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Make Money Using Your Natural Talents

Here are 5 skills you can leverage into part-time work

Tips for Getting Started

Setting up a home-based business to make money from your natural talents requires some extra work. Here are some resources as well as things to consider:

Rethink your career

AARP's LifeReimagined has a number of ideas to help plan your next career move. From the website's home page, click on Work to access resources on starting a business.

Sell your talents

Elance is an online marketplace where jobs are posted and freelancers bid on them. If your bid is selected, you pay Elance a service fee of 8.75 percent of what you earn. You can sell your hand-stitched goods online at Etsy. It's free to become an Etsy seller, but you'll pay a fee of 20 cents to list an item for four months. When it sells, you pay a 3.5 percent commission to Etsy. At Fiverr, you can offer a service that uses your skills — voice-over for a Web ad, designing an invitation, and so on — starting at five bucks a pop. Fiverr keeps $1 and the seller gets $4 per gig.

Pay attention to the paperwork. If you're running a small business out of your home, you will probably need tax registrations, business and occupational licenses and permits from federal, state and local governments to operate legally.

Check your insurance

It's smart to add an insurance rider on your homeowner's or renter's policy in case a deliveryman falls on your steps. Contact your insurer about coverage for valuable work-related equipment you keep at home. Each state has rules about insurance that can be offered to home-based outfits. For more, go to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group and information clearinghouse.

Don't forget the IRS

Independent contractors pay federal and Social Security taxes on income. You will need to pay estimated taxes throughout the year instead of once a year. Go to the IRS Self-Employed Individual Tax Center for help. Depending on the location of your business, you may be required to file state and local income and business taxes.

Find a mentor

PivotPlanet, a new virtual mentoring service, lets you connect with expert advisers via one-on-one video and phone conferences. The service offers access to expert advisers in hundreds of fields for people looking to change careers or add a business. It's designed to help build a concrete mentor relationship that can evolve over a series of sessions at regular intervals and on an as-needed basis. These meetings are billed hourly and can range in price from $50 to $200.

Kerry Hannon, AARP jobs expert, is a career transition expert and an award-winning author. Her latest book is Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Hapy and Healthy … and Pays the Bills.

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