By Jason Vander Griendt

February 12, 2020 at 11:33 pm

The “side hustle” has become such a way of life that some might just call side hustling their full-time job. The introduction of e-commerce sites like eBay and Etsy has allowed individuals to experience entrepreneurship with minimal risk.

The best part of entrepreneurship is the opportunity to attain various freedoms:

  • The freedom from an overbearing boss
  • The freedom to enjoy your work
  • The freedom to build and grow the way you think is best
  • The freedom to enjoy time with family and friends
  • The freedom to set your calendar

There are many more positive attributes of starting your own business. It can be a massive investment to decide to quit your job in the name of starting a company and the risk is often enough to scare people away from the thought altogether. Enter: the side hustle. Starting with a side venture that allows you to continue a full-time job is a low-risk, high-reward play that could provide you all the freedoms listed above…and more!

There are many questions to be answered about a decision like this. Where to start? How to succeed? Why are you different than those that have failed before? We can answer those questions in short order while providing tips on how to get started with your side hustle making candles, chocolates and (or) soaps.

Are Candles, Chocolates, and Soaps Good Options For Starting a Side Business?

It may seem odd that we have provided you a business idea right from the start. There are several reasons these items are popular on e-commerce sites like Etsy.

They Are Popular:

The small business niche has boomed recently and shows no sign of stopping. With increasing consumer fatigue towards corporate entities, small shops and online retailers are reaping the benefits.

Candles are wildly popular, with over 70% of homes in the United States using them. Chocolate has an obvious appeal and custom soaps are beginning to see growth as the vacation rental property market has caught on to their appeal.

They’re Easy to Get Started With:

Pre-made molds are already available for these products and the development of 3D printing assistance platforms makes customizing a breeze. There is no dedicated space required for making these products and producing any of the three has a minimal learning curve (although chocolates may require food safety certificates, check your local by-laws).

Since we mentioned 3D printing, let’s use the opportunity to answer the question, “Why are you different than those that have failed before?” The answer is that your little business could offer unique candle, chocolate or soap shapes and designs. 3D printing offers the opportunity to create virtually any shape you can imagine. Company logos, favorite local sports teams, or school mascots are all within the realm of creating molds using 3D printing.

Set yourself apart by experimenting with weird and wonderful or niche specific shapes. If you need some help turning your ideas into 3d printed molds, give us a call. By using our knowledge and molding and manufacturing equipment it eliminates the need for owning your expensive equipment or trying to learn how to use it.

They Can Yield Good Returns:

These products are popular, as we discussed earlier. This means you can expect to set a higher price point for them and still see your inventory ship out. While your business may start as a fledgling Etsy shop, you could eventually branch out into sales as a vendor for brick and mortar gift shops and craft stores.

There is An Established Market:

For some new businesses, an area that has already been established can have some major downsides like market saturation and heavy competition. With candles, chocolates, and soaps, customers are likely to try the “new kid on the block” to see what you have to offer that others might not.

Answering “How to Succeed” As An Entrepreneur Selling Unique Chocolates, Candles and Soap

To be straightforward, there are probably more Etsy and e-commerce failure stories than there are those detailing great success. However, proper planning goes a long way toward creating a sustainable model that could provide an income that you would be happy with.

Here are nine steps that can help you succeed:

  1. Spend time narrowing down your business to one concise sentence. Describe who you are and what you do/offer.
  2. Know your customer before you start. Most small business failures take a “we will sell to whoever walks in approach.” If you know your customer as you create your inventory, your products will naturally be attractive to them.
  3. With that said, be willing to change. Sometimes the market changes. Sometimes your customers change preferences. In any case, do not become set on one design scheme. You must be flexible to maintain any sense of long-term success.
  4. Know what makes you different and stick with it. Is it your packaging? Is it the products themselves? Is it your clever product names? Once you have determined a “niche”, stick with it. Your customers will likely be drawn to it and will be dismayed if you stray.
  5. Your brand should make sense. A clever name that doesn’t jive with your product line will not appeal to customers. Calling your line, “The Chocolate Cat”, and only selling dog items might be a bit of a turnoff.
  6. I know you do not want to hear this but…set a budget! Outline your costs for the first three months. Include supplies, the cost of 3D printing or mold making, shipping, etc. Remember to include the cost of YOU. If you prepare a budget that does not include paying yourself, then you may be shocked when two years have gone by and you aren’t feeling the reward of entrepreneurship.
  7. Keep things concise. Use steps one through four to come up with a narrow product line that fulfills your sentence outlined in step one. Set prices that make sense to fulfill your budget needs, understand your ideal customer, and do not scare anyone away.
  8. Settle on your scope. The ideal scenario is to sell locally to friends, family, and word of mouth clientele while running a store on Etsy or some other online platform. If things seem to be going well and you can keep up with demand, consider reaching out to stores in your area that sell locally made products.
  9. Make it Official. Do not forget that running a business has aspects other than simply making and selling products. Local, state, and federal government regulations may apply to the products you are making and the sales process. Make it legit with the IRS and pay the appropriate taxes to avoid steep penalties down the road.

Creating a business on the side can be a life-changing decision. You may discover new freedoms and enjoyment that you did not know existed. Use advantages like creating your own molds with 3D printing to set yourself apart and stand out from the crowd.

If you need help designing a completely unique custom mold, don’t be afraid to reach out to us on 1.888.202.2052 or by using our quote form. We frequently get queries about mold making and can answer any questions you have about it simply and clearly.

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Jason Vander Griendt

Jason Vander Griendt is a Mechanical Engineering Technician with years of experience working at major companies such as SNC Lavalin Inc, Hatch Ltd. Siemens and Gerdau Ameristeel. He is the CEO of JCAD – Inc., a company he started in 2006 after seeing a gap in the market for businesses who could assist clients through the entire product design and manufacturing process.

Jason has been featured in Forbes, has had his businesses analyzed and discussed in multiple start-up books, was a previous winner of the Notable8 Digital Innovator of the year award, and is a regular guest on business panels and podcasts. Email Jason at or follow him on LinkedIn.

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