivery services.
“I made a lot of traction after a couple weeks,” he said. “Once I got six orders a day, I hired five drivers.” They were all friends or friends’ siblings.
Soon a local TV station did a story on the 21-year-old finance major, then New York’s Newsday newspaper covered the student entrepreneur, too.
“Once Newsday hit, the demand went up like crazy. I hired about 50 drivers,” Chionchio said. He also hired two administrative assistants to help process orders and verify drivers’ insurance and licenses.
Then Fox business anchor Neil Cavuto featured an interview with Chionchio.
“That was national,” he said, and demand went up even more. “We stopped advertising for a while. We were still in the process of building the infrastructure, and I was still in school.”
At this point, he also teamed up with friend John Kelly, who also graduated from Manhattan College and is currently working on his MBA there.
I saw a clear-cut opportunity right there. I started an Instagram page and made some posts saying I’d shop and deliver groceries.
In April three apps — one for drivers, one for customers and one for retailers — will be available for Android and iPhone users. The customer app is called Smartshopcustomer.
Smart Shop Delivery has partnered with a small chain of grocery stores, Fresh by Nature, a coffee shop and a meat market. Customers in the Long Island area can place their orders on the app for those retailers, but still get groceries delivered from other retailers as well.
Chionchio continues to run the growing company as he pursues a master’s degree in financial engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J.
4. Deliver Food From Campus Gates to Dorm Rooms
Anthony Zhang created a business offering the second and final leg of food delivery at the University of Southern California. When he was a freshman in 2013, gates around the University Park campus near downtown Los Angeles were locked at 9 p.m. Students ordering a pizza, burrito or sandwich had to leave their dorm and meet the delivery person at the gate.
One night a friend of Zhang’s said he’d pay someone $10 to go get his Chipotle burrito once it arrived on the edge of campus. Zhang took him up on it.
He started doing the same for other friends, posted flyers around campus offering his late-night on-campus delivery, and his business, EnvoyNow, was born.
“It just had my phone number on there and said to text me. I got swarmed with orders the first weekend that I did it,” he recounted to the Los Angeles Business Journal in December. He hired other friends to start delivering and make $50 to $100 a night.
At first the orders were all texts to Zhang who passed them on to other delivery people. Then a computer science student who was a frequent customer built an app for the business.
Zhang skipped class one day to go see Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban and Survivor producer Mark Burnett speak on campus. At the end of the presentation, they took impromptu business pitches from the audience. On the spot, Burnett invested $100,000 for a 10 % stake in EnvoyNow.
Zhang received a lot of publicity and soon the Thiel Fellowship offered him a $100,000 grant. The fellowship is a two-year program for young people who want to quit or skip college to work on a business. He left USC in 2015 and expanded EnvoyNow to 22 campuses, according to a recent interview with Medium.com.
It just had my phone number on there and said to text me. I got swarmed with orders the first weekend that I did it
A year later Zhang suffered a diving accident in a Las Vegas swimming pool and was paralyzed from the neck down. After several months of rehab, in 2017 he sold EnvoyNow to JoyRun Inc., which was acquired by Walmart Inc. in 2020.
Since then, Zhang launched and sold another company that rates venture capital investors and now has started Vinovest, which gives retail investors a way to invest in fine wine.
Katherine Snow Smith is a freelance reporter and editor in St. Petersburg, Fla., and author of Rules for the Southern Rulebreaker: Missteps and Lessons Learned.
If you’re a beginner, start by looking into general transcription.
She added that most companies expect a 48-hour turnaround time on work. “So I start something, take a break for a while, then come back to it later. And many companies allow you to take as much or as little work as you like.”
Lisa Mills, blogger at Work at Home Mom Revolution and author of Jump Start Your General Transcription Career: The Fast & Easy Way to Get Started, started transcribing shortly after separating from her husband.
“l needed to find a job quickly, and I wanted to be at home with my children, so transcription seemed like a natural fit,” she says. “[S]ince time was of the essence, I started applying immediately for [general transcription] jobs. I got lucky and was hired immediately by a super company.”
The online course features modules, practice dictations and quizzes. It even shows you how to create sample client contracts and how to determine your rates.
The company pays per audio hour, and it does not require any equipment for transcription prior to getting started beyond a “reasonable computer” that has Google Chrome and a reliable internet connection. You’ll be paid weekly by PayPal for the work you complete.
Rev pays 30 cents up to .10 per audio minute, which works out to to per audio hour. The company pays weekly by PayPal and doesn’t require any special equipment apart from a computer with a reliable Internet connection.
What Do You Need to Get Started as a Transcriptionist?
The job sounds easy enough, right? But just like any other job, what’s easy for one person won’t be for another.
The exact amount you earn as a transcriptionist will depend on the company you’re working for, how much work is available and your speed and skill level. In general, most companies that are willing to accept beginners do not pay as well as the companies that require past transcription experience.
Is Transcription Easy?
Transcribe Anywhere doesn’t actually hire transcriptionists. It offers online transcription courses that teaches students how to transcribe and start their own freelance transcribing businesses.
Quicktate hires newbie transcriptionists once they pass a typing quiz. The company’s independent contractors transcribe short voicemail messages, as well as memos, letters, conference calls and more.
However, the flexibility of the work may make up for the fact it can be challenging and repetitive.
Transcription companies usually pay a rate per audio hour. For example, if you’re being paid per audio hour, this means you’ll earn for every hour of audio you transcribe.
“I can take a vacation whenever I like. I just notify the company that I won’t be taking work for a few days to a week, and will get back in touch when I’m ready for more work,” says Mills.
Looking for a flexible job that allows you to work from home, requires little to no prior experience and doesn’t involve making sales calls?
For example, the files you listen to might be very poor quality, making it difficult to understand what’s being said. And other times, you might find yourself trying to interpret unclear dialogue spoken with a thick accent.
Experienced transcriptionists often consider rates below to per audio hour too low. But if you’re brand new to the industry, you may find it’s worth working for a lower rate to get started and learn valuable skills that could help you land a better-paying transcription job later on.
How Much Does Transcription Pay?
If you’re considering giving transcription a try, here’s what you’ll need to know — plus some of Mills’ best advice. Anna Thurman is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.
In addition, managing your own schedule means you can plan time off when you need it.
Here is a list of legitimate companies that regularly hire newbie transcriptionists. Most of these companies will require that you take short, simple transcription tests to assess your typing accuracy and attention to detail before assigning you work.
“My children are grown now, but when they were younger, I did a lot of my work at night, after they were in bed, and during the day while they were in school,” says Mills.
5 Companies That Hire Beginner Transcriptionists
However, most of the companies that hire newbies are more laid-back in their equipment requirements, so you’ll only need to have a computer and a high-speed internet connection to start working.
You’ll earn about three to 20 cents per media minute transcribed, plus bonus rates. You’ll be paid through Amazon to your Amazon Payments Account.
If you’re looking to earn a little extra money online, give transcription a try with one of these companies. You won’t break the bank, but you will be getting paid to learn how to transcribe audio files — and this could open the door to much better-paying transcription opportunities in the future!
You’ll need to pass a grammar quiz and submit a transcription template prior to claiming assignments from Rev, which allows transcribers to work as much or as little as they like.
You could become a transcriptionist. This job gives you the freedom to set your own hours and, in many cases, work as much or as little as you want each week.
Crowdsurf specializes in providing transcribed media files to the hearing impaired. You’ll have to create an account with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, a popular crowdsourced work platform where Crowdsurf houses their transcription tasks.
If you start working for less than -50 per audio hour, use the opportunity to build paid transcription experience and then look for a higher-paying job.
It could take you anywhere from two to five hours to transcribe just one hour of audio, depending on the complexity of the file and your transcription skill level.
The work is also quite repetitive. You will have to listen to the same audio over and over again to be sure you have transcribed it perfectly. If you don’t like repetition, transcription might not be the line of work for you.
Pay for transcription work can vary. “General transcription pays well in comparison to most work-at-home jobs,” says Mills. “The least I’ve made per hour is . But I often make per hour or more. Those who specialize in legal can make an even higher wage per hour.”
Transcription requires listening to audio files and typing out what you hear. Companies that hire professional transcriptionists usually require a high-quality foot pedal for controlling audio playback along with the popular Express Scribe transcription software.
Before you can take on projects with TranscribeMe, you have to register and take its Transcriber Training Program. The company does not require transcriptionists to work a set number of hours. After you have done transcription for Quicktate for some time, you may be promoted to iDictate — a sister company that pays slightly more for transcribed files. Quicktate pays approximately one cent for every four words transcribed, while iDictate pays two cents for every four words transcribed. You can work as much or as little as you want, and they pay weekly by PayPal.
Lisa Peddicord works on training Saint to walk on a leash during her 30-minute visit with him in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Jan. 7, 2019.
If nurturing comes naturally to you, there are ways to turn that instinct into extra money.
Side gigs aren’t limited to doing other people’s grocery shopping or selling stuff online. There’s a slew of more personalized and nurturing jobs for anyone who likes to take care of people and animals.
Here’s a quick rundown:
5 Nurturing Jobs Taking Care of People or Animals
1. Pet Sitting
Pet sitters provide owners peace of mind by watching over their animals while the clients are away. For midday walks or in-home visits, a sitter will come to the client’s house to feed and let the pets out. During in-home overnight visits, a sitter will stay at the client’s house to feed, walk, administer medication, play with and watch over the pets all night.
If you use a pet-sitting app like Rover or Wag, you’ll create an online sitter profile where you’ll answer questions about your experience and availability. You may also need to pass a phone and in-person interview.
Once approved, dog owners will reach out to you, and you choose which gigs you want. Extra belly rubs encouraged.
The standard first job for preteens everywhere is now a thriving industry with plenty of apps to connect you to potential clients. For starters, check out Care.com and Sittercity to create a free membership.
And babysitting is no longer just the purview of the 10th grader down the block. Adults who offer their services can command a higher rate, along with those who are willing to watch kids in their own home or provide extras like homework help or carpooling.
3. Elder Care
We love this app that aims to connect two of the loneliest groups: seniors and college kids.
The Papa App, which is currently operating in cities across 17 states, provides “grandkids on demand”: college students, mainly, who are looking for extra money who help seniors with grocery shopping, chores, tech help and genuine companionship.
The company used to employ only college students as Papa Pals but has dropped that requirement. Now, to qualify, you must have at least four days of availability per week, demonstrate some tech savvy and pass a background check. There are further requirements for driving if you do in-person visits.
4. Back Scratcher
True story: This Miami woman cultivated a legitimate business from a side hustle scratching other people’s backs.
If that sounds a little weird, stop and think for a moment how good it feels to get a thorough back-scratch. See? So maybe it’s not so surprising that people pay $50 for a half hour of that feeling.
The lesson here? Well, for one thing, there’s always a market for services that meet our basic human needs.
Which leads us to …
5. Professional Cuddling
This is just what it sounds like: spooning, holding hands and snuggling with strangers. Professional cuddling is a real thing, and this woman charges $60 an hour for it.
You must like people and approach the work free of judgment. Otherwise, you’ve already got the tools to start handing out hugs.
Molly Moorhead is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder.
Let’s talk about how to make money by selling your sperm. Like, how this actually works.
Popular media sends a strong message: Selling your sperm is a lucrative and simple way to make money when you’re low on cash. And it’s not short on gags about the subject to make sure you feel totally weird about the whole thing.
No need to feel weird. Sperm banks support thousands of families who struggle with infertility and parents who want to conceive without a partner.
In a span of 30 years, an estimated 120,000 to 150,000 babies were born of anonymous donor insemination, according to an unpublished study by the American Association of Tissue Banks, reported by Cryogenic Laboratories. That’s 4,000 to 5,000 births per year that happened because of sperm donors.
But the process isn’t nearly as simple or fun as the gags might imply.
Don’t expect to pop into your local sperm bank, make a contribution and walk out with a check that afternoon.
Here’s everything you need to know about the process and requirements to donate sperm to figure out whether it’s the right move for you.
How Much Do You Get Paid to Donate Sperm?
The phrase is a little confusing — sperm donation isn’t a charitable act.
You do, in fact, earn money. (Not nearly as much as its counterpart, egg donation, but it won’t take nearly the toll on your body, either.)
Like everything else about becoming a sperm donor, the amount of money you make varies depending on the sperm bank or donation center you work with.
Here are some examples of compensation models:
Donors through the Seattle Sperm Bank can earn up to $1,000 per month at $70 per approved donation — $50 when you deliver and $20 when it’s approved.
Donors through the Sperm Bank of California earn $125 per approved sample, with most donors earning between $400 and $600 per month.
Donors through the international sperm bank chain Cryos earn up to $40 per donation — $20 for every ejaculate delivered, plus another $20 if it’s approved.
Sperm banks also offer free fertility test results, physical exams and blood testing as long as you remain a donor, and some even provide a free annual physical after you stop donating.
Some clinics have more complicated contracts that require you to keep up steady visits and provide regular donations if a recipient chooses you as their donor. That arrangement could affect when you’re paid.
“Just to make sure you follow through [with your visits], your paychecks are kept in escrow by the sperm bank until the end of the contract,” Cracked contributor Sean Berkley wrote about his sperm donation experience in 2011.
Many sperm banks now pay monthly or per visit, however. Like any other side hustle, get details on compensation before you sign any contracts or make any commitments.
3 Things to Consider Before Selling Your Sperm
Take some time to understand all the information before you set your sights on sperm donation as your next side hustle. You might be surprised by some of these details.
Do You Qualify for Sperm Donation?
Each sperm bank has its own list of physical requirements for donors, but they’re all fairly similar.
Most donation centers require donors to be:
At least 5’7” tall and up to 6’6”.
Between 18 and 40 years old (none accept donations from minors).
Height and weight proportional.
In good overall health, based on general physical health screenings and fertility tests.
College graduates, enrolled in college or military veterans. Some banks pay more if you have a Ph.D. or attended an Ivy League school (because recipients pay more for those donor qualities).
A non-smoker and non–drug user.
Able to provide a biological family medical history.
Even if you meet a clinic’s basic requirements, you’re not guaranteed to be accepted.
Sperm banks are for-profit organizations, and like any business, they aim to provide what the market demands.
That means your sperm might be subject to the same kinds of biases you encounter among people face-to-face. In addition to the explicit requirements listed above, you could be denied because of supply and demand at a clinic based on things like your skin color, hair color and eye color.
Based on FDA regulation, potential donors are denied if they’ve ever had sex with “another man.” (The regulation doesn’t address potential nonbinary or transgender women donors.)
You could also be denied for genetic health issues, such as blood clotting disorders.
Some sperm banks will tell you why your application is denied, but some might not. You might want to know that information before you apply, so you’re not left wondering.
Donor Offspring Limits
Donation centers are regularly updating policies and practices to address ethical questions that come up about sperm donation and assisted reproduction.
Every few years, it seems, a news story reveals another serial sperm donor with hundreds of offspring. Check the details, though — in many of these cases, the donor worked with the recipient privately (a.k.a. a “known donor”), not through a donation center.
Most donation centers set a limit on the number of births or recipients per donor.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates sperm donation (and other organ and tissue donation), doesn’t set a legal offspring limit. Instead, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) sets guidelines for the industry and recommends a limit of 10 births per population of 850,000 (roughly the size of Seattle).
Many donation centers set limits well below the ASRM guideline — around 25 families in the U.S. per donor is a common maximum.
Anonymous vs. Open Identity Donation
The FDA requires clinics to keep some donor information for medical purposes, but it doesn’t regulate anonymity. You’ll make that choice based on the clinic you choose.
Ask the donation center about its policies, and be crystal clear about your options and long-term obligations before you donate. Donor arrangements include:
Anonymous: Neither the donor nor the recipient get identifying information about each other. You likely won’t even know whether a recipient conceived using your sperm.
Semi-open: You and the recipient get some information about each other, but not identifying details or contact information. The clinic is usually a go-between to pass correspondence between you and the recipient. You might learn whether the recipient had a baby using your sperm and even get baby photos. Or you might just stay open to possible contact in the future from the child once they’re an adult.
Open: You and the recipient have each other’s contact information and communicate directly, maybe even meeting in person. Ideally, you and the recipient determine together how much ongoing communication you’ll have and whether or not you’ll have contact with the child. But the child could always decide to contact you on their own sometime in the future.
Here’s the catch: Technology, as it often does without trying, has thrown a bit of a wrench in this situation.
Increasingly accessible family-tree DNA testing has made some curious (or unsuspecting!) donor-conceived children privy to their genetic roots — even when donors and recipients agreed to anonymity.
Many countries, including the U.K., have removed the option for anonymity in recent years by legislating a donor-born child’s right to find their biological father (i.e. the source of their donor sperm) after they turn 18.
The Sperm Donation Process
Every donation center dictates its own process for sperm donors, but they’re pretty similar and many parts of the process are regulated by the FDA. Here’s what you can generally expect.
1. Find a Sperm Bank
Track down a sperm bank that’s close to you through this National Directory of Sperm Cryobanks.
Most centers require donors to live within 25 miles or about an hour of the clinic, because if you’re chosen to be a donor, you’ll be visiting the facility regularly.
A legitimate organization will be registered with the FDA. Enter the clinic’s name in this FDA directory to make sure it’s registered.
2. Get Pre-Screened
All applicants start by going through a pre-screening over the phone or through an online application. Here’s an example application for Cryos.
The pre-screening confirms:
Your eligibility to work (and be paid) in the U.S.
Some medical history, including potential sexually transmitted infections, mental illness, allergies and drug use.
Your height, hair color, eye color and ethnicity.
3. Provide Detailed Family History & Get a Physical Exam
If you pass the initial screening, you’ll be invited in for a thorough interview that takes a deep dive into your family tree.
Berkley says you should be prepared to provide “a detailed medical history for every parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin and grandparent you have, as well as any children your siblings or cousins may have, going back four generations.”
That sounds like hyperbole, but this overview of the process from Phoenix Sperm Bank confirms the information you can expect to provide.
You’ll also get a physical exam that includes a blood test, urine test and DNA analysis, and screening for STIs including HIV. You won’t pay anything for this exam, and most clinics provide regular physicals as long as you’re a donor and possibly after.
4. Provide a Sample
If you pass the first two levels of the screening process, you’ll provide a semen sample for the clinic to test.
It’ll go through a fertility test for the kinds of things you’ve probably heard joked about on TV: sperm count and motility, and the overall health of the sperm.
In other words, what’s the likelihood this sperm can help conceive a baby?
Depending on the company, you might have to wait up to six months to find out whether your sperm passes this test. Semen samples are frozen and tested again after several months to make sure they can hold up in storage waiting for a buyer.
You don’t usually get paid for providing this sample, and the sperm bank won’t save it to sell to a recipient in the future.
You’ll be invited to become a sperm donor once you pass the full screening process, and you have to sign a contract with the donation center.
Depending on the clinic, the contract might include things like:
How often you’re expected to donate. Sperm banks prefer frequent donors, so your contract might require you to donate several times per month or even multiple times per week.
A requirement to abstain from sexual intercourse before donation. Presumably to ensure strong sperm samples, you could be asked not to have sex within a few days before donating sperm.
Payment terms. Your contract should spell out how much you’ll earn, and when and how you’ll be paid, plus any stipulations you have to meet.
6. Donate Regularly
You might be surprised to learn how often you’ll be expected to donate — but the rest of this part of the process is pretty much what all the TV and movies have prepared you to expect.
You can’t collect your semen from home and deliver it to the clinic. You have to visit the clinic and deposit your sample on site, in a private room and with access to pornography.
You’ll deposit the sample itself into a sterile container, and the sperm bank will freeze it until a recipient chooses your profile. Then it’s thawed and used for the artificial insemination process.
Are You Ready to Be a Sperm Donor?
Infertility isn’t an uncommon circumstance in the U.S. About 6% of married women, and 12% of women overall, between 15 and 44 years old have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, according to the CDC.
Sperm donation is one way to help them start the families they want, and the sperm banks all say the need for donors is high and growing.
The onboarding process is quite a bit more involved than most side gigs you’ll encounter, but the payoff is fair. If you’re accepted as a sperm donor, you could earn upward of $1,000 a month for a quick trip to the clinic about once a week.
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) has been writing and editing for online audiences since 2011, covering personal finance, careers and digital media.
It’s tempting to think that selling your old clothes on sites like Poshmark or ThredUp will immediately generate passive income that supports your brunch habit and annual rent increase.
But if you want long-term success and a recognizable brand that people return to, running a vintage resale business is anything but easy. It takes work, say small business owners who have done it. But it is possible.
We talked with three vintage clothing business owners about how they got their start, crafted their aesthetic and built their brand.
3 Sellers Making a Go in the Vintage Clothing Business
Sara DiNatale of Lucky 727 Vintage
Sara DiNatale has always loved secondhand clothing, so it makes sense that she spent a lot of time in thrift stores.
At first, she shopped for herself and bought items tailored to her tastes. But over time, she started to recognize what items were popular and trendy, even if she didn’t like them, like a Harley Davidson T-shirt.
“Maybe it wasn’t my aesthetic, but I knew that someone would totally die for this,” said DiNatale, who lives in St. Petersburg, Fla. “I did it enough times that I was like: ‘Why don’t I try this?’”
One of her first sales was a Dooney & Bourke vintage belt that she purchased on a bidding website for herself. When it arrived, she discovered that it didn’t fit. She resold the piece for more than double what she paid.
That was a teaching moment for DiNatale: She realized that there was money to be made in vintage. So she took the profits and invested them back into more vintage purchases that she would then sell.
For those starting out, she says, don’t take money straight out of your pocket. Either sell what you already own or invest what you’ve already earned into something else.
DiNatale partnered with a friend when she decided to officially start a vintage side-hustle. They chose clothing resale app Depop to start because DiNatale felt she knew their market and had a similar style.
If she could do it over, she might not make the same choice. Depop’s audience skews young, she says, and doesn’t always see the value of spending a high price on an item, even if it’s a high-quality vintage piece. On Etsy, DiNatale has found she has a better chance at getting a buyer who understands the quality of the garment, but there is also more work involved with the platform.
DiNatale’s colleague came up with the name Lucky 727 Vintage, a play off of St. Petersburg’s area code. She and her partner chose to make a business name, partially because Depop requires it and partially because they wanted to interact online with customers as a single entity. They also made an Instagram page at Depop’s suggestion, although the Instagram account ended up working out as a separate revenue stream for local customers.
The vintage business is what you make of it, DiNatale said. Since starting in January 2020, Lucky 727 Vintage has sold 200 items, about evenly split between the two co-owners. On average, DiNatale makes about $100 a month in profit, although some months it comes out to much more than that.
DiNatale has learned some tricks:
First, make sure your product descriptions have appropriate information, like measurements and garment details. If someone has to message you to ask a question, they may no longer be interested by the time you respond.
Keep apprised of any changes to Depop’s interface through a sub-Reddit and watch for algorithm changes that could affect how your merchandise is promoted.
Most importantly: Know what sells. DiNatale is an avid Dr. Martens fan, and she knows that vintage Docs go quick and at a high cost. They are the rare item she will shell out for in advance, because she knows she’ll make a return.
Jenna Wu of Nanena Vintage
Jenna Wu didn’t always appreciate her love of thrifting. In fact, as a child, she was ashamed that she had to shop at thrift stores, a necessity in her low-income family.
It wasn’t until she got older that she realized thrifting could be cool. She was inspired by a friend who had an unconventional style but always looked amazing, and almost all of her clothes were thrifted. That turned Wu’s thinking, at the same time she started to look into the dangers of fast fashion and waste.
Now, Wu has come full circle. She runs a full-time business based in Portland, Ore., called Nanena Vintage, a play on her nickname of “Nena.” The perks of running a vintage clothing business are the flexibility — you set your own schedule — and the creativity of presenting and packaging the clothes to make them look as desirable as possible.
When Wu started thrifting for money, she was working in customer service and felt drained by her 9-to-5. Running a thrifting business was an artistic outlet that she actually enjoyed. Her partner encouraged her to pursue it full-time.
Wu’s style gravitates toward feminine and classic pieces, but she tries to intersperse styles that are popular and trendy as well. She’s always keeping an eye on what people want to buy, but she’s also focused on the quality of the material and the uniqueness of the design. And there’s one thing she absolutely doesn’t do — streetwear.
When pricing, she takes into consideration how much time it takes to find what she calls a “gem” in a sea of mediocre items. All that time spent goes into the price a reseller will charge for a garment.
Wu started by selling her items on Depop and found success. She was selling at least one item a day. But a year in, she saw her sales drop off. She wasn’t sure why — had the algorithm changed? As sales continued to dwindle, she decided to switch to Instagram.
It was a learning curve at first.
“You just have to keep at it and keep going and then eventually people will find you,” she said.
Wu has a money-saving tip for anyone starting out: Create your own shipping labels rather than going to the post office.
And if you do want to go out on your own and make vintage a full-time business, be prepared for it to take time before becoming financially viable. When Wu first started, in 2019, her entire income from vintage for the year was $5,000. It has increased since then, but she’s still unable to live independently off the money she makes from Nanena Vintage. In December 2020, she made $1,200 in profit.
Lesson learned: If you want to transform your vintage clothing business from your side hustle to a full-time gig, save up in advance.
Esmeralda Castañeda of Esme Vintage Shop
For Esmeralda Castañeda, selling vintage clothes was initially a way to make money while in graduate school.
She learned the tricks of the trade by watching Youtube videos from longtime vintage sellers who had gotten their start on eBay. But she wanted to sell on a more aesthetic-driven forum — that’s why she initially chose Depop.
Like DiNatale, Castañeda recommends starting with selling your own clothes rather than buying clothes to sell. The first six months of her business were a lot of experimentation with where to shoot photos, how to style them and what backgrounds were best. But it’s harder to experiment if you’re depending on a return from your investment.
Castañeda doesn’t take her vintage reselling lightly — she recommends looking into when things were made and what to expect in material and fit based on the decade, because fakes do happen. Understanding the history behind the clothing helps to make your products better.
Castañeda doesn’t really have a defined style for the clothes she sells — instead, she tries to do a little bit of everything. Her website has designations for mod fashion, minimalist, romantic and classic. She says she skews more toward the romantic and minimalist side, but that’s largely because of what she finds in her local Indio, Calif., thrift stores.
“That’s the thing with vintage,” she says. “You really can’t dictate too much unless you are going to be exclusive. You’re not going to find enough to make a really good income. You really need to have a broader reach.”
Although Castañeda got her start on Depop, where she has almost 10,000 followers, she’s actually seen more of what she calls “influence” on Instagram. For those starting out, Castañeda recommends starting on Instagram and building a brand there. If you’re not finding success, Depop is a good way to have a built-in audience, but she finds Instagram better for building something long-term.
All three vintage business owners agree that making money with your vintage clothing business is totally dependent on how much you work. Some months, Castañeda says, she brings in as little as $500, while others can be as high as $3,000.
“A lot of people assume for some reason that this is passive income, but it’s not,” she says. “You do have to do something to get the income going.”
Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.