How to travel and earn money on own handmade products

Not everybody can stomach being rooted in one place especially a creative person that’s always seeking inspiration and new ways to express themselves. But moving from country to country takes money even if you’re frugal and don’t mind hitchhiking and other cost-saving travel methods. You could spend years upon years saving up for your trip or, and this may sound crazy, pack up your embroidery sewing machine or your set of paints or even just your camera and blast off for adventure. There are plenty of creatives roaming the world and documenting their travels in stunning sketches and photographs. Not everybody can afford to just visit all exotic destinations as a job like the NatGeo employees do but we still managed to prepare a few tips on how to see the world and make money with your own two hands and a dash of talent.

A Stitch in Time

You don’t have to be the next big thing in the fashion world to make money on hand-stitched clothes and accessories, especially if you pick the right country. Some of the European cultures really value handmade clothes, in particular those that fit the regional traditions. Sure, you might not make a perfect pair of lederhosen when you drop by Bavaria but putting together a cute scarf or a warm woolly hat won’t take all that much time and could potentially net you a cool 50 euros of profit or so. And if you do get good at it, well, all the better!

Good Luck Charms

A simple trinket like a necklace or a bracelet takes just a bit to put together and, if done with love and a good design, can impress customers quite a bit. In fact, anything hand-crafted is really popular these days, from a box to a stunning piece of jewelry. If you don’t mind spending a few hours with a hot glue gun or a crafts kit, you could end up with a pretty impressive array of trinkets for sale. Just be sure to stay on the wavelength of your current residence and fit with the local trends. Or, if you’ve already got some good responses on your designs, carve out your own niche with a certain style that’s going to showcase your abilities.

Take Advantage of the Internet

Progress is a marvelous thing, isn’t it? You could be chilling on a beach in Thailand and, with a few taps on your laptop keyboard, make a sale. You could follow the example of the programmers and digital marketings specialists combining work and travel. Set up a shop on Etsy, Amazon, or another internet marketplace and trade in your handmade goods. All you need to efficiently ship them all over the world is a nearby post office or a partner that can send it all off from a warehouse where you keep the products.

Set Up a Connection

When you’ve traveled around long enough, you will likely establish a pretty broad network of friends or, at least, acquaintances. Don’t be afraid to use that to your advantage by asking them for help. Maybe that guy you met at the disco knows a shop owner that could stock your goods or perhaps the person you’re sitting next to on a plane is a marketing guru who could give some hints on how to sell your particular brand of crafts. Of course, you also have to remember to give something in exchange, be it a personalized trinket or some expertise in a field that you know a lot about.

Plan Ahead

The life of a travelling craftsman is appealing because you’re essentially free. You get to choose where to go and when to leave but it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to prepare for the future. Make sure to always have the next few steps planned out as you don’t want to get stranded in the middle of nowhere just because you didn’t account for the materials you’d need for your crafts. The nomad life has quite a few unpredictable expenses that could always fall on your head.

Curb Your Expectations

Seriously, this is a crucial point for any would-be entrepreneurs, do not overestimate your talent. Yes, your crafts are good and yes, they can help you make a living. But don’t go spending oodles of cash on a restaurant dinner if you luck out with a big sale. Don’t book yourself luxurious stays at spa centers or resorts. The life of a traveling artist requires frugal spending and knowing how to price your products properly. Few people would spend hundreds on a scarf made by an unknown artist, even if it’s absolutely beautiful. Know your audience, know your worth, and remember to treat money with respect.

Turner barr
turnerbarr@gmail.com

Hi, my name is Turner. I travel the world, hustle to find interesting jobs, and write about what happens when you read too many self-help books.

2 Comments
  • Arisha
    Posted at 11:16h, 18 June

    Great tips! Noticed on street some Peruvians that are selling handmade products and travel from place to place.

  • Eating Adventures
    Posted at 21:20h, 19 June

    The difficulty with handmade products is that it is quite labour intensive, especially if you need to make enough to pay the bills. I have met some people that did well from this, but others that made a bit of play money but nothing more.k