The Crafter's Guide to Multiple Income Streams

How to Fund Your Family Dreams and Bucket Lists Through Multiple Streams of Income, The Crafter’s Way

My daughter is starting ballet classes in April. This has always been a dream of mine, because I also did ballet as a child. I have photos of me in a tutu, and — sorry to say this!—, but they were way cute. My mom kept my ballet shoes, and I couldn’t wait for my daughter to own her very own pair.
But, oh boy, do those ballet classes cost a lot! The fee for the class themselves are separate from the cost of the uniform and shoes. And, I’m not even gonna talk about the recital fee. It’s nice that my husband is paying for this, which is way out of our budget and took us a while to save up for. So I can’t help but think to myself, “I better make a ton of stuff this summer to sell at my bazaars. We need extra moolah!” Isn’t being a handmade business owner amazing? You get to help out in the family’s expenses in times like these.

In my last post, I gave you a sneak peek into my life as a Work at Home Mom and told you about the H.O.P.E Summit I was part of last year. In that seminar, I met many moms who, like me, were keen on adding a new source of income for their family. Some of these moms were also crafters who have turned their hobby into a business. This got me thinking about my own Beadlady brand, and my current business model. I make jewelry, I teach workshops online and in live events, and I provide a DIY crafting corner at parties or private play groups. I specialize in polymer clay crafts, but this has branched out into different services.

It is always a good idea to have multiple income streams, or as they say, to not put all your eggs in one basket. For one, it will pay for your kid’s Play Doh and books. Also, it will give you a fallback for when things don’t go exactly the way you want them to.

Let me share with you tips on how to come up with new income streams for your handmade business:

1. SPECIALIZE and learn everything you can about your craft.

This way, you became an expert in your area. And when you become an expert, you become the go-to person about that craft. People will want to work with you, and this will open new opportunities for you. I have been working with polymer clay for more than 13 years now. I’d like to think it’s my experience and knowledge that draws clients to take my classes.

2. See the OPPORTUNITIES in your weaknesses.

In my case, my weakness was I couldn’t leave home anymore to teach polymer clay workshops. I used to be a full-time crafter, but I had to give up my career for a while to focus on being a hands-on, breastfeeding, stay at home mom to my daughter. During this time of zero crafting, I felt I had lost my identity because my handmade business used to rule my life before I became pregnant. Everything I did before revolved around my business. But my baby was extra clingy – we were glued to each other almost 24/7 because we were breastfeeding. Also during this time, I would get a lot of inquiries on when my next workshops would be. And so an opportunity was born. I realized, there must be other moms out there like me, who can’t go to a live event because of their busy schedules.

I also realized there was no better time than now to start working on the idea I got many years ago, even before I got pregnant: I had to START offering online workshops or e-courses. So over the course of a year, while staying at home and taking care of my baby, I recorded videos and wrote lessons on everything I knew about polymer clay. I resolved to learn more about this new business model of teaching online, so I read everything I could on the subject. (I also enrolled in an e-course on Creative Live about the subject, a few years after launching it, so I could tweak and improve my class offering.)

Instead of resigning myself and settling into the idea of “I can’t work because of my baby!”, I made a new opportunity for myself. I explored something new I’ve never tried before, something only a few other crafters have tapped into. I was then able to find a new market for my skills.
3. Get yourself out there.
Since I got back to work last year, I’ve been busy joining events to get back on everyone’s radar. This is where I meet new people and discover new opportunities. It’s never easy for me though. Funny story: early this year, I worked with homegrown cloth diaper brand Fluffy Pwets as a sponsor for the media launch of their new products. I was invited to the VIP brunch and press launch. When I arrived at the brunch, Tina de Guzman - the brains behind FP - told me to just go around the room, talk to the other guests, make friends.. I was so scared! I definitely don't know how to work my way around a party.

I think it took me an hour to gather enough courage to mingle. Awkward little me finally pried myself off the chair I was glued on, and went around the room to introduce myself. So thankful that everyone turned out to be friendly and easy to talk to! We chatted about mommyhood and crafting and baking - it was actually pretty fun! Nothing to be scared of, I realized they don’t bite!

My takeaway from this experience: Sometimes the only person holding us back is ourselves! We should try to get out of our comfort zones and get ourselves out there.

4. Never stop learning.

I’ve been working with polymer clay for over 13 years, but I still take online classes from different teachers, and buy new books about the subject. When we keep studying and researching about our craft, it will give us new ideas and broaden our horizons. So go take a workshop, attend a class, enroll in an e-course (Link to e-course, of course!). Or better yet, explore new art forms that are different from yours. You never know where it will lead you!

I hope I’ve given you a few ideas on how to become a thriving crafter, dear reader.

I would love to hear about your products and your handmade business. Let’s talk in the comment section below! Let me help you brainstorm about new income streams for your biz, just leave me a comment below.


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