Wondering how to make extra money on the side? This post details 13 products that sell like hotcakes online. These are some of *the* most profitable things to make and sell online for extra cash.
Not only are these items fun to make (and in high demand!), but they’re incredibly lucrative once you have the technical know-how to scale these ideas.
And if you’ve ever been told you can’t make money as a creative, please don’t listen to that advice. There are literally millions of people across the world making an absolute fortune selling handmade crafts, digital downloads and courses online.
I’ll drop just a handful here:
A 17 year old with his own candle brand now makes close to $1 million a year
Sarah Titus, who makes $2 million/a year selling digital downloads and courses
Mike Pasley, who made $700k selling Print on Demand Apparel in the first year of business
This 14 year old boy who sells his own candles makes £10,000 turnover a year
Suzi at Startamomblog.com, who makes around $10,000 EVERY launch! Her live videos where she films a launch and watches the sales come in are crazy inspiring!
Alex Moore, who makes around $3000 EXTRA per month selling rustic, nature themed jewellery for men
There are hundreds if not thousands of people who would pay for what you have to offer; you could be sitting on a gold mine. And who knows, what starts as a simple way to earn extra cash could become a full time highly profitable business.
But to do this you’ll want a game plan and to take start-up costs into consideration. Stick around until the end for a quick way to get up and running once you’ve chosen your money-making idea! The first part of this strategy is knowing what it is you want to make and sell.
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What Can I Sell to Make Money Fast?
This is the million-dollar question (quite literally). Any way of making money (either online or offline) isn’t likely to result in thousands of dollars overnight.
Having said that, that doesn’t mean you can’t see success relatively quickly (within weeks even!), especially if you can bulk make your crafty products. People on Etsy and Amazon Homemade have seen hundreds of dollars-worth of sales in just 2 weeks.
Ideally, you’ll want to calculate how much it costs you to create each product (factoring in the cost of added extras such as website hosting, business licences etc), and mark your profit margins from there.
Pro Tip: Think of ways you can make your product more premium and valuable to your audience so you can charge higher prices. Or give your product an edge over the what’s currently on the market to sell more. I’ll give you some examples in the ideas below!
13 Items You Can Make That Sell Like Hotcakes Online
These 13 items often have the greatest mark-up and profit margin. If you’re worried about a saturated market, try to think of a way you can add your own creative spin to stand out.
1. Bath Bombs
Bath bombs are always a hit, and sell extremely well. Lush, a multi-million dollar brand built their empire on them. One of the reasons Lush were able to do this? They provided a unique experience, that at the time was hard to find anywhere else; from bath bars to bubbly bombs, they created vibrant and highly sought after bath products.
Take these DIY beautiful Donut Bath Bombs by a Pumpkin and a Princess – these would make great gifts.
Bath bombs can be as simple or as complex as you like, and leave loads of room for creativity. You can make them with glitter, natural herbs or even essential oils. Bath products that are suitable for sensitive skin are very hot right now (and always will be).
Once you have your base tools e.g. moulds, you can make dozens of these a day. Bath bombs can retail for $4-15 each!
Pro Tip: One of the most popular bath bombs trends is the ‘secret surprises’ – add a small surprise to the middle of the bath bomb.
Get Started: How to Make Bath Bombs That Sell
2. Gift Baskets
Gift baskets will always be in demand. People are always looking for quick, yet personalised gift ideas, especially when they’re short on time.
The good news? There’s always room for a new product in this field, and you don’t have to provide gift baskets just for humans either. Searches for pet gift baskets are up by 13% this year according to Google.
Custom and bespoke gift baskets are considered a more premium and high-end product, and so naturally command much higher prices; some way into the $100+ price range. Make sure to offer this as a service if you decide to run with this idea.
Remember that case study I mentioned earlier? A 17-year-old was able to make $1 million in profit after only being in business for 2 years. Candles are one of the easiest handmade crafts to make as a beginner, and are incredibly lucrative. Their profit margin can range from $5-25 per candle depending on the type and quality you’re selling.
With around $200 in start-up fees, you can set-up a blazing business of your own. Check out Astral Boutique’s Crystal Candles, how beautiful are they! So much so I bought one whilst researching this post.
Get Started: How to Make Candles into a Blazing Business
Ceramics are always a firm favourite! Whilst they’re not the quickest product to make, the love and desire for them is undeniable.
Take a look at Sea Goat Ceramics. Her mugs have SOLD OUT. She’s built an Instagram page with a 60k following and can’t make these beauties fast enough! To stand out in this market, it’s best to come up with a unique design rather than a run of the mill pattern. Think quirky quotes, hobby based mugs and keepsakes.
You don’t need a big crafting workshop to make ceramics either, a work station works great in the beginning.
More and more people are turning to handmade items, and jewellery is no exception. With a rise in popularity, gemstone crafting wholesalers offer tools, beads, wires and even crystals at an extremely affordable price. It’s never been easier to produce professional looking jewellery at home.
6. Cupcake & Cake Decorating
Sweeter edible items such as cookies, sweets and cake are always a crowd-pleaser. There are so many people who prefer to eat homemade items as these often contain less preservatives than factory produced products.
Not sure there’s money to be made in this niche? Sarah Lynn of Sweets in the City not only won the backing of Lord Alan Sugar and became his business partner, but she’s making a killing with premium mark-ups on her retro sweet jars.
If you can cater for a specific market e.g. vegan, even better as this narrows your competition, and you can easily charge more for greener, plant-based food items! Check your national law on selling edibles and get creative!
Get Started: How to Start An Online Food Business
7. Homemade Pet Treats
The pet food and treats market is worth $91.8 billion dollars globally. Yes, you read that right. People all over the world love treating their canine chums and furry pets, and the market shows it.
With more and more pet owners turning to natural, raw and healthy pet treats, you’d do well to take a slice of this mega industry pie.
8. Murals & Artwork
Love creating your own murals or pieces of artwork? Are you a whizz at photoshop or digital design? You probably already have tons of products to sell. Check out Melloi Arts’s Print Below.
Not only can you sell directly to clients at art fairs, local gatherings and on platforms such as Etsy, but you can also sell your images as stock photos, card art and more.
9. Photo Prints
With an online social media presence, you could turn your prints into profit fairly quickly, especially if you tap into a niche market such as landscape or pet prints. Pet portraits in particular are growing at a crazy rate. Their search volume increased by 22% just on Pinterest alone!
Don’t forget to offer custom prints too, as this is a premium service you can charge more for.
The E-learning industry is hot right now, with more and more people turning to online learning platforms to enhance their knowledge and skills. If you can break into this market, you can make a fortune quite quickly, however, this is one market I will say is very saturated, and comes with a trust tag; i.e. people have to trust you to buy your course.
Liesel from Mommy Labor Nurse helps new moms know what to expect during a natural birth and sells courses on Teachable. During her first launch she made $13,000. Did I mention this was in 24 hours? Insane.
Similar story, Justyn Jen helps people grow their Pinterest account and audience reach. She’s currently sold out and closed for enrolment.
Soap has always been a popular handmade product that sells extremely well. Easy to batch make, handmade soaps (depending on the size and quality of the bar) can retail for between $5-$25+.
The best news? It’s a seriously growing market! According to Expert Market Research, the value of the worldwide soap industry is currently $18 billion, with a surge to $24 billion expected by the year 2022.
Amethyst Soap Gems (How cute are these?!)
12. Digital Downloads & Printables
Love graphic design? Have basic photoshop or Canva skills? Then you can make money selling digital printables.
Added bonus? You don’t need any physical inventory, and once you’ve made them, you don’t need to keep making them. If you already have a website, you can purchase a cheap and reliable software such as SendOwl to send your printables to your customers for you.
Or list your products on Etsy or Shopify.
Psst – this can quickly become a passive income source meaning you can make money whilst you sleep (as long as you promote and market your digital products the right way!).
Get Started: How to Sell Digital Products
13. Natural Cosmetics
With more and more chemicals and nasty preservatives being added to our high street cosmetic brands, more people are turning to natural, fewer ingredient brands. Simple Skincare built their cosmetic empire on this ‘simple’ idea
Making your own natural cosmetics and beauty products does take a little time as you will want to create your own beautifying recipes, but if people love what you offer, you can easily create a super loyal following.
How to Easily Start Your Own Profitable Shop Online
1. Pick Your Product
Take a look at your creative skills and see which product business idea suits you best. Remember to think about what makes you happy too! This list is by no means exhaustive either. The best product takes into consideration these things:
Create a product your audience wants but are struggling to find elsewhere;
Or create a product that they absolutely would fall in love with based on their interests (not necessarily solving a problem);
And make sure to:
- Do it in your own unique style;
- Create something you love to make;
= this is what makes a successful base product.
2. Choose a Creative, Catchy Name
Brainstorm a creative, catchy and memorable name for your business. Don’t be afraid to choose something more distinct and outlandish. Often the weird and wacky names stand out!
3. Register Your Shop With a Selling Platform
When you’re just getting started, every penny counts. Shopify, Etsy, Sendowl and of course your own self-hosted website all make excellent choices for selling your products.
With Shopify, it’s free to set-up your seller account and incredibly easy to use. Only basic computer skills are needed to build your shop, add products and upload photos.
Etsy charges around $0.20 per listing but already has an existing audience of over 300 million people so once you’ve got Etsy SEO down to a T, you’ll start making sales quicker.
Other Places to Sell your Craft & Digital Products Online
- Teachable – they are one of the best platforms for selling online courses. Very user friendly and intuitive.
- Etsy – the go-to familiar for all things handmade and craft related.
- Amazon Handmade – tap into Amazon’s existing customer base and list your products here to make extra cash online.
- Hyena Cart – this platform has a focus on eco-friendly products.
- Zibbet – a relatively new online marketplace, Zibbet is becoming the place to discover up and coming artworks, crafts and designs by creative sellers like you.
- Aftcra – limited to US sellers only, Aftcra caters to handmade items.
- Handmadeology Market – an online marketplace that features anything well, handmade.
- ICraft Gifts – best suited for personalized items, crafts and gifts.
4. Start Selling
You’re ready to go! Once you’ve picked your creative idea, set up your store, and started advertising, you’re ready to start selling your beautiful handmade creations.
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