What to Do When You Just Can't Bear to Mass Produce
Walt Disney once said, "We don't make movies to make money. We make money so we can make more movies".
That's how I think about making money. I find ways to make money making jewelry so I can make more jewelry.
The Usual Compromise
Typically, if you want to sell your handmade jewelry, you need to make some compromises to bring costs and labor time down. Most successful jewelry businesses solve the problem by making production pieces. This way, the design time costs gets spread over the the number of pieces
A Different Way of Looking At It
If you can't bear to make production pieces, can't afford to hire someone to assemble, and just plain stubbornly want to find another way to make this work without compromising too much, then there are other ways....
I have to confess, that I fall into this stubborn camp that refuses to make production pieces and frankly just gets bored too easily. So instead, when I realized what I would have to do to sustain a long term jewelry business, I found other ways to diversify my income while still making jewelry. And yes, I do still make only OOAK jewelry.
There are dozens of ways to make money from your jewelry business that aren't strictly product selling. And if you like me, chose to explore these other ways, the business tips, the online internet marketing advice, and the research and marketing tricks I explain in Handmade Results Weekly apply no matter what your jewelry business ends of looking like. (As a matter of fact, I even recommend diversifying your business to make multiple income streams).
Making Up a Shortfall in Physical Jewelry Revenue
Here are some ways you can structure your jewelry business to incorporate additional products and services that make up the shortfall in your physical jewelry revenue.
These are just ideas.
If you learn nothing else from me, I sincerely hope you learn this one lesson. When ever you come across what seems to be an obstacle, remember to ask yourself this one question, "How Can I". You'll always come up with something.
First Decide What's Really Important
You just have to figure out what's really important to you, do some research, and keep trying things until you really find your own "place" in the industry that suits you and your needs and priorities
In my case, I came up with, œhow can I make jewelry, still stay at home, not make the same item over and over again, not get bored, not work all the time, and not do crafts shows and events? (I've done them in the past, some really big ones as well, and I really hate them. Yep, online is definitely for me.).
Brainstorm, Plan, and Execute, Then Rinse and Repeat.
I came up with a plan that might seem "haphazard" or "lucky" but was nothing but. I had my criteria in hand, and knew what I wanted. After much trial and error I picked a winner with choosing to build a free information website How-to-Make-Jewelry.com that makes me upwards of $2000 a month every month from advertising and affiliate commissions alone. This passive income stream is my favorite way of making money using my jewelry making skill. I can make what I want to, and get paid to do so, and I don't even need to work on it if I don't feel like it. Money still keeps coming in.
I also chose to write and self-publish an ebook that brings me a steady stream of income every month. This little ebook is a great little earner. I am a huge fan of the make-it-once and sell it over and over aspect of selling digitally downloadable products. No shipping, no lost shipments, and as I gradually improve and streamline my system, fewer and fewer snags and support emails to answer and address
Sometimes I hold workshops and teach small groups in my community. I don't do this often because it's not really feasible with my kids' schedule and my husband's work schedule, but teaching workshops is a great income source, and also helps you see what's going on with others. Other people help you see a different perspective and add depth to your jewelry indirectly.
My Handmade Results Weekly jewelry business course is another way I make enough money to keep making jewelry, though truth be told, it's also a way to indulge my geekier computer passions as well since the website needs much more technical know-how than a simple website. I like learning tech stuff I've discovered.
Enough about my choices. What are some feasible choices for you to consider in your business?
Some Quick Ideas for Alternative Jewelry Related Businesses
- Writing books. Many artists self publish or get book deals to publish jewelry techniques and idea books. You could also get a bunch of talented friends together to create a group book proposal or self publishing idea. Self-published books can be sold as digitally downloaded ebooks, or you can self-publish physical books.
- Writing paid tutorials. There are lots of jewelry artists creating tutorials for purchase nowadays. These are similar to writing ebooks but instead selling single tutorials.
- Running Classes and Workshops. Bead stores run classes, and your local community centre or craft store might be interested in hiring you to do classes too. To make the most money possible from each class you might want to hold them yourself, either at your home if you have room, or by renting a community room somewhere. Often these are pretty inexpensive.
- Kids Parties. Little girls love to make jewelry and running princess parties in people's home could be a lucrative way to make some extra money.
- Creating a jewelry niche website. You can create a free information website similar to mine, or a jewelry directory site, a video site, or a blog site that makes money from affiliate sales, selling services, classes, etc.
- Selling handmade supplies, beads, and findings. The jewelry crafter market is huge and selling supplies is a market that shows no signs of slowing down.
- Creating a service business that helps other jewelry businesses. For example writing content for jewelry business sites, ghost writing tutorials etc. (I'm always looking for writers who can write, take pictures of jewelry making steps, and know how to make jewelry themselves. Believe me there are very few that fit this bill. Lots of writers, but very few that make jewelry and can talk intelligently about it.)
These are just a few ideas. If you shift from, "I can't..." to "how can I...?" I'm sure you can come up dozens more.
Here are some related resources that might be helpful:
Lulu.com for self-publishing physical books
Ehow.com hires writers to write tutorials on just about anything
JewelryLessons.com is a jewelry tutorial hub that pays a percentage of sales to tutorial writers
SBI! is the easiest way to get started creating an information site. (This is what I did starting out).
How to Become a Ghostwriter: This low-cost e-book will get you started.
P.S. What are some of your alternative jewelry business ideas? Add your comments below.