Turning Your Crafting Hobby Into a Job
by Gary Foreman
Turning a hobby into a full-time income can be easier said than done. These steps can increase your chance of success.
Are you stuck in a job you don’t particularly love? One that might not be all that secure? Perhaps you want to escape the 9 to 5 rat race, where you’ll have more freedom regarding when and where you work.
Maybe you share a dream that many of us have — to turn a crafting hobby into a full-time job.
Is it possible? Yes, but it’s not easy and there’s no guarantee of success.
Let’s explore what it takes to turn a hobby into a job. We’ll use jewelry making as an example. You may create a different crafty product, but many of the considerations will be the same.
Change Your Attitude
Begin by recognizing that you’re changing a hobby into a job, which means adopting a new attitude.
- You’ll need to create products regularly and not just when you feel like being creative.
- You’ll find that some items sell well, so you’ll need to produce more of them, and that can become boring.
- You’ll need to be aware of the cost of your materials. The more you spend making something, the more you’ll need to charge for it.
- Your time isn’t free even if you enjoy your work. That means you need to know how much time you spend making something and include that cost when you price the product.
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Line Up Your Suppliers
Next, you’ll need to line up your suppliers. You’ve probably been buying your supplies at a retailer like Hobby Lobby.
If you’ll be buying quantity, it’s time to try to find wholesalers. A search for “wholesale craft supplies” turned up pages of suppliers. Find the ones that best meet your needs.
Create a Business Plan
Then, create a business plan. Know how much annual income you want to make and what it will take to reach that goal.
Be realistic. If you need to produce and sell 20 pieces each and every week, is that really possible? This isn’t the time for wishful thinking!
Make a rough calculation to see if your plan works. We’ll make up an example to illustrate the point.
Suppose you can make an item in 20 minutes, and your profit is $10 each. To make $50,000 annually, you must sell 5,000 of that item ($50,000 divided by $10). At 20 minutes each, that would be 100,000 minutes or 1,667 hours. You’d need to work 33 to 34 hours a week for 50 weeks to produce that profit.
Don’t forget that you’ll have some additional business costs. Packing materials and shipping can become significant costs for your product. Know how much it will cost to get each item to its customer and include that in your costs.
If the basic plan is sound, then proceed to a marketing plan.
Create a Marketing Plan
As you’ve already found out, the internet has changed the market for things like crafts. A few decades ago, local craft/street fairs and card/gift shops were your only real outlets. Now, there are plenty of online places to sell your creations.
Go beyond listing your items in craft marketplaces like Etsy.com. Seek out niche sites for your product. Take the time to find out how to market through them creatively.
Become familiar with social media. Creating a Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram account might be advantageous. Use pictures to display your work. You want people to see your beautiful creations!
Try to keep in contact with your customers. Get an address, either email or postal. Follow up a few weeks after the sale to see how they like their purchase. Get their permission to contact them once or twice a year when you have something special to offer.
Try to stay in front of any trends. Occasionally, an item will get regional or even national attention. In short order, many crafters begin making their own interpretations. If you can be there first, you can command higher prices and exit before the price competition begins.
Consider Selling Others’ Crafts
If you find that you’re good at the business side, consider selling crafts made by others.
Many crafters would like to sell their stuff but don’t have the time or business skills to do that successfully. Some will gladly give you a cut if you handle sales and distribution for them.
So it’s definitely possible to turn your hobby into a business, but it takes a proper perspective and a lot of hard work. Hopefully, your efforts will be successful!
Reviewed February 2024
About the Author
Gary Foreman is the former owner and editor of The Dollar Stretcher. He's the author of How to Conquer Debt No Matter How Much You Have and has been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money, Credit.com and CreditCards.com.
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