How to Make Money from Home by Making Things

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If there's something you've made that people compliment you on, this can clue you in on what to sell.
If there's something you've made that people compliment you on, this can clue you in on what to sell. (Image: Vico Images/Alin Dragulin/FogStock/Getty Images)

Earning money by making things can be a satisfying endeavor. With so many options for selling your wares available, using the work of your hands to help put food on the table is easier than ever. However, you'll have to be on the top of your game to stand out from the competition.

Figure out what you have a talent for making. It can be anything from floral bouquets to fine jewelry. If there's something you've made that people compliment you on, this can clue you in on where you could start.

Purchase all the supplies that you need for a small amount of inventory. Don't make your inventory too big at first, or you risk having to store it indefinitely while you build your business. As demand grows and you bring in some money, you can purchase more supplies to expand your inventory.

Purchase any business licenses that you might need or fill out any required forms. If you're a sole proprietor, for example, but want to work under a name other than your own, then you'll need to file a Doing Business As form with your state business office. You'll then need to file a copy of the DBA with your bank so you can accept payments under that name.

Approach local boutiques about selling your items in their stores. Many boutiques like to support local artists and businesses. Talk to the owner and see if you can work out a deal.

Sell your wares at flea markets or farmers markets. Reserve a spot for your booth, which may include a small fee. If the market doesn't provide tables, then bring your own table with an attractive tablecloth, along with display racks and signage. Have your prices clearly marked, but be prepared to negotiate. Giving away samples is a good way to get attention.

Get an online presence that is relevant to what you're selling. If the items you're making are typically sold on a site like Etsy, then create a store there. You'll also want to create your own website so you can host photos of your items and keep a blog that people can subscribe to for updates. You might also consider selling your items on Amazon or eBay. Look for the sites that have the most success with the type of item that you're making.

Set up a way to accept payments, both for online and in-person purchases. Sometimes this method will depend on the website you're using. You may need to set up a PayPal account at the very least. Other sites, like Square, can allow you to accept credit card transactions for a low rate. With businesses like Square, you can carry a small credit card reader with you that you attach to your phone, allowign people to pay you in person.

Price your items smartly. Don't just try to offer the cheapest prices, because this can be lead to losing money fast. If your prices are too low, people might mistake that for meaning the quality is low. Look for what people are charging for similar products for on the same site that you're using, and choose your own accordingly.

Take good photos of your items, professionally if possible. Make sure the lighting is good and you're using a good camera. If you have a friend who's a photographer, consider bartering for low-cost photos to help you get started.

Market your items. Once you've posted the items you're selling online, let people know about them. You can go the free route by posting about your items on Facebook and emailing your friends. You can also purchase low-cost ads on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google. Another good method is to offer a sale or a contest where participants get a free handmade item.

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