Are you curious about how to your sell homemade goods online?
Are you a baker who is ready to take the first steps toward making money from your hobby?
In this article, I will share with you exactly what I did to bake from home and sell out in just a few hours. I cover everything you need to know to start selling food online. Whether this is a side hustle or you are ready to start your home bakery, selling online is a great way to get started on a budget.
Before you Begin to sell homemade goods online: Know the Cottage Laws in Your State
Every state is different when it comes to selling baked goods from home. To learn more about what you need to know to sell from home, check my course: Selling Our Homemade Goods: Understanding United States Cottage Food Laws.
My six steps to sell homemade goods
Here are the steps I took to get started selling online treat boxes locally. Feel free to deviate from what I did. This is just intended to help you get started. Of course, this is not a one-size-fits-all operation. It worked for me in my small town. I hope it works for you as well.
Please use your common sense and be safe when it comes to dealing with the public and making home deliveries.
Choose Which Items You Will Bake
You can ask your friends and co-workers which of your baked goods they like best; bake something that you're known for; or try something new. I decided to start small just to get the hang of it. I included cookies, bars, and muffins in my first round of treat boxes.
Invest in Packaging
I started with a simple box that can hold about $10-$15 dollars worth of assorted treats. My plan was to make assorted boxes with a few different types of treats inside.
Here is an example of the type of box I used. There are several online resources for them. The actual box I used is slightly different because I already had something on hand.
I found these stickers online and I think they are perfect for this type of thing!
Cost Out Your Recipes
This is the most important step, and one that lots of people skip. It will set good habits for any future baking that you do, so take the time to learn to cost your recipes and make sure that you are charging enough.
I've got a full blog post on how to cost your recipes. If you haven't learned how to cost and mark up, STOP what you're doing and go read that article.
Set up Payment Options
I try to offer as many payment options as I can to make it easier for everyone. You don't need to invest any money here--this is just "getting your feet wet" when it comes to selling. Down the road, you may want to look into something like Square for taking credit cards. For now, you can activate a free Venmo account, Paypal, or Facebook Pay (which works through Facebook messenger).
The goal is to make payment as convenient as possible for your prospective customers.
Bake and Photograph Your Treats
Here's where the fun comes in!
Let your talents and creativity shine. Just remember, you and your talents are unique. Don't second guess yourself. The world wants to see what you can do in the kitchen!
People eat with their eyes first, so make your photos look irresistible!
Announce Your Treats Online
I used my personal Facebook page, as well as my local Facebook Buy, Sell, and Trade group.
Get everything packaged and ready to go before you list your items. I got my first online order about 5 minutes after posting it. Think about what works for you and set your delivery times and delivery area.
If you want to read more about promoting your bakery treats online, check out this post on Three Sure-Fire Ways to Boost Your Bakery Sales.
Remember that every interaction you have is your brand and your customer service. Be friendly, positive, and thankful when you're interacting via text, email, or comments. Secure the payment before you move on to delivery.
Here is an example of my first treat box post with pics:
Take Payment and Deliver
After my first post, I added a few additional payment methods. Not everyone uses Venmo, so I added Paypal and payment via the Facebook Messenger Pay as well.
For my delivery I just placed my treat boxes in a plastic shopping bag and delivered it to the address that the buyer texted me.
Since this took place during the COVID Pandemic, I wore a face mask and did a contact-free delivery. I set the treat box on the customer's porch, went back to my car, and messaged them that it was there.
I didn't have any problems with this delivery method, although bakers who live in bigger cities often choose a public place like a Starbucks or Walmart parking lot to make their drop off.
After my first round of treat boxes, I was excited to make more and try it again! Several of my recipients messaged me, told me how much they enjoyed them and wanted to know when I would be doing it again.
We received a box today from my mom and LOVED everything! Do you by chance have any more of the square bars? I don’t know what they are but my kids freaked out!
Would you like to join a Facebook group specifically for connecting with other bakers, staying on top of trends, and getting answers to all your home baking questions? I'd love to have you! Click here to join us.
Now go out and sell homemade goods online
After you make sure you know and understand your local cottage foods laws you can get started!
All you need to do is choose which items you bake, cost your recipes, invest in packaging, Set up your payment method, bake, and photograph your product, and then announce your treats online. Be ready to make a sale and remember to get full payment before you deliver.
Let me know in the comments how you did!
For more about the items I used in my treat boxes, check out the recipes here: Ridiculously Easy Blondie Bars, Magnificant lemon poppyseed muffins, and Homemade Double Delicious Chewy Chocolate Cookies.