Given today’s economy, many people are looking for ways to supplement their income. I frequently get inquiries from people wondering how to make money with a blog. I know of people who have taken up babysitting and ebaying to pay the bills.
A book like The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Money with Craigslist has hit the market at the right time. But is it really possible to make money with Craigslist? And does the book do a good job of teaching you how?
I was given a review copy of this book, and I read it from cover to cover. After all, I’m always interested in different ways to make a little cash. Did the book deliver? Here’s what you can expect.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Money With Craigslist is divided into five sections. We’ll cover them one by one.
As a regular user of Craigslist, the first part didn’t teach me a lot. The first two chapters cover Craigslist basics: what it is, how to navigate Craigslist, how to avoid scams, and where to find help.
Chapter 3 starts to touch on the subject of making money by giving you a brief overview of different money making sections of Craigslist: Community, Housing, For Sale, Service, and Jobs, Gigs, & Resumes. At this point it doesn’t go into great detail about how to make money with these sections of Craigslist, though.
Chapter 4 teaches you how to write a great ad, how to use pictures in your ads, and what you can and can’t put in your ads. It also gives you tips about maintaining your ads.
In Chapter 5 I finally learned something new, when the book introduces the reader to different software that can help you better utilize Craigslist. I had a lot of fun playing around with some of their suggestions, and I found the suggested software to be useful in doing more than the basics with Craigslist.
This section section covers more basics, but it goes a little further than the first section. In chapters 6 through 8, you’ll learn what it takes to keep your Craigslist account in good standing, more about how to write better ads, placing ads outside your area, and how to avoid scams.
Chapter 9 discusses money. I found the section on bartering to be interesting, as most people don’t realize the tax implications of bartering. While Making Money With Craigslist doesn’t go into a great deal of depth on the subject, it does make you aware of things you need to know, so you can research further, before deciding to barter.
You’ll also learn about other payment options, like cash, check, and Paypal.
Chapter 10 discusses Craigslist’s competitors. Though it was an interesting chapter, it seemed a bit out of place in a book about making money with Craigslist. Still, I learned about a few sites I didn’t know existed.
This was the most interesting section to me, as a blogger and freelancer. It was here that I learned a lot about how to effectively use Craigslist to make money.
Chapter 11 discusses the differences between the jobs and gigs categories on Craigslist. There is a difference, and it can be important, if you’re looking for work. Chapter 12 covers the way major corporations use Craigslist, and Chapter 13 shows you how to effectively post your resume, if you’re looking for work.
Chapter 14 is my favorite chapter in the entire book. Entitled “A Writer/Editor’s Dream”, this chapter shows writers and editors how to find work, using Craigslist. Since writing and editing are often telecommuting jobs, it pays to look for jobs all over the country (and possibly all over the world). The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Money with Craigslist does a great job of explaining how to effectively search the country for your next writing assignment.
“A Writer/Editor’s Dream” also discusses how you can effectively market yourself as a writer on Craigslist, so people who are looking for writers find (and hire) you. I learned a lot from this chapter, and I’m sure I will be referencing it again.
The last chapter in section 3 takes things in a different direction. It discusses staffing your company from Craigslist. While not helpful for someone looking for work, Chapter 15 is potentially useful for someone, like a blogger, who is looking to outsource some work.
This is what I think of, when I think of Craigslist. A place to buy and sell used stuff. You can definitely make money selling things on Craigslist, and in many ways, it’s easier dealing locally than it is to deal with shipping things, when you sell on eBay. And that’s what this section covers.
Chapter 16 tells you about the different categories in the “For Sale” section of Craigslist. Of particular interest is the section on prohibited items and the (second) section on bartering. You’ll also find out how to buy low, using the for sale section. You then, of course, want to turn around and sell high to make a profit. Chapter 16 also gives you a short section on how to price items for sale.
Also covered are the “big ticket” items, like electronics, vehicles, and real estate.
Chapter 17 tells you everything you need to know to look for opportunities outside the United States, and Chapter 18 rounds out part 4 by showing you how to use Craigslist and eBay effectively, when you’re buying and selling to make a profit.
Chapter 19 is an important chapter about legal stuff you need to know, if you’re going to regularly use Craigslist to make money. Most of the information is old hat to someone who’s been self employed before. 1099s, doing business as (DBA), and the IRS area are all covered, as well as a short section on Net Neutrality and keeping Craigslist Free.
The final chapter shows you how to most effectively navigate the message boards, when you’re looking for help or information.
Appendix B is also worth a read, as it provides a pretty extensive list of web resources to help you in your quest to make money with Craigslist.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Money with Craigslist wasn’t quite what I expected when I first opened the book. Since I’ve mainly used Craigslist for buying and selling things, I expected a primer on how to make money doing just that.
While Making Money with Craigslist covers that information, I found I didn’t learn a lot that was new to me. For someone who has never bought or sold anything on Craigslist, it might be useful information, but if you’ve bought and sold things before and have decent ad-writing skills, I’m not sure this book is going to teach you much you don’t know.
If you’re a freelancer, who can telecommute, and you’ve never used Craigslist to look for work, though, I think this book is useful. I learned a lot about how to look for job opportunities outside my immediate geographical area, and it’s information I could see myself using someday.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Money with Craigslist is a good book, but I think a better title might have been The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Effectively Using Craigslist. Based on the title of the book, I was expecting more of a “how to” book with step by step instructions for making money with Craigslist.
Instead, this book is a great overview of Craigslist for a Craigslist newbie. Even if you’re not looking to get rich through Craigslist, this book is helpful in learning to navigate the Craigslist waters. If you’re a freelance writer, looking to expand your job possibilities, you might find information you can use. If you’re already successfully buying and selling stuff on Craigslist, the information found in this book might seem pretty basic for you.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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