Sunday, March 05, 2006

Scrapbook for Profit

By Christina VanGinkel

Scrapbooks are a great way to savor your own personal memories and those of your family, but they can also be a way to make money from a hobby that you love, if you can find the inspiration to make layouts with other people's pictures. You must consider a project such as this with open eyes; for fear that, it becomes just another task, and not much fun.

The first time I heard about someone creating scrapbooks for others who did not have the time to do so, I wondered how they could find the motivation to work with someone else's photos. Still, there are times that I have ideas for scrapbook layouts that would never fit any pictures in my own personal library, so I can see how some people might just have a great time doing this for others.

For those of you who this sounds like a way to expand your time spent on your favorite hobby, and to make a few dollars at the same time, I have assembled a few suggestions, tips, and ideas for you to put into practice to make sure that your hobby stays as enjoyable as it should be. In addition, that you do end up with some extra dollars in your pocketbook, and not the other way around, putting out more money then you make from your customers.

To begin, sit down with some of your own pages and layouts, and actually add up what they cost you to make. Be sure you consider every aspect of the layout, including paper, embellishments, adhesives, page protectors, and wear and tear on your tools. If you will be doing complete albums, also add in the cost of those. Do not forget the most expensive piece put into any page or layout, your time. If you do not give it value, neither will anyone else. Do not use sale or clearance prices when figuring costs, as the chance of you finding bargains when you are making a page or album for a customer is never assured. Always figure on paying full price. While no two pages will cost the same, often dependant on the actual embellishments, you should be able to come up with some sound estimates to use when providing people with cost estimates.

On the issue of time, be sure that you have enough to complete what work you take on. While you can whip together a layout for yourself in an hour or two, you have probably already spent countless hours thinking about it that you do not even realize you have. With someone else's pages, you will not have a plan set forth until you start to work on it. If the customer has given you some ideas of what they want, this will be a help.

Be sure to consider how you will be paid for the work too. Putting together a scrapbook can be a costly affair. With this in mind, you might want to ask for half of the estimate up front to cover the cost of materials at least.

I would also recommend that you see what pictures someone wants you to work with, before agreeing to the project. Working with someone else's family photos might not seem that difficult to you, but if the majority of them are blurry, too dark, over exposed, just plain old bad shots, finding enough photos to make an album the size you have agreed to do may be a problem.

I would also recommend that you have the person whom you are creating the album for, come over once shortly after you have begun, to clarify between the two of you that the album is going in the direction they have intended it to go. At the same time, do not encourage them to constantly be dropping by, especially if they start wanting you to change this, and change that, as it will only end up cutting into your profits.

Making scrapbooks for others can be a great way to fund a hobby that you love, and allow you the monies to spend even more on the ones you do for yourself. Keep in mind though that if it stops being fun, then it is not a hobby anymore, then it is a job!

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