Example Business Ideas

How to Sell Handmade Goods Online

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

Many a hobby has the potential to be turned into a healthy cottage industry type business. Now it seems it's easier than ever to sell handmade goods. The internet offers crafty entrepreneurs the chance to sell to a wide audience. But will these artisans always make money. Herewith, some tips on how to do it right.

There's always a market for handmade goods but often the monetary rewards are more like pocket money bonuses rather than serious income. That's not to say you can't build up a decent business selling hand crafted items, but you need to look out for various pitfalls in order to really make it work for you.

Here are some common pitfalls:

Often the crafter underestimates the true cost of items they have produced. This is usually because they have made their first efforts using materials they had to hand, so it is impossible to accurately calculate the base cost of the item. In addition, they often overlook that crafting is labor intensive. When it's something you do in front of the TV you don't notice the hours going by, but when you are under pressure to produce enough pieces to make your business viable, the time expenditure can make the project unrealistic.

However, you can overcome these pitfalls and with the internet offering a vast audience, you can make money selling your wares.

Assuming you have got material costs and labor times calculated you need first to decide how to price you items so that you see profits from them In order to do this you must calculate the actual running costs of your business. Electricity, internet connection and phone, workshop rental is applicable. Literally any costs you have that relate to running your business need to be taken into consideration.

Once you know how much it costs you to run your business you know what you need to earn back to cover that. Then and only then can you set your prices accordingly so that they bring you profits.

Don't forget either, that with sites like Ebay and Etsy there will be, understandably, fees to pay and/or commission on sales to consider.

Once you are clear about what you need to earn you can look at sites like the above as a platform from which to sell your goods.

Etsy is perhaps more geared to hand made goods but it's sensible to set up shop with both communities and others like them. Having your own website will help too.

To give yourself an idea of where you sit in the market take a look at other sellers who deal with items similar to your products. Check their prices and more importantly, check their feedback – it's good news if you find a similar seller who shows high sales and good feedback. Yes, they represent your competition, but you also have proof that the market you are looking to enter is an active one.

Perhaps the key aspect to selling online is using good photographs to show the product. Again, this may represent further costs for your business, but with a good digital camera or scanner (if your items are small enough to scan) will allow you to display detailed views of your product. Online customers base a lot on visuals, so give them as much as you can.

If you make each article unique you can command slightly higher prices – and if you offer a bespoke service, making things to clients' spec, you lift yourself another rung up the elite ladder.

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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