Hi! I've just started my own business. Part of the draw for me, though, is that I am young and have no kids and have parents who can bail me out if necessary.
I make polymer clay jewelry, and at first I thought it was just a "hobby"...but then friends and relatives started buying, and I started getting customers on my web site, and I realized that maybe I could actually cover my supply costs! (Which I have in fact been doing!)
At the moment I'm really at the "just for fun" level, but hopefully things will take off and eventually I can do this as a full-time or most-of-the-time job. I was a first-year law student until October, when I had to go on medical leave; crafting was one of the few things I could actually do at the time, so I started doing this to keep myself happy even while sick. Luckily, now I'm feeling a lot better and can do some craft fairs and such.
But I know I am going to have to work at least part-time at something else for a while, as soon as I feel well enough and can actually land a job. Making a living doing this seems feasible to me, but it'll probably take years to get to the point where it'll pay the rent and the bills as well as the supply costs, so until then I know I'll have to do something else as well. *sigh*
Ack, sorry for posting my whole story here. Anyway, I've mainly made money through word of mouth. I also have an online journal, and often post pictures of what I make in there; and I've received quite a few orders that way. I have a boyfriend who's a great salesman, and that's helped a lot (I didn't even realize what I was doing was marketable until he started talking my jewelry up to people!).My suggestions:
get business cards, if you haven't already. I just print my own with those sheets of cards you can get at office supply stores. Bring up your craft in conversation with people as often as you can, if you can do it without looking too salesperson-ish; and ask if they'd like your card. Fliers are great, too. Put up fliers and cards at any place you can find with a bulletin board (cafes sometimes have them). I know you want to stay home, but there's a lot of legwork involved (if you can get someone to help you with this, all the better). Craft fairs are excellent, and a web site is a must. Mine is fairly simple but it gets the word out, and people can place orders directly from the page.
Ebay is not a good place for selling crafts. I sell there occasionally just for publicity--to draw people to my web site--but be careful there because people don't want to buy things for any decent amount of money. (I'm sorry--I am a frequent buyer on ebay myself, so I know this is true.) I can only sell there if I lower my prices, which are already pretty low; selling there regularly wouldn't be profitable enough to make it worth paying the listing fees. Auction sites without the fees are great, but most of them don't get enough traffic.
I think that's it...if I think of any other bits of advice, I'll let you know! Sorry this is so long!