My mother recently retired and sold her personal business. I cannot lie to you I was extremely worried about how this would affect her. She’s innately social, like me, and had really gotten to the point where she was working part-time in a very easy position at the business. Yes, she owned it but she wasn’t managing it anymore. She really was going in for the social aspect and to have something to keep her busy.


When she sold it all together she wanted to just be able to walk away, which I completely understood. What would she do with her time, then? I stayed up many nights worrying about this (which was really silly because I am sure she didn’t). I worried about her falling into a depression, not having an outlet for her creativity, not feeling empowered with ownership.


It was about two months into her journey of leaving her business when she texted me a picture of a beautifully hand-crafted, decorated wine bottle. The note above it said, “This is what I’ve been doing with my time.” I knew it wouldn’t be long – knowing her the way I do – before she would be asking me how to setup a website, make business cards, and soliciting advice on attending craft fairs. I was right. She might have left her other business but she found an outlet for her creativity all right.


There are many military spouses out there that make a great living and have a portable career selling something that they have made. From quilts, to jewelry - I’ve even met a male spouse who hand-carved military items - these spouses didn’t wait for a job to find them, they crafted one up themselves. Do you have a hand-crafted item that you’ve been thinking about turning into profits? Here are some tips to get you started:


The Basics


• Determine what you want to sell

• Check out your competition

• Determine the cost and the source of supplies

• Calculate additional business related expenses (especially those associated with start-up)

• Figure out what you’re willing/able to invest – money and time

• Establish your business and get the proper permits – business license, fire permits, home inspections, resale or user permits. Check with your local city office to obtain exactly what you need for your business & product type

• Create a business plan – even if it’s a basic one

• Establish who your target market will be and how to reach them

• Identify the means of which you wish to sell – online, craft fairs, etc.

• Determine the price of your product along with cost of shipping, if applicable

• Set up a professional email and phone at the very least, and consider a website/blog

• Build your inventory

• Network, network, network


Well-known places to sell handmade items online:









Use social media to market your items:






Crafts & Handmade item resources:


• Ten things you must do to have a successful online crafts business

• Twenty nine places to sell handmade creations

• How to Sell Your Crafts Online: A Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Sales on Etsy and Beyond by Derrick Sutton