Are you a stay-at-home mom that wants to make extra money? Have you had an unexpected expense? Or, would you like to begin building up a savings plan but have no room left in your budget? If this is you, you are the perfect candidate for beginning a side-hustle. If you need to bring in extra money, not replace your current job, this will allow a little wiggle room in your budget.
If you begin searching online for a way to make extra money, you may come up with a variety of ideas, but many times they are barely worth your time & effort. So, this post is not to blast you with a bunch of money-making ideas, instead, I wanted to interview someone who has successfully side-hustled and learn from his experience. Let me introduce you to my nephew, Sam. He has a great job, but he also uses side-hustling for various expenses, with no intention of quitting his day job. (This is Sam and his awesomely-adorable family.)
Sam is super-creative, fun, talented and hard-working. Through the years, he has done quite a few different side-hustles, but in this past year he has started handcrafting the most delicious leather bags (see below)…it’s his most lucrative side-hustle yet! If you are interested in bringing in some extra money, you are going to want to read this post. Enjoy!
Sam, first of all, Welcome to Families That Stick! Thank you for taking the time to allow me to interview you for our readers. 🙂 You are very experienced in working a side-hustle and making it profitable over the years. Thank you for allowing us to learn from you!
Thank you for having me! I am excited to be a part of such a great family-centered blog! Fire away!
Okay, so we all know there are all sorts of different ways to earn extra money: do you prefer sales, providing services or producing products when you do a side-hustle?
You have to go with your strength, if you are a strong in sales, go that route, but I find that to be challenging for most people. I typically base my side-hustles on something that has low overhead and good mark up value. In any hustle, it helps to know your market! Do something you know a lot about and stay in your wheelhouse. I love putzy projects…. but I have to remember that time is my most valuable overhead expense. I ask myself all the time, “Would I make more money greeting customers at Walmart?”
I think that it is important for people to understand that this is not only a side-hustle, but also my creative outlet. If someone is good at numbers they should do taxes on the side, if someone loves animals, they should dog-sit. Find your passion and figure out how you can make money doing it.
I see craft sales all the time. Are those particularly profitable? What are the up and down sides of craft sales?
Craft sales can be a hit or miss for me. I typically try and do some research or attend the sale before I sign up for one. I have found that some craft sale customers are looking for low cost novelty-style gifts and other craft sales have higher end items. It is important that you find the right balance between your time and the cost to produce your product. Not everyone is going to love your product or even get what it is. Do not assume people will understand how your item works or even what it is, (even if it seems obvious).
p.s. from kristen: I remember some funny stories of people trying to figure out your old-book-picture-frame. They thought they were supposed to keep the sample photo in the frame. funny! 🙂
What are some things that you have done as a “side-hustle”?
I have done a bunch different things. I have painted murals on peoples’ walls, made Christmas stockings out of coffee bean sacks, made wreaths out of old book pages, picture frames out of old books, photography and most recently handmade leather goods.
What have been the most time-consuming?
The vintage-book-picture-frame was most time-consuming due to all of the meticulous cutting.
The leather bags are also very time consuming from cutting out pieces, dying the leather, punching each hole for the hand-stitching and then doing the hand-stitching.
Have those also been the most profitable?
Both of these items were successful in their own market. The vintage-book-picture-frames had little to no overhead, it was strictly my time. For that product, I sourced all of my books from thrift stores and paid no more than $0.25 per book. I sold each book for $15.00.
The leather bags have more overhead in purchasing the leather, dye, rivets, and time. They also sell for much more ($125.00 – $250.00).
In all honesty, I made $3000.00 selling the vintage book frames and wreaths at a hospital craft sale in 3 days, but I felt like Edward Scissorhands for the 3 months leading up to the event.
It is all relative. It has to be worth your time and effort.
Have you ever lost money doing a side-hustle?
That is an interesting question. I always have some products left over from each sale, but I typically save them for the next sale, or to give as gifts. I cannot stress enough that I make sure that each venture will be profitable before I invest time and effort. A great way to vet your products is to make a few and give as gifts. Family and friends make for a great test market. Find someone who will give you truly honest feedback about quality, price and improvements.
That is a great tip & when you are anxious to make extra dollars, many times we rush through that step. What’s some more advice would you give someone that wants to do a side-hustle?
I cannot stress enough that you must know your market and know your customer. Who is buying your item? Who are they buying it for? How much will they really spend? Be realistic, stay humble, your booth is just one of many. Use to the market to tell you what is selling and for how much…. and price accordingly.
How much should someone invest in a new side-hustle venture?
I recommend starting small, sell a few items and see if you can bank roll your next round of items.
You just started an amazing side-hustle called Waddle Workshop. It’s an amazing leather shop that you run out of your home! How & why did you get started?
After falling in love with a $900.00 leather bag I saw on Instagram and debating having my name placed on the waiting list, I convinced myself that I needed to either sell a kidney or try and recreate the masterpiece myself. After studying months of posts from this one specific maker, I attempted to make my own. I started by locating my local leather outlet center (Tandy leather in Minnesota). I asked a lot of questions! I created a dummy bag out of muslin to ensure functionality and size were correct. Starting out with a 1/2 of a hide of leather (only a $69.00 investment!), I laid out the leather, cut out my first bag – and started figuring out how to assemble it. Necessity really is the mother of invention!
What lessons did you learn in your previous side-hustles that have made this one work so well?
I have learned that the more you make, the more efficient your become. I work with leather much differently than I did just a few months ago. It’s fun to learn your textiles and how to make the most of your investment.
One last question, you have a talent for keeping things uncomplicated. For example, you are selling your leather goods in one place, Instagram. Why is keeping things simple such an important part of your success?
Keeping it simple makes it doable. I started this venture while I was working full time, finishing my MBA and still spending time with my wife and two kids. It’s all about balance. I did not have the capability to manage large orders and to be honest, I am still learning tricks of the trade. I’d rather be amazing at two things than mediocre at 20.
I have stuck with Instagram because it is an easy (& free!) marketing tool, and because it works like “word of mouth”.
I also have some some items that I sell wholesale to a gallery in the Great Lakes Area, but they too, are a test market for me as I start venturing out.
Thank you for sharing with us! And, if you are looking for some gorgeous leather goods, you’ve got to check out his Instagram page…Waddle Workshop. He’s got some beautiful colors in for spring!
I hope this article helps you if you need to make extra money. Have you started living within a budget? If not, check out these helpful articles:
- The Secret to going on a budget, paying off your debt & living your dreams
- Budgeting: Cash Envelope system & free printables
- How we paid off $40,000 in 21 months! (guest post from my niece)
Discover Your Financial Goals printable
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