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May 24, 2014

Should You Start a Handmade Business?

There are all types of questionnaires and quizzes out there to define whether you're set out to be a business owner or not. I'm personally not a fan of them and if you're reading this post, you probably possess some sort of entrepreneurial spirit.

There's definitely some traits you should have if you're going to go into business and you don't want to put yourself or your family into financial crisis to do so but everyone is different and I don't believe a checklist can tell you if you're going to make it or not. This article has some points and clichés I like to keep in mind...

  • have faith in yourself - one quote I like to live by: whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right. Try and remember this when the going gets tough
  • anything worth having is worth fighting for - yes, yes, running a business is hard. So is going to work everyday hating your job. If it were easy, everyone would do it and to be honest, the hard work that goes into being your own boss is so much more rewarding and often times doesn't feel like work when you love what you do.
  • it doesn't have to be a huge risk - not every business needs to involve loans from the bank or big-wig investors. You can start small with just a couple products and continue to put any profits back into your business to grow as you go :)
  • have an open mind - obviously you think your product or service is great or you wouldn't be considering making a business out of it, but make sure you keep an open mind to any feedback or criticism you may get as sometimes we miss what's right under our nose.
  • improvise and think out of the box - being creative is probably one of your strong points so make sure you use your creativity when it comes to overcoming obstacles
  • you don't have to be good at everything - in fact, no one is good at everything. You can either outsource areas of your business or find a business partner who possesses the traits you lack.

Of course, we need to be realistic when starting a business. These lists can often seem discouraging, so for every seemingly negative point listed below, I've mentioned a positive :)

  • longer work hours (especially during the start-up phase) that you may not necessarily be compensated for - but if you're choosing a business you love, these hours don't seem as taxing
  • you'll need to take on several or all roles in the beginning to save on costs and with that comes a lot of responsibility - short term pain for long term gain and as mentioned above, you can always hire out or find a business partner to help you with things that really aren't your specialty
  • organization and self-motivation are key to staying on track - there are so many tools, books, blogs and people that can help you in these areas if they're not your strong points
  • you do get to make your own hours but be prepared to work past 8 hours/day if needed to keep your customers happy - since you're your own boss, you can make these extra hours fun; put on your favorite tv show or music while you work or if your trade allows, change venues to stay motivated (making jewelry outside on a nice day will hardly feel like work)
  • it may get tedious - making that one item now is fun because you get to be creative and take your time but consider how you'll feel after making 100 of them for a craft show - you can create assembly lines, get friends to help, outsource parts of the production, create limited lines or one of a kinds. You find a way to make it work :)
  • you won't have a steady paycheck or benefits to start - the nice thing about most handmade businesses is that you can start them on the side while you work your regular job, then work up to full time as your business grows and gives you more stability 

There you have it! A few things to consider when you’re thinking about starting a handmade business. You’ll know in your heart what’s right and we always encourage people to follow their dreams. If starting a business doesn’t feel right, right now, you can always dip your toes in instead of diving in headfirst.

Image courtesy Sicha Pongjivanich/

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