Most everyone knows of the normal options for making money with your beaded jewelry or other craft hobbies. They include craft fairs, swap meets, and a website or blog. All of these are good options and are widely know because they are successful. But making money with your crafts is the same as any self-run business. It requires work, passion, and creative thinking to really succeed.
If you simply love beadwork and do it mostly for fun with no real interest in turning it into a business, then craft fairs and swap meets may be the only venues you’ll need. But for those interested in turning their love of bead designs into a full business, a little more effort must be used.
As always, you’ll need to get the word out about your business. Social media has exploded all over the world as a way to market yourself in a fun and non-sales way. Creating profiles on myspace, facebook, blogspot, digg, and others will give you a place to talk all about your work and get others interested in you and your designs. Other venues like video sites have become extremely popular as well, getting your face and voice in front of thousands of people very quickly. Consider creating how to and showcase videos to spark interest with others out there.
I actually do not recommend ebay to sell products to people any longer, unless you are able and willing to purchase an ebay store and not see profit on it for a few months. That’s not to say there is no money to be made on the site, it is simply not as simple as it used to be, and requires a more intermediate understanding of running a business. I more readily advise people to use etsy.com to sell their work in the beginning, in conjunction with a blog or website. I can not stress enough how important a blog is for handmade jewelery and clothing makers to earn a profit. One of the biggest reasons people will buy from you is they like you and/or love the passion you have for your craft. These days people like to feel more like they are buying from a trusted friend than from a faceless corporate giant, especially those in the market for handmade items.
Other ways to get yourself out there include writing for article sites, creating how-to tutorials, joining forums, and joining showcase sites such as Deviantart.com. Many of these options are free, and can be set up in just moments. Basically, you must love your craft so much that you never get sick of talking, writing, or thinking about it. Readers are very adept at sensing whether a person is truly passionate about a topic, or if they’re simply trying to make a buck. Your love and excitement is infectious and when others see it, they will become excited about your work, too.
If you’d rather not use the internet, you can also sell your crafts at charity events to make a good name for yourself, or partner with a local school. Have them sell your work with partial proceeds going to them. Many locally owned businesses will do the same for a small space rental fee or even for free if they parts of the earnings. The key is to think outside the box.
It is also very, very important that you do not spend the money you first make from your business. Spend most if not all of it on re-investing in your business. Use it to buy a proper site if you’d like, or to hire an assistant, or even to just buy more supplies. Don’t drown yourself by too much work and not enough money to keep your business running! This is a mistake that is very easy to make and is the downfall of most home run businesses.
Of course I am not saying not to use booths at crafts fairs and swap meets. Do use this method, but also use online methods by putting your blog address on business cards or fliers. Create a buzz in your local community and then raise it up to creating a buzz on the whole net. You don’t really have to be internet or even marketing savvy anymore to make your hobby a lucrative career.