One of the smartest things you can do for your business is to have multiple revenue streams. Very rarely are sales consistently high every month of the year. If yours are, you're the exception, not the rule. During your product's off-season, wouldn't it help to have another income to fall back on?
When you sell online, your business does not have to be limited to one market.
Let's say you make and sell handmade scarves, mittens and hats. Chances are that sales aren't as great in July as they are in December. You can of course try knitting baby booties and blankets, but is it enough to depend on?
Using the example of knitting, let's explore our other options. You could create and sell:
- PDF tutorials on knitting
- PDF knitting patterns
- A knitting e-course
- A knitting blog and sell the ad space
- A knitting blog, and become an affiliate for knitting books, blogs, or courses
- A knitting e-book
- A magazine for knitters
- Access to a knitting podcast
- Complete knitting kits with enough yarn for a scarf, plus the pattern
Alternatively, you could:
- Hold knitting lessons in your home
- Record yourself knitting and sell it online as instructional videos
- Apply to write for knitting magazines or blogs
- Become a knitting teacher at your local craft store or community center
- Sell knitting supplies - curated with your top picks and favorite brands
- Secure wholesale accounts, and start stocking up for next Fall and Winter's rush
- collaborate with a fashion designer who expands beyond knitting or beyond winter items
- Sell vintage knitted items
What it really comes down to is expanding on your passion. There are a LOT of people out there who don't know what you know about knitting (obviously, substitute in your creative talent here) - and there is a market for your knowledge and experience.
Not only will expanding your business bring in more money for you, but it will build your reputation in your market as someone who knows what they are doing.
In your notebook, brainstorm everything you do for your business - from the knitting, to the blogging, to the accounting, the yarn shopping, product photography, and shipping.
Next to each task on your list, put an asterisk next to each activity you actually enjoy doing. Why? Because if you're going to share your knowledge about something, you'd better feel passionately about it!
On a new list, write down everything you know about the asterisked activities. This will likely be a paragraph to a page in length per activity. Yes, it seems a bit time consuming, but this will help you determine if the topic is a viable option for expanding your business.
Example: I know a lot about shipping orders. Here's what I know:
how to package an order; how to properly weigh a package; how to create shipping labels with Etsy; how to create shipping labels with PayPal; how to use PayPal's multi-order shipping function; how to cancel a label; how to properly affix labels on packages; which packages can fit inside a blue collection box; how to track orders; which shipping method is best for each weight; when to choose Priority Mail vs. Priority Flat Rate vs. First Class mail; how to calculate a shipping price; how to create and edit shipping profiles within Etsy; how to invoice a customer for postage due; how to offer a refund for shipping overages; how to track a package; how to deal with non-delivery cases; how to file a report with USPS...
All of that knowledge is fairly basic for me, but to someone new to selling online it could be quite valuable. See how this could easily become an e-book, blog series, or e-course?
Don't worry about whether or not an idea has already "been done" - there's more than one knitting how-to book in this world. The point is that no one else has your knitting experience. No one else has your teaching style. No one else can explain things quite like you do, and no one else has your exact point of view.
( If you want to dig deeper into the endless possibilities of the knowledge you already posses, I suggest asking yourself these questions posed by Alexandra Franzen - they're FANTASTIC. )
There is a market for your talents, and when paired with your own style and your own vision, there is potential for you to expand. Don't worry about being the most knowledgeable or the most experienced - just worry about being you.