[Today’s guest post is from Hayley who blogs at Disease Called Debt.]
Indulging in a craft hobby is a great way to develop new skills and there’s a definite amount of satisfaction in making something yourself from scratch. What’s even more satisfying though is when you can use your craft hobby to generate an income and all from the comfort of your own home too.
If you have a craft skill like sewing, knitting, furniture restoration, carpentry or crochet, you can sell your handmade items to friends, family, at local craft fayres and by setting up an online boutique on Etsy (the handmade online marketplace).
In order to make a good profit from your craft hobby, one major factor to think about when selling your handmade items is the price – how much will people be prepared to pay for it and how much is it worth to you?
Business is Business
The price point is a sticky issue where a lot of craft businesses fail because they don’t get the price right to begin with. For example, if you price your craft items too low, you won’t make a profit because of the cost of materials, promotion and your time. If you price your items too high, you’ll be relying on a very specific type of customer to appreciate its worth.
To earn money from handmade crafts, you need to treat it like you would any other business. That means working out what products you can make quickly with the highest profit margin. By all means, make bespoke one off items that you absolutely love and get pleasure from making. For those products, price them high – only let them go if you can make a profit, otherwise you’ll regret it afterwards.
If you’re serious about turning your craft hobby into a real business, you’ll need a range of products that you know you can sell over and over again – so thinking and planning for your regular product lines is important. Once you have a range of craft items in place that you can make according to demand, then it’s time to think about other ways you can optimize and expand your business. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Optimize Your Online Store
Earlier, I mentioned about setting up an online boutique or store using a platform like Etsy. Developing an online store is a must for any successful craft business owner. You could also set up a Shopify store or eBay shop, but you may not find the right kind of potential buyers on eBay who will appreciate the effort that’s gone into your handmade product. There are other handmade marketplaces you could try where you can set up an online store, like Folksy and Coriandr, however Etsy is one of the largest platforms around.
Once you have your online boutique set up, you’ll need to regularly add products to it. Don’t just add four products and then give up when your items aren’t selling. Any serious potential buyer will look at your other items and check out your feedback before buying anything themselves. If your online boutique looks like a graveyard, they’ll likely move onto someone who is selling regularly with recent feedback.
So feedback is important. How to get it then? You could ask your friends and family to buy one of your craft items and leave honest feedback for you to get you started. If your products are good, then you’ll have no problem getting the right kind of feedback very quickly.
Another key factor to getting a successful online boutique up and running is to optimize your shop title and description so that it has a good chance of being included in search engine results. As long as you name your online store carefully and describe exactly what it is that you’re selling, this will help you attract visitors.
The same goes for optimizing product listings. If you’re trying to sell a wonderfully restored duck egg blue vintage chair, then you need to say this in the title of your listing. Something like, “Duck Egg Blue Vintage Chair – Refurbished” would work well. Think about what the buyer of your product would be searching for and use that to guide you in creating a good title.
Don’t be shy with the description – explain how you made it and any history behind it as handmade buyers love to know the story behind what they’re getting. Include the same keywords in the description as you did in the title, so that the search engines can easily identify that your product is indeed a duck egg blue vintage chair.
Write an eBook
A great way to expand your craft business is to write your own eBook with tutorials and sell it on Amazon. You can use Adobe Illustrator or similar to design your own patterns or picture illustrations – or even outsource this part of your book to someone on oDesk or Fiverr if you prefer. You can then write the instructions around the illustrations. You can also get an eCover done on Fiverr for just $5.
On Amazon, you can earn a 70% royalty from a book as long as it’s priced between $2.99 and $9.99. For a craft tutorial book, many hobbyists will be prepared to pay $2.99 to learn something new. You can publish your book within 15 minutes using the Kindle Direct Publishing platform; it really is that easy to do!
On the point of tutorials again, you can video your own tutorials showing how you make your handmade items. If you’re camera shy, you can just film your hands and the item being created – as many people do on YouTube already. You can make money from YouTube videos by installing Google Adsense after the video is uploaded.
However, you can only make money with YouTube videos by getting traffic to them. To do that you’ll need to set up a channel and put up a number of videos regularly to gain subscribers. Optimize the title and description carefully to make sure that YouTube visitors have a good chance of finding your video.
You can ask your friends and family to share your videos and promote them via social media too. Traffic will build up over time providing your video is useful and then you’ll start seeing another income stream forming by way of your craft business.
Offer Lessons or Workshops
Another good way to diversify your craft business is to run workshops or lessons where you can teach people the craft you’re an expert in. The craft industry is huge and there are people out there willing to pay to learn new skills. You could run workshops from your own home or at a local coffee shop if you can get permission.
Coffee shops are a great place to ask if you can do this (for free) because some owners will see the benefits in hosting a group of avid crafters for a couple of hours where they are bound to be in need of refreshments. Not to mention the benefits of being able to show that their venue is busy and popular.
Sell Craft Supplies
As well as selling your own handmade items, you could consider sourcing and selling your own supplies too. Craft enthusiasts need supplies. If you can source the right supplies cheaply by exporting, you can resell and make a profit.
If you enjoy a particular craft, you can turn your hobby into a profitable business by working hard to get your handmade items in front of the right people and by thinking about other ways you can utilize your skills to present you with more opportunities to earn money.
Earning money from crafts is just one great way to build up an income from home. For 100 other ideas, you might enjoy my new eBook “101 Ways to Earn Money from Home”.
About the author: Hayley is the owner of Disease Called Debt, a blog which provides a wealth of information about eliminating debt, making money and frugal living. Hayley is also a freelance writer and has recently become an Amazon author. You can connect with Hayley on Twitter.
Image Credits: © Depositphotos.com / monkeybusiness