How To Make Money Selling DIY Projects

two women in a craft workshop with boxes looking at a tablet computer and smiling

You may have already dabbled with selling the items you’ve created. If the profit from a consistent income stream is your goal, you’ve graduated from hobbyist to businessperson. Here’s a little homework you'll need to do before embarking on your new side hustle.

Do Your Research

It's an absolute must, and we can't stress enough the importance of this step which will truly help make the difference between an occasional bump in finances to something more steady. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a good place to get much-needed help in organizing your ideas with a website full of information to help you get started.

Your local library may have developed partnerships with the SBA or other volunteers who have experience in the business world, offering classes and/or one-on-one sessions with counselors at no cost. And hey, while you're at the library, the reference librarian can point you to some other local resources that can prove invaluable to entrepreneurs.

In addition, there are lots of professionals out there who were budding entrepreneurs at one time in their lives. Utilize their knowledge! You can gain so much from the experiences they are willing to share via TED Talks podcasts, and conferences. Learn from their missteps, mistakes, and successes, and connect with them via social media for updates that can provide inspiration and motivation.

man on laptop in workshop with saw

Crunch Some Numbers

Admittedly, some of us don’t like to math, but if you're interested in a money-making venture, our advice: either find a way to get over the math aversion or bring in a friend who actually likes playing with numbers, because there’s a lot riding on that final selling price.

Did you factor in taxes? Shipping? Materials? Your time? Will you have staff to pay? What about the location of the business? It can be in your garage, a leased space on the main drag, or online. Regardless of which venue you choose, you'll likely incur some sort of expense for it.

Calculating things like startup costs and sourcing for your materials may end up falling by the wayside in your eagerness to get started, but don't let that happen. Take a seat. Grab some pen, paper, and a calculator. And save that evening glass of wine or beer to share with a friend after you've fiddled with some numbers.

Speaking of Taxes...

Don’t forget to get your state and federal tax id numbers. And since tax rules are in a constant state of flux, what was applicable last year might not be applicable this year, so keep up with the changes.

Rules are rules, folks, and we encourage you to follow them. How you operate your business (sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, etc.) determines how your pay your taxes, and often how much you pay, so it pays to educate yourself and stay on top of any updates.

woman in clothing workshop working on her computer

Ready to Launch?

Not so fast. There's one critical thing you haven't done yet, and we weren't avoiding it just to keep you hooked, so here it is: don't you dare go any further until you've made a business plan. Trust us, we're not trying to be Donny-downers in thwarting your business efforts. For the creative minds, the idea of setting up a business plan might be as much fun as putting hot coals down your underwear, but it’ll give you an idea of where you want to take this endeavor.

Take heart though, much of the work is already done. You've already done the research and gathered the info you need, like evaluating the market, scoping out the competition, pricing the product and locating any potential copyright infringements, etc.

Now its time to commit your ideas to paper and nail down your marketing strategy, your funding, your mission, the business structure, business sustainability, and a fully hashed out description of the company.

Your business structure will give you some extra things to consider like applying for licenses and permits, registering it, and getting business insurance. By hammering in all these details, you'll also be able to anticipate any possible challenges that may come up.

Making money by selling your DIY projects is a great goal to begin the new year. Do it right and resist the urge to put the cart before the horse by reining in your desire to make money and thoroughly hashing out all the details you need to succeed!