Not even sure where to start since there are so many thoughts around it. Okay, here goes. I'm getting near the age where I will want to retire eventually. Now there are a couple of things that go with thoughts of retiring. First, I can't sit around and do nothing. That just won't work for me. I know myself well enough to know that I will become lazier and lazier. I do it during breaks, so I'm confident I will do it if I retire. So that's one thing. Next, we are not going to have boatloads of money coming in every month that will allow us to do whatever we want. Just not going to happen. We will likely still have a house payment, plus our other living expenses. And the money coming in is not going to be unlimited. So I will need something to keep me busy once I am no longer working full time. I have always wanted to make and sell crafts. I have wanted to go to craft fairs and Christmas fairs and sell items I have made. But, it takes a lot of time to not only make inventory but market, set-up, work the craft fairs, etc. Doing this while working full time seems a little daunting to me. But there are lots of places I can sell now. There is Etsy, Facebook marketplace, eBay, Amazon, etc. So maybe I could start a little shop and sell a few things at first. Then gradually expand my selection and grow my business. I would be able to control the orders I take and the amount of work I do. I could also work on developing my techniques and perfecting how I do things. So that is the first consideration. Next, what do I want to do? I don't want to be all over the place with a thousand different things for sale. I would much prefer to focus on one or two things and become really, really good at those. So what could I do? Well, t-shirts come to mind. I love making them and they are relatively easy. The problem with that is the stock. Do I offer all different sizes and colors? That's a lot of inventory to keep on the off chance I would sell it. Do I offer a limited number of colors, but in different sizes? That makes it a little more manageable, still a lot of inventory to hold on to. How many designs do I offer? That could get outrageous in number. Do I let them customize it? There are just so many questions and options with t-shirts, though they are my favorites. My second favorites are tumblers and mugs. Those are a little easier and if I come up with a few designs I could have them ready to go. Also, customizing would be fairly easy. I could start with the Swissy community and the BC community. I could even donate some to shows and events and start that way. I could also start a little Etsy shop and just keep it small and limited. I'm thinking that's the way to go. T-shirts are a huge undertaking, but I could start small with mugs and tumblers. I have a source where I could get them for fairly reasonable prices. Maybe stock up on some and give it a go.
The next item on the agenda is what to do. I do vinyl, that won't work on mugs and tumblers. I also do sublimation, that works but I need to get better at it. I could also do engraving. That's what inspired this post. I got a bonus at work that we were not really expecting. We decided to buy ourselves something that we want. C is buying himself a new golf bag. I've been going back and forth between a larger vinyl cutter or a laser engraving machine. Neither of them are cheap. The vinyl cutter is $499 and the laser engraver is normally $999, but there is a Black Friday deal where I get the rotary cutter with it for only $799. That would allow me to engrave cups and mugs and I wouldn't have to buy special sublimation blanks, I could engrave on anything. It would also allow me to make other things, like signs and stuff, that can be personalized but don't require the storing of a huge inventory. The larger vinyl cutter will not provide me any additional benefit really. It would be great to make signs and stuff, but I'm not going to sell that stuff - too many people are doing it.
Let's recap. With my sublimation stuff and if I get the laser engraver, I will be able to make personalized stuff to sell and not have to stock a large inventory. I could focus on specific markets - dogs right now - and build from there. Okay, I think I talked myself into the laser engraver. I just need to break it to C that I will be spending the vast majority of my bonus on it. It is my bonus. I gave him his so why should I feel guilty?
Now I need a plan.