Easy ways to make extra cash from home

If you’d like to make some extra money by being a hostess extraordinaire, starting your own direct selling business can be a fun way to do it. Working for a direct selling company allows you to create a flexible schedule by hosting parties, shows or workshops, and take home a percentage of your sales or a percentage of the sales of people you sign up to be representatives. Keep in mind that to make a lot of money, you need to sell a lot, but if you’re looking to supplement a steady income, direct selling could be just what you’re looking for. And if it turns out direct selling isn’t for you, most companies offer reimbursement or exchange programs to buy back unused materials at full price or part of the full price, depending on how long you have had the products. Read on to discover nine companies that might be worth your while.

The Pampered Chef: If you have a passion for cooking and kitchen essentials, The Pampered Chef helps you make money by hosting “cooking shows” where your guests can buy an array of kitchen products sold by the company. There are two available starter kits: the New Consultant Kit ($155), which includes 25 products as well as training, marketing and business materials; and the New Consultant Mini Kit ($80), which includes a smaller selection of products, in addition to training, marketing and business materials. As a consultant, you can earn 20 to 25 percent of your total sales for each “show,” and, by recruiting a team of consultants; you can earn an additional 1 percent of your sales and 1 percent of their total sales. Also, once a consultant has reached $15,000 in sales in their career, their commission rate is automatically increased by 2 percent on all levels.

Silpada Designs: Silpada Designs offers sterling silver jewelry, belts and watches that you sell as a hostess of an at-home “jewelry party.” The starter kit ($199) includes personalized business cards, a representative ID stamp, 50 Silpada Designs catalogs, a polishing cloth, a ring- and belt-sizer, and one of three jewelry packages to choose from. Each package includes three pieces of jewelry to display at your parties (a necklace, bracelet and earrings). In addition, hostesses receive a 50 percent discount off any jewelry you choose to buy for yourself, to wear or display. The kit includes information on how to become a successful representative, training CDs, monthly newsletters, a personalized MySilpada website, a home-show DVD and unlimited one-on-one training from a Silpada sales coach. Consultants earn 30 percent commission on every piece of jewelry sold, and if you recruit other consultants, you earn anywhere between 4 and 16 percent of their sales, based on your team’s total sales. As a bonus, during the first 100 days, consultants can earn up to $3,000 in free jewelry based on sales and recruiting activity.

Heritage Makers: Through Heritage Makers, hosts hold “home workshops” or “virtual workshops,” selling professionally bound cards, canvases, storybooks, posters, digital scrapbooks and photo gifts. Hosts can also schedule “Studio Demos,” in which clients are taught how to use the Heritage online software and can buy memberships to Club HM, the company’s publishing club, which consultants are encouraged to join. Club HM has three levels of monthly membership: $30, $50 and $100. As a member of the club, hosts receive free “publishing points,” which can be used to buy Heritage Makers products, with each point equaling $1. The $30 membership equals 40 points, $50 is 70 points and $100 is 120 points. You are also allowed to purchase “publishing points” at a wholesale discount of up to 34 percent off. The Consultant Signup Kit ($50) includes a starting guide, card sampler, order forms, brochures, catalogs, training DVD, personal website and virtual office, and an 8 x 8 storybook sample. Hosts can also sign up for an add-on Business Builder Kit for an additional $100, which includes additional workshop materials and supplies. Consultants make 10 to 30 percent of their total sales, 20 to 30 percent of the sales of those you’ve recruited and 1 to 5 percent of sales of the representatives recruited by your team, depending on individual and team sales.

Jordan Essentials: Consultants for Jordan Essentials sell bath and body products by throwing at-home Girls-Night-In parties featuring spa products and mineral makeup. Three starter kits are available: $89 for the Basic Kit, $125 for the Deluxe Kit and $150 for the Deluxe Plus Minerals Kit. Based on the price, the kits come with a varying range of products—including items such as exfoliant, moisturizers, powder and lipcolor—in addition to a training DVD, catalogs, flip charts, order forms, invitations and a free three-month website to promote your new business. Consultants make 25 to 35 percent of total sales and 5 to 8 percent of the sales of the consultants they have recruited, all based on your team’s overall sales. Jordan Essentials also offers Fast Start Rewards during the first 90 days, in which consultants receive $50 to $100 cash bonuses for recruiting other new consultants. The company also offers continual cash incentives, product bonuses, trips and prizes for those who exceed their sales goals.

Stella & Dot: This jewelry company allows you to become one of their “stylists” by selling an array of boutique-style baubles. Stella & Dot offers a starter kit ($199), including $350 worth of free jewelry to display at home parties. The kit also includes a stylist training magazine, hostess planner magazine, look-books and mini-look-books, sponsoring brochures, a DVD with company history and product information, plus invitations and other necessary business supplies. Consultants earn up to 30 percent of their total sales and between 4 and 8 percent of the sales of those they recruit, depending on individual and team sales.

Lia Sophia: Consultants for Lisa Sophia sell trend-setting gold, silver and mixed-metal fashion jewelry. The style company offers a starter kit ($149), which includes a mix of its top-selling pieces, such as earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings and more. The kit also features training materials, including catalogs, invitation postcards, display trays and a bag to transport the jewelry to and from your home shows. Hostesses receive 30 percent of total sales, as well as the opportunity for cash bonuses and free jewelry based on earnings. In addition, consultants can receive jewelry credit based on the number of items sold at each party and the number of parties booked.

Eclipse Candle Company: This Christian company allows you to make money by becoming a member of its “Glow Team,” selling a line of candles during at-home parties or trade shows. The Eclipse Candle Company starter kit ($99) includes three varieties of scented glass-encased candles, a stainless steel wick trimmer, decorative tins, a wick dipper, various fragrance tins, customer order forms, appointment cards, catalogs and brochures. New members receive special fundraiser forms; if consultants sell 25 of the company’s 12-oz decorative tins, the cost of the starter kit is covered. Regular consultants earn 30 percent of total sales and 1 to 8 percent of the sales of those you have recruited, depending on your team’s sales. Representatives also earn 15 percent of sales from community fundraising events. The company also has a Fast Start Program, in which new consultants earn prizes based on their sales in the first 75 days, with contests and prize incentive programs for top performers.

Essential Bodywear: As Essential Bodywear representatives, hosts provide an Essential Makeover with a Bra Party, helping guests find their right bra size and giving them the opportunity to buy stylish bras, ranging in size from 32A to 44H. The beginning Bra Fit Kit (currently $419, but usually $699 when not on sale) includes 48 sample bras as well as a training DVD, invitations, catalogs, order forms and other business supplies. Consultants earn 25 to 37 percent of sales and 4 to 9 percent of the sales of the representatives they recruit, depending on total individual and team sales. Essential Bodywear also offers a 30-day Medallion Club, in which the amount of sales can earn new consultants up to $900 worth of free products. Due to the fact that you are selling undergarments, Essential Bodywear only offers a refund on Bra Fit Kits that have not been opened.

Shure Pets: Shure Pets consultants sell an array of all-natural dog products, specializing in health and beauty aids. The company offers a Sample Kit ($99), which features 10 sample products including shampoos, vitamins, dog treats and toys. The Full Size Kit ($149) includes 20 full-size products, plus a training binder with information on the company and how to start your home business. Shure Pets also gives consultants the option to purchase a website for a $50 yearly subscription fee. Consultants earn 25 to 27 percent of their sales and between 3 and 5 percent of the sales of the consultants they have recruited, depending on total sales. Shure Pets also has a Fast Start Program, in which new consultants can earn an additional 10 percent on sales within the first 90 days, depending on how much is sold.

When times are tough, every extra dollar counts. But that doesn't mean you have to take on a second job! There are simpler ways to make extra dough on the side. From watching other people's kids to getting rid of stuff you already own, find out how you can boost your income.

Cash in your gift cards: Resale companies are happy to take them off your hands. You’ll get up to 92 percent of the card’s value, and you don’t have to pay a fee. Check out CardPool.com and PlasticJungle.com.

Look through your jewelry box: With gold prices at more than $1,300 per ounce and silver at $28, now is a good time to turn rarely worn or broken pieces into cash. Many reputable jewelry stores buy gold, and going to a store near you is safer than using online gold buyers since you don’t have to ship your piece to someone before getting paid—or possibly scammed. Call several stores in town to find ones that buy gold. Then go to a few to see who’ll offer the most. Before you make a final decision, check out the store’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau.

Babysit: Put the word out on Facebook, your school listserv and your church website that you’re free to watch kids. For a wider reach, sign up with SitterCity.com. The site connects parents with babysitters in their area. There’s no fee to join and you set your own rates.

Cook for cash: If people rave about your culinary talent, use it to make money. Let friends and family know via social media that you’re willing to make dinner for a tired mom. All she has to do is pick it up. Build the cost of groceries and storage containers into your fee.

Clear clutter—and sell it with the tap of an app: Geolist, a free iPhone and Android app, lets you instantly upload a photo, description and price of whatever you’re selling. The app uses location-based technology, so anyone in your area who accesses it will see your item. Think of it as a virtual local classified ad.

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