Crafts Report Part 1: Starting A Home Business
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As with anything else in life, the first step of starting a Home Business is always the hardest!
Before anything else, long before you invest time and money, you need to decide what products your home based business will offer. Being a small business owner and having just finished writing the Craft Marketing Done Right! book I know how important it is to carefully consider the following questions about your craft business, the market you are entering, your competition, time management and the many daily tasks that are involved in running a business.
Make a list of what needs to be done in order to prepare for a home business. You don’t need to add on to your house or take over the whole garage to get started, but you do need room for inventory, supplies, records and equipment. Now let’s take a look at the first set of questions.
Choosing What To Sell
- What is the product you want to offer?
- Do you need to add some specific skills or education to get going?
- Does the product meet a need, is it highly in demand?
- Is it a seasonal item or can it be marketed and sold year round?
- Do you truly enjoy making and selling the products? Do you believe in it?
“Love what you do and do what you love” is more than just an old saying! It’s true today as much as it was 100 years ago. If you only want to start your own business to supplement your income, to get away from a grumpy boss, or a dead end job, then you will probably run out of steam long before you ever make any considerable money. If your home based business is going to be your livelihood, and even if it’s not, either way you will still end up spending a lot of time and effort. So you better have a good time going it. Your customers will be able to tell if you’re excited about what you have to offer, and they will get excited about it in return.
The following questions will help you to get a handle on the potential market you are about to enter and to learn more about your competition. Try not to be everything to everybody! You will never be able to compete against the big box stores, it’s better to try to find a product or niche that your ‘best’ or typical customer will need and build on that.
Your Market & Your Competition
- Who do you think will buy your products? Moms, business owners, middle aged men, or can it be used and adored by everyone?
- Where will you offer your product? Is it localized or can you market your products worldwide?
- What unique traits do you think your typical customer will have?
- Is your product something new or is the market already filled with imitations?
- Do you have something special you can offer to allow you to beat your competitors?
- How will you and your product be different?
Think about these questions carefully and write down your answers. This will be the beginning of your business plan (we will talk more about creating a business plan later.)
The next set of questions will handle day-to-day tasks that need to be carefully considered. Proper time management is a huge part of running a home business. Being a small business owner will require you to be able to wear many hats. Besides doing your regular job or taking care of a family you will also need to be able to handle many other responsibilities on a daily basis.
Your Daily Tasks
- Will you be able to answer the phone and reply to email requests consistently and timely?
- Do you know where and how to order your supplies for the best price?
- How will you keep track of your income and expenses? Check out these free time-saving worksheets.
- Can you find ways to market your craft products locally?
- Do you know how to create and implement an online marketing strategy?
If you have someone, a friend, family member or hired help, to do some of these assignments for you, that’s great. Unfortunately most of us don’t have that luxury, and with only a small budget it is imperative that you are able and willing to do the tasks mentioned above yourself. Being a home business owner means that you will need to do a lot of different jobs that will become mundane to the point that you might not have enough time to do the things that you love to do.
In my craft marketing book I will give you more insights on what to consider before getting starting with a craft business and how to set up your home business for success. Turn your hobby into a money making business!
Starting your own home business sounds very daunting and a bit overwhelming, I know, but with some forethought, planning and a lot of hard work, anyone can start a craft business and make money.
In the next part of the Crafts Report Series we will look more closely into local business ideas and how to market your crafts in your home town.
Have you started a home based business? What was your biggest hurdle? Leave me a comment below.
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