One man is sharing how his lucrative side hustle as an Etsy seller earned him the equivalent of £132,000 despite operating during a time of high inflation.
Tim Riegel, 60, from Lamar, Missouri, spoke with CNBC about his experience managing his second job, Mozark Pit Fire Studio, in recent years.
He began by the side hustle by finding, welding and selling 275-pound steel fire pints to his neighbours and within half a year he was delivering to buyers on Etsy across the country.
Within the first five months of the business getting off the group, Mr Riegel brought in $50,000 (£39,138).
However, the 60-year-old realised that while his volume of orders continued to rise, his profit margins were shrinking.
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This was primarily due to the impact of inflation on the US economy with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate reaching a high of 9.1 percent in June 2022.
According to CNBC analysis, the price of everyday groceries cost around 20 percent for the average American consumer during this time.
Speaking to CNBC: Make It, Mr Riegel shared how he was able to keep his side hustle afloat despite the impact of inflation.
He explained: “In today’s climate, you have to really watch the costs — of everything from fuel to your supplies — to make sure paying yourself what you need to pay yourself.
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“It can get away from you, and the next thing you know, you’re watching your margins dwindle. If you’re not making a profit, it’s not worth spending the extra 40 hours per week.
“I didn’t want to price myself out of the market, either. I’m constantly looking at my competitors — not just on Etsy, but throughout the U.S. — to see who’s making similar types of pits, and their pricing. I make sure to stay within that ballpark.”
Thanks to his ability to gauge the market and price correctly, Mr Rigel’s fire pits cost on average around $950 (£743).
This is up dramatically from the average price of $650 (£508) reported in the Autumn of last year.
Within the last 12 months, the Etsy side hustle has brought him in $169,000 (£132,000) in sales.
On how he balances his second job with his private life, Mr Riegel added: “In the last year, I started working as a general manager in a sheltered workshop called Lamar Enterprises.
“That, combined with my past experience restoring cars and working for a furniture company, has helped me get really good at predicting lead times. My side hustle production schedule is more or less scheduled around my private life.
“I know how long it’s going to source everything and make it, no matter what variations the person adds. I can be flexible, and as I schedule my pits, I also schedule date nights with my wife.”
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