My husband and I set up this website in May 2009 as a creative outlet from our day jobs and with the hope that it could earn us a little extra money on the side. We'd just got married in 2008, finally finished grad school (almost 10 years at university - phew!), and returned from a 6 month adventure travelling through Europe, Egypt, Eastern Africa and Southern Asia.
We really wanted to set up a site that could earn enough money to pay for our craft supplies, hopefully fund our travel obsession, and eventually bring in some extra money if we were blessed enough to start a family. In the back of my mind there was also the dream... could our hobby site earn enough so I didn't have to go back to work after starting a family?
And so here we are a few years later still crafting away and absolutely amazed that our dream of building an online business has come true! Our website has gone from getting a handful of visitors to hundreds of thousands of visitors each month, and is now in the top 0.1% of most-visited sites on the web!
At the same time the income from this site has grown to firstly cover our craft expenses and now pay our rent and bills! And yes, it means I'm under no financial pressure to go back to work so I can enjoy lots of precious time with our baby James who was born in June 2011.
But you might be wondering, how does our site earn money when we don't sell anything?
Many pages on our site have ads by Google near the top or bottom of the page, and Google pays us money to have those ads there. We also have links to products (usually craft supplies) on eBay and Amazon, and whenever someone buys we earn a small commission. We buy most of our craft supplies from eBay and amazon ourselves because it's often the best deal and so convenient to have things arrive straight to the door! So hopefully we save you a bit of time and money by pointing you in the direction of good deals too!
Learning how to do all this web business stuff has been a really interesting journey. We started out with absolutely zero knowledge of web-design or online business. All we had was a craft hobby and an inkling that other people out there were somehow making money on the internet.
It was so tempting to just jump straight in, start a blog or a website with cheap or free hosting, and hope that we'd figure it out as we went along. But thankfully Tobias stumbled across something called "Site Build It!", or SBI for short. SBI is an all-in-one course in internet business plus all the tools you need. Basically it takes you by the hand through the process of building a web business step-by-step. I like to think of it as the web-business equivalent of a really thorough craft tutorial with all the materials, scissors, and glue included :-)
I am SO glad we came across SBI because there's a lot more to making money online than I first thought! It's more than just writing a few pages and slapping on some ads. You need to analyse the market for your niche, choose the right keywords, fill in meta-tags, submit your pages to the search engines, optimize your ad placements, manage your newsletter lists, and so much more... phew!
These things are essential for building a website that gets lots of traffic and earns money. SBI makes all these steps do-able, and even automates some of them. Even so it takes LOTS of hard work and persistence - it definitely is not a get rich quick approach - but it pays off in the long run!
A great thing about the website is that it keeps earning money even when I don't have time to work on it. Tobias and I put a lot of work into the site in the early days, and now it can basically run on autopilot on those occasions when we get too busy with other things. I've barely had any time to work on the site over the last few months (babies are fun but a lot of work!) but the income from the site has continued to grow and grow in that time. Of course, I'm really looking forward to putting more projects on our site now that James is in a routine, but it's great to have a "job" that let's me take "holidays" for as long as I want and still pays me :-)
So what about you? Can you imagine yourself owning a web business? There are so many regular people like me who have set up successful online businesses using the tools and knowledge provided by SBI. Check out some of their stories... so inspiring!
And yes, I do make a commission if you end up purchasing SBI and you found them through one of our links. It's a nice little bonus, but actually the more exciting thing for me is to know that someone else is embarking down the road to owning their own business and the freedom that comes with it. I wrote this page because when I hear others talk about how much they too would love to stay at home with their kids, or take off and go travelling for months at a time, I really feel for them and I just want to talk and talk about what I do and how they could turn their hobby into a business too!
Please do contact me if you have any questions as I'm always happy to share more.
Wishing you all the best on your journey, and lots of happy crafting along the way!