Everyone dreams of turning their hobby into a valid occupation. Fortunately for those who excel in their craft, today’s economy is filled with opportunities for turning one’s expertise into cash. The following is a list of easy ways to use your knowledge to fight off your financial woes. Note that while some strategies involve being a one-person production line, others put your brain to work more than your hands.
- Start selling your goods online. The difficulty of finding potential customers is the often the number one thing that prevents crafty individuals from selling their goods. By creating an online shop, sellers can overcome this problem by increasing their potential pool of buyers from the few people who know they craft to anyone with internet access. Additionally, many websites that provide online marketplaces, such as Etsy, a site that exclusively caters to buyers and sellers of handmade products, simplify the challenges of processing orders by implementing an automated system. It’s as simple as uploading a picture, writing a description, and deciding on a price.
- Craft custom orders. If you already have an online shop and are looking for a way to make more money from your merchandise, consider expanding into custom orders. Many buyers are willing to pay significantly more for a personalized item that requires the same amount of labor and materials as other items sellers already offer. Common examples of custom handmade items include needlework based off of photographs, wedding or other party invitations, custom scented goods, jewelry with personalized engravings, and printed goods with graphics supplied by the purchaser. Even if you think you produce a type of creation that cannot be customized, this is nothing that a little creativity cannot fix.
- Set up a booth at a local craft fair. Most counties will host various craft fairs at convention centers throughout the year. This is a place where crafty folk congregate, and is an excellent selling opportunity for suppliers and crafters alike. While there is undoubtedly profit to be made at these gatherings, there are several important points prospective attendees should keep in mind. First, one must remember that individuals must pay to rent out space at the convention, and provide the garnishes and furniture necessary to operate their stand. Because of this, sellers must mark up their goods to make up for the additional costs. Likewise, this is why it’s generally not a good idea to buy supplies from a craft fair unless the items are very unique, as distributors must also charge more for supplies that could be purchased for less online. Depending on your craft, such booths can result in varying success, so it’s also a good idea to read about others’ experiences online before committing yourself as an attendee.
- Give handmade gifts for the holiday season. Between siblings, friends, parents, in-laws, teachers, coworkers, and neighbors, the gift-giving season can certainly add up. Fight the costs this year by delivering homemade gifts instead. This is an especially viable option if you can create decorations, accessories, or food related items, as these are popular store bought gifts during this time of year. Avoid potential disappointment by individualizing each craft with each recipient in mind. It’s important to remember that financial benefits don’t always come in the form of money earned but sometimes as money saved.
- Try to strike a deal with local boutiques. As already mentioned, expanding into a market face-to-face can be intimidating, as trying to sell goods exclusively to your friends and acquaintances is generally not an option. However, if you sell a wearable item such as an accessory, or a decorative item, it is entirely possible to sell your goods to local boutiques at a wholesale price. This process is often initiated by the crafter and not the store owner, so it’s important to have a go-getter attitude if you intend on attempting this. It’s usually not a good idea to walk into a boutique without prior solicitation, so call and talk to the owner first to see if the transaction is even a possibility. If you receive the green light and schedule a meeting, come equipped with your best examples of potential merchandise, a set price, and a plan. One advantage of this method is guaranteed income if you sell your crafts as wholesale items, since the brick and mortar store holds the responsibility of retailing your items. Of course, if your items fail to sell well, it’s unlikely the store will buy from you again.
- Write articles about your craft. While in previous years a book deal would have been required for a creator to profit from their crafts through writing, the invention of the internet has transformed how information is published and thus opened up new opportunities for crafters. Now, almost anyone can profit off their expertise by creating how-to articles and other written resources. Currently, one of the best options available is to create a blog to host all of your work and gain profit through ad revenue. With this strategy you can post reviews of material, personal entries, upcoming projects, and other articles while simultaneously advertising your own work. As with anything, there are some potential drawbacks to writing articles about your creations. If you have a particularly simple craft that is highly profitable, revealing too much of your creation process can permit other entrepreneurs to steal your methods and customers. Also, if your website fails to attract enough visitors, the profit generated could be extremely low.
- Teach a class on crafting. This is another great way to put your expertise to work. While this option isn’t applicable to all crafts, and carries the same disadvantages as article writing, there are many individuals who supplement their income by organizing classes. Crafts such as crochet and knitting are popular options, as they are extremely widespread and hence don’t financially operate on a monopoly of information, but require a certain level of mastery that could be facilitated through further education and practice. Other potential classes include those on stitching, painting, drawing, and scrap-booking. Of course, for those who wish to start teaching others for cash there is always the difficulty of locating a proper venue to host the gatherings. Potential places that are often used include craft stores and community spaces such as libraries or community centers. It is important to remember that you must double check that you are permitted to make a profit from the class before committing to a location.