What It's About
A side hustle that's truly on fire!
Words of Wisdom
So here’s a challenge for you: take note of some of the random items you encounter through your day. See if you can figure out where they come from.
Imagine that you had to find a way to either buy them or commission them or make them yourself—how would you do it?
Everyone has that one friend who collects matchbooks from restaurants. “Phillumeny” describes the people who collect them, and other match-associated things.
Notes from Chris
Episode 665They say that where there’s smoke, there's fire. And, in Melissa Moore’s case, where there’s fire, there’s a side hustle. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the chemical manufacturing senior analyst is also a lifelong candle and incense lover. Her side hustle is matchsticks and the paper you strike them on. You know the striker strip on the side of matchboxes? Well, she imports them by the sheet (about the size of a piece of paper, US letter size) and sells them online on Etsy, Amazon, eBay, and my own website. In addition to generic ones, she also cuts them down into various sizes to create more artistic strikers—circles, squares, rectangles, etc., as well as hearts, moons, letters, and even outlines of US states. The sheets and the die-cut shapes have an adhesive backing, so they function like stickers. How did this come to be? For years, Melissa tolerated tacky lighters and ugly matchboxes to help fulfill her candlelit dreams. But when she took a casual wander through stacks of homemade pottery at an arts festival, an idea sparked in her mind. While perusing oil warmers, she noticed that there was a small compartment on some of them that could be the perfect size to hold matches. The clay also gave it an easy striking surface. It was while staring at the oil warmer that Melissa realized that all she really wanted was a cute container to hold her matches in and complete her candle collection. So, she turned to Google to start searching for match holders. But all she could ever find were dingy antiques or flimsy plastic ones, which just wouldn’t do for her modern decorative needs. After many days, and even more refined search terms later, Melissa found the perfect jar size for her grocery store-sourced matches. But just because she had the matches, and a nice container to put them in, did not mean her work was done just yet. She still needed a way to light those matches. Sheer willpower wouldn’t do the job, so Melissa went back to the drawing board to figure out how to source striking paper that she could stick onto her jars. A few weeks after that she got her first paper delivery in the mail. A Sunday afternoon crafting session later, Melissa had glued the paper to her containers, filled them with matchsticks, and realized that she couldn’t possibly be the only person who needed an answer to the inevitable matchstick/container problem in their lives. The side hustle fire was lit—she called it Strike a Match. That was seven years ago. It’s been a slow burn since then, Melissa now brings in about $3,500 in monthly revenue. Her profit margins are almost 50%, which means she’s making just under $2,000 in profit each month. Since people use striking paper and matches for a plethora of reasons, like gifts, emergency supplies, or to pair with antique match holders, Melissa has pretty steady sales through the year. Melissa realized how fragmented the matchstick industry was because there wasn’t one ‘go-to’ destination, so she set herself the goal of making the purchasing experience easy and fun. It’s an additional bonus that it’s given her the freedom to spend more time with her family. Sounds like she’s on a hot streak.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Strike a Match: Looking to light a fire of your own? Head on over to Melissa's website!
- CPA Earns Six-Figures Selling Spreadsheets to Etsy Sellers: This CPA was burned out on office work, so she turned her efforts to an Etsy business—but it wasn’t long before she was hitting the books again, just in a more creative way. Her new spreadsheets help Etsy sellers and earn a six-figure income for her
- Excel Spreadsheet Guru Earns $3,500/Month: An IBM employee in India creates a series of Microsoft Excel tutorials, earning hundreds of dollars per sale
- Charter Bus Employee Creates PR Service for Bloggers: How a digital marketer created something for himself, then decided to try selling it other people who had the same needs. He now makes more than $2,500 a month from this side project
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To infinity and beyond,