If you’re the crafty type, learning how to sell arts and crafts online could be exactly what you need to open up a new business venture. I love being creative and my favorite pass time is making handmade jewelry. Do you have a talented hobby that you could possibly turn into a business? Just take a look at handmade sales sites like Etsy, Artfire and Amazon Handmade and you will see all sorts of printables, jewelry, art, handbags, pottery, knick-knacks and more. There are so many ways to get your products into the hands of eager buyers. If you’re ready to get started, here are ten steps that will get you off on the right foot with selling arts and crafts online.
How to Sell Arts and Crafts Online Work at Home Idea
1. Forming Your Business Structure.
The odds are you’ll be a Sole Proprietor which means you’ll be working alone. This is a fairly straight-forward business structure to set up. However, if you determine you’re going to need employees or a partner, you need to think about business formation options like Limited Liability Company, Corporation or a Partnership. Each type of business has advantages and disadvantages that you need to take into consideration. An attorney can help you figure out the business structure for your particular needs.
2. Come Up With a Business Name.
Your new business is going to need a name unless you just use your own name. If you use your own name, you’ll need to apply for a “Doing Business As” or (DBA). First, you’ll need to do some research to verify the name is not already taken. Make sure it has not been trademarked. A good place to check your potential business name for trademark issues is the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
If you plan to have a website for your business, run a domain name check and make sure the name is available. Web hosts like Host Gator and Blue Host are great places to start a website cheap.
3. Think About Taxes.
Something none of us like but nevertheless have to deal with is taxes. Apply for a sales tax license for your individual state because each state will vary on percentages, forms and rules. Contact your States Comptroller’s Office to determine the forms you need to fill out and other information they require. Being self-employed means you’ll have to do your own withholding for taxes such as Federal, State, FICA, etc. You will need to pay quarterly taxes on your sales and income. Contact an accountant to help you get started so you can avoid problems down the road.
4. Open Bank Accounts and Manage Financials.
It is important to have a bank account for your business that is separate from your personal bank account. It keeps everything flowing easier and it’s much better to keep track of. If you incorporate, keeping separate accounts is a must. You will need your business information when you go to the bank to open the account. Call your bank ahead of time and find out what they need from you depending upon the type of business you open i.e. sole-proprietorship, corp, LLC.
You need a good method in place to track income and expenses. A spreadsheet will work for this but accounting software such as Quickbooks is better. Keep all of your receipts! A good rule of thumb is to scan your receipts into the computer and save them. Store away the hard copies. You’ll need all of this when tax time rolls around.
5. Setting Up Payment Processing.
If you’re going to be selling on your own website, you will need a payment processor. Third party platforms like Etsy, Artfire, etc. have their own methods of payment processing as well as fees. One of the easiest payment processors to get set up with is PayPal. You can also apply for a merchant account with your bank. This will allow you to process credit and debit card payments. Another terrific option is Square. This easy to apply for and use system makes taking credit card payments at craft fairs and shows a breeze. All you need is a smartphone.
6. Choosing an E-Commerce Platform.
There are a variety of choices for setting up your online shop. Shopify is an easy to use platform that you can get going within a matter of hours. They have lots of themes to choose from to customize to your brand. Word Press is another great option to set up your online store. You can create an e-commerce business with Woocommerce, the plugin of choice, to turn any WordPress blog or site into a fully functioning web store. A website is important for those of us learning how to sell arts and crafts online. Your web presence can help you reach a greater audience and help your store become successful.
7. Business Email & Phone.
Your customers are going to need a way to contact you so setting up a business phone and email are imperative. These need to be designated accounts for business. Always strive to keep your business and personal accounts separate. An email that matches your business name is ideal. Most web hosts offer emails with domains when you sign up for your plan. Business phone lines do not have to be expensive. Places like Grasshopper and Ring Central offer cheap phone plans, no home setup for as little as $20.00 per month.
8. Take Photos.
Pictures are worth a thousand words and you’ll need great pictures of your products. A digital camera is the best camera to use for high-quality photos. You can use a smartphone if a camera is not in the budget. Use proper lighting in the shots. Natural lighting flowing in windows or outdoors is ideal. There are also tabletop lighting kits and other products that will help you create the perfect lighting arrangement at home. Think about using attractive backgrounds that are minimal so they do not distract the customer from viewing your products.
Once your online shop is up and running, you’re going to have to drive traffic to it. This is where marketing comes in. Social media is the perfect way to freely market your store and get your name out there. Set up a Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter account for your business. Get business cards made, start a blog for your shop and create a monthly email newsletter. If the budget allows for paid advertising to promote your arts and crafts business, this will help you grow at a quicker pace. Research other methods of free and paid promotions.
Having a way to package your items and send them out is as equally important as the other tips on how to sell arts and crafts online. Be sure you calculate your packaging costs into the price of what you sell your goods for. If items are fragile, they will need bubble wrap and special care. Other packaging items such as labels, boxes, ribbons, decorative tissues are all items to consider. Having labels and packaging customized with your business colors and logo will make a lasting impression with your customers.
It may sound like a lot of work but it really isn’t. When it all comes together you will be overjoyed at the feeling you get of running your own arts and crafts business and dictating your own schedule.