Almost every one I know would LOVE to work from home and actually make a little bit of money. Right? That’s why so many of us have little online Etsy shops or our own ecommerce sites, or we sell on Amazon or Ebay. I’ve been in groups where this topic is discussed, dissected, argued about, celebrated, and cursed. Advice is offered, often times for a fee, that sometimes works and other times is irrelevant. One of the missing links for this for lots of people, however, is that if you want to WORK from home, your need to realize that you will REALLY, REALLY have to WORK. You will have to work a lot, and it will be a long journey to get where you want to be.
One of the most challenging aspects of working from home that I have experienced, is that other people (those who don’t “work” from home or those who have a “real” job) don’t understand that even though you are at home, you really are working. Really. Often under time deadlines, with expectations to produce whatever your customer has paid you for. Whether that be a physical product or a digital download or a service, if you are getting paid to do it, then you actually have to get it done. I’m not sure why that seems difficult for some people to comprehend, but I know that it has been difficult for me to explain to people why I haven’t answered their email that they sent me an hour ago, or why I don’t have time for an hour-long phone conversation about what we’re having for supper (especially since I have no clue!), or why I haven’t returned a phone call when they left me a voice message this morning. Deadlines are a real thing!
So as many of you, I’ve been working from home for a long time – which has truly been a blessing for our family as I have two teenage daughters and a husband who works 70 hours a week so everything that happens around here during the week requires my attention, time, energy, and lots of planning and scheduling. I can work on my free-lance editing and writing at 6:00 a.m. if necessary or I can list new products in my Etsy shop at 11:00 pm in my jammies (if I can stay awake that late!) Recently, however the hurdle for me has been all of this home remodeling, painting, and updating that we’ve been doing for the past few months. I have had no time to get out in my sewing room / studio to make new stuff to list in my Etsy shop, and even if I had the time, there is so much other stuff out there that we temporarily relocated from other rooms of the house out to the sewing room while we’ve been painting . . . . so I can’t actually even get to my sewing machine. I hopeful that will change this weekend, so we’ll see how that goes.
In the meantime, I was getting kind of discouraged because I couldn’t make any new stuff for my shops. Then I discovered that there are websites where you can create digital designs (from your own artwork or by generating digital artwork from other available sources that transform a photo into a watercolor image . . . that kind of thing), and then make various products available with your designs on them. I’ve been doing a bit of research and I believe that if you indicate that you use a production partner, you can even list these items in your Etsy shop. I need to learn more about how that might work, but you can actually set up a little online shop for your creations on the website where you design your products. I think this is becoming popular with creatives and makers because sometimes, when you run your own creative business, you simply can’t keep up with the orders or if you get sick, go on vacation, have a family emergency, you get really stressed when you can’t fulfill your customers’ orders.
With my online shop, Graceful Home Studio, I get to take a bit of time in the afternoon or evening when things are quiet around here and just using my computer I can create three or four new designs and list them for sale. It is not only easy, it is lots of fun! It’s kind of like my daily reward for working so hard on my other projects . . . I get to be creative, make pretty stuff, offer it for sale, and I don’t have the pressure of having to ship out anything, and I don’t have any inventory sitting around my studio. I’ve even sold quite a bit of stuff for the few weeks I’ve been playing around with this new adventure!
If you are interested in learning more about this “third-party” ecommerce platform, here are a couple of suggestions of where to get started:
- Zazzle – this is my favorite because I like the way the storefront looks. It is easy to use, they have lots of great products that can be altered with your own art work, and you can choose your own percentage of profit. The only thing that I find might be a problem is that the products seem rather expensive, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for the millions of people who purchase stuff there.
- Cafe Press – I’ve used this platform before, and I like it, but I just really prefer the storefront on Zazzle.
- Printful – this is a (relatively) new one I think, but it has been approved as a manufacturing partner for Etsy shops and I believe you can even integrate your Etsy shop with your creations on Printful. I need to check this one out more, but for now I’ve been busy with my other shops.
- GearBubble is also a similar platform that might be worth investigating.
- RedBubble is also similar and it’s tagline is, “a global marketplace for independent artists.”
Here are a few of my designs that are currently available from my shop, Graceful Home Studio:
If you have any ideas for working from home that you have found that actually work for you and your family, I would love to hear about it! Everyone is different and some people like to “sell stuff” no matter what it is . . . others of us really have a need to “make stuff” and if we get to sell it, that is even better. What has worked for you? Have you considered trying out one of these third-party ecommerce sites?
I hope you can join us this week for the Favorite Things Blog Hop and Linky Party – I always discover some amazing, creative ideas from the bloggers I meet at the party each week. Come on along, it’s fun!
Please join us this week for the Favorite Things Blog Hop!
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