Today I’m excited to share a guest post from Tara Swiger. Tara’s sharing her secrets for creating multiple streams of income around your craft – a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. Thanks, Tara!
Sell your handmade work for any amount of time, you will discover one cold hard fact: you can only make so much.
Once you reach this ceiling on production, you may feel stuck. If you can only produce a finite number of things, is your income limited?
How can you make more money?
Do things OTHER than making your craft and selling it.
The business world calls this “multiple streams of income”, but I like to think of it as adding some spice to the recipe of your tasty business. Trying a new income stream not only spices up your work (variety!), it also brings you (and your knowledge and expertise) to a new market. It makes you more money (when you get paid for it) and may bring you more sales (when new people learn what you do).
There are lots of different things you could do to bring in more money and not every one will be right for your business. I limit my spices to the things I know will do double-work: they pay AND serve as marketing. You may find some spices work and some don’t and you just don’t like other spices. Experiment and let me know what works!
When you tell people what you do, do you hear, “Thatís so cool! I wish I could do that!” If so, you can teach it. And everyone person who gushes over your handknit socks is a potential student!
Teaching can include everything from one-on-one personalized lessons to fully-organized classes to teaching at an industry event.
There is a lot of room for play and experimenting when it comes to teaching, but keep these things in mind.
- Have a clear offer: be specific about what you’ll teach, how you’ll teach it and what they can expect.
- Donít be shy about your expertise, that’s what people pay for!
- Reach out and connect with people in your local community. References are the best way to build a reputation as a great teacher.
Many crafters are worried about someone stealing their ideas. If this is you, selling patterns of your ideas may seem like a big risk.
But remember this: the people who MAKE your craft are probably not the same people who will BUY your craft. If I’m a knitter, I’m not going to buy a handknit hat, so if you’re a knitter of hats, I would never be your customer. But if you sell me your pattern? You have a whole new market for your work!
You can get started by self-publishing your patterns or by sending design proposals to websites, magazines and even book authors who ask for submissions. Shannon Okey wrote a great book for fledgling designers and it covers the gamut from self-publishing to getting a book deal.
The media, subject matter and potential audience for your writing is huge. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking:
- Write for blogs, zines, magazines or books.
- Write for other crafters (how you craft, where you craft, the specifics of your craft).
- Write for your customers (how to wear/display your work, fashion advice, lifestyle design, a behind-the-scenes look at life as an artist)
- Write your research (like my article on finding local fiber in a crochet magazine).
- Write your personal experiences (like Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s knitting humor books).
Selling your finished craft
I know, I know, you’re probably already selling your craft… but are you selling it in every way possible? Hereís a few ways you may want branch out.
- Do you sell from your own website?
- Do you sell packages or kits, so that an interested person could buy more than one thing at a time (eg. a bracelet and necklace set or a Learn to Knit Kit)?
- Do you sell at craft shows or other places you can meet your customers?
- Have you tried home parties (like tupperware, but with your art)?
- Do you sell in the local boutiques?
- Have you tried a trade show (check out Megan’s book to learn more about that)?
- Is your wholesale information clear on your website?
- Have you tried a trunk show at a boutique?
- Do you call shops in an area when you’re travelling, to see if you can meet with them and share your work?
Whew! That’s a lot of different ways to share your crafty self with the world! And it’s just the beginning!
What have you tried? What are you going to try next? Share it in the comments!