How to Start an Upcycling Business

a red and green machine

One of the most common tips for financial success is to increase your income and decrease your expenses. While it’s easy to find some places to limit your spending here and there, when it comes to boosting your income, it can be difficult to figure out the right way forward. While you may not be able to take on another part-time job at the moment, starting a side gig is something to consider as you can scale it up and down based on how much extra time you have on your hands or how much extra money you’re looking to earn.


A side gig that’s growing in popularity has to do with upcycling existing items in a variety of new manners. This is a great option for many people since it allows you to take used items that might otherwise wind up in the garbage and transform them into different products, giving them a second life. Being able to make money off of these sorts of products doesn’t just put more money into your pockets either; it also allows you to help the environment, too. If you’re interested in starting your own upcycling business, read on to learn a few tips and tricks to help make your new side hustle as lucrative as possible.


Set clear goals that you can measure.


Even though you’re starting a side gig as a means to avoid having to take on a true part-time job, it’s still a good idea to have goals. After all, you wouldn’t be pursuing this if you weren’t interested in making some money on the side, too, and goals can keep you focused on building out your sales in order to make a decent amount of extra cash from your endeavor. A popular goalsetting approach involves the OKR methodology, which was pioneered by two of the individuals who built Google from the ground up.


OKR stands for objectives and key results and allows you to align everything you do to your biggest priorities each quarter. It all starts with defining the objectives you want to achieve as well as what success for that goal looks like. Knowing what key results are required in order to ultimately succeed in achieving your biggest goals (like hitting a certain sales metric or rolling out a new advertising campaign) can help you figure out how to scaffold your workweek as you actively work towards these priorities. You can stay inspired and learn more about OKRs by listening to some OKRs podcasts.

Look to provide function as well as style with your products.


Just because something is upcycled doesn’t automatically mean that it has value or appeal to different customers. As such, it’s important to think about making products that are functional as well as stylish while you’re starting your upcycling company. For example, you may want to reupholster or refinish living room furniture to give it a new life. Especially with more and more people spending time at home, it’s likely that a lot of consumers are interested in improving the place that they live. As such, picking something functional like living room furniture to focus your upcycling efforts on can be a great way to command a higher price for goods that you can already expect to be popular.


There are all sorts of ways to upcycle furniture for others’ homes. Whether you’re creating an upcycled lamp from old typewriters or are refinishing a coffee table by staining it a new color, there are all sorts of ways to marry style with function as you work to craft furniture pieces that will really accent someone’s home.

Consider getting artsy.


Another option to consider as you’re looking for different kinds of products to upcycle and sell to others is creating art. While upcycled art is a bit less functional than living room furniture, upcycled art can be a key part of a home’s decor. Learning how to turn old appliances into art can be a great jumping-off point if you want to get into this niche since you’ll be able to narrow down your artistic focus and figure out what fits your own budgetary and time parameters. From transforming a washing machine into an elegant fire pit to decorative pieces like making your old aquarium into a terrarium, there are plenty of ways to get artistic and make your upcycled products a serious conversation piece. Best of all, customers are willing to pay more for artistic products, since they value high craftsmanship and detail, meaning that making even one or two of these products each month could net you a nice amount of extra money.


Invest in storage space.


While it’s possible that you have a spare room in your home or a part of your basement that you can use to start your new side gig, it’s important to think about getting some extra storage space if you plan on working on larger scale projects. Especially after you’ve finished one of your upcycling products and are waiting for it to sell, it might take up a lot of space in your home. At the same time, if you’re planning on meeting people in person to have them pick up a purchase, you might not want them to know your home address.


In these sorts of situations, getting a storage space can be a major help for your burgeoning business. This is because having a storage unit not only gives you ample space to keep your wares, it also gives you a centralized location for others to meet you in a public place to receive their goods after purchase. Using the internet, it’s easier than ever to find a storage unit in Gilbert AZ, or wherever you live, so that you have a reliable place to keep your inventory that’s close by to where your house is. The convenience of proximity and extra space is well worth the money, so consider doing some research to see what sorts of storage units are available in your area.

Isla Leighton is the Founder & Editor behind Rock Salt Plum, a digital community curated to deliver an accessible yet sophisticated lifestyle standard. The inspiration behind the brand’s creative drive and style influence is mirrored in Isla’s day-to-day experiences and passion for beautiful design, personal growth, and elegant lifestyle content.

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