Determine what it is that you do well. Do you knit? Are you a photographer? Maybe you make miniature buildings perfectly to scale, screen-print tee shirts, make pins, birdhouses, wire sculptures, jewelry; everything has a market! If you lack ideas, look online for help to get you started (Pinterest is an AWESOME place for inspiration!). If you have more than one crafty hobby, pare it down to just one - for now - to make starting easier.
Perfect your craft. Use your own items for a few weeks to see if they have any flaws, and you can also loan out or give away some to friends and family for them to do the same. If you find any flaws in your product, remake or fix the product and try the process again. You want to make sure that when customers purchase your product that they’re getting the best quality for their money (and of course that they become repeat customers and leave good reviews!)
Take pictures of your items. If you’re a great photographer or have an eye for a good photo, you can take your own photos. If not, recruit a friend or even outsource the job; good visual representations of your products are essential! If the pictures don't truly match the colors of the product, try different lighting to accurately capture it (natural sunlight is best). No camera phone pictures allowed!
Write great descriptions of your products. Make sure you add how they were made, the materials used, their size, etc. Don’t leave any detail out! Some potential buyers won't be motivated to contact you for additional information, and may just move on to a similar product <-- no good!
List them for sale. There are many online marketplaces that allow individuals to sell their art: ArtFire, BuyHandmade, Dawanda, Folksy, Etsy (the largest), Craftster, Coriandr, Misi, All Things Original – the list goes on and on (expect to pay a small listing fee and/or a percentage of the sale price to the site).
Market your products. Put your social media skills to use – share the link to your online store on facebook, set up a twitter account to spread the news of new additions to your site, start a blog linking to your site, even kickoff the opening of your online store by doing a feature on a popularly read blog or website including a giveaway. Get people talking (and retweeting, sharing, etc.)!
Give stuff away. Sometimes having your items in an auction gift basket for your favorite charity can be a great way to spread your store name. Even just one item every few months can bring you more customers over time.
Communicate with your customers. When you start making sales, make sure to send a small note to your customer saying “thank you!” and marking the item as “shipped” as soon as it is in the mail. Also ensure to leave positive feedback for your buyers (assuming it was positive) welcoming them back in the future. If you fail to receive feedback on a sold item, follow up with a message to the buyer asking them if they’ve received the product and if everything is okay. Great customer service is key!
Want to SUPER kick-start some sales online? Look for those who have "liked" your items, added your shop to their favorites or previously bought your products and send them a coupon (online) for x% off any item in your shop.
Good luck and happy crafting!
Picture credits: Clancy Ratliff, Gordon Hatton