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If you enjoy crafting as a hobby and have an entrepreneurial side, then chances are you’ve probably thought about trying to sell your items as a side hustle. Maybe you’re hoping that your part-time e-commerce business becomes successful enough for you to eventually ditch your 9 to 5 and take your hobby full-time.
If you’d like to turn your passion into a business of any kind, it’s important to first come up with a thorough and well-crafted plan. What separates the successful e-commerce businesses from the rest is that the successful ones all started with a plan.
If you’re ready to give your e-commerce side hustle a try, here are 10 tips for successfully selling your handmade products online.
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Define your goal
Before you start testing the waters, take a moment to think about why you want to sell your products. What’s your ultimate goal? Are you simply looking to clear out your stash and make a few extra bucks? Or are you thinking of making this venture your full-time job one day?
After determining your personal “why,” it’s essential to determine your personal “what.” What exactly are you going to sell, and how many do you hope to sell within the first month?
This is the time to create a cost model and determine a price for your goods, how many you can produce in a given time period, and how much shipping will cost. No matter what your goals may be, it’s important to define them early on.
Make a name for yourself
Even if you’re just testing the entrepreneurial waters with a side hustle, it’s important to think about branding from day one.
Brand awareness is essential for getting the word of your new business out there. Brand alignment is huge, too. For example, if you sell organic soaps, then think about the market you’re appealing to. You’ll likely want to align your brand with target markets that appeal to organic, earthy and all-natural elements.
Create a name for yourself and start to think about your brand image. Having a brand helps to build trust with consumers and allows you to present yourself professionally.
Learn to master e-commerce
It’s never been easier to learn business basics, thanks to e-learning platforms. If you’ve never worked in e-commerce before, it might be a good idea to start by taking an e-commerce course on Udemy to learn the ins and outs of selling online.
Many courses don’t require a huge time commitment, and you can work at your own pace. These courses can be especially beneficial because you can complete them in the mornings or evenings while still working at your full-time job and pursuing this business as a side hustle. Online courses are typically short, and you can throw in one 20-minute episode per night to keep in manageable.
Take advantage of craft-friendly sites
You don’t have to build out your own professional-looking website to start selling online. Getting started on a platform built for craft-friendly entrepreneurs like Etsy is often a great way to go, especially in the beginning. Setup is simple and you’ll be able to tap into an enormous buying community looking for the kinds of unique products you’re offering.
Know your shopping cart inside out
You’ll need to set up a way for people to shop for your products. Shopify is a great solution for new e-commerce businesses, since it’s affordable, easy to set up, scales well, and takes care of security and servers for you. To really get to know your shopping cart, check out these Udemy Shopify courses to walk you through how to use this popular e-commerce solution.
Know your worth
Pricing is something nearly all entrepreneurs struggle with. How do you quantify the value of an item? Start by working backward and consider how much the materials cost and how much time you spent making the item. Then, do some research on what other makers are charging for similar products before you settle on a fair price.
Many entrepreneurs calculate a price that’s far too low and either make little to no profit, or actually end up taking a loss. Know your worth and spend some time getting your pricing right from the beginning.
Explore multiple retailing channels
Etsy might be the most well-known platform for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to sell their wares, but it’s far from the only option. Consider these different retailing channels, and try out a few to see which ones you like. In addition to the e-commerce approach, you might even want to try selling your products at local craft fairs or farmers market.
Don’t forget the business aspects of your art
When you’re selling your art, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun part of the business (actually making the items!) and forget about the business aspects themselves. Make sure to keep up with the practical and legal aspects of your side hustle, which may include getting any necessary business licenses or insurance and paying quarterly taxes.
And when you’re just starting out, it might also be helpful to confer with a business development consultant or digital marketing agency.
Show off your goods (the right way)
It’s amazing how much power a photo can have when it comes to a shopper’s buying decisions: nearly 70 percent of e-commerce shoppers say the product image is very important when making their purchase decision. Photos are foundational to online shopping because consumers can’t get actually hold or look at your product up close, so imagery is the next best thing.
Fortunately, it’s easy to take quality photos these days with nothing more than a smartphone camera. Show your crafts off to their best advantage! Experiment with lighting and backgrounds to ensure you make the right impression. And if you’ve got a little extra budget, hire a professional photographer to get the job done. Investing in good photos is a good start for long term profits.
Always plan for growth
Even if you only have modest goals for your side hustle, it’s smart to think about all the possibilities and plan for possible expansion. It’s never been easier to leverage data as you test the waters with your business and see how customers respond to your products.
Following these tips will help you to test the entrepreneurial waters with an e-commerce side hustle. E-commerce is an open market to take a stab at entrepreneurship. So why not you?