I’ve been sitting here crocheting all morning and—quite frankly—feeling really blessed to be able to spend my days being creative. It’s wonderful to be in charge of my own schedule, make decisions about what projects I want to pursue, and indulge my creative whims. I feel privileged to live this kind of life. It’s a life that I have chosen and one that’s perfect for me. However, along with all that creative freedom also comes the responsibility of generating income to support myself and my family. Yes, I have kids and bills and a big dog with severe food allergies. These things cost money, but I don’t want money issues to stop me from living the life that is right for me so I’ve learned how to make the most of my time and talent in my home business.
Financial concerns stop many people from even considering a work-from-home type of job. Is it possible to make enough to get by? The answer is yes! Yes, if you are willing to do the work, learn the ins and outs of online business, and put in the time and effort it takes to establish a firm foundation. One way that creative home business people make ends meet is by making the very most of everything they do. Reduce, reuse, recycle works for home-based entrepreneurs! Reduce your workload by being strategic. Reuse your ideas and products in as many ways as possible. Recycle your work into other products and packages to add income streams! Here’s some ideas on ways for crafty folk to turn talents into cash:
This post contains links to affiliate products or services that I use and enjoy.
I may receive compensation if people choose to use these products or services based on my recommendations.
#1 – Sell your creative products
If you are a creative person wanting to branch out and sell your wares beyond your circle of friends or local craft fairs, then Etsy is a great option for you!
People often ask me how much it costs to have an Etsy shop. The answer is “not much!” Etsy asks you to pay 20¢ to list an item for 4 months. (((However if you use my Etsy seller referral link, you can get 40 free listings … and I will get 40 free listings for referring you. Win! Win! You can test drive a shop for up to 40 listings and not have to pay the listing fees until you’re established.)))
Once you have your store up and running, you can start making sales. When you sell an item, you pay a transaction fee of 3.5% and a payment processing fee which is also a very small percentage. To give you an idea, many of my items sell for $4.99 USD. I typically receive about $4.30 after the fees. Figures can vary slightly based on currency conversions and the payment method the buyer chooses. Etsy will also handle extra fees like the VAT tax required in European countries so you don’t have to worry about calculating those. Then once a week Etsy will deposit any sales money you’ve earned into your bank account. Cha-ching!
Listing on a site like Etsy exposes your products and creativity to an international audience! Etsy gets millions of visitors every week. You would be hard pressed to get that kind of exposure locally.
#2 – Sell your patterns or tutorials
So here’s another factoid about me. Many years ago, I learned a very valuable lesson in business while I was working at a marketing/advertising firm I’d started with my husband. I was making pretty good money, but to be honest, it was a grind. In order to earn income we had to find a client, get their business, design their website, brochure, or printed materials, then invoice them. Once complete the process started all over again. We had to work through this process (which could take months to go from start to finish) for each paycheck we wanted to receive. I quickly realized we were trading time for money—and we only had so much time. That meant we were incredibly limited in how much we could earn … and we were tied to long hours of hard work.
As a crafter, you may be in the same situation. You can only crochet so many hats and scarves in a day. Maybe you have kids and a spouse who rely on you, so you can only work so many hours on your creative projects. That limits the amount of income you can earn from your crafting. Like my marketing business model, you are tied to that one project / one payout business plan.
But there’s an amazing solution! You can increase your ability to earn exponentially without investing endless hours when you create a product that you can make once and sell over and over again, like a pattern or a tutorial.
As a highly creative person, chances are that you’ve developed some methods, techniques, and patterns along the way. As an entrepreneur, you have the opportunity to share your patterns and techniques with the world in the form of another product.
You could write up detailed instructions about your special methods with pictures to demonstrate what you do and sell this instructional as a PDF download. You could put together a video tutorial of one or more videos and create a class so that people can follow along with you as you create your amazing product. You could sell your patterns and parts lists for sewing projects, crochet or knitting, or even woodworking.
People will gladly pay a fee to get specific instruction and targeted tutorials from a person who has mastered an art form. You can help them create projects as beautiful and useful as the ones you make and earn income in the process. Don’t be afraid to share this info and profit from the creative trailblazing that you’ve done!
If this is an area you are interested in branching into, there are platforms and services that can help you. If you have downloadable patterns and tutorials to sell, Etsy is a great forum for that kind of product. Teachable is a great venue for video classes. I use both services and enthusiastically recommend them!
#3 – Sell supplies
If you’ve spent months or years developing your craft, chances are you’ve done a lot of searching and hunting for the best supplies and parts for the best prices. In some instances, it’s possible to become a distributor. Or perhaps you can buy in bulk for a discount and resell the parts for a small profit.
If you create a unique part for you project, perhaps you can sell a portion of your project to help people duplicate your results. For example, maybe you watercolor your own card stock for some really beautiful handmade greeting cards that you make and sell. People write you to ask where you get that amazing card stock. Why not make extra and sell them to other paper crafters?
Another way to turn your supply chain into an income stream is to consider whether your projects could be packaged and sold as kits. Put together a pattern or instructional and pair it with all the parts and supplies a person needs to accomplish the project, then sell it all as one kit. Give people everything they need to complete your project so they don’t have to go to a dozen stores rounding up supplies. This saves a customer time and money, and they get everything they need in one easy purchase.
#4 – Become an affiliate for related products or services
One final way that I make money as a creative entrepreneur is to participate in affiliate programs. Over the course of my business journey, I have tested and tried all kinds of products and services. I’m happy to share my experiences and feedback with other creative folk. Many companies that I use and enjoy have affiliate programs. What that means is that if I like their services, I can recommend them to my online community of people. Should someone decide to use the product or service based on my recommendation, I receive some form of compensation. Some programs offer a finder’s fee (as in cold-hard cash!!) while others will reward their affiliates with credits to apply to products or services.
Affiliate marketing is an amazing way to bring in extra income once you learn the ropes. I wanted to try affiliate marketing for years, but didn’t really know where to start. Finally, I found some help and answers to my questions in an ebook I downloaded from House of Brazen. The book was called How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours and did an amazing job of walking a person through the process of getting started. The author has since upgraded the book into a course called Paid by Pinterest. Check it out! Totally worth the low price.
After reading the book and trying out the basics, I knew I wanted a more detailed journey into the art of affiliate marketing. I chose to sign up for a class called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing taught by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner. Michelle makes over $100,000 a month from the affiliate marketing streams she’s built over the last few years. That’s right! 100K every month! The course, which includes over 50 lessons that you can work through at your own pace, is incredibly thorough and totally sets you up to begin a successful foray into affiliate marketing. She gives you info about dozens of companies you can work with and ideas for how to implement a successful strategy on numerous fronts. I loved the course the first time I went through it, and since I have access to it for life, I continue to go back and review sections to broaden and strengthen my affiliate marketing work.
If affiliate marketing is a subject that interests you, you can sign up for Michelle’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course at any time. You will get information to log in immediately after you sign up. Begin the course when you are ready and work at your own pace. And the great part is you have access to the course for as long as it is online, so you can go back and see updates and review sections you want to work on. This is one of the best classes on the market and Michelle has a proven track record. I highly recommend the class!
So that is a quick overview of a few ways that you can earn money working from home while doing something you love. If you have been wondering if crafting for cash is an option for you, I hope you’ll give some of these ideas some serious thought. It’s possible to start slow and work on building your creative business your free time, so why not give it a shot?
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