One of the things I've realized in the past few months is that selling my work, especially on Etsy, is not as rewarding as giving it away.
Now I'm not saying I just dole it out indiscriminately. Quite the opposite. When I give something away, it goes to a friend, a relative, a coworker or (perhaps my favorite) a student.
When I sell a piece it goes to a stranger. I get a little money, but usually not really enough to merit the time invested in the piece of work. Of course sometimes I get quite a bit of money (which is nice) and I've met some nice people (even new friends) through sales.
But giving my work away brings a different kind of reward. Most of the time I get a sense of pride from the receiver's admiration of my skills. Other times I'm just happy to make someone else happy. In the case of students, I like the opportunity to inspire.
One last thought is that when I set out to make something that will be given away as a gift, it almost always turns out better than I had hoped. It's like karma instills a certain amount of luck into the creative process. Of course, I hope I didn't just jinx myself by saying that...