Oftentimes, what we love to create is not synonymous with what makes us money.
You can find a balance between making money and making what you love.
But there’s a way to do it so you stay profitable.
This article shares ideas on how you can build a successful business and have fun creating products you love to make.
Every business needs products that sell and are profitable.
It’s also important to feel passionate about your business.
If you don’t enjoy what you do, it’s hard to sustain your business (no matter how much money you make).
So it’s essential to balance products that make you money and products you love to create.
Products that make you money = moneymakers
Products that bring you joy = passion products
The right balance = 80/20
It’s also important that the products that make you money and the ones you enjoy making, work together.
Let’s take a look at each…
A moneymaker product is a staple in your business. I
t’s a product that sells well and sells easily.
It should also have good profit margins (not sure what a good profit margin is? Check out this article).
Only you know which of your products are moneymakers.
If you’re not sure, your sales are random, or perhaps you’re not making many sales, the following information may help you create a bestseller.
How to create a moneymaker
If you don’t currently have a moneymaker, my advice is to explore ways to get specific.
When you go general with your products, and who they’re for, it’s harder for them to stand out to consumers and you end up dealing with a lot of competition.
There are many ways to get specific (and to create a moneymaker product), but let’s look at a couple of examples:
An example of a “general” or “non-niche” product might be Christmas wreaths.
Over 100,000 people search “Christmas wreath” in the months leading up to Christmas.
However, it’s a competitive product to sell.
Consumers can find a Christmas wreath at almost every store that sells home decor items, and, some of the biggest retailers in the world carry a wide selection of wreaths (such as Wayfair, Amazon, and Bed Bath & Beyond).
So let’s look at ways I could get more specific with my Christmas wreaths and create a moneymaking product.
Through keyword research, I discovered thousands of people searched for a “pink Christmas wreath” last month. (Pink Christmas decor has been growing in popularity over the years but may be even more popular this year due to the Barbiecore trend).
Some bigger retailers carry pink Christmas wreaths, but there aren’t nearly as many options as traditional Christmas wreaths.
Etsy is actually the first (non-paid) result on Google when you search “pink Christmas wreath” (at the time of writing this). This is great news for a handmade business.
If I make a pink Christmas wreath and implement the proper SEO tactics using those keywords, that product has a good chance of being found by the thousands of people searching for a “pink Christmas wreath” each month. And therefore, it has the opportunity to be a moneymaker.
Popular online searches can translate to offline shopping too.
For example, if pink Christmas wreaths are trending this holiday season, and thousands of people searched “pink Christmas wreath” online last month, chances are, there are people searching for pink Christmas wreaths in stores and at craft shows too.
Research which search terms are popular in your industry and which ones give a small business an opportunity to stand out.
Another way to create a bestselling product is to target a smaller, more specific market (this will help you find a profitable target market).
For example, millions of people decorate their homes for Christmas, and there are many niches within that market.
Making a wreath that appeals to anyone who decorates their home during Christmas puts me in competition with thousands of businesses.
Making a wreath for dog owners who decorate their homes for Christmas gives me much less competition.
That’s just one niche within the Christmas decorating market.
I might make a dog bone Christmas wreath if I choose dog owners as my target market.
Not many people are searching for a “dog bone Christmas wreath” (so I won’t get much traffic from search engines). But a Christmas wreath for dog owners gives me a clear marketing strategy.
I know exactly where and how to find dog owners, and, I know what kind of marketing messages they’ll pay attention to.
There are MANY ways to create a best-selling product. These are just a couple of examples.
Whichever route you take with your business, research new ideas to be sure there’s a market for them.
Once you find a product that sells well, stick with it.
You may not enjoy making the same product over and over, but it will allow you to work on “passion products”.
Products you enjoy making are essential to your business. You should have an outlet to be creative, have fun, and test different products.
However, “passion products” must still make sense in your shop.
For example, if I’m selling holiday wreaths, I would not want to add jewelry to my shop. There’s too much of a disconnect between wreaths and jewelry.
Passion products should have a purpose, work with your moneymakers, and make money (they may not be as profitable or make as much money as your moneymakers, but you shouldn’t lose money on them).
Most importantly, passion products should:
- appeal to the same shopper (as your moneymaker products)
- belong in the same shopping cart (as your moneymaker products)
Think of the customer you draw in with your moneymaker product(s).
What other products would that same customer want to buy with your moneymaker product? Not instead of.
That customer may not be searching for these items, but when they see them, they understand how they work with the moneymaker products and they get the full picture.
For example, if I attract new customers to my wreath shop with my “pink Christmas wreath” listings, they may not know they want pink Christmas tree ornaments, a pink garland, or pink stockings until they see these items in my shop. Now they’re picturing the full pink theme for Christmas.
Will other pink Christmas decorations appeal to the same customer buying a pink wreath?
Yes. It’s likely someone buying a pink wreath is following a pink theme for their Christmas decor and would be interested in other items that help them decorate in pink for the holidays.
Will pink Christmas decorations go in the same shopping cart as a pink wreath?
Yes. Someone buying a wreath may also need other items to decorate their home for Christmas.
I draw people in with a product that matches a popular niche search term, and then I get to flex my creative muscles by creating products someone shopping for a pink Christmas wreath might also like.
My passion products appeal to the same customer and belong in the same shopping cart.
On the other hand, if I fill my shop with other colorful wreaths (e.g. purple wreaths, blue wreaths, red wreaths, etc.), I’m able to get creative but I’m unlikely to boost my sales with those passion products.
Will other colored wreaths appeal to the same customer buying a pink wreath?
No. A shopper looking for a pink Christmas wreath loves pink (not blue or yellow or purple). It’s unlikely they want another colorful wreath for their home.
Will colorful wreaths go in the same shopping cart as a pink wreath?
No. Someone buying a pink Christmas wreath is unlikely to also buy a yellow Christmas wreath. Most people don’t need two wreaths, and if they do, they likely want them to match.
I can follow a similar strategy if I’ve created a product that targets a niche market.
For example, if I’ve created a Christmas dog bone wreath, it’s a product for proud dog owners who want to include their pet in holidays/celebrations.
So my “passion products” may be other dog-holiday-themed products, such as a dog treat advent calendar, dog treat Christmas ornaments, dog treat gingerbread houses, and perhaps even dog-themed Christmas cards.
You can see how my product selection can expand significantly, allowing me to get creative while keeping my shop cohesive and boosting sales.
On the other hand, if I’m selling dog treat Christmas wreaths, watercolor Christmas cards, and “baby’s first Christmas” tree ornaments, it’s likely my shop and products will seem disjointed.
Start with your moneymaker product, then brainstorm product ideas that could be purchased with it and appeal to the same shopper.
According to Pareto Principle, 80 percent of your sales are likely to come from 20% of your products.
Meaning, if you have 10 types of products in your Etsy shop, it’s likely just two of them generate the majority of your revenue.
>> 20% of the products in your shop (or craft show booth) should be moneymakers.
>> 80% of the products in your shop (or craft show booth) can be passion products.
An 80/20 split creates a good balance.
It ensures your business is making money, but also allows you to be creative and work on new projects so you don’t get bored making the same item over and over.
Your passion products also give you new content to promote (so your social media feeds don’t get stale) and gives your customers a reason to come back regularly (here’s how to encourage more customers to buy again).
Of course, 80/20 isn’t a hard rule to live by. You may find 70/30 or 60/40 is a better fit for you.
Study your stats to determine what’s true for your business.
Which percentage of the products you offer are responsible for the majority of your revenue?
I hope this article has helped you determine how you’ll make money and make what you love.
If you need more ideas for the types of products that will boost sales and allow you to add variety, check out:
- How to Create an Entry-Level Product for your Handmade Business
- How to Use Add-Ons to Sell More Handmade
- How to Use Up-Selling to Sell More Handmade
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!