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Friday, November 9, 2012

Generate Advertising Revenue While You Sell

This is a simple idea that I'm just starting to implement.  Why sell stuff on eBay where they charge commission and earn advertising revenue off your postings?  Why not post your items on your own webpage and earn advertising dollars along side of your sales?

The advent of free blog pages and other free web pages makes this possible to do without risking any cash out of your pocket.  It becomes only a matter of promoting your webpage or blog sufficiently to get the traffic you need to make sales.  Once you have traffic on your page, you can encourage others to post items on your page as you place ads on it.  Opening up your page to others is a great way to build content, traffic, and advertising revenue without any additional effort.  This is especially a good idea if you've been wanting to start a blog but don't know what to write about, or if you have a blog but need easy fillers to add in content on a regular basis.

One great way to build traffic to your site is to make a Craigslist posting because you can still place a link in Craigslist ads that point back to a webpage.   There are other free online stores that you can also use to build traffic on your own site.   Even if you sell on eBay, you can encourage repeat customers to buy directly from your webpage.  I do recommend that you focus on selling products that you can keep in stock at all times.   For example, I sell used golf balls on one of my blog-pages:

I get most of my customers from Craigslist and some from Facebook.  I can link directly to my blog from both of those sites.   When a potential customer contacts me through email, I always send a link to my blog page that has the appropriate products for sale.  This builds traffic to my page and gives me a way to keep in touch with my customers and get repeat business.  Perhaps they will see another product that they want to buy in one of my ads; I don't mind, the advertising revenue is easy money for me since I don't have to deal with products or customers.  I just collect my check from Google adsense every month.

As you begin, you can focus on marketing only to local customers that you can meet in person to make the transactions.   Later, you can add your own checkout tools to collect payments with PayPal or Google or Bitcoin.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Appliance Repair Equals Easy Money

Craigslist abounds with people wanting to get rid of appliances that are broken.  Many of these can be had for $5, a song, or less.   I recommend that one focus on fairly new items so that they are easy to sell after they are working again.  Here is a quick video to show how easily a dryer can be repaired.  In this video, I'm replacing the heating element, but another common dryer repair, drive belt replacement, is even easier.

There are tons of good YouTube videos that cover common repairs for exact makes and models of appliances.  Usually, only common tools are required and so there isn't much investment required to do this as long as you have a way to transport large items.

Remember, even if the appliance is too broken to repair, it is still worth money as scrap metal.   Also, there may be parts that can be scavenged from some appliances and then used to repair others.  One could potentially strip broken appliances and just sell the good parts online.  Please comment below if you have any other information to share that would help someone make money off broken appliances.

Lastly, I found the best replacement parts prices at:

Using Google Maps to Find Golf Balls

It is easy to make extra money if you have a lot of used golf balls to sell.  All you have to do is go see how much they sell used/refurbished balls for at Walmart, and then sell them on Craigslist for less.  The trick is to find hoards of used balls. I'm getting pretty good at using Google's satellite images to find places to hunt for golf balls.  Here's how I do it!

I start by looking for all the golf clubs that are in my town, or anywhere that I might be driving past.   Then I zoom in on the golf course.

In the picture above, I have zoomed in on a golf course in a planned community that is not far out of my way when driving to work.  I circled a place where there is a cul-de-sac next to one of the fairways on the golf course.   Since there are no houses on the end of the cul-de-sac, this is a place where I could potentially get to the edge of the golf course without getting on the golf course.  When zooming into this area further, I can see several other features that make this a good candidate location.

The first good feature is that this location is on the right hand side of the fairway as you look from the T-off spot to where the hole flag is.   That means all the sliced shots will accumulate there.  The other great feature is that there is a tiny stream running along the right hand side of the fairway.  That means that there is an obstacle between golfers and their lost balls ... another good indication that there may be some accumulation in this area.   Another great feature of this spot is that I can park close by.   The red areas outline places I want to search.  The round circle is where the sliced shots are likely to accumulate, and the oval area is where there may be balls that have washed out of the pond after a storm.  That bend in the creek is a likely settle-out zone.  However, I will mention now that I didn't find anything in the oval area.  The last feature becomes apparent when you go to google street view:

It's the best feature, tall grass!  Actually, the grass was even taller the day I went looking for balls here.  That made it harder for me to find the balls, but it was crucial for discouraging other more casual golf ball hunters from searching the area.  I've pulled over 300 golf balls out of this area in about an hour's worth of hunting.  But, you need more than one spot if you're going to make any decent amount of money hunting golf balls.  So, back to google maps.

Other areas that I like to search are golf clubs that are adjacent to a public park or railroad track.  You can see in the picture above that there is a wooded area between the Brushy Creek Regional Trail and the golf course.  The red outline highlights another slice zone near the hole on another course.  Again, there is a little stream that separates the golfers from their lost balls, and also there are usually high weeds there.  Another great spot is often directly behind the hole on a course.   A lot of balls sail past the hole when a golfer is trying to make a wedge shot but catches the ball with the leading edge of the club.  So, you have to pay attention to where the holes are and which direction the golfers are swinging from.   That's how you figure out specific areas where balls accumulate.

Above is another spot on the same golf course where I find balls all the way on the other side of the railroad tracks.  The short red line in the cul-de-sac is where I picked to park, and the red outline area shows where I found the most balls.  I did find a few in the ditch marked by the long straight line as well.

Be careful out there though!  Watch out for snakes in the small streams and high weeds.   Happy golf ball hunting, and please check out my youtube video that explains a little more about sorting and selling golf balls:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Imagine if you will...

...a financial world designed like this:

1. Banking services are reduced to a commodity, and every person has only one loan account.  They can borrow as much money as they want up to a certain amount which is based on several factors
     -Down payment multiplied by a loan amount factor <xSkinFactor>
     -Payback time frame of a set number of years <numYears>
     -Loan insurance fee <loanFeePercent>
     -Zero interest

For example, if a person or business makes a down payment of 100 units then they would be able to borrow 100 times <xSkinFactor> units.   <xSkinFactor> would be a variable that would be managed as needed to provide a stable economy.  Let's say <xSkinFactor> = 10, then 1000 units would be the available credit units yielding a down payment of 10%.

The payback time frame is also adjustable as needed to provide a stable economy.   If the person or company falls behind on payments, they would be barred from additional borrowing until they catch up, pay off the loan, or proceed through appropriate bankruptcy.   There is no other penalty for falling behind as it could result from a reduction in the payback time frame.   So, if <numYears> = 10, then the person would have to make payments totaling 100 units per year or more in order to maintain the ability to place another down payment and borrow more money.  If <numYears> were changed to 6 after the person had been paying on the loan for 2 years, then the person would have to pay 200 units per year or more in order to maintain the ability to place another down payment and borrow more money.

The loan insurance fee would be continually updated like any other insurance system.  It would be charged as a percentage of the loan amount, but unlike interest, it would be a 1 time fixed fee.   It would be set as needed to cover losses from bankruptcies.   If <loanFeePercent> = 5% then on a 1000 unit loan, 50 units would go into the insurance fund.  So, the person would only actually walk out with 950 units.

NO legal protection for personal or any other "off grid" loans!!!

2.  Investment services are completely separate and based on equity in a particular person, trust, or business.  In case of bankruptcy, claims on assets are secondary to the loan account, if any exists.  Only an individual may have a loan account.  Businesses must always raise funds by selling a stake in the entity's equity to an individual.  No margin allowed.  The amount of stock they are allowed to sell would be based on several factors:
     -Base equity (A down payment gathered by the initial investors)
     -BondFactor (A multiplier set as needed to provide some safety for secondary investors)
     -Business operating profit factor <OPF> (Another multiplier based on the proven profitability)  = 1 if no profits yet
     -BondBuyBackTime (Set number of years)

For example,

    Venture Capitalists get together and put 1000 units into a business, the BondFactor is 20, no profitability yet, so they can sell 20,000 units of bonds.  If <OPF> = 1.5 then they could sell 30,000.

3. Regular banking services like savings, checking, and debit cards would be charged a nominal transaction fee for these services.   Anyone could start a bank, but each account must be fully vested at all times.   A bank would be a custodian of funds and a transaction clearing house only.   With zero interest rates, money in accounts is of no value to the bank.  Banks would derive all profits from service fees.  High degree of competition is needed to keep fees low.

4.  To prevent fraud, bio-metric authorization of transactions is a must.  There would also be a system wide fraud insurance fee on all transactions that would be set as needed to refund losses and maintain user trust in the banking services.

The goal here is to reduce the ridiculous cost structure associated with our current system of Central Banking and Financial Services.   Bitcoin, or some other form of digital currency would be particularly handy for this system as well.