Sunday, 15 December 2013

Starting a crafty business - what are you trying to do?

What are you trying to do, for goodness sake? 
What are you trying to do - it won't work, whatever it is ... 
What are you trying to do, woman?  

And so on ...

If you're thinking of turning your hobby into a business, the moment you mention it you'll be asked this question, with variations in exactly where the emphasis lies, by everybody who thinks they are anybody in your life, and by plenty of people who are nobody in your life.

However, this question is most usefully asked by yourself, to yourself - and answered by yourself. 

Ok, what you want to do is to start a business from the craft or creative hobby that is your passion. 

We know that already! 

But what sort of business and what is your eventual aim? 

Are you trying to be able to give up a boring, ill-paid job and, instead, do what you love, all day long? 

Are you trying to make your fortune in a year's time with the simply BRILLIANT whatsits you craft? 

Are you trying to make a bit of extra money doing what you love in your spare time? 

Or are you trying simply to subsidise your hobby? 

Perhaps you want to try to use the creative hobby you love to raise the profile of a cause about which you are passionate?

There are many, many legitimate reasons to want to turn your crafty hobby into a business - few, if any, are bad reasons (unless your hobby is making nuclear weapons and the reason for turning it into a business is try to rule the world ...) although some are less likely to be successful than others. 

You really do need to decide what YOU are trying to do, before you dive in. 

Now, I can't and won't give any advice on your brilliant whatsits and your intention to make a fortune in a year's time, except you must go elsewhere for this sort of business advice - have you tried Dragon's Den?

If you want to pack in a boring but secure job, and try to replace a steady income with the proceeds of your own creative efforts, the best and only advice I will offer here is to carefully consider your circumstances. If you and/or your family rely on your income to pay the costs of food, housing and utilities, you must make sure that you have a sound financial plan in place to take care of these essentials before telling your boss what to do with your job.

You can start this planning by looking at where and how you can cut your outgoings, and how you could supplement your income if necessary. And it probably will be necessary; typically it can take four or more years after startup to replace a previous mid-range salary. Most new businesses don't even last that long!

So what's left? 

Part-time/spare time, of course, is far less risky  - and who knows how far, and to where, it might  lead you? 

Wait a minute, I hear you saying. I want to be a business person, not a glorified hobbyist!

My answer to that is that you are no longer a hobbyist if you treat your hobby like a real business - and you can start doing that right now, while still only crafting in the odd free minutes you can grab while baby's sleeping, or the day in lieu you take for working the bank holidays, or the half-hour break from exam revision. And if you are unemployed and hoping against hope that you might just be able to make it in the self-employed world by developing a creative hobby, you can most certainly treat your hobby like a business, right now, without compromising your benefits and as a bonus learn useful skills.

Just read tomorrow's post to find out more!

No comments:

Post a Comment