Starting A Craft Business from Home: Where to Begin
Starting your own successful craft business or small business of any kind is no easy task. Being your own boss means you do it all: social media manager, website builder, graphic designer, photographer, editor, marketer, and so on.
When I started my creative business 12 years ago, I spent much of my time stumbling around, trying to find answers so I could compete with the best of them. If you are considering starting a home crafting business, I don’t want you to have the same frustrating experience. I will share my top small business resources for my creative craft business that have helped me grow my profitable business into a multiple six-figure income!
Let me also preface this by saying there are many resources, apps, plugins, and companies bidding for your attention. It can get overwhelming.
While there may be a better fit for some, these are the resources I have consistently used to turn my craft hobby into a successful business. With that said, don’t be scared to do some of your own research and try new things, too.
Before diving into these details, you want to consider your target audience and the niche market demand you will focus on. Whether you want to earn extra income or turn your passion into a full-time job, these resources can help you grow a successful online craft business!
You already know what you want to sell, so let’s look at where you want to sell your handmade products or digital goods. A great way to sell is online. You can run your handmade business through an online marketplace, e-commerce shop, or self-hosted website.
There is one important thing I want you to remember: NEVER put all your eggs in one basket. If you are selling on a third-party platform (for example, Etsy), you need to have a self-hosted site as well that no one can take from you. I am going to give you options for both in my list below.
First thing first: Marketplaces!
Etsy is one of the most widely known handmade marketplaces to sell on. With over 2 billion sales in 2022, you have likely shopped on Etsy yourself or at least know of them. Etsy is definitely an easy place to get started.
- Cost – 6.5% seller’s fee and .20 cent listing fee.
- Product Types Sold – handmade physical goods, supplies, and digital products.
Etsy Rank is AWESOME for Etsy sellers!
It will grade your listings and tell you how to improve them, let you track competition and search their keywords, tell you your Google and Etsy ranking, convey search trends, provide keyword searches, and so much more. With several of my listings, I saw immediate ranking improvement!
- Etsy Rank is free, or you can go pro for $10 a month.
Amazon Handmade is an AMAZING place to sell because of the number of potential customers who flood Amazon daily. Furthermore, Amazon is a high-quality, trusted brand that buyers recognize.
Selling on Amazon can be accomplished on their main platform or on Amazon Handmade, which was opened in 2017. I sell my book on Amazon, but if I were to sell my paper flowers or craft templates, I would choose Amazon Handmade.
- Cost – 15% seller’s fee
- Product Type – physical goods
I LOVE Creative Market. I use them regularly for graphics and mockups for my websites and products. If you are a graphic content creator, then this is a fantastic platform to sell on. They select the best of the best, and the competition isn’t as saturated as other sites.
- Cost – You earn 70% commission
- Product Type – digital goods
Creative Fabrica is a digital platform where you can sell SVG files, patterns, fonts, or anything digital that works as a design asset.
Their fees are affordable, and they bring a significant amount of traffic. My favorite part about Creative Fabrica is that they handle customer support for you and only involve you when a file needs updating or correcting. Starting a craft business from home is a lot of work, and this feature is one of the best ways to save time without a lot of extra costs.
Self-Hosted Websites for Your Craft Business (DO THIS!)
Remember how I mentioned putting your eggs all in one basket is a bad idea? Having your own domain is one way to fix that. If you were to choose one of the marketplaces above to sell on, then ideally, you want to have your own website as well.
Why? Think of a marketplace as a rented space. If the landlord wants you out at some point, you don’t have any say in the matter.
Your own website, however, is yours alone. Plus, there are NO transaction fees to pay! That means more money in your pocket and more to invest!
I highly recommend a WordPress website for your online store for your craft business. With WordPress, you can create a store through the Woocommerce plugin and create a blog of your shop. A blog is a genius way to drive more traffic to your shop, which has been a key to my success at Abbi Kirsten Collections.
You will need a host for a WordPress site, and I HIGHLY recommend BigScoots – their customer support is fantastic!
WordPress offers many uses, but my favorites are…
Shopify is a prevalent choice for e-commerce solutions and is a great way to set up a shop for handmade products or digital goods. Shopify also integrates with countless apps to customize your site whole site!
- The Shopify basic plan starts at $39 per month.
Bigcommerce is very similar to Shopify, except it has existed longer. I have used Bigcommerce to make templates for my online shop. They also integrate with hundreds of apps beneficial to starting a craft business, and I have been delighted with them.
- Costs for these site setups vary depending on your host and the apps you choose. They can start as low as $10 per month.
A website or shop is only as good as its SEO (Search Engine Optimization). You need your site or products to be found, whether starting a craft business or managing an established sole proprietorship. SEO is key in bringing in traffic and customers for any online business.
Luckily, there are tools to help you figure that out!
If you have a WordPress site, you need to ensure you have installed the Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin will help you nail your SEO, which will help your website get found on Google.
When using your Yoast plugin, it will ask you to input a focus keyword. This keyword is what that page or post will be ranking for in Google.
- Yoast is free to install, but they offer a paid plan with some additional premium features, too.
So, how do we find a focus keyword people search for on the internet? Use a keyword research tool!
Ahrefs is an excellent tool for keyword research when I am trying to determine if the keyword I have in mind is something people are looking for. You can have the best idea in the world, but it will never be seen if it doesn’t resonate with people.
- Ahrefs is $99 a month to start.
Keywords Everywhere is a fantastic browser extension that will help you see how many people are searching for the same things you are. I have this installed and use it to cross-reference words I find on Ahrefs.
- Keywords Everywhere works with credits and is as low as 1.25 per month.
Rank IQ is my favorite because it allows you to identify keywords by niche and topic. Beyond that, content optimization helps you learn what Google wants to see in your post, which will help you rank better.
If you are just starting a craft business, best practices include using Rank IQ above all else.
Search engine optimization can be overwhelming, especially if you know nothing about it! There are tons of SEO resources available to small business owners and bloggers that focus on teaching the ins and outs of SEO optimization. It’s worth it to take some time to familiarize yourself with SEO – take courses, join blogger Facebook support pages, and start with the basics! When you’re ready, reach out to an SEO expert and support team to help with aspects of optimization that you may not understand or have time to manage yourself.
Photography and Editing for Your Home Craft Business
When starting a home craft business, you need to learn some basics for taking good photos. Photography is key to the success of your product. No matter how pretty your product is in person, you can’t convey that with a dark, grainy photo.
If you are creating digital products, you still need to know how to make your screenshots attractive, create your own mockup designs, or learn how to use software to help you create mockups from stock image purchases.
I will not recommend you buy fancy equipment immediately when starting out. You can use a basic camera or smartphone, but I recommend eventually working your way to a DSLR. A professional camera makes a huge difference! You also want to check guidelines for photography sizes on social media platforms to ensure you sell your crafts using optimized photographs.
When you are just starting a craft business, it’s okay to use your smartphone camera (ideally one of decent quality and not super outdated). You will be fine if you have an iPhone under three years old. Use the internet to find tutorials on how to take the best photos with the equipment you have.
Once you can invest a little, I recommend upgrading to a DSLR camera because you will have many more options for fine-tuning your lighting, filming videos, using external cards for storage, etc. Both Canon and Nikon are great brands.
We don’t want dark or grainy images, so use proper lighting for your photos. Use natural light and adjust your settings to brighten the scene when possible. If natural light isn’t an option or is just not enough, opt for some studio lighting. I use these Newwer lights and love them.
If you are using a smartphone, a light ring may be your best choice and is a space saver.
There are several options for backdrops.
- Simple posterboards or a white wall and table (most affordable and easily accessible)
- Savage paper on rolls for a seamless backdrop (my personal favorite for larger styled scenes and flat lay photography
- Replica Surfaces – I love this brand for straight-on-styled shots with medium to small items.
Once you take your photos, you need to edit them. Even the most perfect photo always needs a little bit of enhancement.
Photoshop is the obvious choice if you want the most robust tool and plenty of options to fine-tune your photos in a myriad of ways!
- Photo is a subscription service starting at $20 per month.
Picmonkey is the first site I ever started with when I began to edit my images. It is easy to use, beginner-friendly, and has affordable membership levels.
- The first membership tier is free, or you can upgrade to the $5 monthly plan for additional features.
Afterlight is a great app when you are using your smartphone to take pictures. It has tons of editing capabilities to brighten your images, add filters, change tones, crop, clarify, and more. It is worth it if you need to use your phone for photography!
- Afterlight is free to download, and you can go pro starting at $2.99 a month.
One of the reasons I love to use Lightroom is because it is a one-click-and-done process. I will upload my photos and find the best preset for that particular image. Once I select my preset, I am done and export my images. If you are looking for a way to add a professional touch to your photos, Lightroom presets can help with that.
- Lightroom and Photoshop are only $9.99 per month! And there are tons of free Lightroom presets online!
Once you are finished editing all your images, you are going to need a secure place to store them! Dropbox is my personal go-to choice. They have always been reliable, and I can store them according to my needs. You can start with a free plan.
- Dropbox plans are based on how much storage data you need, so they will vary for everyone, but you can start with a free plan.
Compressing final images is super important because you will save space wherever you upload them, such as a WordPress site. For this, I use Tiny PNG. Compressed photos allow your website to load fast (better user experience) and can reduce hosting costs when you have to store that data somewhere!
- Tiny PNG is only $39 per year for pro or free if your image is under a certain size.
After you complete your photos, you may need to take it up a notch with design elements or turn the photo into a Pinterest pin or carousel post for Instagram. Canva provides endless resources for social media templates, elements, graphics, animations, and stock photos.
- You can get Canva Pro for $14.99 per month.
Mockups are so useful because they save you loads of time when you need to create a result showing how a product will look or could be used. I mostly used mockup images with my digital products, such as SVG cut files. Here are a few of my go-to resources
- Canva – if you have pro, you have access to stock images that can be used as mockups.
- Etsy – Etsy is full of styled mockups for various occasions and themes.
- Stock image sites like iStock, Shutterstock, Deposit Photos, etc.
- Placeit – Loads of custom smart mockups to place your images perfectly.
- Haute Stock – Beautiful themed collections that stand out from the crowd.
- Pixabay – A free stock photo site.
- Midjourney – AI-generated images great for producing your custom results.
Okay, I know this is long, so take a breather. But isn’t it great when you find a gold mine of resources?! Let’s keep going!
You want your product in the hands of consumers, so you need a marketing plan. I’ve included online resources to ensure you advertise to your ideal customers, whether you find them at craft shows or in the digital handmade marketplace.
Social Media Marketing And Sharing
You have your product, your personal domain name website is set up, you’ve done market research, and your graphics and photos are ready to go. Now, you need ways to share them so you can start selling your products to a lot of people. After all, starting a home craft business isn’t any good if you don’t get the word out!
One of my favorite WordPress plugins to use is Milotree. It is so simple, yet very effective.
Milotree allows you to connect to your social media channels or email provider, so you can give a friendly popup to your customers, asking them to give you a follow.
This app is a great help for building up your social media channels. My Pinterest grew over 500% with this app!
For WordPress users, Go Social Pro by Mediavine is great for placing custom share buttons on your site to encourage readers and customers to share the item on their social platform of choice.
- This social plugin is $34 per year.
Ahh, Tailwind. You may have heard of it, and with good reason. It really is all it is cracked up to be.
Tailwind is a huge time saver when it comes to pinning on Pinterest, which, by the way, is the gateway to success for your products or digital goods!
I have been using Tailwind for two years and have seen consistent site traffic because of it. Plus, they are an approved partner of Pinterest, so you don’t have to fret about your account being shut down when using them.
Running a craft business operating on several social channels is great for exposure, though it can be difficult to keep up with. So choose the next few with care, and don’t overwhelm yourself.
A Facebook page, group, or both are great ways to share and market your products or content to your online community. These take time to build and should never be solely relied on. Instead, make them just one piece of the puzzle that brings traffic and income.
Instagram works much like Facebook. The difference is the type of audience. Facebook tends to be a slightly older crowd, while Instagram is a younger crowd. Instagram is great for short-form videos and allows for a more personal touch in your posting.
YouTube has serious growth potential if you do it right and invest a hefty amount of time in it. An ad revenue stream can be opened with YouTube easily, but consistency is key here, and videos take time to learn how to do and are also time-consuming to create.
This one may not apply to everyone, but if you have a blog alongside your shop where you can share craft-related posts or even your creation process, you may be able to share it on Craftgawker. Craftgawker is another social site, but it can be great if it fits your niche as another outlet to drive some traffic. Plus, it is fun to spend time on!
When starting a craft business, learning to market your products is a big deal if you want to make some real headway. Email is a great way to generate sales when starting a home craft business. There are a lot of email providers out there.
I have personally tried Mailerlite, Mailchimp, Drip, and Convertkit. After much bouncing around,
I decided that Convertkit is by far the best option and the one I plan to stick with from here on out.
Convertkit allows you to tag subscribers so you can market more effectively to the right person on your email list. Plus, Convertkit has good deliverability, unlike its competitor, Mailerlite, which has had numerous issues. In the end, Convertkit won out.
- Prices will vary for this based on your number of subscribers.
Leadpages is a powerful marking tool. Leadpages is a landing page system that lets your readers or buyers focus their attention on one call to action.
They work wonderfully with tripwires (limited-time offers) and upgrades for products. Leadpages also integrates with your Convertkit account, so it will collect your sign-ups when you use their Leadbox function.
I also like to use Leadpages to build a page with all my social links, shop links, and blog links, then use that page as my URL on Instagram or Facebook to help people find exactly what they are looking for with one click. Nifty huh? The bottom line – try Leadpages!
Unless you sell digital products only, you will need some shipping materials for your products.
When printing your customer’s shipping info, it is best to use sticker mail labels like these.
Adding a little something extra to your products, like thank you stickers, tissue paper, coupon flyers, and your business card, is always a plus; not to mention, it makes your customers feel like they’ve received the handmade shop treatment and will keep them coming back for more!
Good shipping providers are essential as well. Look into ShipStation, which can be integrated into many e-commerce sites to process orders and shipping details from your customers!
Now that you know what you need when starting a home craft business, you will need tools to keep you organized!
Wave is a good free finance tool to use when you are starting out. However, I recommend switching to Quickbooks when finances grow and become more complex. It is important that, no matter how much or how little you make, you always report your taxes. We may not like it, but we do have to give Uncle Sam his cut.
You can make your life easier by using a calendar system like Google Calendar as a scheduling tool. Chances are you won’t use this when you are just starting, but when you acquire some help or perhaps are working with people to build something in your business, you may need a tool to keep you all on the same page!
I love using Trello as a way of making lists. My head constantly overflows with ideas, so I need a way to write things out quickly. One reason I love Trello is that they have an app. So whether I am out with my phone or at home on my desktop, I can keep all my lists and notes synced!
I also use Trello to organize my completed content and attach images to their cards so it is visually easy to see what I am looking for!
Airtable is an advanced spreadsheet system that can create tables for project management, SOPs, tracking data or sales, and much more. Currently, we are using this to create detailed SOPs and project processes for our team!
I know that was a mega-crazy brain dump. But I can say that I have personally used all these tools at one time or another and found them vital to starting a home craft business and keeping it running smoothly.
If you feel like your brain is running in circles with all this info, it’s okay. Take a breath. Pin it for later and work through it slowly. You don’t have to do all these things overnight. Work up to them.
Are there any other tools you recommend I add to this list for starting a home craft business? What are your favorites? Tell me in the comments!
Wishing you creativity and success!
About Abbi Kirsten
Welcome to my colorful corner of the internet, where we play with vibrant crafts and unlock your creative magic! Hang out with me and get lost in a fun array of projects, tutorials, and products, from stunning papercraft ideas to flower templates, Cricut help for beginners, and endless crafter’s hacks.