I want to help you build a sustainable, profitable handmade business that makes you consistent income and sales. I only ever teach or recommend marketing, social media, pricing, production and branding tips that I’ve personally used successfully in my own 7-figure handmade businesses.
I'm Mei, from Los Angeles!
starting a business
get more traffic
running a business
make more sales
growing a business
mindset & productivity
pricing & money
selling on etsy
selling on amazon
If you’re low on cash, say you’re a stay at home mom, or you have a job but it’s not paying you enough to have extra cash to invest into your business, or you’re on disability, keep reading this post because I’m going to share with you my top four ways for how you can find side gigs or part-time online freelancing work that you can do from home.
Now, this post is definitely a divergent topic because it’s not exactly about selling handmade.
With that being said, I do believe that a lot of people’s journey with their own business will benefit from this information.
If you’re watched my other video about the Four Stages of Handmade Business, you’ll hear me talk about that first stage where you’re waiting to make your first $1,000 and the second stage is making that $10,000 sales level for the year.
You’re probably going to be in those first two stages for months if not years.
That’s not a lot of money to make and it’s probably not enough to support you.
That doesn’t mean you should give up on your dreams of building a business where you’re selling products that you love making.
It takes time for your own business to build momentum and until it does, you have to have a plan for how to support yourself and your business financially as well.
When this comes out, everyone will be in the thick of this whole coronavirus crisis. A lot of people are getting laid off, so I’m hoping that this information will also help you’re in that situation.
When I graduated from college with a math degree, no one would hire me because I was an immigrant and I needed a special visa to work.
Those visas were really expensive for companies to pay for, so no one wanted to pay that extra money to hire me.
When I decided to take my business full time in 2011, I also ended up taking a part-time work from home job that I found on Craigslist.
This is my first recommendation for you.
It’s not necessarily the best place to find work, but depending on where you live, I definitely wouldn’t discount it.
Considering that Craigslist was also where I found all my production and shipping assistants for Tiny Hands, my handmade jewelry business, I think it’s definitely a valid place to look for work.
I know Craigslist kind of has a sketchy reputation, but you just need to be careful about judging which posts are sketchy and which are not. There are a lot of well-meaning, real, good and honest people and businesses on there.
The work I got was actually for an eCommerce web designer and it turns out everything that was listed as the job’s responsibilities, were things I was already doing for Tiny Hands at the time.
This was back in Minneapolis and this job was for a local video effects company.
It was a team of four people, they kind of have a hippie vibe, they biked to work, they were super casual and actually they were super nice people.
And get this! Not only was the job a really good fit for what I had experience with, they were also paying $1,000 per month on retainer and I could work from home.
The retainer part meant that I got paid a flat monthly fee and any work they give me I have to do regardless of how many hours I end up taking to do it.
If I take up more time, that’s on me, they’re not going to pay me more.
So some months there was very little work to do, and other months it was super busy. Overall it evened out.
I loved working for them and I quit after almost two years of working with them. When I made that decision, I remember having nightmares of guilt for leaving them because I was so grateful to them for being a source of money that I would use to invest in my business.
The only reason I quit was because my business got to grow so much and I couldn’t split my time between that and working for them anymore.
Definitely pay attention to Craigslist.
My second recommendation for you is to check out a site called Upwork.com.
I do almost all of my hiring on Upwork – it’s like an online marketplace for hiring help.
You can set up a profile as a freelancer on there and every month you get points that you can use to apply for jobs.
Upwork is completely global, unlike Craigslist which is limited to local jobs. That means that there’s A LOT more work that you can find on Upwork, but at the same time, there’s also going to be a lot more competition, especially from freelancers who live in second and third world countries, who can afford to be paid a much lower hourly rate.
Don’t let that discourage you.
There are certain jobs that people from certain countries are good at, like you’ll find a lot of virtual assistants are from the Philippines. And a lot of programmers and coders are from Pakistan or Ukraine. I’ve found that good graphic designers are hard to find on there, and it’s definitely a skill set with lower competition.
But literally any work that can be done online, you can find work for that.
If you’re good at writing, you could be a ghost writer, proof reader, editor, article or blog post writer. You could even write product descriptions for other shops.
If you’re good at illustration or watercolor painting, you could be an artist creating children’s book art or graphics for things like social media or packaging.
If you’re a good people person, you can do customer service for other businesses.
There are so many businesses on Upwork, and so many jobs to be had.
When I hear people complaining about not having jobs, my first thought is that they haven’t heard of Upwork or the idea of freelancing from home.
A lot of people are doing it and in fact, there’s been a rise in freelancing over the years.
The biggest tip I can give you with Upwork is when you apply for jobs, personalize your application to the business owner.
That’s going to help you stand out among other freelancers.
Do some lower-paying jobs initially to get some work history on your profile as well as reviews and ratings from other businesses. That way when you do go after the higher paying jobs, it won’t look like you’re starting Upwork completely from scratch. The person hiring can see your great ratings and reviews and have confidence they can trust and hire you.
Third, check out another site called Fiverr.com.
Fiverr is very similar to Upwork except their format is slightly different.
It’s still an online marketplace where sellers can post listings for what they’re selling. They have a ton of different categories of services, like there are people on there selling a service where they will sing happy birthday for you in a clown suit. Or you can get a thank you note delivered in a funny way and you get the video recording that you can use to send to someone.
Those are more of the personal, entertaining categories.
But there’s definitely a business category where you can list writing services, design services, video editing services, and whatever online tasks a business needs.
Between Upwork and Fiverr, I would say that longer-term relationships are more common on Upwork. Fiverr is more of like a one time task or project and once it’s done it’s done.
There’s no reason why you couldn’t have clients on both sites, but I think Upwork would be more lucrative in the long run.
My fourth recommendation for you is Facebook groups.
A lot of Facebook groups are created by other business owners, and there are a lot of them that are doing very well, especially groups with lots of people in them.
These businesses often have teams and freelancers that they hire to help them run their business. A few times a year, you can rest assured knowing they’re going to need more help.
My business owner friends are always looking for help.
The nice thing about Facebook groups is you’ll most likely hear about job availabilities in those groups.
If it wasn’t the group owner hiring, then it’s also very likely (especially if it’s a group for business owners) that the members of that group will also post hiring threads.
Facebook groups are a little bit harder to get work from because unlike Fiverr or Upwork, there’s no accountability system. There’s no reviews or ratings and it’s usually word of mouth or you putting your name in the hat when someone starts a thread saying they need to hire someone.
You have to be a little bit more of a hustler and take more initiative and be proactive about finding work through Facebook groups.
I have seen how it can sometimes be like a popularity contest where if you’re very active in the group and people like you because you’re super helpful, then other members recommend you for a job if someone’s hiring.
My suggestion, if you want to go this route is to pick just a few Facebook groups to be a part of and look for ones that have like at least 20,000 people in it.
That’s usually a sign that the creator of the group is making at least multiple six figures in their business and is in a position to hire help.
Also look for groups that are more B2B which stands for business-to-business. That means the group will be filled with other businesses and not just regular people who don’t have their own business.
If you have a friend who might benefit from this information, please share this with them. As always, if you have any questions for me about what I covered in this post, please leave a comment below.
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This workshop is for anyone who makes and sells a handmade or physical product, including jewelry designers, artists, paper designers, bath & body product makers and more!
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How to make sales in your handmade shop with ease so you can finally get to 6-figures
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