How To Make Money From Vaping: A 10-Step Guide
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After vaping for quite a while, many people get pretty good at crafting their own e-liquids. But how can you turn that into a dollar?
In this article we break down exactly how to make money from vaping.
With tens of thousands of e-liquids on the market these days it might seem like you’re a bit late to the party, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grab a drink and join in. If you’ve been creating e-liquids for a while and they seem to be a big hit with whoever tries them, there’s no reason a wider audience won’t like them just as much.
In this article we won’t be discussing how to turn your hobby into a million dollar global success, but more how to maximize your chances of successfully making some extra pocket money on the side; potentially quite a lot.
If you’re looking to do the former, reading an article probably isn’t a great start.
2. Get out the wallet
If you thought you could get this happening without spending money, think again. Before you even get to the feedback stage, you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars.
Ingredients – When you’re working out your recipes you’re going to waste a lot of e-liquid, and you’re going to need a lot more than the usual 10mL bottles of concentrates and 250mL bottles of PG and VG. Get enough ingredients to make at least 3 variations of each flavour you want to add to your line, then multiply that by the number of people you’re going to give it to for testing. Remember, make sure you get enough to cover any wastage.
Equipment – I assume that if you’re reading this you already have everything required to make e-liquid. But if not, you’re going to need some milligram digital scales, measuring beakers, 1mL and 5mL syringes, empty bottles, and preferably an ultrasound machine for faster steeping. If you don’t get an ultrasound machine you’re going to need to wait days or weeks before your products will be ready to vape.
3. Have unique flavor profiles
Many DIY juice makers are making some really great e-liquid at home, but more often than not they’re making copies of popular products. While these are great to vape, they’re probably not going to be picked up by a shop. Why? With wholesale prices reaching record lows your prices will probably be pretty comparable, so why would they pick yours over the real thing?
If you don’t have any unique recipes, staying close to the popular profiles can still work in your favor. Look at the most popular e-liquids right now, see what their flavor profiles are and come up with something loosely along the lines of those. Similar, but unique.
4. Remember, you’ll like your e-liquids more than anyone else
Have you ever seen that one kid at junior soccer who falls over when he tries to kick the ball? His parents are there, and they’re proud as hell. Make sure you give at least 3 different variations of each flavor you’re making to as many friends and acquaintances as you possibly can in exchange for HONEST feedback.
Tell them you NEED to know if they’re not amazing, I can’t stress that enough. Find out which variation is the best, why it’s better than the others (great way of getting negative feedback from people who are too nice), and what needs changing.
5. Change them to fit the feedback
Gather up all of the constructive criticism you receive about the favorite variation of each flavor – too sweet, too strong, too weak, etc – and count up the points that keep showing up. Throw out the other two variations, fix the favorite, and give them back an amended version of it.
Keep doing that until the only thing you’re hearing is how great they all are.
6. Get out the wallet again
This time you’re going to need a lot more ingredients. To get any sort of proper market testing you’re going to want to hand out as many free samples to shops as possible, so work out how much of each ingredient you’re going to need to hand out sample bottles of each flavor to at least 15-20 shops, plus another 15-20 at least to have in stock. Call it 30-40 of each. This should be enough to cover you should a couple of shops place an initial order (usually 5-10 bottles of each), at which point you can use the money to make more.
You’re also going to need to present yourself as a legitimate option for these businesses. While your flavors may be outstanding, you won’t get a call back if you don’t present everything like a professional, legitimate business. Why should anyone spend money on you if you’re not willing to spend it on yourself?
If you’re not a designer, hire one. You’re going to need a logo, a website, business cards, professionally printed labels, and a ‘flavor card’ to breakdown each of your creations. With all of this done properly you’re only one step away (good flavors) from being stocked in shops. Without it, your samples (ie. your money) will just be taken as a courtesy and that’ll be the last time you hear from them.
7. Get your products into the right hands, in the right way
Make a list of the closest 15-20 shops and make yourself a schedule. The first few shops you go to are probably not going to be your best ‘selling performance’, so don’t start with the ones you think are the most promising. You’re going to get much better as you go along.
When you enter the shop, introduce yourself and your purpose formerly and professionally along with a business card, a flavor card, and their sample bottles, eg. “Hi my name’s John from Great E-Liquids. I have a few samples I’d like you to try if you have a moment, and here are the flavor profiles.” Often, the staff will be happy to try your e-liquids on the spot, but don’t be disheartened if they don’t. Simply leave it with them with a promise to follow up in the next week or two as they’re going to want their customers to try them first. Gradually, you’ll learn how these conversations will usually go and you’ll get more confident and natural with it.
Sometimes you’ll find that shops won’t even accept the samples. Don’t take it personally, they may just not be taking on new products, or they may be a franchise that can only buy internally. You’re going to get a lot of rejection while doing this, so just take it in your stride and move on.
Make sure you follow up. Give each shop at least one week before calling them, or preferably visit their shop again. If all goes well, you’ll receive maybe one or two initial orders (5-10 bottles of each). If you go to 20 shops you should be happy if one of them takes you on, because it’s a great start. You’re now stocked in a retail store!
8. Retain your customers first, find new ones after
People can get excited when they make their first few sales and launch right into acting like “the new big e-liquid brand on the block”. While you’re chasing new customers, don’t ever forget the ones who gave you your first shot. These should always remain your most important customers, even if you end up with much bigger ones.
9. So what’s next?
That’s really up to you. There’s something great about being a local e-liquid creator who has great personal relationships, but taking further steps to try and grow into a bigger brand means you may have found yourself a career.
10. My final word of advice to help you make money from vaping
If you’re not a business-minded, experienced professional with deep pockets, stay local. Making a few hundred dollars a week as a local vendor is a very comfortable, very fun thing to do. You won’t get rich, but you’ll love every minute of it.
If you’re a business-minded, experienced professional with deep pockets, maybe take a leap. Some e-liquid companies only started 12 months ago and are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. But if you think you’re going to sleep or not see all of your hair turning grey from stress, think again. You’ll be directly competing with big companies who have equally big marketing budgets that are spent by their marketing team. These days there are better ways to spend a small fortune than by launching a big e-liquid brand.
But hey, someone’s gotta do it.