This article was written by Victoria Greene, a branding consultant and freelance writer. She runs a blog called Victoriaecommerce, where she shares tips with would-be entrepreneurs looking to turn their passions into a viable business.
If you have a passion for crafting in your spare time, you can quickly turn your creations into a valuable side-hustle business venture.
Over time and with some smart sales and marketing tactics, you can scale up your brand and turn it into your primary source of income. This post will tell you how to do it and give you some ideas for profitable craft niches to explore.
1. Setting Up Your Business.
An online crafting business is made up of two parts:
- The products you sell.
- The skills you have developed.
You can effectively monetize both aspects through your online store. Alternatively, you can choose to get set up on a marketplace like Etsy, Amazon, or eBay. You may also wish to look at local markets and fairs where you can distribute your products in person.
When building an online store, you will need to find an appropriate ecommerce CMS. Shopify or Squarespace are excellent user-friendly options for those with no previous experience of building websites. WooCommerce and Magento require a little more familiarity, but offer more customization options, as well as a vast range of templates you can use to get set up quickly.
To make a basic ecommerce website, you will need:
- A Home Page – Include a high-quality banner image or video and display your best sellers and prominent links to each section of your website
Extra Tip: Do some careful prior research on your tax obligations and break down all of the production, delivery and marketing costs.
- About Page – Write around 800 words going into detail about your products, background and skills. Include a photo and convince them that you are the artisanal craftsperson they should buy from. The fact that you are an independent seller is a benefit for many internet shoppers
- Contact Page – Make it easy for your customers to get in touch by providing an email contact form and return address
- Main Category and Listings Pages – More on product listings below
- Company Blog – Here you can include regular updates on your life in the crafting business. Include guest blogs from other crafters online and contribute to other company blogs. Add these posts to your social media profiles and email signature to get your messages out to as many people as possible. Here are some more tips on content marketing
Alternatively, if you’re busy crafting and don’t have the time to start an online store from scratch, a great place to start is with a website marketplace like Exchange. Here you can search through readymade stores that are available to buy and filter by category, such as ‘gifts and collectibles’ or ‘home and furniture’. Taking an established business that is already generating revenue and traffic can be a great shortcut to selling your wares online.
2. Find Profitable Products To Sell.
The in-depth research stage is crucial to building a successful business. You need to know which products draw in sales and who your customers are likely to be.
Social media analysis tools and Google Trends can help you find search traffic and sharing trends amongst consumers. Build up a list of detailed customer profiles and follow popular blogs and influencers. You will need these records later, so store them in a spreadsheet for further reference.
Google Keyword Planner, as well as Amazon seller keyword tools, can also help you discover search terms and categorization tips. Take a note of the longtail keyword phrases and save them for your product descriptions and titles.
Now for the fun part! Put all of your ideas together and finalize which products to craft and sell online.
Think about how quickly you can turn around the products you make, and find ways to make them unique and highly marketable.
For example, you could consider:
- Adding unique scents and colors
- Making your product customizable, adding customer initials or a personalized messages
- Making it ethically using reclaimed or upcycled materials
- Building a subscription program and providing a selection of goods on a monthly basis
- Making digital downloads, templates, logo packages and charge a flat fee per download
- Adjusting your product line to tie in with seasonal events
3. List Your Products Correctly.
SEO can affect your business’ bottom line. It is essential to create a professional website that is simple to use and provides titles, images, and descriptions that convert viewers into purchasers.
Even if you are selling exclusively through marketplaces, you will also need to ensure that you provide optimized and tempting product listings. Take note of the following:
Your photos should show your products in their best light. For those who know little about photography, this means using natural or professional lighting. There is nothing that turns a potential customer off quicker than a stark, overexposed or underexposed image. Hire a professional if you can afford it, or learn what you can about photography and editing. There are lots of good online photo editing programs that are free to use
Titles and Product Descriptions
Using your keyword research, start adding long tail search terms to your titles and product descriptions. Be sure that they sound natural within the sentence structure and don’t stuff in keywords.
Unique, descriptive paragraphs with bullet points detailing key product features and benefits work best. Aim for a minimum of 600 words for your product descriptions and make sure you get someone to proofread it for you.
Use Video And Supplementary Content
YouTube and Vimeo are solid sharing platforms and can be hugely beneficial for a hobbyist. Make a short product demonstration video, or post tutorials of how the product is made. Promote these videos everywhere, as well as on your listings pages. Make your hobby ‘social’ by sharing tips and answering questions from your fanbase.
4. Diversify Your Offerings.
If you are looking to generate quick sales, consider your expertise in selling the equipment used to make your hobby creations.
For example, if you run a knitting and crochet brand, find a dropshipping supplier who offers needles and yarn and sell them through your store.
Dropshipping is a fulfillment model where you don’t pay for goods upfront – instead, when you sell a product through your store, the order goes through to a third party supplier who ships it directly to the customer.
If you are looking to sell your skills, head to Upwork or Freelancer.com. These are great sites for creative types with unique services to offer.
5. Build Your Social Following.
Famous marketer Seth Godin asserts that all a business needs are 1,000 dedicated followers.
These ‘hardcore’ fans will share your latest blog post and spread your content for free, provided you give them a reason to take an interest. You will need to get to social media and use paid advertising to bring in viewers.
Additionally, you will need to do some good old-fashioned networking to get yourself noticed online.
Share your skills on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and provide informative videos and blog posts detailing your processes. Find forums talking about your craft, answer questions, and start discussion topics. Make as much online noise as you can about your new craft business — and keep refining your marketing strategy by sticking to creating consistently good brand experiences.
Turning your hobbies into a profitable business takes dedication and careful planning.
Thanks to the internet, there are many avenues you can pursue in growing your brand. Marketplaces, online stores, events and social selling – any and all of these methods can bring in excellent results. Think about your options regarding work/life balance and take the plunge. You’ll soon be on your way to making your craft business your primary source of income.