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  1. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Active Member

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    Selling things when you're poor

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Accelerator231, Sep 11, 2019.

    So here's the thing. You're selling stuff on ebay. You're also pretty poor.

    Thankfully, for this scenario, you're world-class or at least trained professional in any kind of crafting you put into, from paintings, to embroidery, to pottery, to jewellery.

    So what's the best way to get money?
     
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  2. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributor Contributor

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    Paintings and drawings are always in demand. I'd personally draw porn; people make decent cash off that (though it's often very... Niche)

    I would ask, though, if I'm world class at literally any crafty business, why don't I just get a job doing that? Concept artist, artisan potter etc are infinitely more secure and if I'm that good it shouldn't be too hard to find something.
     
  3. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Active Member

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    Simple. She's trying to keep it a secret.

    Backstory time. Girl's poor, in a lower class family. One is a waiter, the other, a flower seller. Both aren't very rich, and the girl gets powers that can be described as 'human, but turned up to eleven'. I won't quite describe them all, but according to my calculations...

    *calculates*

    The girl has enough skill to match any human being in history, and quite easily surpass them. Imagine the world's greatest painter, the world's greatest potter or artist or drawer, and she can do in an hour what they spend years to achieve.

    The thing is, is that she's trying to keep it secret. One, because she's afraid of the government. Two, because she isn't quite ready to explain to her parents how she managed to become a superhuman all of a sudden. But they're poor, the bills are coming, and so... well, its time to do stuff.

    And by stuff, means 'create stuff and sell on ebay, to pay the bills'.
     
  4. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    One thing you could try is for them to land a job with a manufacturing or design firm. (Which can throw up all sorts of plot possibilities.) For example, I know people who trained as potters who work for the West Highland Pottery company, based in Ullapool and Lochinver. It's a very small company producing a niche product.

    That sort of avenue will give your characters a chance to use their unique skills and talents, while still getting paid a salary. (And possibly commission?) If the company they work for is small, they won't feel like a cog in a wheel, but will actually be contributing to the company's look.

    edited ...okay, I posted this before I saw your latest post. Probably doesn't apply in your character's situation, if it's Fantasy and your character is trying to hide her talent. Ach well....
     
  5. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Active Member

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    How about charcoal drawings and embroidery, taken using scraps of cloth and paper stolen from school?
     
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  6. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributor Contributor

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    I'd buy that as a reader that she'd make a little cash that way. Probably not much in the grand scheme of things but a couple dozen dollars a week or so (though I'm English so maybe I'm way off on the value of the dollar).

    Also I'd expect etsy to be more up her street than ebay. I'm not sure I'd mention either by name in a novel but etsy is very artsy focused.
     
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  7. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Active Member

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    What would a girl with near zero income do?

    Try and tech up. Grab paper and charcoal, then tech up to paints and canvas.

    *checks*

    Wow. Some are selling for several hundred dollars.

    https://www.etsy.com/market/charcoal_drawing
     
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  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    if you are very poor how do you afford a computer/phone and a network connection or time in an internet cafe... come to that how do you afford artistic materials.

    the likely scenario is that they start off with simple drawings and sell them on the street - they then get noticed by someone who 'sponsors' them with materials etc - either through altruism or with exploitation in mind

    Also the very poor are generally scraping for a living - they don't have time to sit around embroidering or drawing - if the parents are both working possibly more than one job the girl will have chores to do, possibly siblings to look after and so forth
     
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  9. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Active Member

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    15 year old kid. Still has parents. Though I agree on the simple drawings and selling on the street part.
     
  10. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    yeah but how do the parents afford the internet, computers a phone or camera for her to take pictures of her art, not to mention that to receive money from the internet and turn it into cash you have to have a bank account... a poor girl living on or below the poverty line who then sets up an ebay/etsy account is ridiculous... things that we take for granted are the things that the very poor don't have.

    and at 15 she'd be expected to be doing housework, looking after younger siblings, possibly working an after school job - especially if her parents don't know about the artwork bringing in money
     
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  11. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Active Member

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    You're right. Are there any things, like bake sales, garage sales, or other things that can serve as agents to sell to her?
     
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  12. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think what Moose may be suggesting is that there are other large anomalies you need to work out, before this income thing can be sorted.

    Is this a realistic story set in today's world? If so, you need to decide HOW poor this family is. Poor enough to be on foodbanks? Are they able to afford electricity in their home, never mind buy a computer, etc. He's quite right about selling on eBay as well. She will need a bank account, etc ...and if she's too young, that won't be possible. I'm not sure if there's an age requirement to be an eBay seller, but I'd be surprised if this wasn't the case.

    Not to mention, if she sells on eBay she's going to need packaging material, money to pay for the delivery ...even if she collects from the buyer, she'll still need to have cash up front for that.

    And where (and when) is she producing this artwork? At home? (Hardly a secret, then ...poor households are usually cramped.) Where does she get the money for supplies? (Or if she doesn't pay for them, where does she get them from?) And where does she keep her supplies?

    All this stuff is sort-able, but you need to sort it. Otherwise you're just digging a deeper believability hole.

    Maybe you need to take a break from this particular issue—how can she sell her work without her parents finding out—and get more of the basics in place first. How does the family live? What resources do they have? How do they come by these resources? (Who brings in money, and how much?) How do they all spend their time? Are they on benefits? If so, on what basis? (Unemployment, incapacity, etc?) Get those answers in place, and you'll be on a better footing with the issue of her selling her work.

    If she's good at quick portraiture and lives in a large city, she COULD do busking, where she produces a portrait on the spot. But again, she'll need materials.... And time away from household and other duties. And of course, not be 'found' by her parents or anybody who knows her. And while people are quite willing to pay for this kind of thing, they aren't usually willing to pay a whole lot. So ...that might be a way to solve the problem, if you can get the 'I am poor' scenario in place first. Then she could be 'discovered' by a mentor or some company or gallery while doing her busking portraits....
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
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  13. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    I think it depends on how secret she wants to be, and whom she wants to keep in the dark.

    If she hates the government and wants to stay off their radar, selling on eBay or itsy is out, because that creates a trail of income. She'd be better off going to craft fairs in distant cities and selling her stuff for cash or barter. Of course, she'd have to concoct an excuse for her absences, and arrange for transportation, so she might need an accomplice.
     
  14. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You need a bank account for one. I don't believe PayPal sends out checks. They just do electronic transfers to your bank account. Buyers can send you checks, but you still have to cash them and it severely limits your buyer pool. If you are going to do 'pick up in person', you might as well use Craig's List or OfferUp because buyers are looking only in the area they can pick up from..

    The mechanics of eBay or Etsy or OfferUP or Craig's List are easy to find. What your biggest hurdle seems to be is a cell phone for uploading pictures, you might find a cheap camera in a thrift store if the character doesn't have a phone. Then you need access to a computer if you aren't using the cell phone OfferUp ap.

    There are art fairs and flea markets but the character then needs the seller fee for a table. And that might be limited unless there are a lot of options like a permanent flea market. Or a Saturday Market or something that recurred often.


    PayPal, if you keep the account under $500 you don't need to give them your SSN. But you can't have a bank account in the US without a verified SSN.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
  15. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You can find free shipping materials in a number of places (I do) and you don't ship until you receive payment, the buyer pays shipping or it's included in the price.

    I like your other ideas, especially doing portraits.
     
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  16. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Active Member

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    You are all right. What about her standing on someone else? I.e. someone else in the same apartment sells pictures and potraits for a living or for supplemental income. She approaches him, gives him the stuff, and he sells for her. They split, 50-50?
     
  17. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Ebay requires sellers to be over 18 because they have to enter into a legal contract. Probably the same for hock and consignment shops, art galleries, or anyone that wouldn't be willing to buy outright with cash.
     
  18. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member Supporter

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    How about, instead of selling things, her power makes her the best doctor or lawyer in the world and she creates a fake identity to give out medical or legal advice online that people pay her for.
     
  19. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Active Member

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    Family - both parents are working, one sells flowers, the other, is a waiter. They aren't rich. They're both usually busy.

    Supplies? How much does charcoal and A4 paper cost? Or she just steals them.

    Why are you so concentrated on potraits? Can't she do normal artwork?
    I thought of that. Then,

    1. Its not a intuitive as good crafting
    2. Who even does that?
    3. Still has the problem of internet money.
     
  20. SomePenName

    SomePenName Member

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    For the cost of a cooler and some ice, she could become the best kidney harvester there ever was.

    Jokes aside, there is a rabbit hole around every corner to dive into. Best bet could be give up on bulletproof logic and write it in a way that leads the reader to suspend some disbelief.
     
  21. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member Supporter

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    2. https://www.justanswer.co.uk/sip/law?r=ppc|ga|5|Law%20-%202%20-%20GCO%20-%20Search|Legal%20Advice%20-%20Test&JPKW=legal%20advice%20online&JPDC=S&JPST=&JPAD=177126679670&JPMT=e&JPNW=g&JPAF=txt&JPCD=20170125&JPRC=1&JPOP=ETA_V1&r=ppc|ga|5|755040896|48138727668|&JPKW=legal%20advice%20online&JPDC=S&JPST=&JPAD=177126679670&JPMT=e&JPNW=g&JPAF=txt&JPRC=1&JPCD=&JPOP=&JCLT=&cmpid=755040896&agid=48138727668&fiid=&tgtid=kwd-39825633&ntw=g&dvc=c&gclid=CjwKCAjwtuLrBRAlEiwAPVcZBs-roMxXh1ODWak7QVJTLnNTs_-CiZ1DZwy33j4R53QvuQoEQ1QV2BoCQIgQAvD_BwE
    3. Paypal
     
  22. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Active Member

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    Fine. How about a deal with a 3rd party, that she sells his pictures along his, and they split the profits?

    Isn't that even worse? Isn't she going to have to either meet with the firm and confirm her identity, or set up her own website that is rather dubious?
    3. What about paypal?
     
  23. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Active Member

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    Oh yes. Which reminds me. I forgot to tell you this.

    She can, to a degree, bypass the limitations of her equipment. She can't create paper out of thin air, but she can accomplish a lot more than her tools can normally do.

    And it takes her 30 seconds to make one drawing.
     
  24. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The bastards hung me in the spring of '25.... Contributor

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    Wait, what? If she was the best doctor or lawyer in the world why would she need a fake identity to sell legal/medical advice online? Wouldn't her real identity as the best be profitable. And she's still poor?
     
  25. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Active Member

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    Please reread the thread.
     

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