I’ve been running my small craft based business in England for 3 years now and I love it. Having spent a lot of time in small business communities, I’ve seen so many other people become empowered by their own craft businesses too. As a stay at home Mum I decided to get selling when I realised the only thing that made a good day was whether or not my children ate vegetables.
I didn’t want my life, happiness and worth to come from what these chubby little tyrants demanded of me. I decided I needed to carve out something of my own. I chose to chase a small income that was flexible around childcare and family life – and used the skills I already had. I’m grateful every day that I made the jump.
Why is confidence the first problem to tackle?
It’s not easy to start your own craft business, so I thought a series of blogs would help to lay out step by step what you need to do in order to get up and running. The hardest thing I did was to believe in myself, my product and its value. Before I ever asked anyone to buy anything I tied myself self in knots with other technical hurdles – so that I didn’t need to make the first tough step of putting my t-shirts up for sale. I’m so glad I made the leap in the end.
This post is for you if you already have the craft you want to sell and you’re already making items for fun. If you were wondering whether you should invest into a craft to make money, check out my blog post on How to Set up Your Vinyl Start Up.
Getting Off Your Bum and Getting Started
Somewhere, deep in the back of your mind is the thought that your creations might be good for someone to buy, and if you sell one or two a week it just might help you get a few extra quid. You’ve spoken enthusiastically to your friends and family about what you’re crafting and even shared pictures on social media – people are saying nice things! One or two might even have asked after something. But you don’t know if they are just being nice, or want something free.
You see something for sale from someone else and think “I can do that!” My costs are low and that means I could make £6 profit if I sold that!!
But I am guessing, if you’re like me – shortly after those wonderful positive thoughts come the barrage of negative thoughts and questions…
These are the confidence killers. They aren’t proper concerns, or questions. They are only negative mindsets. And I really need to let you know the secret that changed my life – everyone, even the most confident people, have these thoughts. The secret is to listening to enough logic so you can ignore them. It’s not true that you can definitely make a million pounds, and it’s not necessarily true that you will sell 1000 items. But it is true that whatever it is you make, it will have some value.
So the key to confidence in your items is to seek out help from people you trust to help you work out the value that it will have, and whether that will make it worth your while to get started.
Make a product as a test: knit a blanket, press a t-shirt, create a candle. Ask yourself:
Take your product in person and ask your Mum, your best friend, a work colleague and talk to them. Ask them to have a look. Ask them how they would improve it so you could sell it. Do the ends need tidying? Does it need neater paint work? Straighter application of the wording? Are the colours nice?
Ask them if they think you can sell it like it is, or will it need improvements first? Ask them what they would pay for it. If you really can’t get yourself to ask friends and family in person, take a video or good picture and ask in a craft page on Facebook (try here).
Then have a look on eBay, Etsy, Facebook Market Place and search for a very similar product. Get the price of 3 in a similar type and style to yours. Compare those 3 prices to the one you were thinking of – to the one your “market research” told you was achievable. Does it seem like it could be worth starting a business now?
Next week in the series we will be working on pricing. Everything has some value – be it pennies for recycling, or hundreds of pounds for a hand crafted artisan make. I will walk you through the steps to find your own price in the market, and help you work out if that’s enough to start your own small craft-based business. I’ll gently guide you through the maths I promise!
Edit: Part 2. Smart Pricing. Available here!
NB: This post is only for micro businesses – that is people thinking about selling a few t-shirts, frames, or crochet blankets etc. Please do take more structured advice for larger craft based businesses. Starting up small and simple doesn’t mean you can’t grow bigger – but different advice will apply when you get there.