8 Tips for How to Sell on Craigslist

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.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

4 Things to Tell Your Boss If You Want to Work From Home

These days, more and more employees are working from home on a regular basis. In fact, Global Workplace Analytics says that about 2.8% of the total workforce work from home at least half time. Nearly all U.S. workers say they’d like to work from home at least part-time, and about half the workforce say they could  work remotely at least some of the time.

But what if you’re not one the lucky ones who stumbles into a job that already allows working from home, whether sometimes or on a regular basis? In this case, you might need to convince your boss that working from home is a good idea.

And, in fact, working from home is a good idea, much of the time. It can actually save you money, and it can reduce your overall stress level. And if you’re like many people, you might actually get more done in less time when you’re working from home.

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But those arguments, especially the ones that are mostly beneficial to your personal life, may not be enough to convince your boss to let you work from home. Here are four more convincing arguments to try:

1. Better Productivity

Working from home isn’t a good fit for all jobs, but for some types, studies show that working from home actually increases productivity.

2. Reduced Overhead Costs

Outfitting an employee with an office or even cubicle comes with overhead costs. Not to mention all that water you flush down the toilet on bathroom breaks! In fact, many large employers started moving employees to work from home positions specifically to reduce overhead costs. (Of course, you’ll be taking on some of those costs by working from home — increased electricity and water usage can eat into your savings on commuting. You can try some of these easy penny pinching tips to help offset those costs.

3. Fewer Sick Days

Having the ability to work from home often curbs the number of sick days you take. You might not drag yourself into the office when you’re feeling under the weather, but you may opt to work as normal from your comfortable couch. Your fellow employees will appreciate fewer germs, anyway.

4. At-Home Workers Are Happier (& Stay Longer)

If working from home is really important to you, and if you’re in a field where it’s common, you may be more likely to stay in your job for the long term if you are allowed some flexibility to work from home. You don’t necessarily need to tell your boss this, but you can show that employees who work from home are happier in their jobs.

Making Your Proposal & Pulling It Off

Now that you’ve got some arguments in your back pocket, how do you go about actually asking your boss to let you work from home? Here are a few steps to take:

1. Create a Formal Proposal

Don’t just approach working from home by the seat of your pants, especially if it’s not already a common practice in your workplace. Instead, create a formal proposal for what working from home would look like for you.

What tasks would you accomplish at home? How would you handle meetings and phone calls? Would you be available during certain hours online? How would you keep track of the tasks that you’re working on at home? What sort of accountability system could you build in?

Put all this into writing. When in doubt, talk to someone else with a job similar to yours who works from home. See what kind of arrangements they have with their employers, and go from there. If others in your organization work from home, talk to them about their written work plans, too.

2. Pre-empt Your Boss’s Concerns

When you’re creating your proposal, try to think about it from your boss’s perspective. What concerns will he or she likely  have? You know this person best as a supervisor, so you can likely anticipate how the conversation will go.

Again, talk to others in your organization who work from home sometimes or regularly, and use that as a jumping off point. You’ll want to work those points into your written proposal, preferably, or at least address them in your conversation with your boss.

3. Propose a Trial Run

Don’t just jump in and ask to switch your in-office job to a full-time, work-from-home position. Instead, propose a trial. You may want to propose a part-time work from home schedule of one to three days per week at first. And you should also suggest trying to work from home for a period of thirty to ninety days before you and your boss formally evaluate the situation.

Starting with a trial period can help make working from home more palatable. Plus, if you’ve never worked from home before, you may find that a blended schedule of in-office and at-home actually suits you better than working from home full-time.

4. Be Flexible

Go into the conversation with your boss with goals and a proposal, but be willing to take his or her feedback into account, too. Be flexible in what you’re asking for, and be prepared to give up ground if that’s what you need to get your foot in the door. Maybe your three days a week goes to two, or your 90-day trial goes to 30. It’s still a start!

5. What Else Can You Give Up?

Oftentimes, people who really want to work from home are willing to take a pay cut to do so, or at least forgo a big raise. This means that evaluation time can be a good time to ask for work-from-home privileges. If you get a great review and are offered a raise, consider counter-offering a smaller raise with the ability to work remotely part-time.

Maybe you’re not willing to give up a raise, but you have other privileges you could lay on the table in order to work from home. Or maybe you feel you’ll be so much more productive at home that you can tackle additional responsibilities. Either way, you could give a little to get a little in this conversation.

6. Prove You Can Do It

Finally, when you do get to work from home, don’t take advantage of the situation. Put 100% into your work each day, and set up your lifestyle so that you’re more productive than ever. Keep track of your goals, metrics, and to-do lists, so that if there’s ever a question of whether or not you can work from home well, you’ve got data to back up your answer.

[Editor’s note: It’s also a good idea to keep track of your financial goals. One way to do that is to check your credit scores. Credit.com’s credit report summary offers a free credit score, updated every 14 days, plus tools that help you establish a plan for how to improve your scores.]

Image: AlexBrylov

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Here’s How to Get a Free Smart Thermostat from OhmConnect

If you live in California, you’re likely all too familiar with summer blackouts. When the energy grid gets overloaded, dirty power plants need to turn on to keep everybody’s air conditioners running. If the grid is especially overworked, this can cause a blackout. This happens way too often and affects millions of Californians.

But a company called OhmConnect wants to help. It’s handing out free smart thermostats — and cash — to people in California who agree to try out its free service. Not only do you get these perks, but you’re also helping prevent these blackouts with hardly any effort. All you need to do is connect your utility account.

Here’s how it works: OhmConnect will send you a text message during high-energy-usage times and ask you to dial down your energy for about an hour. That’s it! If you have a smart thermostat, you can let it tick up a few degrees automatically with the help of OhmConnect. And if you don’t, now’s your chance to get one for free.

Smart thermostat or not — the more you do, the more money you can make.

For example, we talked to one woman, Tanya Williams, who recently earned an extra $1,700 in one year with OhmConnect — more than $140 a month. A few evenings each week, the 45-year-old stay-at-home mom shut down her home’s electrical panel and took the kids to the pool, or just played board games. Talk about easy money.

What you choose to do is up to you: You can grill dinner outside, go for a bike ride or even just play games on your phone. So long as you use less energy during these “OhmHours,” your earnings will add up.

How much energy can skipping a load of laundry or playing a board game really save?

Well, when you and your neighbors dial your energy usage back at the same time, you reduce the stress on the grid. OhmConnect says this reduction could equal more than two times the amount of energy that would have prevented 2020’s blackouts.

OhmConnect is free to join and costs nothing to participate. To get started, you’ll simply need your email and ZIP code and then to connect your utility account. Get connected, and you’ll be on your way to help end blackouts and make money.

Sign up here to get your free smart thermostat, which can handle  some of your energy savings automatically and could earn you $350 a year, plus prizes and gift cards.

Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

5 Tips on How to Follow Up After an Interview

There’s no doubt about it, landing your dream job is a process.

After sending out your polished resume, completing an online application, and even giving that first interview your best shot — you typically still won’t know whether you impressed the interviewers. The post-interview gray period is often the most stressful part of the job application process, and depending on how many times you’ve gone through it, can also be the most frustrating.

Fortunately, there’s something you can do to gain more insight into your job application and find out more about your prospects of being hired. It all starts with the follow-up email.

How to Follow Up After an Interview

So if you’re ready to put this maddening wait period behind you, keep reading for tips on how to follow up after an interview. It’s all part of the interview process and as important as a cover letter and connecting with the hiring manager.

1. Contact the Right Person at the Right Time

Never underestimate the power of contacting the right person at the right time. This often-repeated adage is one of the best ways to get started mapping out your interview follow-up email. And determining who you reach out to (and when) is arguably the most important item on this list.

A good rule of thumb is to reach out to the highest-ranking person you’ve interacted with. Say you had a series of three interviews: one with a recruiter, one with a hiring manager, and one with a prospective team member. In this scenario, you’d want to reach back out to the hiring manager directly, since they’re ultimately the one making decisions about your candidacy.

A key point here is to make sure you reach out at the right time.

If you were given a date by which you’d hear back, wait a full day or two after that to circle back. If you weren’t given a date, wait a full week after your interview before checking in (and remember to ask about their “hiring timeframe” during your next interview).

2. Say Thank You

If you haven’t sent a post-interview thank you note yet, now’s the time to express your gratitude. While it’s always a good idea to send a thank you email directly after your interview, we understand that things can happen. Even if you did send a thank you note, you can still add something into your opener like “thanks again for taking the time.” This will go a long way with busy hiring managers, and make them more likely to respond to your message in a timely manner.

3. Express Continued Interest

After determining who to contact, and thanking them, it’s time to mention your continued interest in the position. While your ongoing interest is assumed, it’s still nice to reiterate why you want the job and to inquire about next steps. This might be something as simple as, “I’m still very interested in moving forward and becoming a member of your growing team,” or even “I’m still interested in moving forward and getting started with X project.” Pick something simple and truthful to emphasize your enthusiasm for the new opportunity, and include a sentence or two about it in your note.

4. Ask for an Update

With these formalities out of the way, you’re ready to get to the meat and potatoes of your letter — and ask for that update. This step is often the hardest one, but don’t overthink it. Depending on the circumstances of the job interview, you might reiterate the timeline you were given and use that as a segue to form your question. For example:

“You mentioned you’d be making a decision by (date), so I just wanted to check in and see if you have any updates.” If a date wasn’t given, you should still stick to the same casual tone when posing your question, and you might even consider adding some sort of explanation for why you’re reaching out now. “I know things move fast in X industry, so I just wanted to check in and see if you have any updates.”

Keeping things casual and non-demanding (and placing your inquiry after other introductory formalities) will make for a much more pleasant reading experience for your interviewer. No matter how busy they are (or aren’t), your interviewer will appreciate that you continue to respect their time, even via email. The thing to remember is that everyone’s been through this process — including the interviewers. They know how hard it is to wait to hear back on a new job, which will make them appreciate your courteous approach even more.

5. Putting It All Together

With these components in mind, it’s time to put your letter together. Much like a thank you email (or any post-interview correspondence), keep things short, sweet, and on the same level of formality as your interview. What do we mean by this? Well, if you called your interviewer by their first name during the interview, feel free to do so in your email as well.

Every correspondence you have before being offered the job should still be considered as part of the interview stage, because technically it is. Beyond your qualifications for the job itself, your hiring manager will want to see that you’re a good social fit for their team. Which is why calling them “Mr.” or “Mrs.” after you’ve been established on a first-name basis isn’t really polite — it’s just awkward. Don’t invent formality where there isn’t any. Instead, focus on reading the social cues you’re getting from your interviewer, then mirror them.

The Final Word

Following up after a job interview is scary, no matter how many times you do it. Just remember that everyone does it, and if they don’t, they should. While companies and hiring managers probably have a timeline in their heads, you likely have one as well — especially if you’ve been unemployed for a while. By writing a courteous and confident follow-up email, you’re simply asking for something you have every right to know, so don’t be shy. Keep your chin up and keep going.

Tiffani Sherman is a Florida-based freelance reporter with more than 25 years of experience writing about finance, health, travel and other topics.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com