Many seniors find themselves wanting to supplement their retirement income after leaving the workforce. Fortunately, there are tons of opportunities online for seniors to continue earning money from the comfort of their own home.
One of the easiest ways for seniors to make money is through E-commerce. Sell your collectibles, share your handmade goods, market your hobbies, or offer your expertise—for a price.
Not sure what “E-Commerce” is? E-commerce simply refers to the buying and selling of products electronically, or over the internet. By no means do you have to be a computer whiz to reap the benefits of so many popular and user-friendly web sites. Below are some ideas, resources, and popular online e-Commerce platforms to help you start making money online.
Sell Your Stuff
The internet has all kinds of opportunities to engage in simple commerce. Some categories that are out there include:
- Luxury consignment
- Brand name second-hand selling platforms
- Handmade crafts
- Artist-centered co-ops
You can choose a general online selling platform or try one from one of the specialized websites listed below.
As you use this guide to do additional research, you will become more familiar with the characteristics of these categories. Consider utilizing this list to evaluate which category best complements your lifestyle.
“Anything Goes” Auctions on eBay.com
Many retirees enjoy frequenting garage sales and second-hand markets for the thrill of turning their nickels and dimes into a larger profit. This is one reason why Ebay remains one of the most popular ways to list and sell an item online.
Second hand items can often be cleaned, repaired, and upsold for a nice profit. In fact, clothing and accessories are the second most lucrative category on the site, second only to electronics and Bluetooth devices. Be on the lookout for items like:
- Vintage glassware
- Retro clothing
- Antique jewelry
- Any kind of collectable
When selling something extra special, cross your fingers for a bidding war!
Refurbishing Furniture for Profit on Facebook Marketplace
If you have an eye for “diamond in the rough” projects, Facebook Marketplace is an excellent platform for reselling old furniture. Many Marketplace users are just like yourself, looking for ways to stay busy and make a buck. You can either try your luck at refurbishing a piece yourself or keep things simple by doing the initial cleanup, including:
Once prepped, you can advertise the item as a fixer-upper.
Marketplace has its own advantages over other E-Commerce sites like eBay. Unlike the auction-oriented platform, there are no fees to sell your goods on Facebook Marketplace. With a user-friendly interface, and the option to keep trading within your local area, Marketplace is great for those that want to stay within the community.
Direct communication with other users via this Facebook platform offers the convenient opportunity to personally organize a pickup or delivery. Facebook Marketplace is a little riskier than an e-commerce site such as eBay in which all trade is done remotely. Always be sure to use your best judgement while interacting with strangers online, and follow these guidelines to avoid getting scammed.
Make What you Want to Make (Etsy.com)
Consider further committing to something you already love to do. Any one of the following skills can be applicable:
- Making pottery
- Interior Decorating
- General crafting
Maybe you have always loved one of these activities but have never had the opportunity to share that passion with the world. Why not start now?
Unlike a traditional brick and mortar store experience, the online marketplace offers consumers the unique ability to search for niche items and customized gifts. Etsy.com hosts an array of artists whose goods cater to these specific markets. With the grace of the internet, you have an endless number of niche markets to explore.
Love to cook? Try packaging your signature spice blends with a homemade label and start an online cooking persona. If you are crafty and efficient, any and all customized gifts are always in demand. Are you a “crazy cat lady” that also loves to paint? Personalized pet portraits are hilariously endearing gifts and extremely popular now. Lean into that lifelong hobby of yours; chances are, there is an existing online community of like-minded folks just waiting to buy what you have to sell.
Tap into your Knack for Hospitality (AirBnB)
This option could potentially require more offline obligations, but has been proven to be both lucrative and fulfilling for plenty of creative retirees. Try flexing your interior decorating skills and hone your hospitality instincts by listing your extra property on a vacation home rental site such as Airbnb.com.
Think about what makes your town and your property attractive to visitors. Are there music venues nearby? Some nice restaurants, shopping, bars, cafes, or hiking? What is unique about your property? What would make you want to spend a few nights there? Airbnb offers:
- Community support
All of this can be found directly on their website to help you make that first booking.
Not in a “touristy” area? Many travelers enjoy renting lodging that’s off the beaten path, especially if you live in a town neighboring a large city. Business and solo travelers often seek out lodging in more affordable suburbs within reasonable distance of a city center. Consider curating a small, comfortable apartment for such a traveler. Most want nothing more than just a few essentials, such as:
- A clean room
- A comfortable bed
- A private bathroom
- Simple amenities like clean towels and basic toiletries
- A small refrigerator and/or microwave
- Some way to make coffee and/or tea
- An internet connection
Keeping business travelers in mind as you curate your space may prove lucrative down the line: as of 2018, business travel was found to be Airbnb’s biggest driver of new business. Business travel is estimated to be a $1 trillion global market, and these travelers will be your most reliable and consistent visitors.
People who are traveling for work or business are more likely to book during the week, plus they are more likely to book again should they have recurring business in the area. Check Airbnb’s specific tips for accommodating these travelers.
Finally, make sure to add in your own personal, hospitable touch: Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Arrange a couple of bundles of dried homegrown herbs like lavender or sage on your guests’ pillowcases.
- Place homemade cold brew in the mini-fridge, or provide coffee grounds from your favorite local coffee roaster.
- Put mason jars of homemade bath salts or essential oil candles in the bathroom. Provide Q-tips, tissues, cotton balls, and anything else you can think of that your guests may have forgotten to pack.
- Design and print a list of suggestions of things to do when your business travelers are off the clock.
- Create a “charging station” with cell phone chargers, USB chords and plenty of outlets.
- Have a list of the area’s best takeout restaurants, along with their phone number, waiting by the charging station.
Make a good online reputation for yourself, and the reservations will come rolling in.
Trying out E-commerce for Yourself
Now is the time to consider what format of e-commerce may fit into your retiree lifestyle. Start by simply scrolling through various platforms and exploring the websites. Ask yourself: what makes you want to shop here, if at all? Can you picture the items that you will sell, and the profile that you will create?
No matter what your life circumstances are, the internet provides endless opportunity for marketing and monetizing your creative and/or thrifty side. Regardless of your initial successes or failures, rest assured that there are boundless opportunities out there for you to try. As long as you are willing to look for them and try something new, the options for post-retirement income are virtually endless.