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So how realistic actually is it?

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  • So how realistic actually is it?

    To make money selling your craft.

    I realise that opens up a MANY questions and answers - depends on this and that type discussion BUT..... I've been thinking about these specific things for a while now:

    I work part-time could I earn that much on my craft regulary? I do SPEND a lot on craft LOL (but it's more want and bad planning - oh and impulse, than what I actually HAVE to have)

    I would like to make it more my business but here's a few problems:
    1. I don't know the first thing about being self-employed
    2. Is it realistic to think you can earn more than a 'little' on crafts
    3. (possibly worst of all) I used to make cards and when I had to supply the church it became a bit of a chore and I went off making them, it wasn't fun anymore and now I have lots of people wanting my coke can jewellery but it seems no fun once I make the same thing over and over.

    Should I just keep it all a hobby or can you ENJOY doing it more for business and is it realistic?

    Sorry about all the questions but I'm beginning to confuse myself and also I don't want to make a mistake.

  • #2
    (possibly worst of all) I used to make cards and when I had to supply the church it became a bit of a chore and I went off making them, it wasn't fun anymore and now I have lots of people wanting my coke can jewellery but it seems no fun once I make the same thing over and over.
    Oooh...I totally know that situation and what a destructive feeling it can be! I can only tell you that I'm happier now I'm keeping my crafts primarily as a hobby, although it will have to be a self funding hobby. I'm planning to use it to raise much needed funds for my fave charity too, I find it gives me an extra boost to carry on!
    Gail x

    My Blog:


    • #3
      I think it depends on what your craft is. Take Jewelery - Auntynet and Urbtaf would tell you they make a living but they work very hard to do so.
      Card making is more labour intensive but if you charged the hourly rate you would never sell any. I make quilts - I think I would have to charge £300 plus for a double if I costed it correctlyad who is going to pay that much and It would take some of the pleasure out of it for me if I did it for a business.
      There are many very skilled crafters on this forum - some make a livng and some keep it as a hobby and I am sure they will all offer good advice on this subject.
      God helps them that help themselves.


      • #4
        Re: being self employed, it's not that difficult. Call up HMRC and tell them, then just fill in a tax return each year. Check the web for regulations regarding your craft - e.g. distance selling regs, soaps have a lot of regulations, children's toys have loads

        How much you make really depends on what you do, how you price and how much you sell. I don't make enough to live off...but I don't have to, I run my business as something for me. I fit the crafting around looking after my daughter. Some months I can be rushed off my feet and others is fairly quiet.

        One thing I've found is that it takes a lot of time to do marketing and research - that's time that isn't really 'charged' as such. The time crafting is included in the price I charge but the time it took me to find a new bead supplier or a new product to sell isn't iyswim.

        I really enjoy it BUT it's very rare I make the same item twice...I use different beads and colours each time. The things that are repetatitve aer generally the really quick to make items so it's not a problem. I also find it relaxing after looking after a 20 month old all day

        You could always work and run a business. That way you've still got your income from work and so it doesn't matter as much how many sales you get.


        • #5
          I gave up my part time job in February of this year and have not looked back. I don't make much money but am happier, I am however, rethinking the business and going back to my original concept of textiles etc. Will still do jewellery but using textiles more than just beads.

          Check out the Business Link website, I know that the Hampshire and IOW group are holding day seminars for women thinking of starting a business, it may be worth looking in your area and go along, they are very helpful and a useful tool for progressing further. Starting your own busines - Foundations may be the best one.

          The tax side is easily dealt with online plus the latter will also help with this.

          As to making money cannot say for sure the present climate is very hard and I am down 2/3rds on last years takings, I have gone in the wrong direction though, so this may be down to that.

          My advice would be go to the seminars, plan progress slowly and give up the job if and when you can afford to.

          Good Luck


          • #6
            Glad you sorted your members name out ok, I turned my passion into a business and Im still loving what I do! With lots of luck and Im sure you know prayer, if your meant to make a living out of it, you will.


            • #7
              We do make a living from our craft. Its not easy and isnt always fun, but its a lot better than working for someone else. thats my opinion anyway.
              It does get very frustrating when I want to spend my time wirewrapping a beutifull stone Ive found, but need to spend my day making cheap earings or sorting 40kilos of tumble stones into their different types. Its a matter of being organised, and maintaining the enthusiasam or your business with wither and die before your eyes.
              Self employment is not for everyone, so satisfy yourself that you have the right attitude before you jump in.


              • #8
                I'm someone who studied art/design all the way through to a degree but then decided to take a different career to ensure a more regular income. A few years down the line, I have come back to crafts and run it as a 'hobby' business in my spare time. As a result, anything I do make is a nice bonus and I feel less creatively 'tied' as a result. I have the utmost respect for people who do their crafting or design as a full-time job but I enjoy the way I work as it fits in with my life and family. The joy of creative work is that you can adapt it to suit you: there will be advocates for every approach but at the end of the day, you can do what is best for you. None of us can guarantee ourselves success or wealth but at least we have the unique opportunity to create something that draws on our ideas and spirit, hopefully appealing to other people enough to make them want it to enrich their lives or homes. Whichever path you choose, I wish you the best of luck.

                Wood Tattoos
                Decorative Pyrography for all Occasions - Author of "Woodburning with Style" (2010) and "Learn to Burn" (2013)


                • #9
                  First I think I need to say it depends what it is you are making.
                  Then I would say I have done it.

                  It crept up on me and has grown - but I do struggle to make a minimum wage - but somedays I'm working from 8am to midnight and some times I take chunks of weeks off - so I don't know if I'm working full time. I suspect not.

                  First I think it's prudent to have something else to support you incase it goes pear shape. I had other jobs and a lovely husband.

                  Then, maybe, don't put all your eggs in one basket. I've got 6 facets to what I do and one year one is the main earner and another year it's a different one.

                  Factor in the selling time. Ideally you need to be two people - a maker and a seller. You do have to spend a lot of time advertising, packing, sorting the paperwork, and if you do it yourself: standing behind a table all day or freezing behind a market stall. One tip is to be making in the quiet times but that can be annoying as it's one more thing to lug around, keep an eye on and not spill.

                  When I set the alarm for 5.30 am, when a bit of market stall splits my skull, when I go somewhere new and am a Billy nomates...I do hanker for my old proper job from which I would be retiring this year. All the rest of the time I'm supremely happy, my time is mine, I can work around my family, I'm constantly meeting up with old friends and making new ones and I've got something to keep me busy until I'm 80 (- hope I'll be saying 90 when I hit 80. )

                  So I'd say, as long as you have a plan B up your sleeve in case it goes wrong, go for it.



                  • #10
                    Mine is oart time, and is my only job. However, my husband has a full time job and we have a regular income from that, so we know all the bills are going to be paid and that anything I make is extra.
                    I fell into mine by accident, and I do love it. I find it a great challenge to make each card look the same, I like to make sure they are perfect. I do sell more boxes than cards though, and as each one is different they add spice to what I make. I make more on the boxes than on the cards, which evens up my sales a bit more.
                    I discussed doing this with my husband before I started, and we decided to give it a year, and then see how I was doing. After 6 months I have made a profit, a very small one, but I think that's quite good for the first year when you consider I was buliding up trade suppliers and some of my first orders had to have a minimum quantity.
                    There are lots of threads on here that help regarding tax and registering with the Inland Revenue - they were very helpful for me when I was starting up.
                    Good Luck with whatever you decide!
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                    • #11
                      Thanks for the thread. I've been wondering the same things so mean nice reading people's replies.

                      I've just finished at uni and am looking for a proper graduate job TBH. I think if I started off on a craft career now I'd regret not following my degree route (which is quite different - environmental sciences!). I also want to find a nice house so I can move out of my parents house and so I do need a nice well paid job! So I guess my priorities are a lot different.

                      I do love the idea of earning as a hobby though. I love making candles, but unless I sell them I can't really keep on making them! I'm thinking of setting up a website as a way to sell them. I think for me though, it will always be a hobby thing! I can dream of having it as a business, but I know myself too well and it wouldn't work! LOL!
                      Why do tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow!!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sugarysweet View Post
                        I've just finished at uni and am looking for a proper graduate job TBH. I think if I started off on a craft career now I'd regret not following my degree route (which is quite different - environmental sciences!)
                        I'm sure we have at least one other environmental sciences person on here so you may be in the right place for advice all round!
                        Wood Tattoos
                        Decorative Pyrography for all Occasions - Author of "Woodburning with Style" (2010) and "Learn to Burn" (2013)


                        • #13
                          It might depend on how determined you are.
                          I left Uni half hearted about making a career out of jewellery making, only ever broke even, and subsidised myself by teaching.
                          Fellow ex students were more determined and made it.
                          Now, my son and his friend finished their illustration course. The friend stayed at home, carried on drawing, got disheatened and got a job in a supermarket........ He might still make it.......
                          My son, went out to everything going, pushed agents, worked 24/7, gave up comfort for living rent free in a garrett..........and it's going well........
                          He did a graph of his earnings and could say they doubled every month. Not very hard when he earned £100 the first month
                          But he's got enough now to pay for his wedding and put a deposit on a house.

                          Anyway, best of luck whatever you choose to do.


                          • #14
                            From my own personal experience and from that of some other crafters that I've spoken to, turning crafting into a business can be more of an organic process, rather than a black an white decision. I mean that quite a few people start their craft as a hobby, then maybe start selling bits to family & friends, then go on to do a few craft fairs, or, sell their items through craft shops and perhaps decide to start selling online. Whether, or, not they're able to actually make much money depends on the amount of energy and time they devote to their craft and to selling it and luck, more often than not, has a big part to play in it too.
                            I think what I'm trying to say is it's a good idea build up your business at a pace that's comfortable for you, then see how big the return is, before you decide to give up your 'day job'.

                            "One must have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to a dancing star."


                            • #15
                              i make a parttime wage on my jewellery, but the thing about selling your crafts is it can't be wholly relied on. i just finished uni in may and am stil living at home with my parents, otherwise i wouldn't have been able to pursue my jewellery without another source of income. some months i'll make loads (especially around summer and christmas) others hardly anything. but if your serious about it, get some good marketing done etc and getyaself known i'm sure you could make a living off of it!