Here’s a pretty ingenious way to make some cash off of a hobby. I spent some time up front creating and have been selling with very little effort ever since.
I love to crochet. I’d love to make a living crocheting my heart out. But alas… no one seems to want to pay me a decent hourly wage for my talent with yarn and hook. A year or so ago, I came up with the brilliant idea of selling patterns on Etsy. I sell crochet patterns, but you could sell any other craft pattern — sewing, knitting, jewelry — anything you like to make others may like to make too. What I love about selling patterns is that I can sell the same one over and over and over again—making it a passive income opportunity.
It really is very easy. First, come up with a pattern. I’ve crocheted for a long time and realized I was already changing patterns around and substituting techniques. I also thought about what I like to crochet and tried to create something to meet that need. One of my first patterns was for a hat pattern to fit every family member.
I took notes while I crocheted my pattern. Once I was satisfied with the finished product, I typed up the pattern in Word, added a picture and then saved it as a PDF file. If you haven’t done this before, it is very easy. Just do a “save as” and then select PDF as file type. The file is then ready to be emailed out to buyers.
Listing patterns on Etsy: The trick with Etsy is that in order to sell your patterns they have to be seen. Etsy now works like Google and it looks for keywords in your ad and then ranks it according to how people search for things. If you include the right words in your title and in the body of your ad, you can push your ad to the top of the search results. Because I can sell the same pattern over and over, I can play with different wording choices to see what ranks higher on the search page. If you look at my Etsy shop, you’ll see I sell the same hat pattern over and over, but have different wording and different photos for the hat. I used to call the pattern “Beanie Hats for the Family”, but people don’t necessarily search for that, so I try to stick with “Crochet Hat Pattern”. Boring, maybe. But search friendly? — YES! By trying different ads I can see what sells best. For instance, my nephew sells LOTS of hat patterns! Most of my hat patterns that sell have his picture as the featured photo.
Pricing. There is a wide range of selling prices for patterns on Etsy. My philosophy is that there is a dollar threshold for online pattern purchases. Below this threshold people don’t mind spending. Above this threshold they evaluate the value of the pattern and whether they could buy something similar elsewhere. I settled on $3.99 as a price. I figure roughly a $1 of that goes to Paypal fees and listing fees. The remaining $3 I keep as profit.
I also have a ‘thank you’ letter saved. That way when I get an email that a buyer has purchased my pattern, it’s easy to just send an email with the thank you wording and attach the pattern. I’m not looking to pay the mortgage with my pattern sales, but I enjoy saving up the sales money for a rainy day and then using the cash to pay for fun things like magazine subscriptions and nights out!
What do you think? Is this something you would try or have you had success selling your crafts?