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Crafty Money: How to make cash from your handicraft hobby
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Selling and marketing crafts


Is it worth selling in a shop?
If you're lucky enough to have small craft shops near you, have a chat with them. They'll be able to give you practical selling advice and you could get yourself an outlet for your crafts as well. While this means you've got someone on your side, you will make what seems like less money. They have to keep the prices competitive, so your wholesale price might be lower.

It's also worth remembering that if you're selling in a shop, your own online prices have to mirror that. If your stockist discovers that you're underselling them, they're not going to be happy. Your online prices need to reflect your trade price.

Think about the little things
People like a personal touch, so think about everything from business cards to your packaging. Building up a brand that people will recognize is key to making your hobby a business. A hand-written thank you note and prompt delivery will go a long way. People will not only come back to you, they'll blog about you, they'll talk about you to their friends, and word-of-mouth is the best kind of promotion you can get. If you've got a brand everyone is talking about, you're halfway there.

Keep it practical
Of course, making stuff is fun! It's creative and there's nothing better than seeing something you've made with your own hands. But, if you're running a business, you've got to treat it like one. Dull as that sounds, it'll save you a lot of hassle. Make sure you keep details of everything in a spreadsheet. Your stock, how much you spend on supplies (and when to renew them) and what you're charging to make a profit. Remember to include postage and packing costs and anything else you need to turn your business into a profit. If you underestimate how much you're spending and you don't price your stuff accordingly, you won't actually make any money, no matter how hard you work!


Don't forget, you need to pay tax on anything you make. Now, this might not be much when you first start out, but you do need to declare that you're now self-employed and fill out a tax return. It's not fun, no one likes doing it, but keeping your receipts and invoicing in order will save you so much hassle at the end of the year. I've learned this the hard way. Not keeping your expense receipts is like throwing away your money.

Having a craft that you can make money from is great, but how much you want to do is still up to you. If you only want to make presents for friends, then that's fine. Just because you can sell your craft, that doesn't mean that you have to. You started being creative because it was fun for you. It should always stay that way.


Sian Meades
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