Do you typically spend your evenings and weekends baking, knitting, making cards or creating homemade gifts for friends and family? If people have commented on your creations or you’ve had inquiries after sharing photos on social media, perhaps it’s time you thought about monetizing your hobby! If you’re motivated to craft (ha!) a new career, here are some tips to help you get started.
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Research your market
To create a successful business, no matter the size, there has to be a demand for the product. Before you take the plunge and invest in new equipment or even hand in your notice, do some research. There’s no point in sacrificing what you’ve got if you’re going to find out months down the line that your product isn’t going to sell. See what’s already out there, take a look at prices and get an idea of how well those products are selling.
Search around Etsy, Pinterest and Instagram for products similar to yours. (NOT the same, no copy cats allowed, but similar in the sense of style or usage or theme.) See what’s out there, if it’s in demand and then improve upon it and make it better. Find a way stand out in the crowd.
You may also want to do some local research and find out if your local brick and mortars already carry similar products. That may affect whether or not you are able to pursue consignment or wholesale arrangements.
Then it’s time to make a plan.
Scaling up your business
Having a hobby is very different from using your creativity to earn an income. If you want to develop a successful business model and earn a full time income, you’ll need to work out how you’re going to eventually scale up the venture.
You may be totally confident about baking 20 muffins a day or creating cards for family birthdays, but would you be able to turn 20 into 200 muffins or design 100 cards a month instead of 5? You may need to invest in new equipment to enable you to create products in bulk, and it’s likely that you’ll need extra supplies.
If you’re setting up a card making business, for example, you’ll need to make sure you have everything from glue dispensers, ribbon and sequins to cards and stamps and ink before you start accepting orders. Make sure you research suppliers and find out if you can get wholesale pricing or bulk discounts. It’s the only way to become profitable. When you’re just starting out you can order smaller quantities of supplies and then start increasing your supply stash as you make sales.
Promoting your products
You’ve got the skills, the demand is there and you’ve stocked up on supplies. Now, you need to think about how you’re going to promote the products you sell and showcase your brand. This is no small feat.
There are many ways you can approach marketing and promotion, it kind of depends on what type of storefronts you are pursuing.
If you plan to sell online either on Etsy, eBay, or by creating your own website, you’ll need to be fairly active on social media and learn as much as you can about SEO and shipping options.
If you are staying more local, you can look into craft fairs or Christmas markets and start getting to know your local artisan community.
Either way, it’s really important that you meet others creatives who can help and support you. Community is everything!
If you’re blessed with creativity, and you have DIY and crafting talents, you may be ready to use your skills to boost your income or set up your own business. We all dream of getting paid to do something we love, and hopefully, this guide will help you get your new venture off to a roaring start!