Friday, March 9, 2012

How to Start Your Own Candle Making Business

Starting your own business can be an exciting endeavor, but in order for it to be both successful and sustainable, you need to have a product that people want to buy. Why not make and sell your own candles? Candle making is a great way to turn your waxy works of art into profit–and since they are consumable items, you’ll most likely have repeat customers if they’re happy with your products. Featured here are some simple steps to help you get started with your own candle making business.
Research and Planning

The success of your business is largely determined by a solid plan. If you’ve never made candles before, you will need to learn about the candle making process, and decide which types of candles you would like to make. The best place to start is with a good candle making book. A helpful book will list the supplies required for candle making, as well as explain the actual process. A wealth of information can be found online as well–you can gather tips and advice from a variety of candle makers, and find out the pros and cons of making certain types of candles.

Because you will be marketing your candles yourself, part of your planning should include coming up with a catchy name and logo for your company. You may need to research possible names to see if they are already in use, and be careful to avoid violation of any copyright laws. It’s also important that you check with your state department to find out how to apply for and obtain a seller’s permit and tax identification number–that way your business will be both legit and compliant.
Oh, the Possibilities!

Money Making Ideas: Candle Making BusinessOne of the many perks of candle making is that there are many different kinds you can create–the possibilities really are endless! Candles made from paraffin wax are probably the most common, but you can also make your candles from beeswax or soy if you’d like to market a more eco-friendly type of candle. You can make your candles in almost any color imaginable by adding candle colorant, and you can come up with your own custom fragrances using blends of essential oils to make your candles truly one-of-a-kind. Along with the different materials used to make candles, you can also make a number of different candle products including molded candles, jar candles, floating candles, and travel candles, just to name a few. Gel candles are another avenue to consider pursuing–non-flammable items can be placed and suspended within the gel creating a stunning visual effect that will delight customers of all ages.
Purchase Your Supplies

The supplies needed for candle making will vary slightly depending on what type or types you decide to make. Generally some of the items you will need to have on hand include your guidebook, wax (or other base material), colorants, fragrances, optional additives, wick, wick clips/holders, a double boiler, a thermometer, pot holders, wooden spoons, molds, and jars or other containers. If you want to be really creative with your “jar candles,” think outside of the box and look for unique glass containers that will really stand out. Fish bowls, vintage jars, or oddly-shaped glass containers can be found at garage sales, flea markets, or craft shops and are a great way to put your own spin on the traditional jar candle.
Designate and Prepare Your Workspace

You will need to have plenty of space to make your candles and since you will need the use of a stove, your workspace will most likely have to be in your kitchen. When making your candles, make sure you have a table top to work on and clear counter-space so that you can make your candles as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s also important that you keep your supplies organized–a chest of drawers or stackable plastic totes work nicely for storing your supplies and utensils when they aren’t in use.

Not only do you need a good workspace for making candles, you also should have a designated place for handling the actual “business.” A small office space will do, and along with your computer and printer, you should keep your paperwork organized in either accordion-style file folders or in a filing cabinet. It’s also essential that you designate special places within this space to store your labels, packaging, shipping material, and your inventory of jars and containers if you will be using them.

After you’ve made some candles, adorn them with an eye-catching label or tag complete with your company name and/or logo, contact information, and instructions for use. If you have a website, include the web address on your packaging–it’s one of the easiest ways for customers to find you if they want to buy more candles from you in the future.
Places to Sell Your Candles

There are many different venues from which you can sell your handcrafted candles. Arts and crafts shows, farmers markets, and flea markets are great places to market your goods. You may also want to inquire inside some local boutiques and spas–shops such as these might be willing to display your candles and sell them for you on consignment. Another way is to sell your candles online–it allows you to broadcast your items to a much larger audience right from your own home. The only downside to selling your candles online is that your customers won’t be able to smell them first. A quick and easy solution to that problem is to make your own “scratch ‘n sniff” fragrance chart that could be sent to potential customers through the mail. Perhaps the best way to get your candle making business to take off is to sell your candles at multiple locations, both in person and online–keep all bases covered if at all possible.

A candle making business is a great way to do something you enjoy and make money at the same time. The start-up costs are fairly minimal, and with a little planning and know-how, you’ll have profits rolling in before you know it.

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All You Ever Wanted To Know About Making Money From Your Hobbies

By Sam Baker

Have you ever spent the weekend sewing, painting, crafting, gardening, restoring old furniture or any other hobby for that matter, and thought to yourself, “Now this is fun. I wish I could do it for a living?” Who hasn’t? Only 20 years ago, that may have been a pipe dream. But with the advent of the Internet and its numerous e-commerce opportunities, thousands of people are finding that generating cash from your hobbies is one of the best part time money making ideas. With a little bit of know-how, you can, too!
Initial Investment

The crafting world is so varied, it’s impossible to provide one solid start-up figure. Yours will depend upon your materials cost–less for the knitter, more for the metal smith, for example. Other than materials, your primary cost will be for your online venue. Fortunately, these vary widely in price (see more information about this in our article 10 Sites for Selling Your Creative Masterpieces). Some charge nothing for registration, but take a small transaction fee on every sale. Others charge for registration. If you choose a company which provides an e-commerce platform, be prepared to pay a monthly fee. Typically, you’ll choose from service packages, ranging in cost from $25 to $200, depending on the options you want. Depending on materials costs, therefore, you can begin your business for as little as a one time investment of less than $100 to as much as $500 (or more) per month.
How Much Can You Make With This Money Making Idea?

Just like your costs, your income can vary widely, depending on the type of crafts you sell, the amount you charge, and business costs. If you sell high-quality sculptures, or sew museum-quality reproduction costumes, you’ll make much more than is you sell Afghans or beaded jewelry. When you start out with, expect to go for a few weeks (or even months) with no income and then ramp up to maybe $100-$500 per month, on average as you find your first customers.

Remember, the two things that ultimately determine how much you make are – (a) how good you are at your craft and (b) how good your marketing skills are. If you noticed, I did not mention what you sell in that list – simply because, if you have good marketing skills, you will find a way to sell whatever it is you make. That said, for most of us non-marketers, this seems intimidating at first. But the good news is, it really is not as hard as you think it might be. If you have kids and you have convinced them to drink their milk, do their homework, stay out of trouble etc, you already know a lot of marketing principles. You just need to apply it to a wider audience. No kidding. (And for you youngsters out there, if you have convinced your parents to let you go to a late night party, or to let you drive, or managed to wiggle out of your chores – there you have you first lessons in marketing and selling your ideas :) )

Once you pick up some marketing skills and pair it with your creative pursuits, the potential for income is practically limitless.

Here are some things you’ll need:

Money Making Ideas: Making Money From CraftsA source of affordable supplies:
This needs to be reliable, so you can keep up your inventory in sync with the demand, and more importantly, keep it reasonably priced so you can make a profit.

A list of projects you can do well:
If you are looking for a past-time, any half-baked idea is fine – as a matter of fact, the less you know the more fun it is in figuring things out. But if you wish to earn an income from it, you need to identify the projects you are good at as you can create an inventory of high quality items to keep customers happy.

A smoke-free, pet-free area for crafting and storage:
Many customers have sensitivities and will not buy items that have been exposed to allergens such as smoke, mold, or pet hair. So you need to make sure you have a place free of these allergens where you can store your supplies and create your master pieces.

A good online venue:
There are numerous online sites which will let you connect with potential customers either through simple listings or by creating your own online shop. They vary widely in price, style, and benefits. You need to pick one that is right for you! (We will cover Etsy in detail in a future article – stay tuned)

A system to keep track of inventory, earnings, costs, and taxes:
Many e-commerce sites offer inventory control, tax calculators, and other tools. You can take advantage of those of use other methods you are comfortable with to keep accurate profit/loss statements for tax purposes.

Shipping materials and funds for postage:
Although you will almost certainly charge for postage, you won’t always have that money immediately. Be sure to set aside funds for shipping. And stock up on shipping materials whenever you can find a good deal. For instance, as of the writing of this article, you can request a free flat rate shipping kit containing four flat rate boxes and four flat rate envelopes via the USPS website.

Business letterhead, cards, invoices, receipts, etc.:
These will enable you to conduct correspondence in a professional manner and create a personal brand. As you start out these are not quite necessary, but as you get established start paying attention to creating a personal brand and nurturing repeat customers so you can take your income potential to the next level.

Most people who sell crafts online love it because….

* They can work from home/dorm. Unless you need specialized equipment, you can go to work in your bathrobe. If you are a veteran crafter who has spent years traveling from show to show, you know what a definite plus this is!
* You can set your own hours. Work in the morning, late at night, throughout the day, or just on weekends. If a special event comes up–spring break, exams, you fall sick etc., you can just take the time off.
* You’ll meet other crafters and artists. Few human experiences are more satisfying than meeting “kindred spirits.” Whether you find yours at a show, or in an online forum, you’ll enjoy the camaraderie and helpful advice.
* You get to be creative. When you’re given the opportunity to practice your craft constantly, your skills will improve. That in turn brings in more customers. It’s a heady experience, and that confidence will spill over into other areas of your life.
* You’ll gain business knowledge. Whether it’s handling a customer complaint, spotting a scam, or marketing, your business knowledge will expand, providing another valuable skill set.
* They do not need to find childcare. And for those of you with kids, one of the biggest perks of working at home, and a big money-saver, is that you don’t have to worry about childcare. Again, this depends to a certain extent on what your craft is. And if your children are old enough, they can help with craft production or shipping.


Sooner or later, even the most enjoyable work becomes a job. Here are pitfalls you may encounter.

* Trouble with time management. You may have problems finding or managing your work time, or you could find yourself working non-stop. Either way, it’s a problem.
* No support system. Sometimes, no matter how much they love us, our family and friends do not take our dreams or jobs as seriously as we do. Oddly enough, this cavalier attitude seems to decrease when the money starts coming in.
* High expenses, no cash reserves. Many businesses fail because their owners were not prepared for dry spells. It is unusual to make money in your first few weeks/months/years in business. You need a savings account large enough to cover your costs for the months in which you make no profit.
* Boredom. Many activities are fun–until you have to do them all the time. The day may come when you never want to throw another pot–unless it’s against the wall. You’ll need to persevere for your business to succeed.

Ways to Make Money

There are many different ways you can make money from your crafts (rest assured, we will cover all of them sooner or later on this site) and it all depends on which direction you want to take things, and/or which direction life takes you –

Simply sell you crafts
You’ll find an online market for practically anything you create, as long as it’s well-made, and well-marketed. When you think of making money from a craft/hobby, most people only think of this option. But don’t limit yourself to this.

Teach your craft
What comes naturally to you may seem impossible to someone. If that someone is interested enough, they may be willing to pay for it. So, while you are working on your marketing efforts to sell your crafts, start offering private lessons to create some extra money.

Sell an info product (eBook, eCourse etc)
If you are not technically inclined, this may seem like a Herculean task. But seriously, it is not as hard as it seems. All you need to do is put together everything about one aspect of your craft (ex: how to make beautiful crochet receiving blankets) into words. Next you can either put this together into an eBook of eCourse format yourself, or hire someone (look on freelance sites such as elance and odesk) to do it for you. The nice part is once you get past this stage (one-time effort) you can generate income for a long time to come with very little additional work.

Blog about it
OK, lets be realistic – a blog is probably the most difficult way to earn a living. That said, you should consider starting a blog anyway, because it will help you establish yourself as a “brand” and an “authority” in your field. This will help you generate income using one of the other approaches above – such as selling the crafts, teaching or offering eBooks and eCourses. Even though it is not easy, you could potentially also make some small income directly from the advertising and affiliate sales on the blog itself.

Nurture a community
If you set up a blog and things take off, you can consider nurturing a community. Think of membership sites and tradeshows. Or set up a community on a site like etsy. The nice thing about membership sites are once you have a member, say with a monthly fee, as long as you provide consistent value to them, they will probably continue being a member. This means that you will have recurring income month after month!

Get into the business of selling supplies
You know of some wholesale avenues which can offer you the supplies in bulk for a cheap rate? Then consider selling those supplies for a small profit. You can do this by setting up an eBay store and may even be able to take advantage of dropshipping.

Get creative – Host sale “parties” and “Holiday Bazars”
Finally, if you are as creative about your marketing efforts as with your crafts, you can get together a bunch of like minded people and host craft sale parties and holiday bazaars. Talk with management folks at corporate office building and set things up in their lobby at lunch time. Or in the mall or other busy places. As I mentioned before, this requires some creativity, but sky is the limit!

With effort and imagination, you can take your crafting business from a pin-money-enterprise to a financial empire. Just ask Martha Stewart.
Other Things You Should Know

Whether you like the term or not, once you start making money from your crafts, you are a business owner. And as such, you should keep abreast of state, local and federal tax laws, as well as regulations which may affect where and how you make your products. Keep your business and personal accounts separate; to combine them is to court disaster.

Finally, in commerce, two principles remain constant: quality products, and good customer service. No matter what you sell, those practices will make you, and your money making ideas, a success.

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How to Make Money Growing and Selling Herbs (and Herbal Products)

f you’re a creative person and you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you may want to consider the idea of starting your own business growing and selling herbs and herbal products. If you weren’t born with a green thumb, don’t worry! Herbs are easy and inexpensive to grow yourself, and whether you choose to sell the plants themselves or make your own fun and innovative products from them, the marketing possibilities are truly endless. Here are some tips and ideas to get you started growing and selling herbs for profit.
Come Up With a Plan

Like any other business endeavor, the best place to start is with a well thought out plan. Since herbs are very cheap to grow, you can plant a lot of them.

If you are able to have an outdoor herb garden, you will need to pick a location in your yard where your plants will thrive and then prepare the area for planting. Keep in mind that outdoor plants are more susceptible to pests– so determine ahead of time a safe and effective means of eliminating them.

If outdoor space is limited or you live in an apartment, you can grow your herbs indoors–just make sure you have plenty of space set aside near windows or on a deck or patio so that they get the sunlight they need. If possible, plant your herbs both indoors and outdoors–that way you’ll have an abundance of plants year-round to keep your business going strong.

You’ll need to determine which method of growing will be the easiest and most cost effective for you. The cheapest way to grow herbs is with seeds. Although it makes for a slower start, a packet of seeds is cheap and it can produce a large number of plants. You can also grow herbs by planting cuttings. This method is a bit faster, but it’s more expensive because you’ll need to purchase stock plants to start you off. However, once you grow your own plants from the cuttings you’ll be able to use those as stock plants.

Even though herbs are easy to grow and maintain, take the time to do a little research on the herbs you intend on planting. This will help you formulate a solid plan about how to move forward. Follow directions on seed packets and get advice from the experts. If you plan on growing herbs to make money, you’ll want your plants to have the best chance at success.
Grow More, Spend Less

One of the great benefits of growing herbs for profit is that the investment to start is minimal–and there are several ways to cut corners.

Having your own compost pile will definitely save you money. Compost soil is rich with nutrients–and it’s much cheaper than buying potting soil at your local garden store.

If you’ve decided to plant seeds, don’t waste the ones you don’t use. Keep excess seeds in their labeled packets, reseal them, and refrigerate. Even though seeds are inexpensive, you’ll save money in the long run by not wasting any of your resources.

If you will be planting cuttings, buy your stock plants at places like farmer’s markets instead of garden centers. They’re usually much cheaper if you buy them directly from the grower instead of a middle-man. Better yet, ask friends and family for clippings from their plants if they have them.

Be creative with your potting containers. You can use potting soil bags or recycled containers, and don’t forget to look for old pots and containers at flea markets and garage sales.

Be resourceful when it comes to gathering up the supplies you will need; your profit will be much greater if you can keep your costs down.
Turning Your Herbs into Handcrafted Items and Products

Money Making Ideas: Selling Herbs and Herbal ProductsBesides selling whole plants, you can make lots of crafts and products from your herbs to sell at art fairs, farmer’s markets, directly from your home or through online stores. If you are going to create items from your herbs in hopes of making money, it’s important to make things that interest you. Handcrafting products takes time, so choose products that you enjoy making as well as ones that you believe will be easy to sell.

Herbal Teas

Tea is an easy product to make. You can make your own tea bags or sell loose-leaf tea in a decorative jar or tin. Come up with your own custom tea blends and eye-catching packaging to appeal to new customers.

Herb Infused Oils and Vinegars

If you like to cook with herbs, herb infused oils and vinegars might be a good niche for you. Unique flavor combinations in pretty bottles will attract attention at your local farmer’s market–especially if you have samples for customers to try!

You can also take your herb infused oils and vinegars to small restaurants and cafes. They may be interested in buying locally made products or have an area for you to display and sell your goods to restaurant patrons.

Wreaths and Garlands

Dried herbs are beautiful to look at and usually have a lovely fragrance as well. If you have a good eye and a knack for floral arrangements, why not try your hand at making wreaths and garlands? They are especially popular during the holidays, but you can also market them for special occasions such as weddings and showers, too.

Bath and Beauty Products

Since the beginning of time, herbs have been used for relaxation and enhancement of physical beauty. Today, they are common ingredients in a multitude of bath and beauty products that appeal to a huge market.

You can use your home-grown herbs to make essential oils, soaps, lotions, creams, bath salts, hair products, salves, ointments and more! Develop your own one-of-a-kind blends for your bath and beauty products by infusing them with different herb combinations. Basic recipes to help you learn the fundamentals of creating your own products can be found either online or at your local library. Once you have a foundation to build upon and know what you want to make, you can develop your own unique twist on age-old recipes to set your products apart from the others.

Growing and selling your own herbs is a great way to make money right from your own home. With proper planning and organization, minimal investment, and some imagination you can turn a fun hobby into a very profitable small business.

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