Like many mums who work from home, I like to keep several streams of income running consecutively – little hobby businesses that keep my brain occupied but are also quite enjoyable to do.
When I got to the point several years ago, where I knew I definitely didn’t want to go back to work, and when I was looking at various side hustles to string together into a portfolio business, one area I seriously considered for a main business was the whole concept of making things at home and selling them on.
I see such lovely things – I want to own them all – I want to make them all!
I really enjoy getting crafty, and the idea of making things all day sounded really wonderful at the time I first considered it, and infinitely preferable to leaving my small children in childcare and chaining myself to a desk in an office.
However, one of the reasons I didn’t get too far with this idea, is that although I love making things at home and trying my hand at all kinds of crafts, I’m not very good at creating things from scratch. I can copy stuff pretty well, but I can’t draw to save my life. I’d be terrified of breaching copyright.
The other main reason, if I’m honest, is that not very many of the things I’ve made by hand could honestly be deemed good enough to sell – some of them are not even good enough to give as gifts, and I have been known to pass them off as the cute creations of my children.
One craft I have enjoyed recently though, and have made a few pennies from too, is creating greetings cards for a website called We All Send Cards. You can see some of my card creations here, and if you feel sorry for me, then maybe you could even buy one, or possibly a card from one of the other real artists and designers on that site.
You will see from my portfolio on that site that most of the cards I have made by taking a photo, and maybe editing it just a little bit, making the colour a bit more vivid with a filter or similar. But some of my cards appear to be cartoons. If you look at those, you might think that I am being too modest about not being able to draw, because they are not bad actually.
But here is the big secret – I didn’t draw them!
There are a number of places you can go to online, where you can buy digital elements which you can combine together with a bit of your own creativity, to produce your own designs. You need to to check the licencing of any images that you are purchasing online, but some companies will give you a full commercial use licence, which means that you are allowed to use these images on things which you create for sale.
Personally, I’ve stopped at the digital cards business for now, but I know people who use digital files like this for all kinds of craft-based businesses.
You can buy patterns and print them onto mugs, coasters or t-shirts. You can also buy mock-up backgrounds, if you don’t have photogenic surroundings, and digitally alter them to display your cards and creations.
Once you get a bit more proficient at this stuff then things can get even more clever. Maybe you want to invest in Photoshop, and then you can buy what are called vector images, or svg files and edit and overlay things on them, to make them uniquely your own.
I’ve got one friend who buys monogram svg files, then she asks for the customer name, adds it to the monogram and produces personalised prints, canvases, wedding invitations, birth announcements and so on. her products are selling like hot cakes, because we all like something with our name on, don’t we/
Once you get started with a hobby like playing with digital art, you can start to see that the possibilities are endless. So if you feel crafty and you are looking for something fun to do at home, then hopefully I have given you a few ideas.
You can use digital images to create all kinds of wonderful things, and maybe make an income from it too!