I can’t help but notice that most people approaching the start of a handmade business don’t do a lot of the planning that other businesses do.
Many people start a handmade business as a hobby thinking it won’t be anything big, just some side cash.
But even for a hobby you should do basic business set up.
Having a business plan and brand name, at the very least, will help you stay organized, focused and provide a foundation for the day you decide to make more out of your talents.
So what basic setup should you consider? Here are 8 steps that more technical businesses use to set themselves up for success;
- Treat it like a real business!
- Create a business plan.
- Price Correctly
- Create a Marketing Plan
- Create or have built a website
- Build a Community
- Offer Value
This means planning, dreaming big and choosing the right platforms.
If you are making money from something (or intend to make money from something) it is no longer considered a hobby, it is now a business.
Therefore you should treat it as such from day 1.
This might seem like a huge job for a “hobby” but it really gives you direction and opens doors for more if you choose to grow into a full-fledged business.
A business plan will help you set goals, figure out who your target market is, research your competition, set your monthly budget, and more. A business plan is essentially your road map and if you need funding for special equipment or spaces then you’re all set to share your plan.
You won’t likely go so far as to create a whole branding guide for your handmade business but choosing colours and a logo is a great start. This will give people a visual to remember you with and set the tone for your business.
Besides, you will need some snazzy new business cards to tell people what you do!
You could also decide to order custom packaging, stamps or other branding materials and for that you need an image and colours to represent your business. It’s a good idea to have that from the beginning.
NOTE: Don’t forget to buy your domain name when you choose a brand name and to grab the social media handle on all platforms as well!
This one will likely become an article of it’s own, but the gist is that if you price too low you can’t survive.
You can only create so quickly and you can only create so many at a time so price accordingly.
Include your expenses, materials and yes, a profit. Don’t skimp out here.
The cost of living may be lower in some places around the world but here in Canada we cannot survive on $5 a day. That won’t even pay our rent.
Stand by those prices too!!!
So this one may seem a bit more complicated but really you need to find out what platforms your target market is on then create a plan to reach them.
You can Google your age group, country usage and more for each platform and when you research your competition for your business plan you should already get a lot of the information you need to get started.
Remember that social media isn’t all about selling; it’s about connecting.
The idea here is to have a home base.
This home base doesn’t have to be robust to start. It can be a one page site with links to your etsy shop, social media profiles and a description of what you do.
You can then decide later on to add a blog, portfolio or whatever else your imagination desires but at least you can be found in search engines and have something to build upon.
Now you can get started.
Get out there on social media platforms, in forums and other venues you find to share your work and brand.
Socialize, support others and sell.
But remember that as your community grows you may then need to begin to offer different levels of value.
This is where you can build out your website. You can offer guides to help others less experienced than you, you can write blog posts journaling your journey through set up and success.
You offer value that keeps growing your audience, keeps your brand fresh and ensures your success through support.
You may decide to go a bit more casual than offering value and simply leave it at building a community by joining organizations and connecting online and that’s fine.
What you decide to offer or not offer will depend on your goals and intentions.
For example, one of my goals is to share my knowledge and experiences with others. So for me, the best way to do this is through blogs and guides (coming soon) among other general business offerings.
This doesn’t make me any less of a jewelry maker, artist or handmade business, this is my way of giving back.
So what will you do first to start your handmade business foundation?
Is there a topic here you would like me to cover more in depth?