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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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah November 4, 2011 at 10:33 am

OH THANK YOU! I’m in the VERY same spot. Stay at home Mom, with a LOT ideas, always making original things for my home and kids. My husband is always saying, “jeez if only we could figure out a time/cost effective way to monetize your hobby…” Also have looked into Etsy, but discovered like you that I just don’t have the time for it now, and no desire to compete with what’s out there (there is SOOO much). Can’t wait for the next instalment!

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Ihilani November 4, 2011 at 10:39 am

Same here! I’m so excited for this series! I just started selling on etsy and yeah, it is a lot of work, and my items cater mostly to Hawaii people and visitors, so maybe it’s not the best place to be selling. Ive been kicking around wholesale but have no idea how to start. Can’t wait to read the rest of your advice!

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Katy November 4, 2011 at 11:11 am

Looking forward to reading this series. I know of a shop that I have considered trying to sell the exact kind of hair accessories. But have know idea how to approach them. Can’t wait for part 2!

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Tamara @ Etcetorize November 4, 2011 at 12:01 pm

This is wonderful! I’m so glad that you’re willing to share your knowledge. I agree, Etsy is not as easy as it’s sometimes made out to be. My mind is already spinning with your suggestions and ideas. Can’t wait to see what else you share. Thank you!

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Nancy November 5, 2011 at 4:14 am

Destri, You are a women after my own heart!! Back in 1983 we were in a horrific Car Accident that took me from my corporate job and the Income that came with it. The extras in our lives were becoming obsolete, so were the Boutique bought clothes for our 18 month old. Not a Sewer by any stretch, nor could I walk at the time either. I took my daughters expensive little Hair accessories apart and figured out how to make them. Soon after I sent my Hubby to a few Craft shops with a looooonnnng list, taught myself how to sew with needle and thread, it was little girls hair accessories, then soon came matching socks, a concept, the Boutiques I shopped at were now purchasing from me, one even recommended a Sales Rep at the CA Mart in LA. I was now walking and well on my way with a successful Home based business. The rest is History, a fun History! Please feel free to pick my Brain. I love helping others with their Journey, my way of giving back as so many were there to help me with their expertise.

Huggs, Nancy

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Kelly November 5, 2011 at 5:04 am

Great post! Thank you for sharing. I have the habit of over-thinking everything, so having someone “simplify” it is very helpful. I’ve been considering an online store as well, but I like your idea much better, plus it also helps out a local business. I’m anxious to read part 2.

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chris orow November 5, 2011 at 6:38 am

thank you for this! it’s very generous and helps a lot to put things into perspective. looking forward to the next post :) C

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Amy November 5, 2011 at 8:56 am

I don’t sew at all. I am just starting to get into crafts and making items very slowly. I’ve always had an interest, but lacked the time, money, and resources until now. I’ve just started getting into shopping at boutiques in the last year. But I LOVE leading games & planning activities for kids of all ages. But I have zero interest in opening my own in home day care. But I thought of looking into being a birthday party planner or opening my own three day a week morning only preschool–not even sure where to begin. I was actually taking classes to be a vet. tech. (along with being a stay at home mom) for the past three and a half years and dropped out only two months ago for various reasons. I’m at peace with my decision, but I am very much in a “What do I do now?” phase.

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Jane November 5, 2011 at 10:47 am

Thank you for posting this! I have been waffling on what to sell, HOW to get my product (s) out there ….but reading your words (and Nancy’s brief story) made me realize that I need to look around, see what, where, now I am waiting for the ‘how’ in your next post.
I do have an etsy shop but in the past year have only sold 2 things…and the postage from Canada is steep!

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Jen November 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm

This couldnt have come at a better time! Thanks so much and really looking forward to the follow up posts!

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Justina November 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm

A great friend of mine shared this site with me tonight & I am so glad she did! First thank you very much for writing this as I am just getting started with my Shop on Etsy. I love etsy myself so I decided to go with it as it was comfortable to me. I am super excited to read the Part 2, maybe it will open up another door for me. I do have a few questions… if you don’t mind. I sell hair accessories, I enjoy making them and the overhead is low so it works out great. So question: I had a photographer contact me about partnering with her, I would provide her product for free & she would use it in her shoots & then 1. her client would learn of me & 2. I would be able to use her photos in my shop, so is this a good idea????? I have no girls and wondered if hair accessories were enough for moms without girls so I decided to sell burp cloths and plan to extend into bibs and wash cloths. I am about to start up with nursing covers and I even dab into chalk cloth boards. So after reading your story I seem to have my hands in multiple things and not just one. Should I stop offering the other products and go down to one? My thought was if I did multiple things I would hit a bigger market and get people to see one product I offered while there were really looking for another product. Hope all that makes sence. Any words of wisdom you have for me I would love to hear. Thanks again

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Tiffany November 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm

This was good, I sat up in bed and everything!

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Lorri November 6, 2011 at 7:39 am

This is a very useful post! Looking forward to the rest of it. I make little slippers as baby gifts and I’ve thought about selling them on the side, but when I started to think about it, I wouldn’t be able to sell them for what my time and the supplies were worth. Maybe after reading your posts, I’ll look into it again. :)

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Ashley November 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Destri this is wonderful! I went from contributing a decent salary to a SAHM and the transition ,while amazing, left me feeling like I need to contribute a little more. I know being a Sahm is alot of work and I save us alot of money (dear husband reassures me all the time I do more than my fair share) but going from that to this still leaves me feeling like I need to do a little something more. I have been racking my brain trying to find the best method and I am very interested to hear your experiences. I have thrown around the idea of a shop but I blog, chase after two boys under three, and run a household. So if I can spend more time with them and make money I would prefer that. I would hate to be online or producing more than I am spending time with my family. I am so glad you are posting this and THANK YOU for commenting on my blog. It was a real compliment getting a great comment from a Mother Huddle Mom. Thanks Again!
~ Happily Following~
Ashley @ Thereisnoplacelikehomemade (dot) blogspot (dot) com

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Annalisa December 20, 2012 at 12:31 am

Thank you so much Destri! I have been looking for so long for someone who would give me actual “HOWs” on how to do all of this. Most of the time people just tell you the obvious things that you already know to do like “come up with a store name, etc.” and never tell you how to actually DO the business part of things. I am so grateful for your kind consideration in creating these posts! I know it was a lot of work but it helped me so much! It’s been so helpful I can’t even tell you! Thank you so much! If I can do anything for you in return let me know! I’d be happy to help promote your blog or something! Thanks again and good luck to you! :D

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Destri December 20, 2012 at 10:15 am

You’re welcome! you reminded me I need to finish up the last installment. I’ll keep you posted!

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Purity July 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Thank you very much for helpful information. You have no idea what you have done to me. God bless you. Can’t Waite for the next post

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Quincy January 16, 2013 at 12:35 am

Oh, please, please send us more info. I’m biting at the bit.

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Lynnea May 11, 2013 at 11:01 pm

I just came across this and I would LOVE to find part 2 but I am having trouble finding it in the archives. I am trying to get my product into wholesalers so this would really help! Thx!

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Susan sherlock August 9, 2013 at 11:42 pm

I make beaded jewelry and get a lot go compliments, was wondering if you buy that jewelry to sell in your shop and if so how do I meet you? I live in Littleton and could bring my jewelry to your shop in downtown Littleton to see what you think. Please let me know if you are interested in something like this. Thank you very much.

Susan Sherlock

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