Working at Home Making Vinyl Decals

Updated on October 21, 2014

Work-at-Home Mom Starts a Vinyl Decal Business

I am a work-at-home mom who makes vinyl decals for a living. I love being with my kids and still making money. I don’t make a lot, but I can make a significant amount of cash from home.

Here are the pros and cons of starting a decal business:

Cons: Let me tell you, this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It is not kick-back-and-relax type of job. There is real work involved. You will need to invest in some expensive supplies and equipment, set up your cutter, and use software to design the work. Don’t even think about trying to do this if you don’t already have a computer with design apps and know how to use them. You’ll also need to be an outgoing person in order to make connections with a steady supply of customers and continually expand your network.

Pros: This is a fun way to earn a living and not much overhead is needed. Assuming you already have a computer with design and vector-art-making programs, after the initial purchase of your cutter, all you will need is vinyl, app tape, various blades, and motivation. Starting a small home business like this can cost as low at $700.00. I bought my vinyl cutter on Amazon and it came with a design program. Plus, you can work wherever and whenever you want, and how much money you make depends on how much time and energy you put in.

How to Start Your Own Sticker-Making Business

There is a steep learning curve for using the software for your cutter, but you’ll probably get the hang of things pretty quickly. After that, it all depends on how good you are at following through on projects, finding customers, and delivering good product quickly. Since you won’t make much selling one decal at a time, you should think big when promoting, marketing, and approaching potential customers.


What Is a Vinyl Cutting Machine?

A vinyl cutter is a computer-controlled machine that “reads” your design and translates it to an outline, then uses a sharp blade to cut that shape from a sheet of vinyl. After you’ve designed your art in an art program, you send it to the cutter which cuts the image. A small vinyl cutter might look like your computer printer and the big ones hold large rolls of vinyl.

Who Needs Stickers (Who Are Your Potential Customers)?

Think big—sure, friends and family will buy a sticker or two, but to whom can you sell a bunch of stickers at once?

  • local businesses
  • party-givers and event-throwers
  • schools or school-related events
  • political events or organizations
  • anyone who needs labels on their product
  • fundraisers

(Really, if you think hard enough, anyone might use stickers for some reason!)

What Kinds of Vinyl Decals Can You Make?

The size of the decals you make depends on what kind of machine you buy, but you can put stickers anywhere. For example:

  • on helmets, bikes, and skateboards
  • on cellphones and computers
  • on school binders and backpacks
  • on windows or walls as wall art
  • on envelopes to show a return address or seal the flap
  • on cars (to advertise a business or as a fun window or bumper sticker)
  • on jars of homemade jam, home-brewed beer, or other gifts or food items


Events That Might Benefit from Vinyl Stickers

  • parties (to stuff the swag bag)
  • birthday parties (they make excellent party favors)
  • weddings (to remember the day in a fun way)
  • business events (to generate brand recognition)
  • shows or concerts or community events (to promote the event, band, or cause)

(Really, any event might benefit from stickers.)

Ways to Make Money Using a Vinyl Cutter

  • Have someone you know invite friends and family over and show them some items you made using vinyl.
  • Make school logos for fundraisers.
  • Sell your designs wholesale to small boutiques and other local businesses to use as give-aways.
  • Sell your original sticker designs at craft shows.
  • Set up an online store (like

How to Make Vinyl Decals

Although every cutter works differently and you should follow the instructions included with your program and cutter, these guidelines will help you get started.

Below, you'll find step-by-step instructions for exactly how to make a vinyl decal.


What You Will Need to Begin

  • Computer
  • Design Program
  • Vinyl Decal Cutter
  • Vector Art Program
  • Rolls of Vinyl
  • Transfer or Application (App) Tape
  • Scissors, Tweezers, X-Acto knife
  • Squeegee or Putty-knife tool

Step #1: Create Artwork

Creating original art is the hardest and most important part of the process. The more original, skillful, and relevant your designs are, the more likely they are to sell.

Sometimes, you’ll be working with easy, simple designs, like plain text. The fonts and symbols you have on your computer are easy to turn into stickers with a vinyl cutting program. Also, with graphics programs like Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator, you can create your own shapes and designs and prepare vector art specifically for cut vinyl.

No matter what art you make (text, simple shapes, photographs, or more complicated designs), you will have to convert it to vector art so your vinyl cutter can print it properly.

What Is Vector Art?

Vector art is different from raster art. Raster art, including bitmap and .jpeg, is made of pixels, which are a bunch of different-colored dots without clear edges, while vector art has clearly defined edges and lines. Vinyl cutter-ready vector art (aka VCRVA or VCVA) can’t be saved as .jpeg, .gif, .png, .bmp, .psd, or .tif. With raster art, the edges will become fuzzy and distorted when the picture is enlarged, but with vector art, the image stays the same, no matter what size it is. In raster art, you’ll have thousands of different colors, but in vector art, the choices are limited. Thus, vector art is much clearer and easier to print. Your vinyl cutter can cut circles, lines, and arcs but it can’t cut a pixel so when you first bring an image into your cutting program and convert it to vector art, you’ll probably have a big mess to clean up. The cleaner the art you start with is, the less time you’ll spend cleaning it up.

You can buy snazzy fonts or cool pre-made vector art that’s already cutter-ready. For really complicated designs, it might be worth it to save yourself some time by sending it out to have it vectorized or purchase software (like Vector Magic) to clean it up for you.


Step #2: Bring Your Artwork into a Vinyl Cutting Program

Once you have created your artwork, you’ll import it to your vinyl cutting program which will allow you to format, frame, size, scale, rotate, and manipulate the image many ways before you send it to the vinyl cutter. If your cutter didn’t come with a program, there are many on the market to choose from: Flexi Starter 10, SignCut, DragonCut, etc. Many vinyl cutters aren’t particularly Mac friendly, so if you’re a Mac user, you’ll probably want to go with DragonCut or SignCut.

Step #3: Load Vinyl

Every cutter works differently, so you should read the instructions for how to feed the vinyl into your cutter before you start.

Step #4: Select and Set the Blade

You’ll select blade depth and pressure. Some machines require you to push the blade down manually while others have a button that does this for you. You’ll need to adjust the blade every time you change the type of vinyl you’re using—even if you think you’re using the same vinyl, its quality and thicknesses may change from roll to roll so you may need to readjust. Every cutter is different and you should follow the instructions. This step may take a little practice.

Step #5: Send to Vinyl Cutter and Cut Your Art

Different vinyl cutters have different ways of connecting to your computer, but most will do it via your USB port. Once you’ve installed the drivers, established the connection, selected the correct port in the cutting software, and switched your cutter to the online mode, you should be good to go.

Depending on how complex your design is, cutting may take seconds or hours, but most simple decals are done in a few minutes. When it’s done cutting, use scissors to remove the cut section from the roll.


Step #6: Weed Your Vinyl

Because the cutter cuts but does not remove the negative parts of the image, you’ll have to “weed” (remove by hand) all the pieces of vinyl that are irrelevant to your design. If you did a good job setting up the cutter blade, your artwork should weed easily, but this part of the process usually takes some time. You may need to use tweezers, a weeding pick, and/or an X-Acto knife to remove the parts of vinyl that don’t belong in your decal.

Step #7: Apply Transfer Tape

The last step is to put the stick on your sticker. You’ll want to choose a tape that stays flat or else the edges of the decal will begin to curl up and attract dirt. Remember that sometimes you’re planning on putting the sticker behind glass, and in those cases you’ll want the adhesive attached to the front, not the back, of your design. Transfer tape (or application, aka app tape) is like masking tape but has a different tack for adhering to your vinyl but releasing it on the target surface. You can buy this tape in different widths, but if you have an image that is bigger than the tape you have on hand, you can always lay two or more sections of tape down side-by-side, overlapping each section a quarter inch or so. Use a squeegee or a hard, flat tool to press the transfer tape onto the vinyl to ensure good adhesion.

How I Made My Own Vinyl Business Profitable

When I first started, it took me about six months to get my business going. I didn’t do many sales locally because instead of a storefront, I had a home office and wouldn't feel comfortable with strangers coming and going in my home. I have an online store (at Etsy) where I used to make about $800 per month just selling on that site. I did minimal work, meaning I designed the work, then posted my item and waited for it to sell.

As for customers, I have often offered trades, which led to big sales later. I did craft shows with already-made home décor items such as signs, tiles, jars, etc. I gave them to my daughters who gave them to friends whose moms went crazy for them and placed orders for stuff as well. Word-of-mouth is the best advertisement when it comes to your business and always offer something free to your customers, even if they are horrible! Many people write their own blogs and word will spread, even if it is negative. I have customers who found me through blogs that were written about me. Then, I started attending an online college, which put my shop on hold for awhile.

That was the extent of it, really. My advice to people who are considering this is that you really can't expect that the cutter will arrive and then it will somehow magically make money for you. It all comes down to you and how you choose to get your product out there. But keep in mind, I did this with a very minimal advertising budget and I was making $800 a month on average.

Good luck to you! If you have any more questions, please ask! ;)


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    • profile image

      mary 5 weeks ago

      how much did the machine and everything cost to get started

    • profile image

      vishal 2 months ago

      i have 15 graptech ce6000-60 machines

      so i want a work

    • profile image

      Rachel Regione 2 months ago

      I want to cut some things for later use for myself. I don't quite understand how or when I put a backing on the design so I can save for later

    • profile image

      Susan Inman 7 months ago

      I want a back window decal that says Mamaw's Taxi, with Ellie,Paisley,Jacob going around the bottom of it.Can you do so thing like that ,I want it to be about 4 inches long. How much will it cost?

    • profile image

      8 months ago

      I'm looking to get into selling mugs, wine glasses, etc. with vinyl designs on them on etsy. At first. I thought I would buy a bulk amount of glasses or mugs from somewhere like the dollar store and resell them designed, but after getting to know the copyright laws, I think I'm not allowed to do that. How did you get around that, or find products to design that could be resold?

    • profile image

      Todd 9 months ago

      For 2 or more color jobs, you would also need a printer that prints on white vinyl before cutting it, correct?

    • profile image

      Kay 9 months ago

      How much do a roll of vinyl cost?

    • profile image

      Tracy 9 months ago

      What kind of vinyl cutter do you have or which one would you suggest buying?

    • profile image

      Alexis 10 months ago

      Wanting to start making decal. Any advice of how to start out getting the items to do so?

    • profile image

      CountNubbles 11 months ago

      my household has the silhouette cameo, the cricut air, the brother scanncut and a 32" vinyl plotter and a clamshell heat press. we are doing not only our own decals but also doing t-shirts and wood decals.

      so far we are just in the design and feel it out stage but are excited to get the ball rolling (hopefully downhill!) and be able to attend all the swap meets, craft events and social media sales to add a little extra income!

      oh and we also have a high school daughter that goes to an art and design school and has just been certified in photoshop!

    • profile image

      Eric Johnson 12 months ago

      If your cutter didn’t come with a vinyl cutting program, there are many on the market to choose from: EasySignCut Pro, EasyCutStudio, etc. works on Mac and Windows

    • profile image

      Doug 13 months ago

      This is not a lucrative venture at all and certainly not selling on ebay. Give it some thought, most decals on ebay cost $1.99 up to $3.99 with FREE shipping. Ebay and paypal will take 12% of that, envelopes cost money, stamps cost money, and if you want a tracking number it costs even more money. By the time you actually sell a decal on ebay you will be lucky to net pennies on every dollar spent. With the cost of a good printer/cutter, vinyl, ink, transfer tape, shipping to get the media to you, vector art program such as CorelDraw, Adobe, RIP software for your machine ect.... these programs arent cheap by any stretch of the imagination.

    • profile image

      Abraham Martinez 13 months ago

      What type of program and Cutter are compatible to a Apple macbook air laptop?

    • profile image

      Mamabear1024 14 months ago

      I own 2 criket cutters are these good enough to stat this type of business? And do you have a recommendation as to where I can get a good deal on a vector gráfic program.

    • profile image

      Nada 14 months ago

      Hello, I am thinking of starting this kind of business from home as well. With 5 kids it gets kind of crazy financially living off of one income. I want to contribute while being with my kids. My question for you is....which designs did you find would sell the most....the one's you created or ready templates?

      Thank You,

      God Bless You.

    • profile image

      Bdog 16 months ago

      Is there any laws on selling decals that are not your design for example a Hello Kitty or Micky Mouse.

    • profile image

      Todd 16 months ago

      I did not see this asked, so forgive me if it has been. How do you create multi colored decals? I would assume the vinyl comes in rolls of "a" color, like red, blue, green, etc. How do you create one decal with all of those colors in it?

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      Petra 16 months ago

      Hi everyone,

      I have a question regarding the presentation of the work, so for example if I make some designs of wall stickers and want to present what they would look like on an actual wall, where could/should I find images of interiors and walls for this purpose?

    • profile image

      Suzy 17 months ago

      Wanting to purchase my first decal maker. What machine would you recommend for starters? I've done some research on the cricut air 2 and the new Cameo silhouette. Is there another @ the same price point to recommend?

    • profile image

      Krys 18 months ago

      Heff- what cutter and press did you get? I have been looking into the same thing! Thanks

    • profile image

      Samantha 18 months ago

      Some of your decals look printed, what type of printer and ink did you use?

    • profile image

      Barb 18 months ago

      I want to sell the decals I have no problem if i am transfering to the final surface but what do you use on the vinyl side so that the end user can remove the backing from the sticky side and apply the transfer. Somehow transfer tape does not seem to appropriate in this instance. Suggestions???

    • profile image

      Heff 19 months ago

      I have just officially started my vinyl business. I did quite a but of research before buying in. My vinyl cutter came with all the software I need and I ordered a heat press with hat and mug attachments. My first order is in for 26 shirts. Working on my next client, hopefully will get more work there. Overall, so far in love it. I always loved arts and crafts. Now I feel like I'm putting it to good use. My advice, learn everything you can before buying and try and get some kind of "soft" sale before starting. At least that way, you feel like you are starting on the right foot - the money making foot. Lol. Loved reading everyone's experiences here. It's the best way to learn. Companies tell you what you want to hear but people tell you what happened to them.

    • profile image

      Judy 21 months ago

      I just need someone in Parker CO that I can pay to do some custom vinyls for me for my rental propety? I can put them up

    • profile image

      Martina 2 years ago

      Hi, my question do you deal with customers who come back and tell you that they messed up trying to apply the decal to something? I have a little bit of experience with this type of decals and it's definitely not that easy to apply them, especially the larger ones. Wrinkle, bubbles etc. Do you include good instructions for them...a squeegee... offer replacements etc?

    • profile image

      Kate 2 years ago

      Do you have a price sheet that you go off of? I'm trying to start my own bussiness and want to make a pricing binder. Any ideas?

    • profile image

      rosie 2 years ago

      what school did you go to, to learn all these things?

    • profile image

      Lindsey Page 2 years ago

      A good design program is Sure Cuts A Lot 4, it is really easy to learn. Just do a google search with the name and it will pop up.

      Vinyl printers are really, really pricey. Then, most printed vinyl needs to be laminated, so there is another machine you have to buy. A printer can run you anywhere between $11,000-$60,000 alone. A vinyl cutter is a bit more affordable, about $300 to $4000.

      I started my business 5 months ago and I am averaging over $2,000 a month, and I have been since I started - but I sell everything on Ebay. I started out with a USCUTTER $300 machine, and let me tell you - if you are serious about this business then do NOT get the cheapest one you can buy. Yes they work, but are extremely loud, slow, and cannot do much. I am a stay at home mom who works when my daughter naps, so loud was not good. I now have two additional top of the line cutters, a Graphtec ce6000 and the newest Roland cutter the gs-24. These machines make things so much easier, you definitely get what you pay for. My Roland cost me around $2,000 brand new.

      A huge part of this business is trademark violation, you need to be very careful to not use a copyrighted logo or saying, or else your listings can be taken down and your selling privileges revoked. This can hurt you if you have a good feedback or review score, and you have to start over again. Some things that also make a huge difference and I think I owe part of my success to are great customer service, and fast shipping. Also, never underestimate the power of product packaging - it is the customers first impression when they get their items.

      This isn't an easy job, and it takes a lot of time, effort, and sitting at your computer until 3 in the morning. But, I love being able to stay home with my daughter and being my own boss.

    • profile image

      Alex 2 years ago

      I have a vinyl cutter that I just got from my father-in-law; he wants me to be able to make vinyl cutouts and decals for his business. My question is this - what machine/printer do I need to purchase in order to print multi-colored graphics (ie. pictures, logos, colored vector designs, etc.) from my computer and then have them cut out on the vinyl?

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      Geronimo 2 years ago

      hello. I'm wanting to start making decals for Apple products. MacBooks, iPads ect. I'm having a hard time in finding the dimensions. I'm trying to find the correct measurements of the apple logo. What did you use to make sure your designs were correct? Thanks

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      GalinT 3 years ago

      Hi there, I'm trying to start a small business of the same kind and I've already figured it out the cutter but I've done a lot a research and still cannot decide what should be the printer. For the start I cannot afford to by expensive printer and may people say that mid grade inkjet printer will do the job. What are the printer that you use guys?

      Can I use something like these or similar:

      Thanks a lot

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      Kris18 3 years ago

      Where can I buy vinyl paper and transfer paper? Also I would like to make signs (ie. Evan's Room) where would I buys the metal plates from?? I really want to get into this but don't really know where to start! I have so many ideas!!

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      Kenneth 3 years ago

      A friend just sold me a vinyl cutter he was using to wrap race cars. I've designed print work for a while and am excited to work with vinyl for businesses etc.

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      Kenneth 3 years ago

      @ Joethegiant - Joe I'm interested in helping with your decals.

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      Joethegiant 3 years ago

      I have a small business and I'm looking for someone to make vinyl window decals. I'll provide designs, we can buy by the dozen. Does anyone have an interest.

    • profile image 3 years ago

      Hi my 5 year-old daughter and I work closely together as I am raising her to be self sufficient and hopefully run her own business as she grows up. She is Autistic and has limited speech but her creativity and fast pace learning is quickly making up fir her weaknesses. My question is: I hace figured out how to design and cut

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      CTGuy 3 years ago

      Yes, you need permission to use trademarked items.

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      Buckett 3 years ago

      If I wanted to do like the bone collector symbol or kind the same question as Amanda I asked this guy that I know and he told me that you can pay for this one program that takes care of al of that for you but he wouldn't tell me what it was lol... so I am still stuck as well

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      EG 3 years ago

      I am curious about the same question as Amanda, do you need special permission to do logos for cars like Ford, Chevy... sports stuff like NFL, NHL... Disney princesses, etc.. ?


    • profile image

      Amanda 3 years ago

      Do i need to getcany special permissions to do like football team logos and famous phrases?

    • profile image

      Becky 3 years ago

      Im with Chels19

      I want to start. Is it really worth it?

      a friend of my husband said yes.

    • Chels19 profile image

      Chels19 3 years ago from Pensacola, Florida

      Hey there! I have about 101 questions for you. I'm looking to start a small home business (decals and embroidery maybe.) How much was your overall investment and how long until you recouped that? When you began, how difficult was it for you to learn it all and what was your level of expertise with design prior to this endeavor?

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      Vicki 3 years ago

      Lindsay Bowles-

      I am a working mother with a small vinyl business on the side. I use Etsy for my store and I will be honest, there are NOT as many decals on my site as I would like, but I do have a full time job and 3 kids so I add decals when I have the time. I have less than 50 decals and have made over 200$ in the less than 6 months (I think). With most of the programs there are some pre-loaded images in the gallery that has chincy lil clip art (hearts, stars, shapes numbers and that sort of thing VERY basic images) . That is the best yet hardest part of this business are making your own ideas and putting them together. There are actually quite a few sites that do offer free vector art, clip art as well and THOUSANDS of free fonts available for download! As far as the companies logo's - most companies will have their image/logo available on a disk or some other format if not, just go to the site and see if you can right click on the companies image and see if there is an option to "save image as", then you can just save it to your pc and upload it to your program. Just ALWAYS make sure you have the companies permission to use and edit the image.

      Ok to the cutter and the programs. I purchased a 36" cutter from US Cutter and it also came with cutting software. Sure Cuts A Lot (a lot of ppl shorten it to SCAL) Pretty much all you need to be able to cut an image with any vinyl cutter - is the image outline. The cutting software actually just traces the image/design then sends it right to the cutter.

      RichFatCat : Not sure if you are still on here but most programs including SCAL does support Mac.

      Ron - $125.00 TO DESIGN? Wow, that is pricey! There are several different programs you can use to actually design a new logo. Most of the cutting programs you can use to do that, or you can make an image/logo into another program and just upload it to the cutting software. I like using a few different programs, Ai (Adobe Illustrator) is a very good program and one of the easier ones to use, the good ole' Paint is a very easy trick to make small edits and additions to images. There is also a very good program and it is actually FREE for download is Inkscape....that is JUST like Ai but free!

      I am new to all this stuff too! I came came across this blog just looking for some marketing tips and tricks for my store! It was all soooo confusing when I first started all of this, and I knew NO ONE in this field to turn to for help! The business overall I think is a very good one to get started in, as someone said before the overhead is VERY low, the getting started and up and running takes awhile. AND THE LEARNING!!! That you will NEVER get on top of lol! There are sooo many things to learn and seems impossible to learn everything, everyday I seem to learn new things! I may not be much help but I will do my best to help anyone and answer questions! Have a great day all!

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      Lindsay Bowles 3 years ago

      I am a work at home mom also, I have an embroidery business on Facebook and wanted to branch out to the vinyl . So with embroidery I have a software program , it came with designs but I never use them . I purchase the more popular ones for around $3 each . The part with the vinyl software - how to I get the designs?? And if a company has a logo how do I put that into vinyl . I'm sure there's a lot too it so any little help would be greatly appreciated

    • profile image

      Ron 4 years ago

      I need to know what program I need to get to design some decals for a small car club I'm in. Fedex / Kinkos gave me a good price on making the decals. But wants $125 to design each one. Any help please?

    • RichFatCat profile image

      Alan Lehmann 4 years ago from Texas

      I now have a Endura plus 24". I sold the Roland.

    • profile image

      Sabrina 4 years ago

      Hello Hub Author

      I was wondering what printer are you using?


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      Alan Lehmann 4 years ago from Texas

      I'm not sure about a Mac. Maybe someone reading this can chime in and offer some help.

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      Rena 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing...could you tell me if there is a vinyls cutter and software that works well with a Mac

    • RichFatCat profile image

      Alan Lehmann 4 years ago from Texas

      You go girl... Good for you.

      I just bought another cutter after many years without one.

      I'll try Etsy this time...

    • profile image 4 years ago

      what about vinyl printers

    • profile image

      Rljo2 5 years ago

      What's the manufacturer of the cutter/software?

    • MonkeyFaces profile image

      MonkeyFaces 5 years ago

      It depends on you. When I first started, it took me about 6 months to get my business going.I don't do much sales locally, only because I don't have a store, but a home office, and wouldn't feel comfortable with strangers coming and going at my house. I have an online store (etsy) that I used to make about 800 per month, just selling on that site. I did minimal work, meaning, I designed the work, then posted my item an waited for it to sell. That was the extent of it really. So It just depends on you. I then started online college, which put my shop on hold for a while. So how much depends on you. You really can't expect the cutter to arrive to you and then make money for you. I have often offered trades, which led to big sales later. Do craft shows with already made home décor such as signs, tile, jars, and whatever else. I give them to my daughters who give to friends whos' moms will go crazy over things then order stuff as well. Word of mouth is the best advertisment when it comes to your business. And always offer something free to your customers. Even if they are the worst customers! Many people write their own blogs and word will spread, even if it is negative. I have customers that have found me through blogs that were written about me. So it all comes down to you, and how you choose to get your product out there. But keep in mind, I did this at very minimal advertisment. And I was making 800.00 a month on average. My husband worked so I never used the money to support my family. Good luck to you! if you have any more question, please ask! ;)

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      Jennifer 5 years ago

      Do you make enough to support your family?