If you love spending time on sites like Homecrafts and have always dreamt of making money from your creative talents, why not turn you hobby into a business? There are plenty of things you can do to set the wheels in motion, so check out these handy tips and put your skills to good use – you might just be surprised at what you can achieve!
Draw up a realistic business plan
Firstly, it’s important to decide if you’re cut out for supplying products to a wider market – after all, it’s completely different to painting a one-off picture for your mum or knitting a jumper for a friend. If you are, draw up a realistic business plan, taking into account various overheads such as materials and rent as well as start-up costs. Work out how long it takes you to produce each item and calculate a selling price with a decent margin. You should also think about whether you will do business alone or hire someone to help you. Choose the latter and you’ll also have wages to think about so consider your options carefully.
Decide where you want to sell
Arts and crafts tend to sell really well online with sites like etsy.com providing the perfect platform for you to get started. It’s easy to set up shop there, the fees are nominal and you’ll benefit from all the passing web traffic. You could even go it alone by setting up your very own website. All you need is a unique domain name and an affordable web host and you’ll be off to a great start. There are plenty of web designers out there who will make sure it’s fully functional with features such as a shopping cart and ‘buy now’ button, so it’s well-worth investing in some expertise. Whatever you do, make sure you update your little part of the internet regularly and upload clear images of what you have created.
Other great places to sell include markets and craft fairs. There will be plenty of competition at these events, however, so take a selection of your best work with you and make your stall as quirky, bright and eye-catching as possible. Dish out business cards to passing customers and ensure the name of your company is clearly displayed in case people want to make enquiries at a later date.
Network and promote your business
Once you have the basics up and running, it’s a good idea to network with likeminded people. There are plenty of crafting communities online and you’ll not only be able to share and swap ideas but you’ll also get your business known and heard. Commenting on craft blogs using the name of your company is another great way to make connections and you could even write for other people’s websites in return for a link to your own page – this is great for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Why not also log onto other social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and shout about what you do? Include links to new projects, ask your friends to like, share, repost and retweet your work and you never know where thing might lead.
Stay positive and be inspired
Looking for inspiration? Then head to sites like Pinterest for a wealth of cool ideas. You’re sure to find something that’ll get your brain working but ensure whatever you create is your own work – copies and knockoffs aren’t cool! Moreover, if things slow down and you get disheartened, don’t lose hope. It takes time, confidence and patience to make things successful but it can be done – just look at the Yankee Candle Business, for instance. Built on humble beginnings, the company started off with just one guy, Michael Kittredge, making scented candles from melted crayons and selling them to neighbours. It’s now one of the biggest suppliers of candles in the USA with over 20,000 stores nationwide.