If you’ve been around here for a few years, you’ll know that this blog used to be predominantly about sewing. I still love sewing, making and other creative endeavors; there’s something about creating a work of beauty that brings so much happiness and fulfillment!
For many crafters, makers and DIY-ers, there comes a time when we start wondering if we might be able to make some money off this hobby. After all, we love working on it, we already spend time and money on it (ahem, perhaps more than our spouses think we should) and it’s natural to try to monetize something we so enjoy!
But there are a few things to remember before diving into the business side of being a maker. Read on for 4 important considerations to make before deciding if a DIY business is right for you.
(And don’t miss my invite at the end of this post!)
It’s not all fun and games
One of the hardest things about turning a hobby you love into a business is that sometimes it takes some of the thrill out of making. When you set deadlines or other restrictions on your creative impulses, it can make things a whole lot less fun.
That doesn’t mean that it’s no fun at all, I personally found that sewing became less relaxing when it was part of my business model.
I also noticed that my creativity didn’t always show up on schedule. For example, I often had great ideas for tutorials and projects to share but these ideas didn’t always coincide with my blog or video schedule or with sponsored jobs I’d taken. That’s something to think about!
Are you prepared to scale?
There are so many business ideas around DIY projects out there, and there is no limit to how many can be truly successful. But it is important to remember that if your business model requires large amounts of time to create a handmade product, there’s only so many of these that you can make in a day, week or month.
There are lots of workarounds, however. You could hire a team of makers to scale production, outsource it to a factory, or even choose to have it produced by machine. Scaling production of handmade goods requires some ingenuity but it is possible.
You could also pivot from creating physical goods and instead teach people your methods in-person or online, design digital patterns or instructions, make inspirational videos and more.
Maker ≠ Entrepreneur
Creatives are a special kind of people; we see things other people can’t see and get inspiration from the whole world around us. Unfortunately, some of these strengths can become weaknesses when we try to become business owners.
Entrepreneurs need a different, very specific set of skills, including the ability to make and set goals and hit deadlines, an understanding of human psychology and how to sell, an understanding of holes in the industry and confidence that you can give people what they need.
This is simply a reminder that owning a DIY business involves much more than just sitting in a sunny studio, making pretty things all day. (That’s called being retired – ha!)
Developing business skills has been incredibly fun and exciting for me. I seriously love it, and you can too!
Criticism can be extra hard
Getting critical or hateful comments is never fun, but it can be especially painful when people are criticizing something you’ve spent dozens of hours dreaming up, creating and marketing. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given in business is this: “Don’t get attached to your product.”
Now, I realize that this is a big ask for a DIY-er. If you spend 3 entire days sanding, repairing and painting a piece of antique furniture, of course you’ll be attached to that baby! But in reality, it’s not the furniture you’re selling. It’s your skills.
So when some troll on the internet tells you that your gorgeous hutch looks like it belongs in a landfill, you can just smile and brush it off. That hutch might not be for them, but you’re still amazing.
You and your incredible skills are not for everyone, so don’t let those meanies get under your skin.
So…what do you think? Are you ready to do this? If so, don’t miss my upcoming Craft Business Bootcamp! It’s a 5-day training, begining November 28th, to set you up on the path to success as a DIY business owner. Plus, it’s only $27.