This is my story of how I became unemployed and started a home-based business. It may be something useful to other preppers.
My Employment Story
I’m a prepper and have been doing so for the last thirteen years. Thank goodness I found SurvivalBlog then and began putting up canned goods and consumables ever since. I’ve had to live off my pantry for two years at a time and would have been in dire straits if I had not. Believe me, if you have not begun prepping for hard times, begin now. Even those with advanced degrees and certifications fall on hard times too.
Found Myself Unemployed 16 Times
I hold two senior certifications in the Human Resources field. Yet, over the last 25 years, I have been separated from my employment 16 times due to businesses closing and or being bought out by other larger conglomerates. I am, again, currently unemployed. However, I finally took the initiative and started an online business to bring in some extra cash. I am hoping that my story will help those who are unemployed, too.
Thrive on a Challenge
Back in 1991 I decided to leave the Army and left with an Honorable Discharge. In Santa Monica, California, I signed up with a temporary employment agency. But the only jobs my “representative” would find for me were labor jobs that paid minimum wage. I walked into her office to speak with her and discovered she was not there. I asked to speak with her boss to complain about the jobs she was sending me on. His response was, “If you think you can do a better job, sit down and start doing it!”. So, I did. I have always thrived when challenged.
Diverse Experience Plus Losses
Over the last 25 years, I’ve worked in the aerospace industry and industrial health care staffing as well as for military contracting companies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates. I have had my own HR consulting company, started my own sporting goods store, and most recently worked in the oil & gas industry. Every single organization I worked for, with, and owned have either closed, downsized, or lost contracts, which they were dependent on to maintain their profits. After the collapse in the oil & gas industry, I lost the job I loved, the home on seventeen acres, the coworkers I called friends, my self-esteem, and my lust for life.
Began Investigating Options
In 2015 I saw the collapse in the oil and gas industry coming and decided that I needed to generate some “mailbox money” then to help supplement my unemployment insurance until it ran out. I was finally RIF’ed (selected as part of the Reduction in Force) in February 2016. My unemployment insurance ran out August 2016. Fortunately, I began prepping for that moment back in 2015 when I began investigating the fastest ways to make money and build a business. Not only that, but I doubled my efforts putting up canned goods and other consumable items.
STEP ONE – Selling Online
I signed up with an online buying and selling site and began selling the stuff around the house that I did not use anymore. I found that there is a buyer for just about anything you may have around the house. There is definitely a learning curve to selling online. One must take into consideration pricing your items correctly, selling fees, monetary transaction fees, shipping fees, shipping supplies, time listing the items, negotiating with buyers, and other issues. I lost money the first month and began to run out of stuff to sell. I had to find another way to find stuff to sell.
STEP TWO – Finding Local Stuff To Sell
I began to find other things to sell online by asking family and neighbors if they had anything to sell. We offered to list their stuff, asked them what price they wanted to sell it at, and then I added a markup for profit. I used the profits to purchased low cost items from Goodwill stores, Salvation Army stores, Big Lots, Sears outlets, and other local discount stores. Then I began to go to garage sales, estate sales, and looking on community websites like Craigslist and Back Page for free stuff to sell.
STEP THREE – Holding On To My Profits
February 2016 arrived sooner than I was ready. Although I knew I was going to lose my job, I was not mentally prepared for it. When I received my “Notice”, I was still not making any real profits from selling online. Since I had a PayPal account from selling online, all my money from the online sales was still in that account. Since it was difficult to get money out of that account, I left it there for my “rainy day”. I used that money to purchase stuff online and then resold them for a small profit. Those profits began to add up quickly.
STEP FOUR – Finding Sources of Products Online To Sell For A Profit
Bulq.com, Alibaba.com, AliExpress.com, and Liquidation.com were the first sites I used to find products to resell. Opening accounts on Alibaba and AliExpress sites were free, negotiations for low-priced products was easy, and most of the time I could pay via PayPal. With Liquidation.com and Bulq.com, the most important suggestion I have regarding these sites is, of course, do your research on the products they are offering but also scrutinize the listings and the manifests describing the items for sale. If you decide to purchase from them, immediately initiate and track each piece of the inventory upon arrival. I ordered from Bulq.com one time and half the inventory was missing. After contacting the customer service representatives, I did negotiate a partial refund.
STEP FIVE – Starting a Real Online Store or Service and/or a Blog
Starting an online store is not that difficult, but it is very, very, very time consuming. Nowadays, you can create an online store using templates provided by various websites. Some websites, like Shopify and GoDaddy, have sites you can customize for your specific type of store or service. GoDaddy’s offers a product called GoCentral. Online Store is one of the many applications you’ll get through the GoCentral product when you purchase the Online Store plan. Along with GoDaddy’s Email Marketing, SEO, Online Bookkeeping, and SSL, your site will be equipped will all the tools you need to successfully sell your products or services online.
I used GoDaddy because they had an online special that included a bookkeeping software package and other tools. The bookkeeping software tracks all the sales from all sources and expenses like mileage, invoices, and purchases. It also assists in organizing that information. At the end of the year, during tax time, it generates a report, which assists when it’s time to file your taxes.
Yahoo.Store! has a basic store package, which includes everything you need to start selling. Its domain name is included and product catalog (including bulk import/export) is unlimited as is its storage space and bandwidth, plus setting up a business email account is free. A mobile optimized store front is included. Credit card and PayPal payment processing is included, along with out-of-the-box shipping integration and search engine optimization. You can search out the information on Yahoo.com. However, it is very expensive.
Blogging is best matched for those who enjoy writing about a particular subject. You can have a personal blog, but writing about a particular subject will have a higher chance for financial success. SurvivalBlog is a perfect example of a successful subject matter-based blog. And there are endless topics you can write about. Since there are so many types of writing styles, don’t worry about competition. Folks who read one blog are apt to read others on a topic they’re passionate about, as long as you have something interesting to say.
Once your blog starts getting busy with traffic, you can make a passive income with things like AdSense (Google’s ad revenue sharing plan). You can also participate in affiliate marketing and you can put a banner asking members to donate to your site.
STEP SIX – Funding
When I first began selling on Ebay, I sold the stuff I had around the house that I was not using. I began with new stuff and then began selling the used stuff. When I ran out of stuff to sell around the house, I had to begin using the money I had to begin buying stuff. Since it takes time to sell stuff, I began running out of money fast to buy stuff and to live on at the same time. I ran out of money fast and had to swallow my pride and ask my family and friends for a loan. The agreement was that I borrow money from them, buy the product and sell it with a bit of a markup; in return, they get their money back in full plus interest.
In 2016 PayPal began offering Business Working Capital loans. PayPal Working Capital gives businesses access to the capital they need, but it’s faster and easier than traditional loans. It’s available to select businesses that already process payments through PayPal. If you get the loan, you can select flexible payments. There is one affordable fixed fee, no credit check, the funding is provided in minutes, and it does not affect your credit score.
If the business qualifies, based on sales, the lender reviews your PayPal sales history to customize a special offer. To be eligible to apply for PayPal Working Capital, you must have a PayPal Business or Premier account for three months or more, process at least $20,000 in PayPal sales annually if you have a Premier account or $15,000 in PayPal sales annually if you have a Business account, and pay off any existing PayPal Working Capital loan. The best part about this form of financing is that it does not affect one’s credit rating. The loan is paid as the items are sold.
Since I began writing this article, I’ve been unemployed for a year and a half. By the grace of God, I will find another job. And He has given me the foresight to begin prepping for hard times early. I also believe God gave me the inspiration to begin my online adventure as well. God will provide, but I learned the hard way that one must take initiative to take care of oneself and the family. I hope this article helps someone out there, and God Bless.