How I Easily Make $300 Extra Income Each Month

by Destri on November 4, 2011

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Each time I mention I make hair accessories for a local boutique I receive a few emails asking me how I go about it.  Do I sell them wholesale or sell on a commission basis?  How did I approach the stores?  How did I get started?   Do I really make any money?  After answering these emails, I realized I wasn’t really helping anyone with a small explanation.  So I am making an effort to give a detailed outline of how I went about it, and how you can too.  I am making my extra income making hair accessories for a boutique, but really you could apply my model to most hobbies. I was able to do this with very little overhead, minimal time (about 15 hours a month), and started earning fairly quickly.

I am going to make this a three part series, as I tried to fit it all in one post and it seemed too vague to be useful.  You know I like details :).  I will try to be as transparent as possible, share the pros and cons, and hopefully in the end you will have a detailed outline of how you can pull in a little (or a lot of!) extra money by Christmas.

Let’s get started!  Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Part 1 – How, Where, and What to Sell.  My personal experience on how I decided on all three of those factors.
  • Part 2 – Make A Plan.  What’s your time worth? How do you approach a store owner? What kind of incentives can you have? How do make sure you make money?
  • Part 3 – The Nitty Gritty.  A few things to keep in mind when turning a hobby into a job, even if it’s a little one.  Some what-to-do and what-not-to-do tips.

Catch me after the jump for Part 1…

How, Where, And What To Sell

My family was getting ready to go to California for a wedding in the mountains and then extend it to a family vacation on the coast. We had already spent heaps on the trip between airplane tickets and hotels, and I knew that my husband was feeling a tad stressed by it all.  We were planning on taking our kids to Disneyland and to do some other fun things.  I really wanted to have a spot of cash we could spend knowing it wouldn’t effect our (already blown) monthly budget. I had one month to do it, I just had to decide how.  I love to make things, and I stay home with my kids.  So the natural choice was to make things from home I could sell.  I generally am making things for my kids, so making things along those lines made sense.  Now, where do I sell them?

How Best To Sell My Product?

Online Store

I have always kicked around the idea of opening an etsy shop or something, but they take a lot of time if you want it to be successful.  You have set up the store, think of a name, get a banner, take great pictures of your product, post those pictures, and advertise, advertise, advertise.  Then there is the shipping and time spent with convos, emails and overall working with the customers – and of course competition.  Lots and lots of it.  Also, with TMH I already spend enough time on the internet.  I just didn’t have the time to commit to an online shop.

Consignment Shops

So I decided to see if I could find somewhere local to sell my things.  I first looked into some different consignment shops that I could sell at.  Most of them took a 50% cut and one charged for the space you used on a month-to-month basis.  I could make money, but only as the items sold.  That wouldn’t work for me.

Wholesale

Then I thought about selling wholesale.  I know from my days of hairdressing how it could work.  I make a bulk amount of items, sale to a local business at a wholesale price, and then they sell them at retail prices.  At first I thought I would lose half my earning potential, but when I looked at the details, I knew I could come out ahead better than any other approach given my circumstance.  Here’s how:

  • I would only have one customer to work with
  • I would have no shop to keep up – no worrying about taking pictures and posting products
  • I would have no advertising to pay for
  • I would have no packaging materials to pay for
  • I wouldn’t have to worry about shipping – getting it out in time, items getting lost
  • I would make the money on the spot, vs. over time

So I had found my answer.  Wholesale was best for me and my situation. Now what to sell?

What would my product be?

At first I kicked around the idea of sewing childrens boutique clothing. I had visited a few boutiques around town and knew that I could offer them something fun and different.  But when I looked at it realistically it would take much more time than I had, and I just didn’t feel like I could sell the clothing at a price that would be worth my time. Also, I really think it would take the fun out of sewing for me, it would just stress me out.

So what to do?

Well, I went scoping out a high end boutique one day and found something I could make for them that they didn’t have – boutique hair accessories.  They had a ton of bows, but that was it.  No cute rosettes, no ruffles, and no fascinators.  I could offer them something they didn’t have, and something they could easily sell.  I knew I could make them quickly and inexpensively making for a short turnaround on my time and money invested.

I let my mind wander into thinking all the little things I could make for them, but if I spent the money I would need to for all the inventory I wouldn’t make any money!   Really I can list a bunch of things right here that would sell well in their store, but if I wanted it to be worth my time and money, I needed to keep to one product.

So the takeaway for part 1 is:

  • What’s Your Niche?  Do you sew? Make home goods? Cook?  Choose a hobby that you enjoy, keeping in mind the time it takes and if you can make it worth it.
  • Identify the best approach for selling your product.  I was looking for minimal overhead on time and money, and a quick return on my investment of that time and money spent. That made wholesale my answer.
  • Decide on a specific product. Then keep it simple.  You can’t do it all, and do it well. You won’t make any money if you are buying materials to make 20 different products.
  • Fill A Need – Present a product a shop owner knows they can sell.  It needs to be unique, original, and in trend.  Look for something they don’t have that will get them excited.

In part 2 we will cover how I approached the shop owner and with what incentives.  How I priced my product and made it worth my time, and overall workflow.

If you have any questions pertaining to what we covered today, leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them!

And if you have any tips on the matter, please share!

~Destri

 

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