by Lisa McGrimmon
If you want to set up your new business for success, first you need to ask yourself an important question:
Why am I starting a new craft business?
Or, to phrase a bit differently:
What do I hope to get out of this business I'm launching?
There are plenty of reasons for starting a craft business. You might have a decidedly uncreative day job, and you are in desperate need for a creative outlet. You might be a stay at home parent, and you want to make some cash so your family can have a few extras. You might be newly retired and financially comfortable, and you finally have time to do work you love and build the business you've been dreaming about for years.
These are just a few common motivations for starting a craft business. Each business owner is in a very different life stage, each motive is quite different, and each measure of success would be quite different.
The person looking for a creative outlet might feel her new business is a success if she gets to spend more time in her studio making things she loves and becomes a respected member of her local arts community.
The stay at home parent would likely feel successful if her business brings in enough income to pay for fun family vacations, and summer camps for her kids while still allowing her to be available when her family needs her.
The retiree who starts a craft business might be thrilled by the whole process of launching and building his business and having a project to keep him engaged and active in his community. He's not dependent on the income, but, depending on his personality, growing his business income might be a fun retirement challenge.
As you can see, your core reasons for starting your craft business will have a big impact on the type of business you decide to build and what you'll need to accomplish to feel that your business is a success.
When you start researching your craft business options, you will quickly find out your choices are endless. Technological changes in the last 10 years have opened up immense opportunities for craft business owners.
When I started writing this website back in 2007, your options for selling crafts were, for the most part, limited to selling at craft shows and home parties, and in shops on consignment or wholesale. Certainly, there were other opportunities, but, for the most part, they boiled down to selling a physical product in person to a local customer, and, if it suited your skills, you might teach your craft in person as well.
Today, you can still sell your crafts in all of the traditional ways, but you can also sell finished products online, teach your craft online, or sell patterns or tutorials instead of finished goods.
The opportunities are immensely exciting compared to what was possible when I started this site. But having lots of opportunities can get in your way if you're not careful.
As a former career coach, I've watched people fail to move forward because they couldn't choose what they most wanted to pursue. You might think that plenty of choice is always a good thing, but it can be a source of problems.
Lots of choice can leave you stuck at the decision making phase because you can't decide what to chase after and what to let go. Some people never take a single step to move forward because they can't commit to a direction.
I've also seen business owners dive in and try to do everything. Again, they have failed to make a choice about what they will pursue, but this time, they try to do everything. That lack of focus hinders their ability to do anything particularly well. Unless you have a lot of help, you really can't do everything. You need to decide on what you do well and what best serves your needs and focus on those things.
If you're convinced your new business success hinges on making choices about what to pursue and what to let go, then you might as well make those choices good ones. Good choices are those that are informed by your values and reflect your core reasons for starting your business.
From your "why," your decisions about what to do and what not to do will flow more easily. Once you have your why, you can do a better job of answering other questions like:
No matter what type of craft business you decide to build, you'll be working on and in your business. You'll be spending time making, sourcing, promoting, working on financial management, and skill building. However, the type of business you choose will impact how those tasks look and how they impact your other commitments and priorities.
Before you dive in to launch your new craft business, first determine your "why," and you'll be in a better position to experience success and move yourself forward to where you want to be.
Before you go, ask yourself, a year from now where do you want to be, and what small action can you take today to move closer to your goal.