When you’re crafting well and often, you might start to wonder, what’s next? If your hobby is becoming serious, you could consider turning a profit! Some crafters find success creating a part-time gig. Others thrive by devoting considerable energy, and realize a full-time opportunity! Whatever your goals, you can spend time doing what you love while taking simple steps to support your hobby. Set a goal to create income by crafting! We’ve got 8 ideas to get you started.
A new venture can be daunting, especially when it involves putting yourself out there! Many questions arise, like how to get started, the best ways to connect with customers, and more. Thankfully, our Instagram-guru Lindsay knows a thing or two about crafting for cash, and she generously offered some suggestions! Whether you plan to sell finished products on Etsy, or patterns on Etsy or Ravelry, her amazing tips will definitely help you step up your game.
Above, check out the beautiful Easy Tunisian Earwarmer by an Instagrammer we love, @tlyarncrafts. Her Instagram is inspiring, because it looks good & expresses her joy of crafting! Here, she’s sharing several pretty examples of a pattern she’s created, which she’s sharing for free via her Youtube channel.
The first thing you’ll need? A name! Whether you want to use your own, or brainstorm something fabulous, this is how followers (and potential customers!) will find you. You could go with the classic, ‘so-and-so Creations’ or ‘Designs by _____’, or think outside the box. Put on a song that gets you feeling pumped up, and start doodling ideas.
Alright… you got it? Good! Because we’re about to get started.
Your name will be the most memorable aspect of your ‘brand’. Put it everywhere! Consider creating social media accounts, and make sure it’s the same on Instagram, Twitter, Etsy, your blog, and on any other promotional materials you might invest in (think: business cards, coffee mugs, what-have-you). If people can find you, they can follow you, fall in love with you, and even recommend your business to a friend.
Maybe it seems like everybody’s got an Etsy shop these days. So, how could you possibly stand out? These kinds of thoughts are totally normal at the beginning of something new, but don’t let them get you down. They’re the practical side of your brain encouraging you to get specific! So tune in. Let’s say you love sweaters, pets, and sweaters for pets. Bingo! That’s a totally marketable niche that I, for one, would love to see photos of! Or maybe you’re color-working skills are out of this world. Focusing on Fair Isle could set you apart from the crowd. Instead of thinking, ‘what do people want?’, focus on, ‘what do I love to make?’ All other business rules aside, customers respond to joy & authenticity. Be yourself!
Above, you can see @AllAboutAmi‘s beautiful shots of knitted fabric, a current WIP, and some completed projects. There’s a lovely color palette that evokes a sweet feeling, and she’s not afraid to post images other than ‘items for sale’! This allows us to get to know her as a crafter. Give her a follow!
A picture’s worth a million words, these days. So make sure the photos you share are impeccable. Now, you don’t need a fancy camera with all the fixings. Just go for it! Natural lighting is always best, and you’ll want to take quite a few, so you can be selective. Better to take 100 when the light is right, than to try to choose between two you just aren’t feeling. If you’re worried about your photo skills, there are plenty of free tutorials online with tips to take it to the next level!
In selecting photographs, make sure you’re highlighting what makes your work special. If you’re hoping to sell patterns, makers love to see the process. Take photos as you go! Are you selling finished products? Zoom in! The details will make all the difference. Also, using a real model (a friend, your baby, your dog!) can be more informative than a mannequin. If you take the time to showcase your piece, your customers hardly need to think before clicking ‘Buy’.
Your photos, including captions (and hashtags!) will ideally do most of the work for you. There are plenty of apps you can download to help you tailor your ‘content’ – VSCO is a fancy photo-editor, Layout allows you to show multiple images at once. Prime is an app that will help you determine the best time of day for you to post, based on your followers’ activity! InstaFit 2 enables you to refit your photos for more visual interest beyond just squares. Share often, and make sure your captions include all pertinent information!
Hashtags will be your best friends when it comes to finding new customers. Keep a list of the set of hashtags you’ll use every time you post (think: your shop’s name, and any pertinent crafting hashtags). You can even keep this list in a ‘Note’ on your phone, so you can copy/paste it easily every time!
Pro Tip: Create a hashtag for your customers, specific to your name / shop, and use it every time you post. Encourage your customers & followers to use it as well, and create your own buzz!
It’s important to remember that your followers will expect timely responses, whether they’ve commented or sent a DM (direct message). Make sure you’re checking your comments & responding! People will appreciate that you’ve taken a moment, and that person-to-person connection will keep them coming back to your shop. No matter how technologically advanced we get, there’s nothing like good old-fashioned customer service!
If you’re mailing finished products, consider your packaging. People love to open real mail, and a well-done package will feel like a gift from a new friend! Re-posting a customer photo can make their day, and encourage more followers to tag you in their posts. You can utilize social media discount codes to give your followers and extra treat! For example: If you follow my shop on Instagram, use this code for __ discount. Let followers in on a day in your life by utilizing Instagram stories, or share videos so they can get a chance to meet you!
Whether you choose to go all out, throw caution to the wind, and declare 2018 the year of your online business, or begin to dabble with some of these ideas in mind, we’re excited for you! Taking the next step in your crafting can mean so many things, and deciding to create income by crafting is a thrilling one. Let us know if you have any other suggestions, or if you’ll be using these tips to try something new!