More people are working from home than ever. Over 40% of Americans telecommute throughout the week, and one-third of them do for most of the workweek. For members of the arts and design community, the number is closer to 50%.
With the rise of sites like Etsy, crafters have a consistent avenue for their selling their products and are able to make a career out of it. A search for button pins on the site returns almost 250,000 results. Cute, sometimes funny, even a simple button looks professional. Would you believe they’re made by hand?
Starting a button business is easier than you think. Keep reading to find out why making buttons might be your ticket to working from home.
You can start a button business with less than $500. If you cancel your unused gym membership and drop Netflix for a few months, you’ll have it in no time. An easy sacrifice for a chance to be your own boss.
Standard button machines range in price from $200 for a 1-inch button machine to a little over $300 for a 3 inch. While you can spend hours cutting out tiny circles, it makes sense to spring for a circle punch, which costs less than $200. Factor in the cost of supplies, $50 per 500 buttons and a ream of regular printer paper, and you’re all in at $455.
Your budget only gets better from there. You can sell small buttons for anywhere from $1-$2 each. Even if you only sell your first 500 buttons, you’ve already made a nice profit.
Buttons are easy to package. Because they’re so lightweight, shipping costs are low.
Plus, when you’re ready to put your button-making days behind you, you’ll still come out ahead. Button machines have excellent resale value, making them a low-risk investment.
Easy to Make
The money sounds good, but what about the work? While buttons appear to be professionally made, making them is a simple 5-step process.
- Place the shell, artwork, and mylar into the shallow end of the button maker.
- Rotate the base and crank the handle.
- Place the pinback into the deeper cavity.
- Rotate the base and crank the handle.
- And you’re done! Take your button out and enjoy.
In half an hour, you can make 100 buttons. It’s one of the few work-at-home jobs where you’ll make a decent hourly wage.
The biggest problem with the button making business is how addictive it is. The crank motion and snapping sound are so satisfying, you’ll want to button everything all the time.
Easy to Customize
Customized button pins are the key to success. Who wouldn’t want a wearable emblem that displays their personality or, better yet, their face?
Indie bands and rock bands alike have long included these adorable tokens on their merch tables. A collection of buttons from obscure bands amps up your street cred. Because they’re small and cheap, people collect them by the hundreds.
And it’s not just teenagers.
As jean jackets made their comeback, so too did the humble button pin. The market for pins with pretty fabrics or kitschy animals has grown. Teachers and nurses accessorize their ID badges with buttons, and hipsters fasten them in triplicate on their lapels.
Beyond offering a variety of designs that appeal to different personalities, you can customize a button pin down to the letter. If customers want to provide the artwork, your job is even easier.
Political campaign buttons have a long history, dating back to the 1800s. They’re great collector’s items and take advantage of the mass hysteria surrounding politics. Offer to make some every time someone runs for office.
Intramural sports are another great way to personalize buttons. Parents love to exalt their children. Work with a local photographer to make photo buttons from sports portraits. You can sell a three-inch photo button, made in a matter of seconds, for up to $10.
Small Design, Big Impact
If you dabble in graphic design, buttons are the place to perfect your craft. The size of the finished product doesn’t call for fine details. A little design savvy goes a long way.
Clever text is easy to format. People love an unexpected twist. Something as simple as a single swear word could end up being a best seller.
Are you more comfortable hand-drawing designs? You can offer a limited run of one of a kind designs or scan your drawings and print them out.
There’s button printing software to help to help you print the most buttons per page. You can even find some sites that let you design and print from your browser.
Once you settle on a template for sports buttons with names and jersey numbers, it’s painless to print a whole team. Switch out the info without having to format it every time. All it takes is a basic level of computer knowledge.
On the Go
The button making business really shines when you take it out on the road. It’s such a fun novelty to buy something that’s made right in front of you. Tableside guac, anyone?
You can set up at convention centers and offer made-to-order souvenirs. Printers are so portable these days that you don’t even have to make designs ahead of time.
Offer your services in tandem with photo booths at weddings. How fun would it be to go home with a physical reminder of a great day?
Birthday parties are another great venue for buttons. Kids love trinkets, and parents are always looking for a way to up their birthday party game. The buttons can personalize the goody bags. They can even be part of the fun if kids draw their own designs.
Go to festivals, concerts, block parties, pumpkin patches, Little League games, church carnivals. Take your button maker around town, and you’ll be a traveling printing press. Everything you see will become button material.
Why Aren’t You Making Buttons Already?
Now that you know how to make buttons for a living, get started! Making buttons is easy and cost-effective. It’s also addictive and fun. You’ll start profiting almost immediately, and you’ll actually enjoy the work!
Are you looking for other ways to enjoy life? Check out our Be Happy Archives for articles that will help you be happy at home, at work, or traveling the world.