Want to make money with a craft business? Today I’m sharing 10 tips that will help you do just that. We’ll discuss everything from mindset to finances to avoiding distractions. It all matters when building a small crafty business!
Are you curious how to grow and make money with your small craft business? You’re in luck! Today, I’m sharing my top 10 tips for making money with your craft business. I’ve spent 10+ years in this small business world and have definitely learned my share of lessons during that time. I’m no expert by any means, but I’ve built a profitable business and enjoy passing my knowledge onto others when I can.
What I’m giving you today here is sort of an overview, but if you want to dive deeper into making money with your crafts, I invite you to join me and Angie Holden for Crafting for Profit Camp! We are hosting this event for the second time this year. It’s January 25th through 27th, 2024. We will have a whole bunch of teachers come in and teach you how to make money with your crafts!
And now, let’s dive into the 10 tips for making money with your craft business!
Watch the YouTube Video
I walked through everything in this post over on YouTube! Just click play to watch. Or keep scrolling if you prefer to read.
1. Get in the Right Mindset
Mindset is so important. First and foremost, you need to get your brain in a place of making money. I know this can sounds very woo-woo and like power of positive thinking and all of that. However, from my own personal experience, I tend to dwell on the difficult parts of things. In doing so, I focus on how well other people are doing or how difficult this particular task is. I think about ALL THE THINGS—taxes and so forth. It can really mess with my mindset!
Over the last year or so, I’ve really been trying to cultivate a more positive business mindset. I try to go into each day understanding that there are difficult parts of my business, but I am a strong and capable woman and I can do them. I also want to make sure that I’m not focusing on those negatives. Yes, there are days that are harder than others. Yes, there are things about my business that I don’t like nearly as much as other things—taxes being a huge part of that. However, there is so much that I do love!
So I’ve been trying to focus more on those positive things. Overall, it has really helped with my mindset about my whole business in general. Last year was a very difficult year and I allowed myself to get really down about it. I feel like I spent a lot of time sort of down in the dumps because I just could not seem to get my mind wrapped around the fact that I have this beautiful, thriving business.
I’ve come to realize that yes, there are hard parts. And yes, people are doing better than me. Many also have more followers than me. However, I still have a really great business! So, this year, I’ve really been shifting my mindset.
If you’re just starting out with your craft business or if you’ve been running it a while, and you feel that negativity creeping in, I would highly recommend reaching out to some mindset resources. There are lots of YouTube videos! I also have a great coach, Nicole Baker. She’s a speaker at Crafting for Profit Camp, as well! Nicole is a business coach and she’s really big into mindset. If you’re looking for mindset resources, you may want to check her out. She has some pretty inexpensive courses and resources for you at Life Coach Baker.
That being said, mindset is a really great place to start in order to make money in your craft business!
2. Get Your Business Finances in Order
The second thing I highly recommend is getting your business finances in order. I know this is one of those boring things that you might find stressful. It might also lead you to that negative mindset, but trust me—getting your business finances in order is a really important step to running a successful business.
For example, you’ll probably want to open up a separate business bank account in order to keep your business funds and your personal funds separate. You’re probably wondering why you need to do that—especially if you have a very small business. I promise you, you’ll thank yourself when it comes to tax season! If your business continues to grow, you are going to want that separation.
You may want to meet with a CPA just to make sure that you’re getting all of your finances in order. Once you know how to get started, you’ll definitely want to keep up with your accounting. Start this by setting up some sort of business accounting software. I use Wave, I really love it! QuickBooks is another option. There are many options out there! Whatever you decide to use, be sure you are tracking your business expenses as well as the money coming in and applying it all to your business.
Not surprisingly, accounting is my least favorite part of my job. I am not a numbers person, I am an English major all the way! At some point, I probably will outsource it, but for now I still do it all myself. It’s a difficult part of business for me, but I’ve learned the value of staying on top of the finances. It makes it easier to know what money’s coming in and what money is going out, which is most important. Without an accounting program, that is much harder to figure out!
3. Find Your Niche
When I first started my blog, I had an Etsy shop and I was making all sorts of sewn projects. I was blogging about sewing, various crafts, Cricut crafting, recipes, travel, how to be a mom of twins, etc. I was all over the place and I wasn’t really making progress in any one direction.
In 2015, I actually niched down. I decided to focus on crafting tech and the machines used in Cricut, laser, and sublimation craft projects. Sublimation wasn’t really a thing then for crafters, but over time it evolved to become even more of what I do. I really honed in on crafting tech, which became my expertise. I decided to become the person who knows these machines intimately and teaches people how to use them.
Once I sort of niched down, people knew that they were coming to me for crafting machines content. They knew that they weren’t going to get a recipe or info about my trip to Paris. I’ve actually never been to Paris, but you know what I mean! They knew that when they came to my blog or channel, they were getting crafting machines content.
It’s the same for a small crafting business. You want to be known for what YOU do in YOUR industry.
You can niche down kind of in one of two ways. You can niche down by product, meaning that you’re only going to make one type of item such as drinkware, clay earrings, or bags.
You can also niche down by style. Perhaps you’ve decided to make a wide variety of sublimation products, but they’re all geared toward teachers.
Either way will work, but you want to make sure that you have a particular audience member in mind! You have that particular teacher or that particular pet owner or that particular woman who wears those particular bags. This way you know exactly who your customer is and they’ll be able to find you much more easily than they would if you had a whole range of products they have to dig through to find what they’re looking for.
4. Add Value
Let’s say that you make mug gifts. You make them for all sorts of occasions, but you can really add value to those and make them different from other people selling similar things online.
For example, you make a really cute Loco for Cocoa mug. But you could also fill it with all sorts of chocolate goodies, and some candy canes to make it perfect for Christmas.
You can make your own little gift card holder that you could put in there, and then the person who buys the mug can then add their own gift card. Adding something extra makes it a much better gift than it would have been as just the mug itself.
Find ways to add value in your small business. Maybe you make big wooden signs on your laser, but maybe you’re adding paper flowers to it to give it to some dimension or something extra. Adding something that like sets you apart and takes you up a notch compared to everything else that’s out there!
Find something that sets you apart and really hone it in!
5. Use a Pricing Calculator
Now, let’s talk about pricing.
I’m not going to go into how to price your products here because there’s a lot that goes into it. But, you do need to price your products both competitively and so you’ll make money. It’s a difficult balance, especially when there’s so much competition combined with a lot of people underselling themselves.
For this tip, I’m going to recommend a product. My friend Courtney at The Crafty Brick has a pricing calculator called the Crafty Profit Projector and it’s really good! Her pricing calculator walks through everything you need to be able to price your products both competitively and so you’ll make money. I think it’s really a great place to start rather than just slapping a price on something and hoping that you’re getting it right!
Overall, you want to be sure that your time and materials are covered along with profit in the end.
6. Create a Strong Brand
This is actually my personal favorite. I honestly feel like if I wasn’t doing this crafting thing, I would be in branding!
In my former life (before I quit my job in 2013 to do this full time) I worked for a marketing company and we worked with a Fortune 500 company’s brand. While working here, I learned the basics of creating a really, really strong brand. It’s important for big businesses, but extra important for crafty small businesses!
There are so many crafty small businesses out there. You have to set yourself apart to really get noticed. So how do you do that?
You can set yourself apart in your branding! Set yourself apart in the colors that you use, the way that you photograph your products, the way that your website looks, the way you’ve designed your Etsy shop. The more cohesive and beautiful these things are, the more they’re going to grab somebody’s attention. Once you have their attention, they’re more likely to buy from you than from some random hodgepodge shop that doesn’t have any sort of cohesive look.
I am SO passionate about branding that I actually created a short course called Crafting Your Signature Style. Crafting Your Signature Style is all about visual branding for small businesses. In it, I discuss 10 different areas where you can make your branding better and stand out from the crowd. I’m actually really proud of this course!
7. Be Authentic
I know the word authentic has probably been driven into the ground at this point, but I really do feel like being authentic is the number one way to connect with your audience.
There are many different places you can connect with people. For example, if you’re on my Instagram, you’ll know that occasionally I will share content related to babies in the NICU. Does that have anything to do with crafting? Not really, but I had two babies in the NICU. And so I’m very, very passionate about NICU care. I’m very passionate about getting parents the care that they need in the NICU because I didn’t have the best care while I was there. This is something that’s really important to me. I don’t talk about them all the time, but sometimes I weave it into things like my Instagram stories to give people a more personal connection to me. Now, if you didn’t have a baby in the NICU, you’re probably like, oh, that’s sad. But if you did, you’re like, oh my gosh, she’s my girl! I feel like there’s a special bond with NICU parents and whatever you’ve gone through.
Of course, you don’t have to share your trauma online! I’m not saying you should trauma dump online, but I do feel like finding those points of connection that are authentic and can really connect with your audience is such a good way to form a bond. Essentially, you want someone to be like “oh, she makes cute cups”, but “oh my gosh, she makes cute cups AND she’s really passionate about pet rescue!”
Think of one or two things you can really connect with others on. Just being authentic and being yourself, getting yourself out there, it’s very hard. Trust me, I don’t love to be in Instagram stories or making YouTube videos, but I do enjoy the connections I’ve made/continue to make!
Finding those points of connection and being authentic with your audience is the number one way to connect with them and to get them to buy your products.
Set up Your Workspace for Productivity and Success
I’m going to totally change direction here and say, set up your space for success. I mean your actual, physical space. Whether it’s your studio, your dining table, wherever you’re working, set it up in a way that works for you so that you can make your products quickly and easily!
One of my biggest recommendations is having a table that is designated for nothing. This becomes your work table. I have a work table in my studio. That particular table is designated for filming. I do work at it occasionally, but I have this same exact table on the other side of my room, and that’s my work table. I have tables with heat presses, tables with machines, all sorts of other things, but that table is basically bare except for whatever I’m working on in the moment. I don’t use it for storage, I don’t use it to hold any machines or anything. It can be whatever I need it to be in the moment.
So if your space allows it, I would recommend getting yourself a good sized table and designating it as your work table. Don’t put anything else on it. It’s just your table for doing what you need to right then.
When setting up your workspace for success, don’t overlook your health. I’ve mentioned this several times. I have a chronic illness and it causes my body to ache a lot. So there are many things that I have done over the years to help alleviate some of that. I have this exact standing desk. I actually have a bike that goes under my desk so I can be moving my legs sometimes. I find that sitting in one position is very uncomfortable.
Often times, I just need to change positions. I set a timer for 30 minutes and I work for 30 minutes. And then for five minutes, I get up and I move around. It’s a little flip timer. I can flip it from the five minute timer to the 30 minute timer back and forth. I do that all day. I’ll work for 30 minutes, walk around and clean up for five minutes or make myself lunch. I’ll walk into my house and make our bed or water our plants. I just need my body moving every 30 minutes. I find that that has helped so much with the pain that comes with crafting or sitting at a computer all the time.
If you own a crafty business, you know these are the two things you’re going to be doing the most. My recommendation is stand up every 30 minutes, walk around, move your body. You’ll be so much better off physically and you’ll be able to craft for much longer!
9. Get in the Flow when Creating
Now, let’s talk about getting into a good flow. For me, this is primarily removing distractions.
Of course, social media is the big distraction, right? For most of us. When I am working or when I am crafting, I will actually turn off all my social media sites. I will sign out. So even if I wanted to sign back in, you know, it’s more of a hassle. I will hide my phone. I will turn off my notifications just so I can actually get things done. That allows my brain to get into that space of actually working.
Like I said, I do get up every 30 minutes and walk around for five minutes, but I’ve been doing that long enough that it’s finally starting not to break my flow. I’m working for 30 minutes. I stand up, I move around, and then I’m right back into it as I sit back down. I don’t allow myself to get on social media. I don’t allow myself to check my messages or email or anything like that during those five minutes. I have separate parts of my day for that. Because of that, I am able to get in a really nice flow when I am either crafting or at my computer. Getting rid of those distractions is so helpful.
Now, as a mother of small children, I understand that it is not possible to always get away from all of the distractions. Some of my distractions are things I love the most in the world. Those being my husband, my kids, and my dog. All of those are probably my biggest distractions. We have a pretty good system that when mommy’s at work, dad’s in charge, and my boys know that this is my job and that they need to give me some space. Are they in here sometimes? Yes, of course. Sometimes it’s crazy, and sometimes I have to kick them out. Sometimes I feel bad. But this is my job. I’m very present in the evenings and on weekends and other times we are together. However, this is what I do during my business day.
So, you may also need to set some boundaries, not just with social media, but with the people in your life.
10. Build your Email List
Let’s switch gears yet again and talk about growth.
My number one tip about growing your business is to create an email list. Heck, you can join mine here!
Now, I know this sounds like some sort of advice you might get like in the ’90s. Everybody needs an email list, right? However, it’s still my best piece of advice. Specifically because your email list is not bound by an algorithm. You can post on social media, create a blog, create a YouTube channel, and all of that is dependent on other companies deciding that your content is going to rank or not rank.
Your email list is different. Emails up in their inbox. Yes, they still have to decide to click on it and open your email, but it will be delivered. It’s a really amazing thing to see that your audience, all these people who liked you enough to opt into your list are then getting your content.
Your email list is a great way to promote your products! Obviously, it’s a great way to promote any sort of new content you’ve created. If you’re blogging or creating YouTube content or promoting sales, all of those things directly land in somebody’s email box.
Chef’s kiss, there’s no better way to do it.
My biggest tip for creating an email list is to have some sort of downloadable freebie. There’s so many ways to do it and so many tutorials about how to make it happen online. Whether it’s just a little printable or an SVG file, if it’s something that somebody can get for free, it’s a great way to get people on your list.
Just be sure you’re consistent about emailing them. Whether it’s once a week, twice a week, or even once a month. You want people to get used to seeing you in their inbox.
Finally, don’t get sad when you get unsubscribes.
Every time I send an email, I get between 200 and 400 people unsubscribing. If I think about those numbers, sometimes I can really go into that dark place. That’s exactly why the mindset thing was first! Don’t worry about it. Those are not your people. If they are your people, they’ll come back. At some point, be paying for your email list and you don’t want to be paying for people who don’t want to be there and don’t care about what you have. You want to be speaking to the people who want to be there.
I hope you found these 10 tips for making money with your craft business helpful! If you want to go deeper, you can always join us for Crafting for Profit Camp in January. If you have any questions or comments about making money with your small craft business, I would love to hear them in the comments!