Author Topic: Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start  (Read 4946 times)

irishbear99

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 295
Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start
« on: January 06, 2015, 05:13:23 PM »
I make jewelry and crafts as a hobby and people have said repeatedly that they like my work and I should sell it. I've been kicking around the idea lately in part to try to make some extra money, but mainly because my production rate has become prolific and there's not enough space to keep everything I make. The problem is I have no business experience and no idea how to start. My main job can be highly time-intensive, so doing something online like Etsy would be ideal. But surely it can't be as easy as signing up, posting your stuff and watching the orders roll in. If anyone has suggested reading material (or just suggestions) on how to set up and market a side gig, I would much appreciate it!

gimp

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2348
Re: Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2015, 05:18:12 PM »
It is that easy, except orders won't really roll in because there are a million other people selling similar things for similar prices. That's where advertising and word of mouth come in. How you do that ... not my area of expertise.

Zarya

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 37
Re: Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2015, 05:34:05 AM »
I think you should just try Etsy. I know people use that for any level  of business (including someone whose school-age son sells his homemade greeting cards there) and they seem to like it. That would help you get your feet wet, anyway, and you could look into next steps if it isn't profitable or if you want to go in a different direction.

kpd905

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1904
Re: Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2015, 05:37:31 AM »
The beginning will probably be slow on Etsy, but once you start getting positive reviews from buyers, I think your items start showing up higher in the search results.

Mr. Frugalwoods

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 296
  • Location: Greater Boston Area
    • Frugalwoods
Re: Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2015, 06:18:01 AM »
I have some friends who have seen moderate success on etsy.  From what they've told me, the big trick is bootstrapping your first 20 or so orders.

Etsy doesn't want to show sellers who have no reviews.  But to get reviews, you need customers.  So you need to find a way to hustle your first orders outside of relying on etsy to bring organic traffic.  Some people I know have their friends and family buy from their shop and reimburse them.  Slight grey area ethically... but welcome to online business :-)

But if you do want etsy to be a revenue source, then you certainly need to funnel your in-person sales into the etsy world.  Sure you'll pay the transaction fees... but someone you've met in person is also much more likely to leave you a glowing review.  You pay for those early reviews, one way or another.

Lia-Aimee

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 117
Re: Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2015, 07:38:52 AM »
-Start reading up on SEO (will help you learn what to name your store and items.)
-Sell to friends & family to get your numbers up at first, as was previously mentioned.
-Get active in the Etsy community, as well as jewelry lovers/makers/crafts online communities (with linkbacks to your store whenever allowed by the community, of course.)
-Blogging. I know in vintage fashion, having a fashion blog (and commenting on other fashion blogs, with linkbacks of course) greatly increases your Etsy traffic. Explore whether or not this is the case with jewelry and crafts.

Good luck!

Kris

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5981
Re: Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2015, 08:17:12 AM »
Not to mention FB and other social media.  Set up a page where you can show your stuff and link to your etsy store, and have friends share with their friends... Run promotions, etc.  have friends on Pinterest share your stuff, too..

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28388
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2015, 09:04:02 AM »
+1 for all the etsy comments.  I have a friend who sells bracelets and stuff on etsy, seems to work well as a side gig.
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

irishbear99

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 295
Re: Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2015, 10:43:22 AM »
Thank you so much for your thoughts and suggestions. They're really helpful.

Questions on the social media comment...I don't have a FB page. I cancelled it a couple of years ago for personal reasons (I have crazy people in my life who used it as a forum for all kinds of drama). I'd rather not reactivate or remake a personal FB page, but I should be able to make one for the Etsy store, correct? I do a Pinterest account with quite a few followers, but if I make a business Facebook account, maybe I should do so for Pinterest and other social media as well. Thoughts?

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28388
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2015, 11:37:03 AM »
Thank you so much for your thoughts and suggestions. They're really helpful.

Questions on the social media comment...I don't have a FB page. I cancelled it a couple of years ago for personal reasons (I have crazy people in my life who used it as a forum for all kinds of drama). I'd rather not reactivate or remake a personal FB page, but I should be able to make one for the Etsy store, correct? I do a Pinterest account with quite a few followers, but if I make a business Facebook account, maybe I should do so for Pinterest and other social media as well. Thoughts?

For facebook you create a business "page" from a normal account.  But no reason you can't set up the normal account for the business, then have that account set up the business page.
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

HalfDollar

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
Re: Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2015, 11:35:14 PM »
Yep have a business FB page, Pinterest, and Instagram.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8202
  • Location: United States
Re: Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2015, 07:04:06 AM »
Make sure you pay very very careful attention to your costs.
Many of the crafty people I know on etsy sell to break even. They want to do the craft anyway, and so they do it, and then they sell it basically to pay for materials.  Some who don't pay attention have told me they lose money, but they'd lose it anyway if they make it for themselves, because they don't need all the stuff they make.

And this is your competition, so if you price high, it will be tough to sell.

There are only a few crafts that you can actually make money if you aren't a "famous" person in that industry.  (Can you turn pens? That seems to be one of them.)  If you do something like quilting, stamping, scrapbooking, knitting- the better way to make money is going to be teaching it to others.  If you become a local teacher, your next step is going to be trying to get a book published- which will allow you to get some 'in' at conventions and such.  If you are a teacher/author in a craft field you need to get on social media.

CreativeRamblings

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Wisconsin
    • Creative Ramblings
Re: Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2015, 09:58:48 PM »
Really good information so far.  I have sold on Etsy for about 3 years and have done pretty well.  I am active in the community and really rally for reviews from customers.  It helps move me up in searches.  I have also have a blog and use that to promote my shop. 
As far as social media, a facebook business fan page would be a good start.  You need to have a personal account to start one. If you would rather stay off of facebook you can do a twitter account and pinterest.  Neither have to be a business account, just associate your shop name with your account.  Talk it up and get your friends and family to talk it up so you can grow a fan base.  Good luck, it can be a legitimate source of income if you work at it.

innkeeper77

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 262
Re: Thinking of a side gig - don't know how to start
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2015, 02:15:39 PM »
There are only a few crafts that you can actually make money if you aren't a "famous" person in that industry.  (Can you turn pens? That seems to be one of them.)

A bit off topic, but do you have any further information about this? I have never turned wood but have some metal lathe experience- and recently gained access to a full sized (overkill) wood lathe. Turning pens would be a good excuse to start learning wood turning..