Crafting has probably never been a more popular hobby than it is today. And running your own crafting business is often the next natural step for those who love to make things. After all, why shouldn’t you make a living doing what you love?
Almost anyone can run their own craft business. But there are some things that you should know before you start so that you can be prepared to run an organized, profitable company. I certainly wish that I had spent a bit more time planning before starting my craft business.
So, what do you need to know to start a craft business? Here are some basic things you should know before you start.
1. Doing your books and filing self employed tax returns.
One of the most important things to know about starting a craft business bookkeeping and how to file self employment tax returns. Many people find taxes overwhelming, even without the added complication of being self employed. It pays to research the process well ahead of time so that you’ll be prepared to deal with the paperwork efficiently and in a timely manner.
First, you will need to find the relevant tax documents for your area of trade. You can find this information on the IRS Web site, or the relevant tax Web site for your country if you do not live in the USA. If you can’t figure out what forms you need, or how to fill them out, you can contact the IRS, use a tax filing computer program, or hire an accountant to assist you. BasicAccountingHelp.com has free spreadsheets and resources to better understand the accounting basics.
The main thing to remember about tax returns is that you can’t avoid them. You have to do them, so you may as well learn everything you can about how to do them correctly to save you trouble later.
2. Managing your time.
When you become self employed, regardless of what kind of business you start, you will soon realize that you suddenly have less time for leisure and spending time with your family. You will have to dedicate long hours to your work, which can alienate you from your spouse, put a damper on your social life, etc.
To keep yourself from becoming a workaholic hermit, you’ll need to learn to manage your time more efficiently. Try to plan out how much time you will spend on work in a day, and set aside at least one day a week to be your day off. You won’t always be able to stick to your schedule rigorously but if you at least have a schedule, you will be less likely to waste time, freeing up a few hours for family time during the day or evening.
Talk to your family, or whoever you live with, about your schedule so that they will know when to expect you to be busy with work and when you are free to hang out with them. Open communication is the key to making sure everyone understands how your business schedule works now that you plan to work from home on a permanent basis.
3. Living on a strict budget.
While you may dream of making a lot of money from your craft business, you should be aware when starting one up that it may take years to build up your income to a comfortable level.
You will more than likely have to live on a strict budget for at least the first year. This will probably also affect everyone in your household, unless your spouse or someone else in the house earns a full time wage at the same time.
You will need to talk to those you live with about how your income will be limited for some time. They may not understand why you are choosing to work for yourself when you won’t make as much money but they still need to be informed. Hopefully, in time, they will understand and you can prove to them that your income will increase as you invest time and effort into your business.
If you need some money to get started but not sure of the options, check out this site on small business funding.
4. Handling the disapproval of others.
Speaking of people not understanding, many times small business owners find that family members and friends vocally disapprove of their self employment choice. Those who don’t understand will often make fun of what you do, say you can’t hold down another job, or even ask you why don’t get a “real job.” You will have to develop a thick skin.
Develop confidence in why you do what you do. If it will help, create a standard response you will give when people question your work choices. This way you won’t ever have to be at a loss for words and you won’t be left defenseless when others disapprove.
You should also enlist the help of those friends and family who do support you. They can say positive things to support you and your business when others are don’t seem to approve or understand what you’re doing.
5. Learn to experiment with different methods.
Many who start a new business will stick with the usual methods for everything. For instance, many people always ship orders via the USPS when they could use UPS, Hermes or another private courier.
Learning to think outside the box when it comes to your business can really help you to stand out from the crowd.
Try different ways of making products, marketing your business and selling your wares. Any time you can learn something new, you are adding another tool to your business tool box. The Businesses that are open to changing and evolving with the changing times and trends are often the ones that succeed.
These are just a few of the things you should think through as you are starting your craft business. Of course there are other things to consider too.
Do further research to find out what other craft sellers are doing. Consider taking a business class or reading some books on the topic of self employment. No harm is ever done by spending time in planning. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.