Do you find it hard to imagine that any business that doesn’t involve a physical shop, could actually make any significant amount of money?
Believe it or not, it’s happening and in a BIG way. Today’s technology allows us to run successful businesses from home and make great money while doing it.
Awesome! Let’s go and start an online craft business right now. We’ll be millionaires in no time!
Look, I’m not going to sugar coat it. It’s important to start your craft business (or any online business) with realistic expectations and goals. Not every craft is going to be marketable or profitable. There are plenty of failed craft business owners out there who had (what they thought was) a great idea, went for it and failed for one reason or another. On the other hand there are lots of success stories we can draw inspiration from.
So what do you need to do?
1. Set Your Goals
It’s important that you know what you’re aiming for here. You need to work out what supporting your family means to you. Do you need an extra $1500 a month to help supplement hubbys income? Or are you going this alone and need more like $3000 a month to make things comfortable.
Go ahead and set that money goal, remembering a couple of things.
Be Realistic – do you think you can make $5k a month extra income in your first year? Is your craft idea really that amazing or groundbreaking? If so, share it with me…!
Start low in the beginning – Your ultimate goal may be $5k a month income but if you set that now and next month it doesn’t happen, you’ll be pissed you didn’t reach your goal. Pick a money goal that sounds a teeny bit scary but not completely over the top and begin with.
2. Treat It as a Business From Day One
If you want your craft business to support your family eventually you will need to take it seriously. This isn’t your hobby anymore. It’s a business and you need to treat it as such.
Get your niche right…
Spend some time researching your products and your target market. Answer some of the following questions which will help you understand if there is potential for money to be made in your niche;
- Where are the gaps in the market?
- Is anyone buying the craft item that you want to sell?
- How much are they spending?
- How many do they buy at one time?
Get your costs right!
If you know what people are willing to pay for your craft you can then work out how much it will cost you to make. Selling a knitted scarf for $10 when it cost $8 to make is not going to keep you in business very long.
TIP – Think about the cost of materials, your time and the extra demand on your household expenses such as electricity and water.
At the end of the day there needs to be a demand for the things you want to make at a price for which you want them to sell. Without this there will be no chance of you supporting your family.
3. Work Hard AND Smart
Sometimes we are good at working super hard but not so good at working smart. So how can we change that to become more efficient and productive?
I don’t like the word motivation much. It gives us something to blame when things don’t get done or we fail at something. Like “I have no motivation to exercise” or “I wanted to clean the house today but I couldn’t find the motivation”. “I ate 16 Easter eggs and now I don’t have the motivation to eat well. I wonder why I feel sluggish?”.
What if I told you that you could achieve your goals without having to be in a highly motivated state all the time. It’s called getting stuff done!
We aren’t always going to “feel motivated” but instead of using it as an excuse to slack off just get in there and do it anyway.
I don’t feel motivated to get off my backside and exercise today but I’m going to because I made a commitment to do what I need to in order to achieve my fitness goals.
Sometimes we have to suck it up and deal with the not so fun parts of business like bookkeeping and data entry. On those days just grit your teeth and get stuck in.
Self motivated business owners keep pushing towards their goals everyday. Even on the bad days. Even on tax days. It’s ok to hate doing that stuff. As long as you get it done anyway. We only have ourselves to rely on when things aren’t so fun so don’t let yourself down.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs
TIP – the good news is that once you start taking action over and over again it creates this amazing momentum to keep going. So much better than waiting for motivation to hit.
Stick to a schedule
How many of your craft do you need to be making every week? How long will it take? What other tasks need to be completed?
We need to work out exactly what our business requires of us each and every day and then schedule it in.
You can do this with a calendar (either online or use the one on your fridge). You could use an excel spreadsheet or a to do list. Anything really. But it’s super important that you wake up each day with a solid plan of what needs to be done.
And then you need to execute. This, my friends, is where the self-motivation, momentum and sheer willpower comes into play.
Are you likely to want to check your email or facebook (guilty) six million times a day? Or do you begin a task only to get distracted by your dirty kitchen which you must clean before you can begin anything else?
Work out what you have been distracted by in the past. Write those things down. Be aware of it. And avoid falling into the same old traps.
Learn to Outsource
Outsourcing is essential for growth. There will become a point when you are so busy working on your invoicing, admin, product delivery etc. that it takes up all of your time. That is the danger point where your business can stop growing, start stagnating and you will eventually burn out.
When you are just starting out it probably doesn’t make financial sense to outsource straight away. You barely have enough money for supplies let alone paying someone to do your bookkeeping. I’m cool with that. As long as you promise to revisit it three to six months after starting your business. At that point you can
– Complete the Three Lists of Freedom created by my friend Chris Ducker.
– Using that list, pick a couple of things that you can begin to outsource. If you can’t think of anything to outsoure in your business then think about other things that take up your time during the day. Cleaning, lawn mowing etc.
EXAMPLE – I recently started paying a lovely Aussie lady a small fee to spend 1 hour each month creating graphics for my website. She saves me 3-5 hours each month for only $50. And I got a house cleaner. It is AMAZING.
So, can a craft business really support your family?
Yes for sure. A solid income from your craft business is definitely a reality. And the rewards that come from it will be unlike anything you ever imagined.
In return for those rewards it will take time, it will take work and it will take strategy to get your business flourishing.
Get the above things right and you will be in the best position to see amazing results from your business over the next couple of years.
Tell me, have you thought about starting your own business we worried that the income wouldn’t be high enough to make it worthwhile? Do you worry that your handmade items might not be good enough to sell?