10 Ways to Automate Your Craft Business

Does This Sound Familiar?

I know many of you are craft business owners, making all sorts of amazing pieces of art.  I also know that you are busy bodies. Creatives are Motivated! Success if you haven’t found it already, is just around the corner.  Owning a business can make you feel tied down at times. Many of you are moms and/or working women, feeling stretched thin and overwhelmed with daily life.  Trying several business ventures, you just want to find your “thing”. Something more flexible and less demanding. If only you could find a way to generate automated income doing what you love to do, CREATE!  But how? Other people have success online and make it look so easy! You ask yourself, “What am I doing wrong?” “How do I get a piece of that pie, live the life I want to live, do the things I want to do?” “How can I earn a passive income in my craft business?”


I felt the same way.  I was sick of the long hours, tight deadlines and working for someone else.  It was sooo stressful!! I wanted the freedom of flexibility. I value every second of my time.  I wanted to get more done. Is it possible to work less yet make more money?

Yes!!  This is what I DO!!!  Just like what we talked about last week, THIS is my passion! Craft business is my specialty.  Identifying and adding passive income strategies to craft businesses is my jam!! After reading this post, you are going to be overloaded with ideas, your mind will be spinning! You can’t have too many ideas.....AMIRIGHT?  

If you keep on reading, I will provide you 10 ways you can add automated income to your existing craft business.  Whether you already have a craft business or if you are just starting out, there will be options for you.  So, let’s hop to it!!

1. Design and Sell Cut Files….It Worked For Me...It Can For You Too!

 As many of you know, cut file design is where I got my start.  Designing and Selling Cut Files is a lucrative and popular design realm right now.  Sign up for my FREE Masterclass to learn more about the cut file business and the proof why this is a great area to start in.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with what a cut file is….Cut flies are the multi-layered files that you load into your cut program (Cricut Design Space, Silhouette Studio etc.).  Each layer is customizable allowing you to edit, adjust,or change different elements to fit your design needs.  

There are many reasons why businesses that design and sell cut files are so successful. Just to name a few...1) Demand is high and growing daily with the number of people buying their own cutting machines.  2) Many people don’t want to spend their time creating a cut file. They want to find something online, buy it, customize it and make their project. And, 3) The design programs that come with the machine are limited in their capabilities (design and file type options). Plus, apps like Procreate won’t create an SVG.  You can export your design from Procreate to the cutting program as an IMAGE that needs to be traced. It won’t be a true SVG file. A true SVG is setup so that it can be completely customized within the cutting program. Remember the different layers described in the definition above? These layers are the key to customizing the design allowing you to decide which parts to use or not depending on your preference.

Whether you use the design for your own projects or sell it online to earn a passive income, it can take some time to perfect the process.  For instance, the more detailed a design is, the more likely errors could occur when loading it into a cutting program. To avoid these and many other issues, I have developed my own process of creating SVG files using Adobe Illustrator.  Adobe Illustrator is the leading vector design software in the market today and is the same program I have used to sell 30,000+ cut files in my shop today. I offer a class several times each year that teaches AI and this very process. If you are interested in learning more about becoming an SVG Designer or Seller or even adding this as an automated revenue maker for your business, sign up for the Live FREE Masterclass. Here you’ll learn top Insider Secrets to getting started.  

2. Costco, Sam’s Club and now, YOU...Become a Wholesaler!

We all love a bargain!  Many times, buying in bulk is the most cost effective option, especially if you are purchasing materials (vinyl, fabric etc.) you use on a regular basis. Many of your customers don’t have this luxury.  Maybe what you create isn’t what they are looking for but they LOVE the fabric you used and can’t find it anywhere. Can you offer a portion of that fabric and markup the price? If so, then resell it in smaller quantities to your customers.  Add these listings to your store and then as you’re promoting, offer them to your customers if they wish to make the creation themselves.

 

There was a business on Etsy that just sells 12 inch pieces of vinyl for a few dollars. That’s It! GENIUS!!!  For someone like me, I don’t craft as much as I used to, so I’d much rather buy just a few pieces to make one project, than buy an entire roll. Like the ugly cream color that I used once on a onsie for the inside of an elephant that I know I will never use again.  **eyeroll**

3. Selling digital files from your product design?  Believe it or not, it can expand your business!

Digital files are the computerized design created that will eventually be processed into a physical object (invitations, templates etc.).  For example, say you hand craft wedding invitations. Have you thought about selling the digital designs used to create those invitations? Yes, I know--you are wondering if this is going to decrease the physical product sales especially by offering the digital file at a lesser price.  Trust me, from my experience, customers who want the physical product are completely different buyers than those who want just the digital design. Some people, like many brides let’s say, do not have the time to create their own wedding invitations from scratch. They WANT the finished product.  Then there’s the DIYers and crafters like us, right? By offering both a digital design and the finished product, you are now appealing to MORE people by extending your audience to include the DIYers. For most of you, adding digital content will be an easy option to automate sells because most creations begin with a digital file. Not to mention that digital sales online are skyrocketing more than ever! *Remember don’t sell anything that you didn’t create yourself or don’t have the rights to.  

Now, you may think that this doesn’t apply to you because your projects didn’t start with a digital file, but hey, it’s something to consider for your next project! You never know, it might lead to expanding your business to a wider audience.  For example, several years ago, as a marketer, I worked for an online business that sold the most amazing packaged foods! They were so good that I put on some “chub” while working for them. At one point, the business owner was approached by big national companies to sell his product in their stores.  He chose to decline their offers because he didn’t want to lower his profit margin. I believe his business would have prospered should he have accepted their offers. I believe yours will too if you choose to venture into a new digital area such as this. I think it’s definitely worth a try!

4. Record Your Journey--- Start a Blog. 

Blogs are prevalent nowadays!  We all have read at least one or two posts (don’t lie..you are reading one now...lol) and may even follow some bloggers on a regular basis.  Blogs are used in several different realms...family activities, journals, politics, business, crafts etc. But their intent is the same ...teach, educate, and inform.  What can you teach others about what you do? Or maybe you have a unique story to share. Blog about it! Blogging can generate bookoo bucks from onsite ads, affiliate posts or selling your own products by simply linking to them within the blog post!  Why not take a piece of the blogging world pie?



5. Lights! Camera! ACTION!

 Ok, so video tutorials aren’t the latest chick flick or rom com, but they are very popular today, especially thanks to YouTube!!  The number one shared item online is content. (ie information, helpful tips etc.) Did you know that many young people spend hours watching videos of other people playing video games?  These videos generate tons of income from sponsors! **mind blown** Money making opportunities generated from video tutorials include commissions, product sales, and/or affiliate marketing.

No matter how popular the video tutorials are, many business owners worry they are giving away their dirty little secrets when recording how to make their creations.  Just because people know how to recreate your project, doesn’t mean they won’t need you anymore. Just the opposite, they’ll keep wanting to come back for more. Join the millions of people who are already making video tutorials. By sharing your knowledge and skills, it establishes you as an expert and also builds your audience. Besides, there’s probably a million videos on others doing the exact same thing, so you’ve got Nothing To Lose!  When I started sharing information online, instead of just selling cut files and new designs, everything exploded! My email list, my audience, and my following on all platforms. 

6. It Worked For Kim and Martha, It Can Work For You Too!  

Social Influencers are those people that have found a niche (Kim is All Things Beauty and Martha is the Queen of DIY) and have attracted so many followers that companies want to piggyback onto their success.  They are the people that we can’t wait to hear their opinion on a new product, fad or painting technique. The funny thing is that most of them don’t even have a website or their own store but still make money.  Many become affiliates for several stores and link back to those stores when they do posts.  They make commission on whatever sales occur when the link is followed. Some social influencers have such a large following that companies come looking for them.  Those companies pay the influencer to do a post or will sponsor the influencer long term.  

A great example of a Social Influencer is @ourfauxfarmhouse on Instagram.  They have a massive following and are now sponsored by Home Depot.  For a while, they only did affiliate posts and didn’t even have a website.  Their posts usually link back to an external site where they receive a commission of the sales.  Many of these social influencers appear to come from nowhere and have overnight success, but what we don’t see is the effort and time it took to get to where they are today.  Everyone has to start somewhere. If you are interested in becoming an affiliate, a great platform to start on is Amazon Associates.  They are the Walmart of the online ecommerce world so they usually will have the product you want to link to. When people buy through your link, you receive a commission of the sale. It’s that easy!

7. Say Cheese! Sell your photos!

Where do you create?  Have you seen all those pictures of dreamy craft rooms featured in magazines?  You know the ones the minute you open the page, a bright light appears and angels start singing.  Well, guess what?! Those magazines, bloggers, etc. pay money for those quality photos. If you have created your own beautiful crafting sanctuary, wood shop, artist studio, office etc., take photos!  Even if you just have a cell phone camera (nowadays cell phone cameras rival many a DSLR).  There’s lots of online business owners, bloggers and influencers looking for quality, attractive photos in their niche that will speak to their followers. Photos of anything from supplies to the work-space itself, are highly sought after because they are hard to find.  You can put them up for sale on sites like Etsy and Shutterstock. Selling photos of your work-space is a simple low maintenance way to have extra revenue coming in each month. All you need is a camera. **If you have cutting machine and have some cute photos to share, come talk to me....seriously.

8. Sell Instructions, Patterns or Templates!

We are all creatures of habit.  We want to find the simplest, fastest way to do what we need to do.  This is the same for how we create. The process (pattern, pamphlet, template), is what people want to learn to create a similar project, design or even effect. Maybe you’re a crocheter, a seamstress or even a teacher. People will pay money for anything that will save them time and/or simplify the process!   It can be anything from a crochet pattern for a hat, a pattern for a shirt you sew and sell, a set of educational templates used for a classroom etc. The options are endless!  

Some templates and bundles such as these can go for $30, $40 sometimes even $50.  The price depends on what the item is, how much time it can save the user and how high the demand is for the item.   We all have processes for things we do on a regular basis, even cleaning the house. **grimace** You may use a certain tool or have a quick tip to save time.    What are the processes, tips, templates etc. that you can share? Start thinking about what you could offer in the form of instruction pamphlets, patterns or templates that you could sell.  If it is something you are interested in or that has helped you, more often than not, there is another person who is interested as well.

9. Reaching By Teaching...Host a workshop or online course!

This area is near and dear to my heart.  As mentioned above, people are willing to pay for something that will save them time and money.  For many this can be an online course or workshop. If you have found some success or have knowledge in a particular area, why not share it as an online educational class?  Online courses are replacing degrees, local classes and hiring personal teachers. I’ve had students questioning whether to go back to school to learn graphic design but then saw my course and were glad they didn’t.  They were ready to spend some serious money to enroll in a college course, instead, they enrolled in mine which was a fraction of the price. Not to mention the Designer’s Course to SVG Files has a specific purpose and outcome!  Whereas, going to college requires classes that have nothing to do with what you want to do!

There is massive passive income potential from selling online courses. Several years ago, I wanted to find someone local to teach me how to become a better crocheter.  Now, I don’t have to spend a ton of money because there are courses online for a fair price. Plus, who doesn’t like learning at home in your pj’s?

If you are successful and/or knowledgeable in a certain area, what are you waiting for? Don’t hold out on us! We want to know! Create that online course or workshop and start making money!  However, a word of caution, these courses take time to create and money to set up on the right platform. I recommend that you don’t jump into this area right off the bat. By having other sales running in the background WHILE working on your course, you can earn money and create at the same time.

10. Exclusive For Members Only!

Some buyers need new items each month in order to keep their own business functioning like cut files, new product ideas, new patterns and/or more photos to use on their websites.  Others just want in on the latest gadgets, tools and supplies. These memberships have been growing over time and are becoming quite popular, Sketch Box, FabFitFun and Dollar Shave Club, to name a few.  If you find your customers needing something like this, try launching a membership site. Members pay you a monthly fee in order to receive new and updated items regularly. However, I recommend having a functioning business and regular processes in place before starting a membership as they do require some setup work.



That’s it! I hope some of these sparked your inspiration and has given you some ideas to add automated income to your craft or creative business.   Let’s count the ways one more time!

  1. Design and sell cut files (if you own a cutting machine) - More info in the upcoming masterclass!
  2. Become a wholesaler. Sell your materials if you already order them in bulk.
  3. Sell digital assets if you use these to create your physical product.
  4. Start blogging. Make money through ads or affiliate products.
  5. Share video tutorials to push affiliate products.
  6. Become a social influencer and sell products for others.
  7. Sell your photos!
  8. Sell digital patterns, instructions or templates.
  9. Host a workshop or create an online course.
  10. Start a membership site.

In my opinion, automating your craft business is a must in order to stay afloat in today’s world! You must always have something running in the background to supplement your business. By adding at least one of these options to your business, you will be a STEP AHEAD of the game.  BUT, if you can use any of these as a main source of income that’s where the true rewards lie. These will not only provide you with a flexible income but also will give you the freedom, happiness and lifestyle I know many of you are searching for. I hope that I have provided inspiration that helps start you on the right path. 

Are you currently using a different method to generate passive income for your craft business?  Have you tried any of the methods I have mentioned above and were successful? Or, unsuccessful? Reply in the comments section of this post.  I’d love to hear from you. Have a great weekend everyone!

Cheers!

Kasey

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