My family has always been rather crafty, each of my sisters and I being particularly good at making different things. And just recently, my little sister finally put her skills to use to make herself some money. She made some buttons for a club at her school and ended up walking away with about a $200 profit. Not bad for a day’s work, right? So if you’re a pretty crafty person, and you notice that several people around you like what you make, perhaps you should consider turning your hobby into cash or into a job to help you pay for college.
First off, before you can even think about selling anything, you first have to see if there’s a demand for your product. This pretty much means you have to showcase your products off for a trial period of time. Wear and use them yourself, and see if any friends comment on them and are interested in getting them. In fact, you should even consider handing some out to some friends and asking them to spread the word around and get people interested in what you’re selling. Once there is a demand, then you can start considering your supplies, prices, etc.
You have to be careful when you start buying up supplies, especially if what you’re selling needs special supplies you have to order online through a specific website. Always try your best to estimate exactly how much supplies you will need for a given order or batch of orders. If unsure, always buy a little more. Specialty supplies you don’t use often you’ll probably want to buy in small amounts and only reorder when you’re low on them and when there’s a demand for it. Supplies you tend to use often you’ll probably want to stock up on in bulk. It also helps if you find more than one place to buy your supplies, so that way you have a backup place to purchase your supplies if your main place happens to be out of stock.
Once you’ve got your demand and supply, figure out your pricing. The best way to figure out a price where you’ll actually profit is to add up all your costs (supplies and labor) and see how much more than that you need to make in order to make a profit. Anything that costs you more to make, charge a bit more than that.
After that, the next step is to set up a system where people place orders and you deliver. Lots of people tend to utilize websites. If you’re not terribly technologically gifted though, there are always places like etsy.com and deviantart.com that you can register and set up a seller profile for free that is fairly easy to maintain. Although do keep in mind that etsy.com does charge a small amount to use their services, although these amounts are very small and outweighed by the amount of money a seller could make. Deviantart.com also takes a small fee if you sell prints through them, though there is no fee charged if you plan to use their website to just host your product gallery and for people to place orders through the private messaging system. There are many other website options as well, such as creating your own free websites through weebly, webs, or even blogs such as wordpress, livejournal, or blogger. It all depends on what you’re most comfortable working with.
And don’t forget: advertise, advertise, advertise! Considering you’re starting out small, your business solely relies on word-of-mouth to grow. So tell your friends, have your friends tell their friends, and so on. You should even consider posting flyers in your school, neighborhood, local laundry mat, and invest in some business cards to pass out whenever you meet someone new.
Once you’ve accomplished all of this, you’ve successfully become an entrepreneur! Now it’s just up to your own work ethic and smarts to keep your business afloat.
Do you have any other tips on turning your hobby into cash? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo courtesy of groundsel via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).