Do you have something you do to pass the time, de-stress, or just have fun? It could be sewing, paper crafting, painting, pottery, jewelry making, etc. Whatever your crafting hobby is, it could potentially bring in some extra cash. Here's some tips on how to turn your hobby into a small business.
What is your niche?
What is it about your craft that sets you apart from others in the same craft? Find out what makes your products more desirable than other similar items. This will help your items stand out against others, especially in an online marketplace like Etsy.
Who is your customer?
If you have ever sold your crafts, who in your community typically buys them? Knowing who your typical customer is helps in marketing your business. It also helps you decide what types of items to make. Who is your ideal customer and what do they like? Appeal to their current interests.
Where are you going to sell?
Are you going to sell your items online, at the farmer's market, at craft shows, or another location? If you are going to sell online, pick an online marketplace. Etsy is a very popular one, and it is how I started my business. Etsy is great because it is so well known by consumers. Although Etsy has its flaws, it is a great place for new sellers to start. You can also sell on Ebay, Facebook, etc. When selling online, listing photos are everything. Because the consumer can't see the item in person and hold it in their hands, the picture has to accurately represent the item. If you are going to sell in person, do some research on your local market. Get to know the typical customer in your community. If you live in a small town, you may need to travel to craft shows in nearby cities to find your target customers. After doing some research, find different craft fairs, farmer's markets, or even local businesses that you think your items would do well in.
How much does it cost to make your products?
When selling your handmade goods, you never want to sell yourself short. Here is a good formula for calculating a price for your items:
Materials, wear and tear on any machines used, tools used, etc.
Time spent buying materials, creating the item, and packaging it
Shipping and packaging costs
Online fees (Ex.- Etsy fees), any advertising fees, store fees
How much it costs to make your item.
Multiply this number by 2, and you have your bulk price.
Multiply your bulk price by 2, and you have your retail price.
What's your business name?
The name of your small business is very important in reaching your customers. Your name should be unique, simple, personal, and related to your business. For example, my business name is TDHDesign. My initials are TDH and I design each decal, painting, etc. The name of my business is short, simple, and explains my business in one word.
How are you going to market your business?
How will people find out about your business? The way you advertise depends on your market, where you sell, and what type of items you have. When selling online, you may want to look into google ads or etsy ads. When selling locally, you may place business cards at other local businesses and have signs around your community. But no matter where you sell, social media is your best advertiser. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and other social medias are the best way to reach new customers because it's free!
What's your goal for your business?
How much time do you have to commit to your business? Do you want your business to be a part-time job or a full-time job? If you only want your business to be a part-time job, you probably won't have many items for sale online or advertise a lot. If you want to turn your business into a full-time job, you may invest more in marketing, have multiple sales channels, and try to create a brand around your business. All of these things are doable for either time commitment, but knowing what you want in the future helps keep things under control.
These are my top tips for starting your own creative business. It's easier said than done, but with hard work and a passion, you can accomplish anything.