Rodney Melton Income Report


Melton’s Etsy shop


Pet Supplies

Revenue Models

E-commerce, Physical Products

Rodney Melton's Handcrafted Pet Memorials Net $207,000 on Etsy from His Arkansas Workshop

Hey there! Let me tell you about Rodney Melton and his amazing journey. In just a year, he turned a side gig into a full-blown business—now, isn’t that something? Working as a maintenance lead at Mars Pet Care, Rodney clocked in 60 hours every week but still managed to channel his love for crafting into something truly special.

From Hobby to Business

In March 2021, he leaped into entrepreneurship by creating and selling custom pet headstones on Etsy. He had the skills from years of tinkering with concrete and stone as a hobby and even had his own workshop in Alma, Arkansas. Here’s where it gets interesting—he owned an engraver worth $15k! The start was humble; it took days to create the headstones with help from his wife. But boy, did it escalate quickly!

Investing in Growth

  • Making the most of resources: Rodney wisely reinvested the income and some savings back into the business—to be precise, $51,500.
  • New gear: A sandblaster? Check. Granite saw? Got it. Laser engraver? You bet! This gear was game-changing.

This smart move slashed production time and increased sales—an entrepreneur’s dream! Have you ever wondered how much difference equipment can make?

Farewell to the 9-5 Grind

Come May 2022, Rodney was greeting nearly $20k of revenue from his Etsy shop—not too shabby for a month’s work! And here’s his mic-drop moment: he quit his full-time job to focus on personal life without sacrificing income. Did I mention he now works alongside family?

Earning Breakdown:

  • Last year: Over $207k in sales per CNBC Make It’s review.
  • The sweet spot: About two-thirds is profit—quite impressive!
  • Duplicating success: Rodney believes it’s totally possible with less than $10k initial investment and loads of passion.

You might think working with family could be tricky—does everyone get along? Rodney suggests inclusivity is key; after all, collaboration led to thousands sold in dog bone-shaped molds alone.

A Balancing Act – Life After Full-Time Work

What about work-life balance? Well, now they all enjoy shorter working hours—just five hours daily—a luxury few can claim. They’ve crafted not only memorials but also priceless family moments while still raking in a substantial income—with no need for daycare thanks to flexible schedules that allow childcare at home!

Rodney hints at future endeavors involving cemetery monuments—evolution is part of any thriving business story!

If this tale doesn’t inspire you to consider your hobbies differently or ponder on entrepreneurial leaps, what will? So think about it—could your passion become more than just leisure?

How It Works: Launching Your Own Crafting Side Hustle

Getting Started

  • Identify Passion & Skills: Leveraging a personal hobby or skill can set the foundation for your side hustle. For Rodney Melton, it was his experience with concrete and stone.
  • Initial Investment: Determine your startup costs. Melton suggests you might need $10,000 or less for materials like cement molds and sandblast equipment.
  • Create a Workspace: A dedicated area, such as Melton’s self-built workshop, is essential for productivity and keeping work separate from personal life.

Crafting the Product

Create an original product that resonates with potential customers. For instance, after experiencing personal loss, Melton began creating heartfelt memorial pieces which later evolved into a profitable venture.

Growing the Business

  • Increase Efficiency: Invest in equipment to speed up production. This enabled Melton to meet rising demand for his memorials.
  • Etsy Store Setup: List products on platforms like Etsy where there’s an existing customer base seeking handcrafted items.
  • Pricing Strategy: Set prices that cover costs and allow for profit while remaining competitive within the marketplace.

Maintaining Work-Life Balance

Melton works around five hours per day from just beyond his back door. This shift in schedule provides more family time and flexibility despite still managing a growing business.

Hiring Help & Delegation

  • Involving Family: If choosing to involve family in operations, establish clear roles and communication methods to prevent conflicts.
    Example: Melton operates smoothly with his daughter taking charge of production scheduling.
  • Daily Operations: Allocate tasks effectively; some could handle design aspects while others manage production or administration.

Tips For Success:

  1. Show genuine care in your work; it connects more deeply with customers leading to better business results as shown by Melton’s success driven by crafting items that honored lost pets.
  2. Foster creativity among team members – one of Melton’s top-selling products was a result of brainstorming sessions with his daughter during their weekly lunches together.
  3. Fine-tune your process over time – Continuously look for improvements in your workflow or consider expanding product lines based on customer feedback and market trends.
  4. Beware becoming too comfortable – As “your own boss”, maintain discipline in your daily routines to keep productivity high without falling into complacency.


  • Financial Independence: The side hustle has demonstrated the potential for significant revenue, with the possibility of a six-figure income that contributes to financial freedom.
  • Work-Life Balance: Engaging in this business model has allowed for a more flexible schedule and valuable time spent with family, resulting in an improved quality of life.
  • Potential for Growth: As seen with investments in equipment leading to reduced production time, there is an opportunity to scale the business and increase profits.
  • Fulfillment from Passion: Transforming a personal passion into a profitable venture creates a sense of accomplishment and emotional satisfaction by providing meaningful memorial pieces.
  • Inclusivity of Skill Level: The nature of this side hustle suggests that it is accessible to many individuals, regardless of skill level, as long as one possesses the drive and passion for the craft.


    • Initial Investment: Despite the potential for high returns, starting this side hustle requires a substantial upfront cost, potentially upwards of $10,000 for necessary equipment like cement molds and sandblast tools.
    • Time Commitment: Initially, production can be time-intensive. It took Melton two to three days just to set headstones in molds plus an additional five hours for engraving—time that may compete with personal responsibilities or other jobs.
    • Skill Requirement: Success relies on specific skills such as working with concrete and stone. Those without prior experience or passion may find it challenging to produce quality memorials that resonate with customers.
    • Familial Relationships: While working with family has its perks, it could strain relationships if not managed properly. Differing personalities and work styles may lead to conflicts without clear roles and boundaries set in place.
    • As the business grows, sustaining high sales on platforms like Etsy can be tough due to stiff competition from other crafters offering similar personalized memorial products.

Etsy: A Platform for Creative Income

Hey there! You know, it’s pretty amazing how folks can turn their passions into paychecks these days. Take Rodney Melton, for example. He’s a guy who had a knack for working with stone and concrete and turned that into a six-figure side hustle on Etsy.

  • Melton’s Start: He began by crafting headstones for pet memorials and selling them on Etsy. Did you catch that? Yep, that’s the platform he used to kick-start his journey.
  • The Growth: With Etsy as his launchpad, Melton invested in equipment to scale up his business—things like sandblasters and laser engravers. Is your mind spinning at the possibilities?
  • The Result: Fast forward to May 2022, his store was raking in almost $20k a month! And guess what? That’s just from his Etsy shop!

Talking about making it big, right?

“But is this all because of Etsy?” you might wonder. Well, yes—and no. It was certainly the platform where he displayed and sold his creations, but Rodney’s drive and innovation played huge parts too.

Making It Personal

I mean, think about it; he got into this after some personal experiences—a nudge from life that sent him down an unexpected path of success. Want to hear something cool? One of Rodney’s family-inspired designs turned out to be a hit—those dog bone-shaped molds are flying off the virtual shelves!

You see yet how powerful platforms like Etsy can be when combined with passion and creativity?

A Family Affair on Etsy

Surely you’ve wondered if working with family is as tricky as it sounds? For Melton’s crew—it works wonders! They’re all contributing ideas and helping run the business on—you guessed it—Etsy.

A Sneak Peek at Their Routine:

  1. Kristen (that’s Rodney’s daughter) helps keep orders organized with little sticky notes—a simple system but super effective!
  2. Their five-hour workdays let them enjoy more family time—which is priceless.

Beyond Just Income Generation

And here’s a kicker: This isn’t just about money; it’s about lifestyle changes too. Imagine this: working only steps away from your back door—not bad huh?

Yes, absolutely! Rodney Melton has crafted an enviable side hustle using Etsy as a primary platform to generate significant income—all while keeping it in the family.

Understanding the Revenue Model of a Craft-Based Side Hustle

Industry Overview

The individual in question is immersed in the crafting industry, specifically focusing on personalized memorials for pets. This niche market is part of the larger trend toward customized products. The main revenue stream comes from the sale of these bespoke items to consumers, primarily via an online marketplace.

Key Activities for Business Success

  • Product Creation: Molding and engraving unique headstones.
  • Sales Platform: Utilizing online marketplaces like Etsy to reach customers.
  • Innovation: Continuously developing new designs to meet customer demand.
  • Fulfillment: Efficiently managing production time to optimize order turnover.
  • Familial Collaboration: Involving family members can enhance business operations and growth.

A Snapshot of Initial Investment Requirements

To embark on a similar venture, one could anticipate an initial investment that might include but not be limited to:

Mandatory Start-up Costs

  1. Crafting Equipment (e.g., molds, engravers): ~$15,000 – $25,000 range for quality machinery capable of detailed work.
  2. Raw Materials (e.g., concrete, granite): Variable costs depending on scale and supplier relationships. Estimation: $1,000 – $5,000 initially.
  3. E-commerce Set-Up: Minimal cost if leveraging existing platforms; potential costs arise from branding and marketing efforts estimated at under $500.

Potential Supplementary Investments

Creative Software or Courses for Design: Expand product offerings through diverse designs. Estimated investment: under $500 for basic needs.

Workshop Space:

  • May vary greatly; a home workshop reduces overhead significantly.
  • The advantage of family labor should also be taken into account as a cost-saving measure where possible.

While passion is crucial in this venture—a combination of manual crafting skills and e-commerce savvy can generate significant income—the financial barrier to entry is relatively low with smart investments in essential equipment and materials. Remember though—success isn’t built overnight!

Essential Tools and Services for a Pet Memorial Business

Manufacturing Equipment

  • Concrete molding equipment for memorials
  • Engraving machine: For personalization of headstones
  • Sandblasting gear: To craft specific textures and designs
  • Granite saw: For cutting stone to appropriate sizes
  • Chisels: For detailed stonework by hand
  • Laser engraver: A modern approach to personalization on stone surfaces

Presentation and Sales Platform

The digital storefront is crucial. Here’s what you might need:

  • An online marketplace account (e.g., Etsy): To display and sell products worldwide.

Workshop Requirements

A dedicated space is key, such as:

If you’ve got the space at home, more power to you – a self-built workshop could be just the ticket.

Labor Force Considerations

“Delegate, or you’ll stagnate!” – Remember, family might just be your best employees.

Note: Alpha personalities need not apply – harmony is king in family-run operations!

Your team will also need design skills for creating stencils and imaginative input for new product ideas like that snazzy dog bone mold that took off!Sometimes, the best employee motivation comes in sticky note form – don’t knock it till you try it.

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Revenue Type

Online Business, Side Hustle




Full Time

Last Updated