Mum boosts income by £1,800 thanks to lockdown DIY – ‘So surprised!’

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Victoria Sully used her spare time in lockdown to start a family DIY project: creating a pond and bringing some wildlife into her garden. After an accidental discovery, Ms Sully now makes an extra £120 to £150 every month – working out at up to £1,800 extra a year – selling the aquatic plant duckweed on eBay.

From her Cornwall home, Ms Sully wrote about her journey on her blog Lylia Rose, sharing that she had no idea her DIY venture would be raking in cash a few months later.

Seeking a change of scenery as lockdown continued, Ms Sully and her family created a pond in their garden in the hopes of attracting some beautiful wildlife into their lives. 

Trying to create a tempting environment for this wildlife, and wanting coverage to protect the pond, she went onto eBay to get an array of pond plants as all of the traditional shops were closed. 

She writes on her blog: “I’d heard around 75 percent of the water should be covered, so I ordered duckweed which rapidly grows to cover the top of the pond.  I had no idea quite how rapidly it would grow and before we knew it the pond was covered!”

Duckweed is a floating plant with tiny round leaves that will quickly cover any water surface if left unchecked. 

Not knowing what to do with the excess, Ms Sully started skimming off the excess into a compost pile and soon realised that this would not be a sustainable way to remove it for very long.

The money-savvy mum has always been on the lookout for deals, savings and income opportunities, which she quickly noticed could be the case with her duckweed dilemma. 

Ms Sully turned to eBay where she had originally bought the duckweed that was now taking over her pond. 

Identifying that there was a market for this product, especially because she had been a consumer within it, she listed her first batch of duckweed on eBay.

This side hustle has allowed Ms Sully to bring in extra cash each month with very little time, energy or costs involved.

She told My Favourite Voucher Codes that each bag of duckweed she sells has a £2 profit margin, which extends with each bag bought in a single order.

Her duckweed continued to grow rapidly throughout the summer and into early autumn, keeping up with her customers’ demands as she was selling up to six bags a day.

While it is not enough profit to turn into a full-time career, Ms Sully was still pleasantly surprised to be making money from something she would otherwise be throwing away. 

During the lockdown it was a fun project and tied in nicely with our daily walks. We’d post the duckweed orders at the post boxes on our daily hour walk. 

“The kids loved to help package it up and post it. We were so surprised it started selling every day,” she shared. 

Adding some tips for others looking for a unique and easy side hustle, she said: “If you plan on doing the same, if you have excess plants in your pond and would rather find a new home for them instead of binning them, then make sure you think about packaging and shipping. 

“The plants need to be posted on a quick service and packaged appropriately so they are not ruined in transit, or so any residue water does not leak out.  

“Postage and packaging also cost money, so make sure your sale price covers these costs.”

Julian House from My Favourite Voucher Codes noted that taking the opportunity during lockdown to find a new hobby, as well as a way to make extra money, is incredibly impressive: “The great thing about this project is that, while it took a bit of effort to set up the pond, selling duckweed on eBay was a surprising side-effect. 

“Victoria hadn’t set out to make money from her pond, yet this low-cost project now needs very little maintenance or effort but earns her a substantial amount each month. In addition to this, she’s also got the whole family involved, making it a fab learning opportunity for her kids in financial responsibility, and I bet they love checking out the wildlife in their new pond too!”

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