Selling Your Handmade Creations Online
by Debra Karplus
Having a creative hobby is good for the spirit. But it can also be good for your bank account. Add a new component to your creativity by finding outlets to sell your creations online so you can recoup your hobby costs or even earn an extra income.
In recent years, you have learned to make jewelry. Some of it you wear and some of it you give away as gifts, but when you look at your inventory, it is obvious that your supply is exceeding your demand.
Jewelry making or maybe quilting, knitting, or some other craft is enjoyable and relaxing to you, but what to do with all those beautiful creations that friends frequently compliment?
A growing number of websites now allow individuals like you to sell their creations online.
How do you get started selling your handmade creations online?
Do know that as soon as you sell that first item, whatever it is, you will be considered by the Internal Revenue Service, IRS.gov, as a proprietorship or small business. That means you must maintain accurate records of income from the sale of your stuff and any reasonable and necessary expenses, such as shipping, for example. Ultimately, you will need to pay income taxes. Your state likely has similar requirements.
Whatever website you use to sell things you have made, you will probably encounter a similar process to get onboard. You’ll start by setting up an account, including carefully reading their agreement terms. As protection, you may want to apply for a FEIN (federal employer identification number) to use instead of your Social Security number. If your state requires you to charge sales tax, then you will need to get onto your state’s website to apply for a state tax resale number.
Another way to protect yourself is to set up a separate bank account, preferably one with minimal fees and a small minimal balance, to have proceeds from your sales deposited into without gaining any access to your regular savings or checking account. Many vendors pay via PayPal, so you may need to set up a PayPal account also.
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Where can you sell crafts that you have made?
When you ask people about selling their crafts, Etsy.com generally comes to mind. Etsy allows you to sell such items as jewelry and accessories via their easy-to-use website. According to their annual report, in 2019, 2.7 million sellers sold over $4.9 billion dollars. That is impressive! Their site claims they charge a 3.5% transaction fee to the seller that can be built into your selling price. They also have useful marketing tools and a selling handbook on their site.
You will need to take good photos of the items you are selling to upload onto their website, as well as a detailed description of the items you are selling. Be sure to read details about shipping and about getting paid. Etsy may be a great way to begin selling your goods online.
Another website, perhaps more appropriate for the more seasoned seller with possibly a larger number of goods to sell, is Shopify.com. They will sell for you online anything you can ship. They have three different plans for the seller, ranging from their basic plan at $29 per month to “Advanced Shopify” for $299 per month. If your online sales really take off, Shopify might be a great site to consider.
Some other sites that you probably already know are Amazon.com and eBay.com. You likely already have an account with one or both of these sites. Check their site to list items you want to sell and read carefully how that all works.
How can you sell other types of handmade creations?
Aspiring writers, take note! Amazon Kindle is ready to sell your fiction, creative nonfiction, nonfiction, poetry or other written material. You need a title, cover photo, author biography, synopsis of your book or novella, and selling price.
How do you come up with a selling price? Determine selling price the same way the experts do; see what similar items are selling for and price your written masterpiece appropriately.
Read their terms carefully and upload all your material. Within about a day, your book will be available for others to buy for their Kindle device.
Nook, a competitor of Amazon Kindle, has a similar set up via the Barnes and Noble website. There is no reason why you can’t sell your material on both Kindle and Nook!
Having a creative hobby is good for the spirit. It is relaxing, satisfying, and just plain fun.
Add a new component to your creativity by finding outlets to sell it online. Spend some time researching your options and read all of the details as they relate to getting paid, shipping, and legal rights to the material and start your new little business right now!
Reviewed December 2020
About the Author
Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on Amazon.com (Kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for freelancewriting.com and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at DebraKarplus.blogspot.com.
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