If you love making handmade items, then you may have considered turning your passion into a business. But many craft-lovers get hung up wondering if they have what it takes to sell their designs successfully.
Luckily, with the emergence of online marketplaces like Etsy and ArtFire, it has never been easier to get up and running. The set-up fees are very low when you are starting out and the marketplaces themselves bring you a ready-made audience. You could also consider selling offline at craft fairs or by having small parties at your or your friends’ homes.
So what do you need to consider before you make the decision to start selling your handmade items? Here are five questions that you should ask yourself:
1. Do you have a passion for your craft?
Do you love coming up with designs that are your own and do you enjoy the process of making? These factors are going to be important as you move forward, as you will need enthusiasm and commitment to create enough products to sell on an ongoing basis. Initially, you don’t need a huge variety of items, even one or two product ideas that you can sell, are enough to get you started. You can always expand your range as you progress.
2. Can you carve out a little time in order to devote to your business?
Setting up a small craft business is perfect if you are short on time, as selling online particularly, can be fitted into those small pockets of the day between working, taking care of kids and the home and spending time with family and friends. You don’t need loads of time, but you will need some, in order to create, list on the marketplace and take care of sending out orders etc. In the beginning if you can devote say even one or two hours a week to your business, then you can get started.
3. Are you ok with dealing with the legal and financial side?
Starting a small business selling your handmade items will inevitably lead to taking care of taxes, keeping your sales and purchase accounts and some legal issues, such as insurance and the framework of the business you want to set up. You shouldn’t let this scare you as there is a wealth of information and advice out there, and often the best way at the start, is to reach out to friends or family members who may have expertise in those areas. You can start very small and very slowly, but if you begin by keeping careful records, it is much easier than trying to track down all your receipts and paperwork, at a later stage.
4. Can you be patient with yourself?
When we start out with a new endeavor we often rush in at full speed, and this is not in itself a bad thing. However, there are times when you might have to be a little patient and move more slowly. If you are juggling the business with a wealth of other commitments, there are bound to be days when your time is very short and you may have to be content with taking things step by step. When this happens you need to be kind to yourself and realize that even if you are moving forward very slowly, you are indeed moving forward. Whatever happens though, you mustn’t give up, you can take the time you need, but quitting isn’t an option. It is that mindset that marks out those who will succeed from those who won’t.
5. Can you acknowledge that you are absolutely fabulous?
When you start out with any new project, you may be running a little short of confidence, especially if this is a completely new experience for you. What you need to remember though is that you are doing this because at the heart of everything, you make beautiful handmade creations. Friends and loved ones have told you so and strangers have admired something that you are wearing. You also have a creative streak that just has to find an outlet, and selling what you make is a way of sharing this with the world. So don’t be shy, tell everyone about your fledgling business and your designs. I guarantee you that people will love to hear about what you make and to see the enthusiasm you have for your new undertaking.
You and your designs are absolutely fabulous, so go out and share them.
If you love any type of craft then please join Alison Wood at her blog http://art-of-crafts.net.