featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Anastasia is taking the day off and has invited Patrick Del Rosario to guest blog today about turning art into cash. Patrick is part of the team behind Open Colleges, one of Australia’s pioneer and leading providers of human resources courses. When not working, Patrick enjoys blogging about career and business. Patrick is also a photography enthusiast and is currently running a photography studio in the Philippines. Learn more about Patrick at  Google+. 

Turn Art into Cash: 6 In-demand Products That Only Need a Touch of Creativity to Sell
If you have hobbies or skills that you enjoy practicing in your spare time, there’s a very good chance that you could be making money by doing what you love. Whether you enjoy photography or arts and crafts, there is always a way to turn your art into cash, you just need a bit of creativity and a plan of action.

Here are six creative products you could sell, either online or at craft shows, fairs and markets:

1. Gardening
These days there is a huge demand for locally grown fruits and vegetables, and if you can grow them organically there will be even more demand for them.
Gardening is an extremely relaxing way to pass the time and can actually be therapeutic and is known to reduce stress and improve both mental and physical health. If you have a plot of land behind your house that isn’t being used for anything, you can start your own little vegetable plot, growing things like fresh herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach and lettuce.
Not only will this save you money (you won’t have to buy vegetables anymore), but you could even make a bit of money on the side by selling your extra produce to neighbors and friends or at local farmers markets.

2. Baking
If you already love baking, why not turn it into something that brings you a little profit, either on the side or fulltime? I personally know a number of people who love baking and made their hobby into a business, creating wedding and birthday cakes as well as party snacks for different events.

You can start out small, with a few people you know, and eventually it can grow into something much bigger, if you want it to that is. It is easy enough to set up your own website or blog, where you can post pictures of some of your creations and allow people to order cakes or other delicacies for their birthday parties, anniversaries or whatever event they are hosting.

3. Photography
Despite the fact that most people these days have fairly high quality cameras on their phones, there is still a high demand for professional photographers. Do you love taking nature shots or doing candid street photography? These types of photos could be sold online from your own website.

You could also choose to hire yourself out as a photographer for events like weddings or family get-togethers. Family portraits are also very popular, and if you have a good camera and a bit of experience, you’ll be able to make quite a bit of money from your hobby.

Before offering your services, make sure you build up a portfolio of high quality photos. There are plenty of freelance photographers out there today, so you’ll need to distinguish yourself by showing potential clients that you know what you’re doing.

4. Handmade jewelry
Everyone loves handmade jewelry, and if it’s well done you can actually sell it for quite a good price, although of course you have to factor in the costs of buying the materials, but if you shop wisely you’ll come out on top. Some good websites to check include The Beadin Path, EEBeads and Charm Factory. Of course, these are just a few suggestions. There are many more out there. It just takes a bit of time to find the ones that offer what you are looking for.

You could sell your handmade earrings, bracelets and necklaces on your own website or visit markets and fairs where you can showcase your work. When just starting out, you could approach your friends, who could then do a little word-of-mouth advertising for you.

5. Arts and crafts
“Arts and crafts” is a rather broad category, and can mean anything from metal and woodwork to knitting or patchwork and even calligraphy.

If you have a skill along these lines you should try to develop it according to consumer demands. Have a look on website selling things similar to what you are making. Maybe you’ll find that carved figurines are popular, or perhaps there is a high demand for knitted scarves and hats.

Even if your skill isn’t very mainstream, there are always niche markets where you can promote your work and build up a steady client base. Websites like Etsy.com allow you to set up your own small business in a well-established community, selling just about anything, from handmade quilts to household knick-knacks.

6. Customized clothing
One of the main frustrations that many people have with affordable fashion is that it is produced in bulk, and it can be hard to differentiate your style when on a limited budget.
The best solution to this problem is to customize your own clothing. You can buy simple and plain t-shirts, jeans, shoes or bags, and give them your own unique twist.

If you get pretty good at transforming dull white t-shirts or tired old sweaters into hip-looking fashion items, you can be sure that there will be a demand for your services.

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