For years now, I've wanted to open an online jewelry store. So what was stopping me? I didn't think I was "crafty" enough. But recently a friend told me about a great online course she took, and one thing led to another. Now I'm on my way to launching my long-dreamed-of online store! If you can relate, these courses don't cost much, but they can save you money—and even help you earn by pursuing your crafting passion!
Before I was born, my mom had already learned how to sew. She made most of our clothes (and her own) when I was growing up—saving our one-income family a ton on retail clothing costs.
This is just one example of how you can save a lot by spending a little to learn a useful craft.
How taking a course may help you save:
- Sewing: hemming, mending, alterations, making clothing from patterns.
- Paper crafts: greeting cards, scrapbooking.
- Photography: family albums, commemorative events.
- Cooking: frugal and creative meals, entertaining on a budget.
- Woodworking, painting: do your own household upgrades instead of hiring a contractor.
- Gardening: create your own vegetable garden to grow organic produce for your family.
Example: You routinely take your son's pants to the tailor (at $10 a pop) since he seems to be growing faster than Jack's famous Beanstalk! You enroll in a class for $20 that teaches you basic hemming and alterations. Two alterations later, your class has paid for itself!
My sister-in-law took a few online photography courses and began practicing on her four kids. Then she launched a photography business to photograph expectant moms and newborns. Even though she is a stay-at-home mom to four, she earns extra money on the weekends by booking photo shoots.
This is just one great example of how you can turn a hobby into a part (or even full!) time income-earning pursuit.
How taking a course may help you earn:
- Jewelry making: create original jewelry to sell locally or online.
- Knitting, crocheting: design beautiful handmade goods to sell.
- Cake decorating, baking: place your cookies, cupcakes, and cakes in local eateries.
- Drawing, painting: open your own small custom shop for pet or child portraits.
- Gardening: grow delicious organic produce to sell at local farmers’ markets.
- Mixed media: assemble your own custom scrapbooking backgrounds to sell.
You can also use these courses to become a craft instructor yourself – Craftsy.com and CraftArtEdu.com (both below) are always looking for instructors, and you can also teach in your local area at community centers, craft stores, or even hold courses in your home or others' homes!
Example: You spend $15 on a course in gardening. Your crop of tomatoes and lettuce flourishes, and you sell it all at the local farmers’ market, netting $30. You've paid for your course, made a small profit, AND you've enjoyed fresh organic produce from your own garden for FREE!
3 Crafting sites we love
All three of these sites have high ratings and a wide range of craft and hobby courses to help you learn skills to save your family money or launch a small enterprise of your own!
Craftsy is an online learning portal that has already graduated more than 2 million students. In addition to the online web platform, Craftsy has iOS and Android apps so you can learn on the go (even offline!).
Courses include: jewelry, sewing, quilting, art, photography, gardening, woodworking, cake decorating, cooking, knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving, drawing, painting, paper crafts, and more (266+ classes in all!)
- Free apps: http://www.craftsy.com/apps
- Cost: Course costs start at $14.99 on up depending on topic (most are in the $19.99 – $39.99 range, with frequent discounts of $10 or more off the course price).
CraftDaily works a bit differently than Craftsy. This subscription-based online learning center offers subscriptions monthly or annually (at a 10% and up discount). Your subscription gives you access to the video courses of your choice with unlimited viewing privileges. Alternately, you can purchase individual DVDs, downloadable videos, books, magazines, and projects from their sister store. You can preview courses for free before you purchase.
Courses include: DIY, sewing, crocheting, weaving, knitting, jewelry making, quilting, mixed media, scrapbooking, paper crafts, and spinning (more than 350 in all!)
- Cost: Starting at $11.99 on up for a one-month subscription by category; $19.99 per month for unlimited viewing of all categories (or $199.99 per year at a 10% discount).
CraftArtEdu offers a range of free and paid classes for a wide variety of crafts and hobbies. Some video courses are completely free while others are offered for a small fee (that includes unlimited viewing).
Course categories: fiber, jewelry making, polymer clay, other media, beading. These courses encompass everything from knitting and quilting to sculpture and home décor, paper arts and painting, weaving to embroidery and more. You can preview courses for free before you purchase.
- Cost: Classes range from free to just a few dollars on up. The site offers a 100% refund within 30 days if you aren’t completely satisfied with a paid course.