Income Ideas for Homeschooling Parents

Homeschooling often requires a parent or caregiver to stay home – at least for a good portion of time. It’s hard to homeschool if you have two full-time working parents (or a single full-time working parent), though it’s not impossible. But these days, single income families and single parents struggle without full time incomes that come with working long hours. So here are some ideas to make quick cash for homeschooling parents that don’t necessarily require full-time hours.

There are two main ways to make quick cash without starting a business or a 2nd job: sell something or teach something. You can also provide services, but offering services requires time, and that’s probably something you have in short supply already.

Make quick cash: too good to be true?

And often it is. There are so many scams out there. I saw one, lately, in a Facebook group, where someone posted that if you PayPal them $20, they will add your name to a list and you’ll make $600 back. This is the very definition of a pyramid scheme! (And illegal in most countries, including the US). It reminds me of my childhood days and those chain letters we used to get. Did you ever get 6 letters back?

Selling something fast is kind of like holding a garage sale. You can list your stuff online on various sites, and it will sell within a few days, depending on the site, the item and your listing, or by using various services like consignment stores. Some things sell better than others. Some things will make you more money than others. And there are some things you can’t sell at all.

What can you sell?

You can sell both physical and digital items online. For the purposes of this post, we’ll talk about the physical items that sell well online. In fact, online classifieds have replaced many newspaper classifieds. Buyers can view pictures, talk with the seller and get answers quickly, and arrange payment and pickup easily.

First, you can sell furniture.

When you sell furniture, choose your platform. You can sell online, on social media or online classfieds. Or you can hold a furniture sale, and advertise that online or with flyers. Selling directly online is probably more consistent and less work, but a bulk sale will get you more money at one time.

No matter what you choose, you want to include good pictures. Take them from multiple angles, so that buyers can get a sense of the style and size of the piece. Take close up pictures of details, such as shelving, carving, decorative elements or handles. You’ll also want to take a picture of any marks, rips, tears or scratches that may detract from the item.

Don’t be afraid to be upfront about these issues. Buyers appreciate knowing what they are getting without any surprises. If you are honest, you’re more likely to get your price.

List in the description the dimensions of your item, when it was cleaned last, your evaluation of its condition, and where it is being stored. You may also want to list whether it’s from a smoke-free home, or if you have pets. This is especially important if you are selling something with fabric — many people have allergies, so be considerate. It’s a good idea to list manufacturer and date of purchase (if you bought it new).

Second, you can sell clothes, shoes and accessories online or in a consignment store.

Brand name clothes, fancy dress, and specialty items sell better than the clothes you bought at Walmart. If you have a pair of designer jeans, a cocktail dress, or a leather jacket you are willing to part with, selling will net you a quick profit.

If you are selling in a consignment store, they will handle the largest part of the prep and sales process. You’ll need to make sure your items are in good, clean condition before you take them in. Then, set up your account with the store, and follow their steps. Every store has different policies, so make sure you check the rules carefully.

If you are selling it yourself, choose your platform or location. If you are selling online, take pictures of your item, from multiple angles. Even better is when you can take a picture of someone wearing the item, so that buyers can get an idea of fit and style. List the size of the item from the item’s tag, the manufacturer or designer, and the material and color. You’ll also want to give an evaluation of the condition of the item, and how many times it’s been worn, if under 5 times.

Third, you can sell electronics.

Generally, items that are only a few years old (within 5 years) will sell, as they will be able to integrate with current technology still. Any older, and you should probably just consider recycling them. Media devices, such as phones, tablets, laptops and computers sell well. Gaming platforms, such as Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo also sell.

And there’s the huge entertainment electronics market. If you have a TV, DVD player or VCR (yes people still use those!), you can sell it.

When listing your electronic item online or in a classified ad, include its age, approximate condition, and for those items with screens, its size. For interactive media devices, you’ll need to include system specs, such as memory storage, processing speed and operating system info.

Games and gaming systems can often be sold to used-game stores for store credit or cash. Computers – especially laptops – tablets and phones can be sold to stores that resell and repair such devices. Televisions and other entertainment media is best sold direct, either online or alongside other items you may sell in a yard or bulk sale.

Fourth, kids’ items are great to sell online or in consignment.

Bigger toys, children’s equipment (such as playpens, strollers or other specialty items) sell better than smaller toys and clothes. However, be aware that in most countries, you cannot sell car seats. Check your local health and safety rules before listing!

Children’s clothes and small toys do better in consignment rather than direct sales, unless you sell it in bulk lots. Brand names sell better than generic, of course, and most consignment stores won’t take lower-end brands. However, bulk lots of clean, unripped & unstained generic-brand clothes will sell online.

Keep in mind that condition is everything when it comes to children’s items. If you have a pet, you may want to launder your items or wash them outside of the pet-areas, and store well away from pets.

Fifth, you can sell media items.

Books, movies, computer programs and music are fantastic items to sell online, though you can also sell direct to used stores. Condition isn’t as big at deal, as long as the item is still usable or readable.

For things like movies and music, original cases are essential to selling online. Having the original case tells buyers that the item isn’t pirated or stolen. When listing, include details about the author/artist, publisher/producer, and date of production. Unless it’s a well-known story or song, you may also want to include a description of the story or music in your listing.

Books and movies often don’t sell for a lot of money, unless you have patience. Using websites like Amazon or Ebay is best for these items. If you sell to a store, expect low amounts, unless you have rare items. You may prefer getting store credit rather than cash, as you’ll get more for your items that way.

Sixth, sports equipment and games sell well.

Those golf clubs, soccer cleats or roller skates collecting dust in your basement can be turned into quick cash with a listing online. Make sure you let people know if something is meant for a left-handed or right-handed player, when applicable. Age, size and condition are also important to include in your description. If you are selling skates, let buyers know when they were last sharpened.

You can also sell to used-sports-goods stores for store credit or cash. Or, often for things like skates and rollerblades, you can trade in direct for the next size up, depending on the condition of the items, and what the store has in stock.

Where do you sell your items?

Each type of item you are selling has its own best places to sell. You don’t sell furniture on Amazon, and you don’t sell books on Craigslist. At least, you don’t if you have any need of a quick, profitable sale.

Furniture, electronics, larger children’s items and sports equipment sell better on Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Buy and Sell groups, Craigslist, Kijiji, and your local community online message boards or classifieds. That’s because these items don’t ship well. So you want to sell online, locally. In your listings, you’ll need to give an approximate area of pick up, or range of area for delivery, if you’re willing to deliver. Public parking lots, community centres, libraries and arenas make great places for exchanging goods and cash, so you don’t have to give out your home address.

Clothing, including children’s clothes, sells well on all the local classified sites, the same as furniture, and clothing sells great on Ebay. To sell on Ebay, you’ll need an account, both on Ebay and on Paypal. Paypal is an international money transfer service, that lets you accept payment from many countries and currencies. Paypal can deposit directly to your bank account, if you wish.

When you list on Ebay

You’ll include a picture, a description of the item, and any circumstances under which you will refund money. For example, will you take an item back and refund the money if someone buys and it doesn’t fit? That’s up to you, but specify ahead of time. On Ebay, you can create two kinds of listings: an auction listing, and a buy-it-now listing. A buy-it-now listing declares what your price of the item is, and people can choose to buy it or not buy it. An auction listing means that multiple buyers can bid on your item, and the final sale price is determined by who has the highest bid at the end of the auction. To list as an auction, you determine your reserve price (the minimum price you will sell it for), the starting price, and the time frame of the auction (3 days? 7 days? 30 days?) No matter which kind of listing you choose, you’ll also need to include an approximate shipping cost. Ebay does offer a shipping calculator for buyers, as long as you the seller gives an approximate origin location.

Books, media and music sell better on Ebay and Amazon. When you sell on Ebay, you’ll need to use your own photos of your items. Amazon will provide you with pictures, unless you otherwise specify. You’ll need to set up a buyer’s account on Amazon, and from there you can set up a seller’s account. Amazon pays directly to your bank account, so you’ll have to give them your direct deposit information to get your money.

When you list on Amazon

You can use a book’s ISBN number to easily and quickly create a listing on Amazon. Amazon then uses their existing catalog information to help with your listing. You’ll get access to all the other sellers of your item, so you can price your item competitively. Amazon also gives you a set credit for shipping costs. This may or may not cover your actual shipping costs, so be aware.

Both Ebay and Amazon charge a small fee for selling through their site.

Safety Warnings

There are some cautions to selling your things online. You want to do this in a way that not only keeps you safe, but makes sure you aren’t out your money and your item, and left with nothing.

What you can’t sell

First, there are some things you can’t sell, whether online or anywhere else. You can’t sell partially used medications, alcohol, or drugs online. That’s illegal! Pirated movies, stolen items, well.. this should be common sense. You can sell some kinds of weapons however. Usually, they have to be antique to be able to sell legally. And there may be rules about selling weapons of any kind across international borders, so be careful.

Second, there are some things you shouldn’t sell, online or anywhere else. For example, you shouldn’t sell carseats or cribs. There are too many safety regulations and concerns to be able to sell those safely. If it’s something that you should know the history of before you buy it, like a bike helmet, then you really shouldn’t sell it. You can’t guarantee the quality of the item, and you may open yourself up to liability issues and lawsuits, even if you didn’t know.

Protect yourself

Third, when you sell online, be careful about finalizing your transactions. If you are selling through an online classifieds site, you should meet in person to sell your item, and take cash only. Meet in a public place with lots of people around, for safety’s sake. If you are selling through a site like Amazon or Ebay, don’t take your transaction off site just to avoid a fee. The fees are there to help pay for the protections you get, both as a buyer and a seller. If something goes wrong with your transaction, you can use the channels provided on the bigger sites to help protect yourself from con artists and scammers.

Fourth, when you are selling strictly online, don’t use Western union or accept electronic funds transfers, that require you to give out sensitive information directly to the buyer. Use something like Paypal or Venmo that protects your sensitive identification, and also has built in protections in case of scammer. Accept only the amount owed, not extra. It’s a common scam to forward a seller a check for more than the purchase price, and ask the seller to make change. Often times, the seller will find, after they’ve sent on the extra, that the original check wasn’t good and they are out a lot of money. Or, even scarier, it’s a way for criminals to turn proceeds of crime into legitimate cash, and you could be on the hook for helping with a crime.

Use your common sense when selling online.

You can make quick cash selling online, but there is risk as well. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You do not have to accept the first offer that comes your way, if you aren’t comfortable doing so. Take the proper precautions to protect your identity, your person, and your money.

Other ways to make money

If this all sounds like too much work, or you don’t feel like you have items to sell, then teaching might be better for you. If you have a skill, know interesting facts, or you can at least speak well in front of an audience or camera, you can teach something. Whether you choose to work as an independent contractor with an existing company, tutor independently and find your own students, or offer courses and webinars, you can make quick cash by teaching.

Teach English as a Second Language

If you have teaching experience, or often just a degree (any degree!), you can work for one of many reputable companies and teach English online to young students in China, Japan, and Korea. VIPKids, TwoSigmas, Qkids, and others are often looking for tutors and language teachers. Pay can vary from a per-minute to per-hour to per-student rates, hovering around $14/hour. Usually, because of time zones, the hours available to work are early mornings or late evenings EST.

While you work from home, these aren’t as flexible as working for yourself. Technically, these are independent contractor positions at best, and can be more in the nature of a part time job, without the protections of a typical job. If you miss too many time slots (ie because someone is sick), you may lose your ability to work for these companies.

Most of these companies pay via PayPal.

Teach a Skill via Machine Learning sites

Whether you want to teach children or you prefer adult learners, there are sites that let you offer classes in a variety of skills and topics. Target children, and offer classes on science, history, art or music through websites such as OutSchool. Or teach business or technical skills online though a site like Udemy or SkillShare.

Using a site like this to set up and sell a course has many pros. They have an instant market, as they are well known educational sites, meaning your marketing can be minimal. They also have step-by-step instructions to help you with the administrative parts of creating a course to sell online. And they take care of all the hosting and selling, and you simply have to create and load your material on to the website.

However, there are some cons as well. E-learning sites like these often have steep fees. Udemy, for example, will take 30% of your course sales. You also can’t necessarily reuse your course material elsewhere, as content on your own website or social media, for example.

Most courses sold like this are priced between $30 and $50. And once you’ve created the materials, you don’t have to do any more work to generate income.

Teach information or tips via a Webinar

A webinar is an online web-based seminar, lecture or workshop. It’s usually done via invitation only, and involves both video and audio formats. Guests login to the webinar through their personalized link, connect to the chat room, video and audio, and then watch the slides and video, listen and interact with the teacher during the webinar.

Webinars are great for step-by-step tutorials, how-tos, suggestions for improvement, information or sales persuasion.

Platforms for selling webinars include sites such as Zoom, ClickMeeting, WebinarNinja, or GotoMeeting.

Webinars require a separate sales page to sell and get guests to invite. You can sell the webinar, or you can invite your guests to a free webinar, and use it as a set up to sell a longer course, ebook, or other service. Either way, you need to create a landing page to collect the email addresses (and possibly money!) of your guests. You’ll also give out the time and date on that sales page.

There are many different services that can offer landing-page templates, or you can create your own free via a Google Site, page or Facebook page.

In your email invitation, you’ll send out the custom link to your guest, along with the reminder of the time and date of the webinar. You can also send out any handouts or printables you may have for your webinar.

After the webinar is done, depending on what platform you used, you may be able to offer a replay. The replay won’t be interactive, and you can put an expiry date on it as well. You can have the recording to sell, or to use as a free gift, later on, too.

Most webinars, if not used as a sales tool to sell longer courses, are priced between $30 and $200.

Teach a course on your specialty, with more control

So you have specialist information, and you can teach a longer course on it. Whether you use a software platform, or you self-host your course, you can sell your courses in the format you choose. Your information, experience or expertise can make you quick money, just by advertising and selling your course.

There are a few platforms you can use to create your course. Teachable, Thinkific, Skilljar, or Podia are all great options for your course. They can host the videos, your text and image content, your printable files and workbooks, along with anything else you want to include. They’ll also help you create the tables of content, the course descriptions, and even tie in with your payment processes.

Online training like this can run between $100 and $500, depending on how specialized it is or how well you establish your credibility. You’ll need an excellent sales page to be able to sell your ecourse. You’ll also need to offer some kind of money-back guarantee, which may leave you open to some risk, but that’s minimal.

Online courses can make quick cash, up to thousands of dollars.

You can also offer direct tutoring or consultation.

Teach algebra, offer piano lessons, or give a class in auto repair in your home, on a one-to-one or small-group basis. Or, if you’ve got experience, offer phone or in-person (or online!) consultation on how to do something – set up a business, do taxes, start homeschooling? Maybe you’ll offer ongoing services, or a one-time workshop. You pick when and how long, and to who. Advertise in your local area with flyers or online in your local neighbourhood groups.

If you want to make money fast online, teach something.

What can you teach? Anything. Do you know all the presidents of the United States, in alphabetical order? Teach an intro course to American history. Have you survived the flu with small children? Lead a webinar on time management when you’re sick. Whatever skill or talent, education or experience you have, you can turn it into cash by teaching someone else.

Quick cash-flow ideas don’t have to require a lot of time, just creativity. What can you sell? Look around you for unused books, clothes, and things you may no longer need. Check your skills and hobbies. If you’ve got a couple of hours, you can make quick cash by selling your things, your skills or your hard work.

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