In writing this series of articles on making money at home, I have described several methods. Some of these work and some do not. Most of these schemes I have either tried or investigated rather thoroughly to find out if they are legitimate and will work. The next two methods presented are two that have worked for me, and which I have been operating for many years. Neither, nor both combined, has made me rich, but both have room for expansion into a full time business if that is what the participant desires. It has not been my goal to make a full time business out of them.
You have no doubt seen ads explaining how you can make big bucks by making rubber stamps at home. I didn't buy one of these plans originally, but I did buy a rubber stamp machine and start making stamps. At that time, rubber stamps were made by setting printer's type and pressing it into a matrix material in a heated press. The material softened when first heated, and when the type was pressed into it, the pressure and heat hardened it so that it was not sensitive to heat any more. This provided a mould into which raw sheet rubber was pressed under the same heat and pressure, and the result was a nice stamp die that could be glued on a mount and fitted with a handle. This process made a good stamp. It was simple enough that anyone could do it.
As in any home operation, the final outcome of the success of the project depends on the ability to sell it. If you make a stamp, it does not matter how nice or serviceable it is, if you can't sell it you haven't made any money. When I first started making stamps, I did a few for myself and my friends, then began to search for a wider market. I found that almost anyone is a prospect for a rubber stamp. Most people would like to have one, but very few will take the time and make the effort to purchase one.
One of my first efforts was selling through organizations as a money making project for them. A Senior Class from a high school tried a sales plan as a project. I printed a thousand flyers with a picture of a stamp and a reminder of all the things it could be used for. At the bottom I printed an ordinary order blank. Instead of my name, I put the name of the selling organization on the flyer. The class took these home and peddled them to their families, friends and kinfolks. They collected for the stamps and promised delivery in a few days. Most people will buy from anyone raising funds for a worthy cause...especially students.
The sales group sent me half of the money collected, and I mailed the stamps. At that time, the manufacturing cost of a three or four line stamp was about ten cents. Today, it is closer to a dollar. You can sell considerably below the regular price and make a nice profit. Other groups that are always looking for ways to make money are Eastern Star chapters, Rebekah Lodges, Scouts, Boy's Clubs, ball teams, Church groups, garden clubs and so forth. These groups can be contacted by mail. Send them a sample of your flyer and a stamp, and explain how others have made money by selling them. Nothing helps to sell like the word of someone who has tried the plan and been satisfied.
Another method is to advertise your stamps in a national magazine, along with others who are selling the same item. Don't be afraid of the competition. Someone ordering a stamp is as likely to take yours as any other. Before placing an ad, look at a few back issues and see how long the other advertisers have been advertising. If most of them are consistently regular, you can assume that they are making money. Word your ad similar to the ones that have been running the longest. It probably won't pay you to try to cut your price lower than theirs. They have already cut just about as far as they can and continue to make a profit. Stamps sold this way are very cheap, and you will have to make many to make a profit. You might do better charging more and not having to make so many. But this method does work. I have tried it.
The marketing methods just described are good for those who cannot get away from home to hunt business. For those who are free to move around, this might be better. Call on neighborhood businesses and offer to make rubber stamps for them. You will find, as with individuals, businesses will neglect to order a rubber stamp, even when they need one. When you come by with your sample stamp and your printed information about your stamps, many of them will place an order with you. A good system, and one that works well, is to go out one day and take the orders and deliver them the following day. Another variation is to secure payment for the stamp and mail it to the customer. This saves time and is easier, however, a few are hesitant to pay in advance for an item. Generally, it is best to take the orders and deliver the stamps.
You can also be a "wholesaler." I have been very successful using this plan. You make some nice counter signs explaining that "Rubber Stamps
Are Sold Here" with a large picture of a stamp. Leave these in printing shops, office supply stores, hobby stores, or any place where people are plentiful. Give the proprietor a wholesale price list, and let him sell them at whatever price he desires. Usually the retail price is about twice the wholesale price. Many businesses selling stamps for you will want to pay you on a monthly basis and usually you can depend on them to pay as promised. If possible, have them send the payment without having to mail a statement. Some will and some will not.
Regardless of the method you use, there is a demand for rubber stamps, and since your overhead cost is very low, you can compete in this business and make a profit.
I will not go into detail here about the method of making stamps, but will cover that in the next column. There are also other items you can sell with your stamps, such as business cards. You do not have to print these, but can get them from wholesale printers who specialize in cards. This is a nice profit item, and sells to the same places that buy your stamps. I will also cover this in a later column.
You can depend on having fun making rubber stamps. Any home project that is fun almost has to make you a little profit.