Turn your hobby into green

Remember when making beaded bracelets was your favorite childhood pastime? Or how in High School you adored painting abstract landscapes? Did you ever tinker with woodworking or building models? Now is the perfect time to think about reviving and using those hobbies to make some extra cash during this rough economy. We’re not promising that you’re going to make an extensive profit, but we can tell you that by organizing and strategizing you can turn a fun hobby into money for a night on the town, a day at the spa, or other indulgences you may have had to cut out of your budget.

Sarah on “Where to Sell”

“eBay is a household name, but have you heard of Etsy? Esty.com is an online selling website where creative goods sellers can showcase and sell their handmade goods and supplies as well as vintage goods over 20 years old. eBay is the place to sell old memorabilia and slightly used goods, but Esty is the perfect place to get your hand crafted items noticed because it’s tailored to buyers who want to purchase handmade goods. You even get a personalized URL based on your username, so choose your username wisely. Please note: you may not sell any goods made by others under your name.”

Alicia on “The Power of Networking”

“Just like any other business, proper marketing is the only way to get people interested in your products. Happily, it is easy to market your goods online for free by taking advantage of social networking sites. If you have 500 friends on Facebook.com you can reach them just by changing your status to include your Etsy URL. You can also start a group featuring your products, upload albums of goods for sale or into the Facebook.com marketplace. Other sites such as Twitter.com and indiepublic.com are also good ways to reach buyers. By “friending” new people and interacting with others who have similar tastes and interests, you can boost awareness of your goods and sales will follow. Don’t be afraid to ask other sellers for advice with community messaging on these websites. In most cases, people are eager to share their tips with other sellers. One more idea: set up your own handmade good blog on Blogger.com. It’s easy to set up and will be another site to showcase all of your goods for free on the web where you can link viewers back to your Esty.com URL.”

Here are some more tips to get you organized to sell.

1. New & Renew

You don’t want to get lost in the crowd. Be Specific and unique if possible in the titles of the goods you are selling. It is best to list new items daily, if you can, or at try to list new ones once a week. If you don’t have that many items to sell, be sure to at least to log on and “renew” your items daily. By renewing your goods will be placed at the front of the sections and in searches more frequently.

2. Presentation is Key

Unlike eBay where most people just take plain photos of items for sale, success on Etsy.com is boosted by a nicely photographed item. One trick: take more than one photo. For example, if you are selling a painting, include one close-up photo of painting and another photo of the painting hanging on a wall, placed on an easel, or displayed in a bookcase. If you’re selling jewelry, showcase photos of the earrings on a “bride’s” ears (this can be staged with a side headshot photo of a friend wearing the earrings) or a close-up of a necklace on someone’s neck. Post four or five photos of each item. Buyers want to see every detail of the goods they’re purchasing. Get creative in your presentation and you’ll increase sales.

3. Track Your Items

It’s easy for consumers to rate your items. For example on Esty.com, the more hearts your items get the better your perceived value. If you notice some of your paintings are doing better than others, you may need to make more items similar to the ones with better ratings. Also, always send a thank you message or even include a personal hand written thank you when you ship your items. Unless you start selling hundreds of items in one month, the personal touch will keep buyers coming back. Also, if you find another seller is writing positive comments about your goods, be sure to return the favor.