Saturday, October 8, 2016

Don't Do This to Make Extra Money

There are a lot of ways to make some extra income in your spare time. Tons. Answering surveys online, tutoring, babysitting, selling things on eBay, offering services on Fiverr or TakeLessons, heck people even make money blogging!

But I have one piece of advice on something you should NOT do to make extra money. Brace yourselves for this.

Don’t make crafts and sell them on Etsy.

Now, this is a popular addition to blog posts and articles about making extra money, because you can make money from making things and selling them on Etsy. However, a major reason I tell people to not do this is because you don’t do it right.

As someone who does sell on Etsy, and elsewhere, it is very difficult to actually make money from it. Why? Because of folks out there who think to themselves, “Hey, I like to make _______, I should make a bunch and sell them!”

But, I can hear you saying, you just said that you sell on Etsy and elsewhere. Aren’t you one of those people who makes stuff and tries to sell it?

Yes, yes I am. But I treat it like a business. What do I mean by that? Well let me start off by saying why I don’t like the fly by night crafters who are just trying to make a quick buck.

  •      They use the cheapest material they can.
  •      They don’t time themselves and charge a living hourly wage based on skill level, cost of materials, and overhead (gas, postage, packaging, etc.)
  •       They are amateurs- meaning they haven’t worked professionally in the field, or they don’t take classes to learn or improve skills, and they just kind of do it when they want to.
  •      They price to sell, not to live
All of these things undermine those of us who are trying to actually ‘ do it right’. I can’t compete with a lady using $2 WalMart yarn to make hats, that take her four hours to make each,  and sell them for $5 a pop.  It’s just not possible.

Not only that, but that becomes the expectation on sites like Etsy and at craft markets and fairs. Customers can no longer identify quality over price.

As an example, if I were to make a hat using yarn that I would buy and use for myself, the yarn alone would cost $20. If I’m careful with it I might get two hats out of it. So, $10 in materials only. Then there’s the whole 4 hours to actually make the hat. Charging a fair wage based on my experience (10 years of knitting, professional seamstress for three years, and university educated in costume design, and continually attending workshops and classes to learn new skills and improve my current skill set) and performing what would be considered “Skilled Labor” (think what you pay your mechanic or doctor), I would expect about $15 an hour. You also need to factor in the time it took to go to the store, buy the yarn, the mileage to and from the store and post office, plus the time it took to package and mail your hat to you. Don’t forget postage. I’m in to one hat almost $100.

People look at your $5 acrylic Walmart hat, and my $100 handmade wool hat and only see the dollar signs.

There are people out there who rely on platforms like Etsy and craft fairs as their sole income. If they can’t sell because there are amateurs to compete with on price, then their families starve.  They lose their house because they can’t make the mortgage payment.

All because you think you can make a quick buck by producing a craft product cheaply and selling it.

So, if that is your plan I ask you to PLEASE DON’T DO IT. 

No comments:

Post a Comment