How To Get Money With A Disability Selling Crafts Online
Figuring out how to get money with a disability isn’t easy when you’re unable to work a regular job. But if you enjoy working with your hands from home, there are options available to you including selling crafts online!
Now, I’m not going to sugarcoat things, engaging in creative and artistic pursuits like crafts isn’t the easiest way to earn an income so if that’s your goal, check out this article instead.
But if you’re passionate about making crafts and have the confidence to persevere through rough times, you’ll stand a good chance of building a rewarding side business that’ll last you for years to come.
In this article, I’ll show you how to get started making money with crafts step-by-step and reveal the best online marketplaces to sell your work.
Are you up to the challenge? Alright, let’s get going!
HOW TO MAKE MONEY SELLING CRAFTS ONLINE IN 6 STEPS
Step 1: Choose Your Product
- Your first task is to pick a craft that both interests you and which you think you’d be good at doing, like jewelry-making, sewing, crocheting, painting, drawing, knitting and much more.
- Search for products selling well in your chosen niche by visiting seller pages on Etsy.com (the premiere marketplace for selling crafts online) and clicking on ‘Sales’ links…
If you can’t find products selling well in your niche, don’t waste time, choose another craft instead!
Because it’s easier to sell products people ACTUALLY want than what you THINK they want.
To give you a better idea of crafts selling well today, here’s a list of the current best sellers according to the Craft and Hobby Association:
- Food Crafting
- Jewelry Making
Now, don’t feel like you have to pick one these five crafts to do well, plenty of products sell in other niches too, as you can see from this list of best selling items on Etsy.
- Thousands of artisans sell similar products which makes it especially hard to stand out from the crowd (I mean, can you really tell apart one cinnamon candle from another?) That’s why it’s important to come up with a unique angle for your product.Let’s take an example…Say you want to sell hand soap. Well, that’s pretty generic as is but not if there are in the form of video game controllers like Nintendo and Xbox…
See what I mean?
Step 2: Create Your Product
Most customers that buy handmade products appreciate quality over cheaply-made, mass-produced items and that’s why it’s important to sharpen your skills before creating anything. So, if you have any doubts about your skillset, enroll in one or two courses at Craftsy to learn what you need to know.
While dreaming up a whole product line is admirable, it’s best to start small and concentrate on 1-3 products maximum when starting out. Once you’re successful selling those, you can think about branching out.
Now you’re ready to create your product! So, depending on what you’re making, gather all your raw materials, work your magic, and test out your product for durability once you’re finished.
Also, make sure to factor in packaging as part of your creation process. Things like wrapping, boxing, personalized notes, business cards, coupons/discounts all play a role in creating a great customer experience.
Step 3: Take Product Photos
As an online seller, photos can make or break your business so here are some basic tips to get great shots:
- Use natural lighting; avoid using a flash
- Use simple, non-distracting backgrounds (plain white is always safe)
- Capture your product in crisp focus using multiple angles
If you’re not comfortable taking photos yourself, hire a pro or at least a friend with some photography skills.
Step 4: Create Your Online Shop
The best places to sell handmade products for new sellers are trusted e-commerce websites where customers already shop like Etsy, Supermarket, and Zazzle.
Now, it might be tempting to sell your products on several platforms at once to get more sales but it’s not a good idea if you’re short on manpower. Start with one marketplace and build from there.
Here’s how to do it…
- Come up with a catchy name for your online shop using a tool like Namemesh.
- Get a professional logo designed. You can find some decent, inexpensive designers on Fiverr but 99designs is a better option if you have the money.
- Select a marketplace to sell your products (see below for my company comparison chart).
- Create an account. Visit the website, choose a username/password, fill out the basic information and read over and agree to the company’s terms and conditions.
- Complete your profile. Here’s where you can set yourself apart from big-name retailers and other sellers:• Upload a nice picture of yourself• Provide a little background information• Explain your product and why you make it• Explain your creation process. Try to come across as personable and relatable in your writing and incorporate personal stories if possible!
- Create your product listing. First, come up with a keyword-rich product title using the website’s auto-fill feature which shows phrases often searched for by customers.Next, write inviting descriptions with as much information as possible, including size, weight, materials, special care, custom orders and shipping information. Visit other seller pages for inspiration in case you get stuck! Lastly, make good use of tags to get more traffic to your online shop.
- Set pricing.
I’m sure you agree that spending a week to make an item that sells for $40 isn’t time well spent. Instead, you want think assembly-line — a systematic product creation process where your goal is to produce as many products as possible in the least amount of time. This way, you pocket enough money to make the process worthwhile.
So, let’s take a hypothetical example…
Let’s say it takes you one hour to create your product and you want to pay yourself $25 per hour for your labor.
The next thing to do is factor in costs for raw material, customer packaging and shipping (advertising also comes into play but that’s later down the road). Let’s say your total cost works out to $10 per item.
Okay, now let’s do some simple math…
- Equation: Labor + Costs = Rough PriceValues: $25 + $10 = $35
- Equation: Rough Price x 2 = Wholesale PriceValues: $35 x 2 = $70
Now, your profit margin should be at least 30-35% so let’s work that in…
- Equation: Wholesale Price x Profit Margin = Total ProfitValues: $70 x .35 = $24.50
- Equation: Wholesale Price + Total Profit = Retail PriceValues: $70 + $24.50 = $94.50
Based on this example, your product should sell for $94.50 for which you’d make a profit of $24.50, which is slightly less than our goal of $25 but close enough.
Now, check what your competitors’ products sell for to see if you fall within the same range. If your retail price is higher, consider making some price adjustments but not so much that you completely devalue your work!
Keep this in mind — there will ALWAYS be sellers who’ll try to undersell you so don’t worry about charging slightly more. With a good marketing strategy, it’s still possible to beat your competitors even when selling at a premium price.
- Start selling. Once everything’s set up and made live, you’re ready to start selling! At this stage, you want to be ready to answer customers’ questions in a timely manner and monitor your activity.Try to make a personal connection whenever engaging with customers to gain their trust and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Step 5: Create a Personal Website
No question about it, selling crafts on a third-party platform like Etsy is the way to go if you’re a new seller. But it shouldn’t be your sole strategy.
For one thing, you’re playing on someone else’s turf where businesses get shut down or suspended for violating terms of service agreements, often unintentionally! [source] That’s a dangerous position to be in when you’ve been building a business over several months or years. Not to mention the lack of control over customers’ shopping experience (beyond what you have control over).
That’s why setting up your OWN website makes sense — you have full control over your business plus it looks more professional.
Now, it’s fine to set up a website and redirect visitors to your online shop on Etsy or elsewhere when just starting out but eventually you’ll want to sell your products on your own site once you’ve built a solid customer base. Loyal followers of yours will gladly buy from you directly!
The main way you’ll generate traffic to your website is by writing blog posts based on targeted keywords related to the product you’re selling, such as:
How to make handmade soap from scratch, Supplies needed for soap making, Where to buy handmade soap, Handmade soap gift ideas, Creative ways to wrap soap, etc.
Get the idea?
You’ll also want to start building an email list to engage with your customers and prospects regularly by offering valuable information, discounts, giveaways, and more.
Now, I know this is a lot to grasp especially if you’ve never built a website before but it’s not that hard once you get the hang of it. If you want to learn the ropes, I can personally help you by signing up with this welcoming community of like-minded people for free.
Step 6: Market Your Shop
Even if you think your handbags beat Marc Jacobs’, no one will know about it unless you get good at marketing so here are a few strategies to start out with…
Arts and Crafts Shows
There’s no better opportunity to network with other crafts sellers than at these events, many of whom are also customers, so bring plenty of products and don’t forget your business cards!
You can buy a booth space for yourself or share one with another crafts seller to test the waters first. Check out these websites to locate upcoming shows near you:
Art Fair InsidersJuried Art ServicesZapp
Get involved with online forums generally related to crafts as well as your specific niche (e.g., scrapbooking, drawing, etc.)
Once you become a regularly contributing member, include a link to your online store or website in the signature area of your profile to generate traffic (make sure to check the forum’s terms and conditions first!)
To get started, check out these crafts-related forums:
While any social media platform can work, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are the best channels to promote crafts.
Use these platforms at least once per week to post promotional offers like discounts and giveaways and share blog posts from your website and others.
In regards to Facebook, make sure to join craft groups like Craft Junkies Marketplace and Crafting Den to help grow your audience and make sales.
WHERE TO SELL CRAFTS ONLINE
With over a million sellers and 30 million customers, Etsy has become the go-to place for artisans but there are far from the only game in town. The comparison table below lists 12 other companies worth checking out. In case you’re not sure which to join, these few tips may help:
- Make sure the company sells the type of products you want to sell.
- Make sure you agree to the company’s fee structure.
- Make sure you understand company policy toward stocking and shipment of products to customers (you’re responsible for all the companies listed below).
- Make sure you understand the company’s payout structure.
While I don’t recommend it, if you want to sell on Etsy PLUS another company, try Zibbet first as they have a system in place to easily transfer Etsy listings over to them (just be sure you’re able to fulfill all orders!)
Now, you’ll notice I didn’t include eBay and that’s because there are better known for collector’s items and new or used retail items. Similarly, I left out CafePress which primarily sells t-shirts and printables.
Selling crafts online is a great way for disabled individuals to make money from home but it requires a lot of work and commitment to be anything more than a hobby.
While I hope this article gives you a good starting point, there’s still a lot to learn about this business so if you’re serious about selling crafts, check out this great video course.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN!
Do you already have an idea of a handmade product you’d like to sell? Leave your comments below!
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Great article. I love making stuff from scrapbooking to knitting to mosaic. You have given me some great ideas to ponder over.
You are right to say it is difficult to make a lot of money simply by selling homemade items, but having a website where you can also sell other things could be very lucrative over the long term.
Hi Michel, have you tried selling some of your handmade things? Thanks…
No, I haven’t, as don’t have the time to devote to making things on a full-time basis, but it is something to do in the future when I retire.
Sounds like a plan!
This is a great article – very detailed and easy steps to follow. I can’t imagine not being able to create their own craft business from the confines of their own home. I especially like your advice about not starting out too big – in today’s world, fads are in and out so fast that you don’t want to get stuck with over stock.
I am not very crafty what other ideas could you suggest on how to make money from home?
Thanks Rosie, please refer to my post 8 Best Work From Home Jobs For The Disabled. All the best…
I really enjoyed this post about selling crafts from home. As someone who regularly makes handmade goods, this really opened my eyes to a marketing avenue I was largely unaware of. I knew that you could sell your crafts online but I didn’t really know how. Thank you for such an informative article! I think that I will definitely be trying this as an additional source of income!
Thanks Jessica, I hope it works out for you!
This is a great article for those of us with a disability that keeps us at home.
I know dozens of people who make ‘things’ and usually it’s just a way to pass the time. Something to fill in an hour or two and of course for the sheer enjoyment of creating something useful.
If they knew all the opportunities to sell their creations, I’m sure they would jump at the chance to have this little bit of financial independence.
I will point them in the direction of this article asap.
Have a great day and in the new year ahead.
Hello, I really like your niche, it’s very original and clear you want to help people. Perhaps you’ve heard this a lot but I really mean it. Starting a business for disabled people reminds me of a story I read about a disabled man in some Napoleon Hill book. When you are disabled, you can benefit from the time you have to practice visualization and become a better action-taker. Thanks for the post!
Even though I am not disabled, I am a single full time dad and the older my child gets, the more I see how working from home would be a better fit for me. I am not that into crafts but after reading this post, it’s something I want to try. This article is very well written and completely holds a person’s attention with all the good, well laid out advice and instructions. I feel this is a great site to get disabled individuals pointed in the right direction. So inspiring, thank you!
And thank you!
This is an awesome site. There is so much helpful information here. I have been searching for options out there in order to make some extra money. I’m disabled and have been for 5 years. Not being able to work seems so foreign for me. But I’m grateful and blessed. I’m really considering doing some crafts but would also like something more, like with hourly pay. My best as I call it is also clearing out. My oldest two are in college, my son is a Junior in high school and my baby girl is in 7th grade. But I do love doing crafts!
Thanks for the compliment Melissa! Appreciate it 🙂
Hi a very informative article with lots of great info in starting out.
I am myself creating crafts,the one thing i have learnt is you never stop learning and its fun.
Shared to facebook,a valuable source of info.
Glad you found it helpful, Nigel 🙂
Hi, Stephen. I, too, am one suffering from (or dealing with) an invisible illness. For me, it’s chronic migraines, something that no one else can see or feel, when I’m experiencing them, but me. Actually, even I can’t see it; I can only feel it.
I like your idea and what you’ve conveyed, especially you’re closing thought–that making money online, whether it’s from selling crafts or from any other means, requires work and commitment. I recently heard elsewhere that it also takes something called the three P’s: patience, persistence and passion.
Thanks for the post and for the video. Keep up the good work and best of success.
Hi Stephan, first off I’d like to say that I love the focus of your blog! I’m not actually disabled, but I do think there is definitely a need for this information. This post about selling crafts online is great. I have a few acquaintances that would like to do this type of thing but they just have no idea how to go about it. This post is a great step by step how-to resource that I think anyone could follow and manage to get themselves started with selling crafts online. Thanks for the info.
Great Article Stephan, I You also need basic protective gear when making soap. I used to have an Artfire site about 10 years ago, it did quite well, but i started another job and it was more or less forgotten about.
There are many good ideas you can come up with to make things, and you have listed some very good outlets for anyone wanting to become a crafty home worker. Some people have gone on to have a fully established business employing people from just starting with an idea on Etsy or Artfire.
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