Get Crafty: 7 Steps Anyone Can Use to Make Money Online

You don't need a business degree to profit from your homemade wares.

Is your Pinterest craft board bursting at the seams?

It’s time to put those pins to good use and get crafty. Even better, make some money by selling your creations online. After all, the holiday season is right around the corner, and handmade gifts seem to be all the rage nowadays.

If you’re not sure where to start, let us help you. Here are seven steps to getting an online crafting business off the ground.

Step 1: Find the right craft

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Step one is undoubtedly the most important. Not everything that is handmade lends itself well to online sales. Ideally, your craft should fit the following criteria:

  • Be something you can make well.
  • Be something that can be inexpensively shipped.
  • Have some distinguishing feature.

You don’t want to be shipping out items that look like a sixth-grade art student made them. And a hefty shipping charge will likely deter many buyers. As for the final point, remember it’s a crowded marketplace out there. You need to find something to set yourself apart, at least initially, whether by coming up with a unique twist on an old product, devising innovative packaging or with an interesting back story.

Step 2: Decide whether to do it yourself or outsource

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I’ll let you in on a secret. Top-earning Etsy sellers don’t necessarily have to make their own stuff.

Take the case of Alicia Shaffer. You can read more about her story in this 2015 article from Business Insider, but it boils down to this: She bought many products wholesale and had a team of workers add embellishments so the products met Etsy’s definition of a handmade good. Using this system, she was able to sell $80,000 to $90,000 worth of goods each month, far more than she could if she were working solo and creating everything from scratch. Since then, Shaffer has taken her business off Etsy but continues to sell her items on her website.

While her system is not for everyone, don’t dismiss the possibility. There is only so much you can do by yourself. If you want to turn an online craft store into big business, consider whether you might want to use Alibaba or another wholesale source for items that you can build from.

A word of advice though: Do a trial run to make sure there is a market for your product before investing a lot in wholesale goods.

Step 3: Select the right selling venue

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Now that you know what you’re going to sell, you need to figure out where to sell it.

Etsy is hands-down the biggest online marketplace for handmade and crafty goods. However, competition from other crafters on the site is immense. Another option would be to take your business to one of the following sites where there is less competition but also less traffic:

A third option would be to create your own website, a proposition that isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds. There are a number of places on the web, such as Weebly and Squarespace, that offer dummy-proof web design and shopping cart options. However, again, the downside is lower traffic and also perhaps a selling venue that looks less polished.

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