Christin has been successfully self-employed for over 17 years. Her passion is helping others hone their skills and find good opportunities.
Are You Really Ready?
If you have a skill that you enjoy it may be time to consider marketing your work and selling it to others. Craft businesses are harder work than many realize, but they also provide an opportunity to earn a living doing what you love.
Many people idealize the notion of self-employment and being your own boss. What many don't realize is that a home business requires a huge commitment of time and resources, especially in the beginning stages. It can be rewarding, but it's important to go into it well-prepared and understanding all that is involved.
Before starting a home craft business there are several things you should ask yourself that will help you plan and be better prepared.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start
- What craft(s) do you plan to sell?
- Will you target a particular niche? (best bet)
- How much time does it take to create your items?
- How much space will you need to create and store your products and supplies?
- Will you sell solely online? Locally? Both?
- Who is the target market for your product?
- Will you need to hire help or take any classes to manage your business?
- Do you have the time and resources to devote to getting a business off the ground?
- Do you have supportive people around you?
Prepare a Business Plan
This is an important first step, particularly if you will be relying on loans or investors to help you get started. Many craft businesses require a significant initial investment. From buying supplies in bulk, to purchasing equipment, advertising and other materials.
It's necessary to establish the pricing for all of these things in advance. It will help you know and understand what price point you need to sell your items for to recoup your costs and turn a profit. It will also help you to determine if your idea has a shot at being profitable. In the end, if your costs price you out of the market, you may need to consider a different craft or business idea.
Your business plan is how you will plot out your business in fine detail. It will help you establish what everything required to run your business. Don't make the mistake of treating it as anything less than a real business. To be successful, you need to take the time necessary for full planning and research.
Nolo books are one of the best investments you can make when researching and learning anything with legalities. I purchased this book to help me with my business plan and I also purchased a similar book that helped me deal with the insurance companies when my son was injured in a bus accident. Invaluable information and extremely affordable guides.
Items You May Need
- Business Cards
- Advertising Money (newspapers, fliers, etc)
- Craft Supplies
- Website/Domain hosting
- Booth Supplies
- Space Rentals for shows and/or in local shops
- Office Equipment
- Digital Camera
- Vehicle (if you are setting up at fairs you'll need to have a vehicle(s) large enough to haul all of your booth supplies and products.
There are other considerations in addition to costs. You also need to account for the amount of time your items take to produce, how much you can handle and if you can meet anticipated demand. Do you have the time and space necessary? Will you have room to expand or will your business eventually need to move out of the home?
Marketing and Venues
There are a variety of ways to market your new business. There are free options like Craigslist. You can also advertise in local papers, place fliers on community bulletin boards. Find craft stores in your area and rent a booth or ask about advertising. Sign up for craft fairs or other events in your local area.
You may also decide you want to sell your crafts online. Etsy is an extremely popular market for handmade items. Many crafters sell successfully in this venue. The fees are very reasonable and there is a very supportive community of artisans.
It is very easy to develop a store on Etsy. It takes time to make your first sale, but repeat customers are an Etsy goldmine. It has a feedback system that is similar to eBay. If you wow your customers their positive feedback can draw in many new clients.
Etsy Zazzle and Online Marketing
Etsy is a God send to those who want to work from home and have a successful crafting business. It is easy to get started, even for those with precious little "techy" experience. A learning guide can get you started as soon as today. Gone are the days where all you could rely on were local craft fairs! Go world wide with your products!
If you create your own custom art or images, Zazzle is another up and coming, great way to sell products online to a worldwide market. It's extremely easy to learn and set up. Create a free store, upload your images onto whatever products you specify and then put them up for sale. You can even watermark your images to help prevent theft.
Keep in mind it generally takes several months to a year to start to turn a profit and build up a business. With careful planning, solid research and a sincere passion for your craft, it is very possible to have a successful small business.
Lack of preparation is where most home businesses fail. People tend to idealize working for themselves and are not very honest about how much work, dedication, and patience is actually required.
So - have you run a craft business? If you have any advice for those starting out feel free to share it in the comments section below.
Learn More Tips for Success...
- The Craft Booth | A Website for Vendor Tips
Learn insider tips and tricks for increasing sales at craft fairs. Find creative craft fair booth design and setup ideas on this website created specifically for craft fair vendors.
- Craft Fair Vendor Sales Tips for your Display Booth
An artisan and craft fair vendor shares all the little known tricks of the trade for increasing sales and building repeat business. How to design and work a booth that rocks!
- 25 Cheap or Free Ways to Promote Your Small Business
25 detailed simple, effective, and free or low cost techniques that will help you build your small business.
© 2013 Christin Sander
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on March 19, 2014:
Thanks adams07 glad you enjoyed it :)
Samantha Adams from Auburn, GA on March 19, 2014:
Great article!!! It taught me a lot and gave me some great ideas.
Rogene Robbins on March 10, 2013:
I am also glad you mentioned the business plan. It is so important. A big mistake I think some crafts people make is failing to realize that if they sell their work, they are in business. Good job!
Marie Alana from Ohio on February 17, 2013:
Great information! Thanks!
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on February 13, 2013:
Hi Slappy thanks for commenting. I imagine that would depend on the type of craft it is. For us, we used to do soap on weekends at craft fairs and when it got to be a bit much we recruited family members to help us cook and package product. In the end, it ended up being more than we could do with work and other obligations so we let it go for awhile. I still hope to get back into crafting one day, but the crafts I do now I put on Etsy - I can manage that by simply only offering the number of items I can actually make at one time.
Kieron Walker from Saratoga Springs, NY on February 13, 2013:
Nice hub Christin! I used to wonder about this, but my craft skills are somewhere around an elementary school level.
I was curious about something though. How difficult is it to manage when there is a large demand for a certain item?
Joan Veronica Robertson from Concepcion, Chile on February 09, 2013:
Hi the, this was a good read, it organized my ideas nicely! I had thought of most of these points, but not all. Thanks for the info and lists of important details. Voted up, useful and interesting. So have a good day, and please develop more of these practical tips!
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on February 09, 2013:
Thanks Angelo glad you enjoyed the hub! :)
Angelo52 on February 09, 2013:
Lots of needed information on starting a craft business. Good reading.
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on February 09, 2013:
Thanks for the read and vote up Lizam1 much appreciated :)
Lizam1 on February 09, 2013:
Nicely done. You are right it takes time and effort to start a home based business, well any business and I am so glad you included the business plan. No plan is pretty much a guarantee of a plan to fail. Voted up