A lot of us are looking for ways to make extra money that don't involve needing to spend even more time at our 9-to-5's. Ways that get to utilize our creative side while also flexing our entrepreneurial muscles.
Side hustle businesses tick those boxes.
Side hustle businesses are extra jobs we take, or make to be more precise, on the side of our regular work. They can be extremely rewarding and lucrative for those who are willing to put in the time.
Whether they remain side hustles or turn into full-time jobs, here is a list of business ideas for all of you crafty and creative people out there.
1. Sell Your Crafty Handmade Creations
You can't beat handmade. Handmade goods come with that extra bit of attention and love that you just can't get with factory and machine made products. There's a respect for the craft, the effort, and the skill of the creation, along with a level of communication and openness you don't usually get from big companies.
Small, handmade businesses are thriving in many niches due to their transparency in production. This comes at a time when consumers are more environmentally conscious and wanting natural ingredients.
In addition, small handmade businesses can quickly fill in the gaps that larger companies are not addressing – which is pretty much why we got started here at Aroamas. Solid perfumes needed to be popularized for travelers, and unfortunately, mainstream perfume companies weren’t thinking outside the spray and roll-on box.
Here are some areas where you can start crafty and creative handmade businesses:
Bath & Body Products: Unlike knitting a nice scarf or blanket, the beauty of creating bath and body products is that they get used up quickly and need to be replenished regularly. The bath and body industry will never die, so getting into this area of handmade business, despite its high level of competition, is still a good bet for side hustle businesses.
Handmade soaps, bath bombs, lotions and hair care products, especially those with natural and earthy ingredients, exude a luxurious feel for customers and can sell at a premium… with the right marketing of course.
As mentioned before, quite a few sellers make up the handmade bath and body industry these days, so part of your marketing strategy needs to be niching down.
- One way to niche down could be focusing on solid bath and body products (like solid shampoo and conditioner bars, soaps, and lotions).
- Or you could focus on one solid product altogether like we do with solid perfume sticks here at Aroamas.
- Maybe you could create a line of natural beard products for manly men.
- Or, why not create the best tinted lip balm and nothing more.
Focusing on one key area or product will help you master your craft and reach the right customers. For more advice on starting a handmade bath and body business, check out these resources:
Baked Goods: From chocolates to cupcakes to baklava made with a family recipe for generations, the baked goods industry will always have a demand.
So, if you like spending time in the kitchen, or have that special little something everyone requests for get-togethers, then this could be your way to shine with a side hustle business.
Since most side hustle businesses are run from home, getting into the baked goods industry will involve a bit more planning as you will need to have a sufficient kitchen, and you will need to ensure you follow health and safety regulations in said kitchen.
You will probably also need a food license, even just to sell at the local markets.
Ways to niche down your baked goods business:
- Instead of baking several types of treats, focus on one, like cupcakes or donuts.
- Instead of creating birthday cakes, focus on gluten free birthday cakes.
- Instead of making brownies, try focusing on vegan brownies.
- Instead of Turkish desserts, make only the baklava or the Turkish delight.
- Instead of the Chilean cake with caramel sauce, make and sell jars of the versatile caramel sauce.
Sewing, Crocheting & Knitting: If you have these skills, then the possibilities for creating are virtually endless. Not only can you make things like pouches and purses and blankets, but you can also create articles of clothing – everything from scarves to sweaters!
One popular story of handmade success in this area is that of Grace & Lace. After numerous people asked where she got her lacy knitted leg warmers from (that she made), she put them online to be instantly inundated with orders. The rest is history.
Again, the key is to choose a good niche and stick to it. Some ideas:
- Baby booties, baby hats, baby dresses.
- Coasters, doilies, or fabric napkins.
- Crocheted flower pot cozies.
- Knitted headbands.
- Knitted headbands using locally-sourced wool.
- Tailoring and upcycling vintage clothing finds.
If you want to test the market, make something and then use it/wear it in public. What you get asked about is what you should focus on and sell.
How to Sell Your Crafty Handmade Creations
The areas above are just a few of the crafty handmade creation businesses you can start as a side hustle. We didn't even touch on the idea of selling candles, making jewelry, or focusing on your artwork.
Those with a steady hand might find calligraphy work pleasing and enter the world of wedding invitations. Perhaps you’d rather jump into an area that involves woodworking or refurbishing old furniture.
Whatever creative method you choose to focus on for your crafty handmade business, you need to set yourself up with places to sell. Focusing online would be the easiest option for most, but there may be a period of time where physical face-to-face selling is necessary to help get the word out and/or grow.
Etsy – When it comes to the world of handmade, no place is better known for facilitating the selling of handmade goods than Etsy. It's extremely easy to set up a shop, and the fees are fairly minimal.
Even though they include a listing fee, transaction fee, and payment processing fee, there is no monthly cost for the standard plan. It's basically low-cost access to a globally known search engine for people who are looking to spend money.
Ebay – Ebay is always an option for selling your goods online, but it's not always the best place for handmade creations. While it doesn't hurt to have a presence on Ebay for the search factor, I'd suggest focusing your efforts elsewhere.
Online Shop – Nothing says professional like having your own dedicated online shop on your own domain. While Etsy provides you the space to tell your story, it doesn't present your brand in its best light.
By setting up your dedicated online shop, you can have pages of information, blog posts, and all the additions that set the tone and vibe for your customer.
Shopify has made it super easy to build an online store in minutes – just with a monthly fee and fees for some extra features.
Wholesale – Since most side hustles don't allow for the time and effort of a permanent physical shop, the best way to get your products into stores is by offering wholesale. Wholesale is great for small businesses because you usually:
- Sell multiple products at once
- Get your products into physical and other online shops
- Get your products in front of a new audience
It's pretty much another form of marketing for your side hustle, but in doing so, you must think critically about your pricing strategy. Pricing for wholesale properly ensures you actually end up with the funds to grow your business.
Once you have your pricing right, you will need to reach out to shops that would benefit from selling your products. This guide has some great tips for this process.
Market Stalls – I have a soft spot for market stalls since that is where Aroamas got its humble beginnings many years ago. I had a product, but I didn’t know if anyone would like it, so I packaged it up and bought a table at a local market.
While I didn't make many sales (it wasn't the right market for my product), the live, face-to-face feedback I got that day was invaluable. After that first go, I gained the confidence to be more vocal with my small business, taking it to the streets by investing in more market stalls and creating shops online.
2. Create Classes and Courses
We all have some unique knowledge that others will find interesting and useful, so packaging that information up into a course or class is an easy way to reach many people in one event/product.
Your unique knowledge could be anything from how to crochet a blanket to how to organize your pantry. Once you have that special thing picked out, it’s a matter of choosing to teach something in real life or online.
Host Real Life Craft Classes: Craft classes have grown in popularity in recent years as fun ways to spend evenings with friends, often with a drink or two. Think Watercolor and Wine type classes.
If you have a hands-on craft to teach with a finished product, think about making an in-person event with tickets and supplies. It can be a simple craft project since the focus tends to be more on the social experience rather than learning a difficult skill.
Setting this up can be as easy as reaching out to a local venue for hosting (such as a pub or community center) and then getting the word out with a Facebook event.
Create an Online Course: Another option is to create your course online. While this might sound difficult, several websites exist specifically to facilitate online courses. Teachable and Podia are great places to start, and the sites are full of information for people getting started.
3. Create a Blog, Channel or Podcast
We don't always think of these things as business ideas, but running a blog, YouTube channel, or podcast can become a super lucrative side hustle. With the addition of ads and affiliate products, these outlets offer many potential streams of income. And they are fun to build if you love your topic.
The main issue with choosing these as your side hustle is that it's not going to make you money overnight. It might take 6 months to a year before the business starts to make a noticeable income, but once you do, a lot of the hard work has been done.
Start a Blog: As someone who has turned a side project blog into a full-time business, starting a blog is always at the top of my recommendation list. It’s a very viable path for sharing content that you love and creating multiple streams of income.
The main tactic here is creating shareable and searchable posts that can be used to accumulate ad revenue, sell affiliate products, or sell your own products.
The recommended method of starting a blog is through WordPress, which will involve buying a domain name and web hosting. A good guide for starting a blog can be found on my other site, Her Packing List.
Start a Youtube Channel: Now writing isn't for everyone, so if you prefer speaking, try creating a YouTube Channel. The videos you create can be as simple as a talking head video, or as difficult as a full-blown production. Product review videos, DIY's, and commentary on a topic are all viable paths.
In terms of monetizing, the standard way through Youtube is with Adsense, but there are loads of options for monetizing beyond that.
Start a Podcast: Another one for the talkers is to start a podcast around your chosen topic. Once you build up a listenership, you can think about monetizing the show with advertisements and affiliate offerings. Alternatively, the podcast could help you to market your blog or other products.
For tips on getting your podcast up and running, check out the 2019 guide to starting a podcast by Pat Flynn. Then read about all the different ways to monetize your podcast so it becomes the side hustle business you dreamed about.
Also… check out the Being Boss podcast in your free time to get business advice for creative entrepreneurs.
4. Organize Creatively for Others
Part of being a crafty and creative person is figuring out how things work where other people can't. Therefore, your side hustle could be organizing creatively – and that means creating events as well, for others. Here are some ideas.
Party Planning: Kids' birthdays, corporate events, or even bridal showers. Party planning for special occasions can be a stressful experience for those who just want to be involved.
Local Tours: Every part of the world has a little special something to see. Even if your home isn't in a particularly exotic location, you could set up some local tours to show others the greatness that is there.
Maybe there are some great pizza joints to explore in one go. Perhaps there are a few craft breweries in the area. While people can easily do these sorts of outings on their own, the ability to have it curated and organized for them is worth the cost.
Home Organization: The KonMari method hasn't become a household phrase for no reason. Tidying, decluttering, and organizing the home has become huge topics in recent years, even with shows hitting Netflix that essentially talk about a clothes folding technique that is changing lives.
If you have a knack for clearing out the clutter, try helping your friends to see if this could be the side hustle business for you.
Virtual Assistant: A lot of online and small businesses need extra help in the form of a virtual assistant. Forget the idea of virtual assistants only doing menial tasks like data entry these days.
If you're a virtual assistant for another creative or entrepreneurial business, then some of your duties could be down a more creative path.
Your tasks could be updating social media or sourcing images for a blog post or reaching out to potential podcast guests.
If this sounds interesting, my suggestion would be to put the word out. Reach out to your favorite blogs and online personalities and let them know your services are available. If they don't need assistance now, an opportunity might arise in the future.
5. Sell Digitally Created Products
The business ideas listed in this section differ from the handmade crafty businesses in that the creations happen digitally, and you don't have to deal with physical products yourself.
Digitally created product businesses tend to have a very low overhead and low entry cost.
Print on Demand (POD) Shop: The beauty of print on demand services is you never need to handle a physical product, but you can have an inventory of dozens or hundreds of options.
When you partner with a print on demand service, you simply upload a design (that you can outsource if needed) and choose the products (like a t-shirt or mug) you'd like to serve it on. Then, you choose a price above their base price, which essentially creates your profit margin.
When a visitor purchases your item, the company prints it and ships it out for you. Done and done!
Check out this guide on getting started with POD for more detailed information.
Graphic Designing: We probably all know someone who works as a graphic designer, but for good reason. Not only are the majority of businesses online in some way, shape or form, but they generally need some design work created in the digital world.
And not just businesses. Individuals might need wedding invitation designs, a personal blog logo created, or maybe just some photos digitally enhanced.
The demand for graphic designers is out there, and that demand is not going away anytime soon. Getting into the area will be a benefit to you in the long run, whether you are selling design services for others, or using the skills to promote your other online endeavors.
Still a beginner? You can learn the graphic design skills you need by taking online courses, such as those found on the following sites:
6. Write Your Way to an Income
Grammar lovers and story tellers can use their gift of the written word to create a side hustle business. Here are some ideas that involve writing your way to an income.
Freelance Writing: I made my living for years as a freelance writer – in particular a freelance blogger. I've also hired many a freelance writer to help create content for my other site, Her Packing List.
So, I know this path for a side hustle is very doable – but it can be hard to land on the more lucrative end of the scale, even when publishing on big name outlets.
Regardless, content creation is big business. Business sites (and non-business websites) want to 1) provide information/story and 2) get high search results on Google. Words, articles, and stories draw an audience to websites, create a customer base, and build brand loyalty.
If you have the ability to help with this process, then freelance writing could be the side hustle for you.
To get started, I recommend reaching out and pitching to sites and blogs of topics you enjoy and know a lot about. You may need to build up a small portfolio of writing first – a personal blog is a great place for that. Some tips to get started can be found at How to Start Freelance Blogging.
Editing & Proofreading: Editing and proofreading are more logical type side hustle opportunities, but there is a bit of creativity that needs to be harnessed to do both. You have to love reading, and you have to be able to get into the vision of your client – sometimes not an easy feat.
A good way to get started in this area is to niche down. Focus on a specific topic or product type. Maybe you're good at short, snappy, and descriptive sales text.
If so, become a copy editor for online shops with lots of products. If you know a lot about medical procedures and jargon, then become a proofreader with a focus on medical research papers.
Self-Publishing Books: It turns out you don’t need a book deal these days to make an impact through writing. Whether it's purely information or a complete work of fiction, self-publishing your book and selling online can make for a fantastic side hustle opportunity with high profit margins.
The beauty of self-publishing is the actual cost to create the digital book can be extremely low. If you're selling an information book from your website, it can be as simple as a PDF document. If you’re selling on Amazon (it's definitely smart to get your product listed on this huge search engine), then it will need to be formatted to Kindle.
- Make Money Self-Publishing Books on Amazon
- How to Make Money Self-Publishing in 2019 – 9 Tips from an Indie Author of Over 100 Books
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