A laptop rests on a craft table

How to Make a Career Out of DIY

Making a living from selling paintings or crafts used to be unthinkable and virtually unfeasible, but thanks to the internet and the growing popularity of handmade goods, making a career out of DIY products has become a reality for many people. You still can’t become a successful “craftepreneur” overnight or without a considerable amount of time, money, and effort, but it is definitely possible if you’re committed to your craft. Instead of starting an Etsy page on a whim and letting the wind blow you wherever, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of success.

Determine Your Goods and Market

Let’s face it: there are plenty of talented crafters/sellers out there who are vying for the same market as you are, so you have to be pretty good at what you do. If you’re good at creating custom t-shirts, but not so great at painting, it’s probably not a great idea to try to make a living off your paintings. The other aspect of selling your items is determining who your audience is. Sometimes a more specific market can yield better results, such as trying to sell custom tank tops to Harry Potter fans rather than trying to sell custom tank tops in general.

Set Attainable Goals

You aren’t going to start making thousands of sales (and dollars) a month when you first kick off your creative business, and you should accept the possibility that you may not ever hit that goal. Instead, you should try to sell at least a few items during those first few months and encourage those buyers to leave reviews on your products and/or share their purchases with their friends. In short, don’t quit your day job until you have a large customer base built up.

Make Time For Crafting

You’re most likely going to have to work another job to pay your bills until your business takes off, which will probably consume a large portion of your time. However, if you want to succeed, you still need to devote a considerable amount of time to creating your products. If possible, don’t work on the weekends or two days during the week and give yourself those two afternoons to craft, perfect your goods, and imagine new ideas for products.

Learn How to Sell Your Products

Do your research by searching for other products on crafting sites that are similar to yours. How much do they sell for? What’s the quality like? That way, you can obtain an an accurate idea for pricing and what materials to purchase. If you try selling your product for too much money, nobody will buy it because there are a million other products out there just like it that cost less. On the other hand, don’t sell yourself short because you’ll end up not making any money after the cost of materials and the time you put into it.

Self-Promote

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms about your business. Why not? It’s free! Encourage close friends and family to share your posts so you can potentially reach people who do not know you personally. If you want to spend the money, you can also advertise on other websites, but don’t fret if you’re short on cash and that’s not an option. You can still be successful through free advertising.

Be Patient! (But Don’t Become Stagnant)

It will probably take some time for your business and customer base to grow, so don’t think you are a failure if you only have one sale during the first three months. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t expect to sell all of your products at first. Wait patiently, keep advertising and making more goods, and that patience and perseverance will reward you. If you love what you are doing, it won’t matter how much money you are making. You should really only be doing this business if it’s something you genuinely enjoy, no matter the profit.

Last Updated: April 16, 2015