10 Easy Steps for Starting a Home-based Craft Business
Home-based craft businesses are great ways to share your talent with others and make some extra income. Depending on the amount of time and work you put into it, you may even be able to quit your day job, a dream of many crafters.
If you decide to take your hobby to the next step, here are a few easy steps to help your dreams come true.
1. Write a Business Plan
A business plan is basically a road map. Having one will keep you on track and goal-driven. A high-quality business plan should include basic company information, a list of your products offered, a marketing plan, a budget map that includes financial projections and sale vs. profit objectives and a plan of operations.
2. Select a Business Name
Selecting a business name is huge when setting up a craft business because it will literally follow you everywhere and will be the one thing that helps define your company. When you select your business name, make absolutely sure you are 100 percent happy with it because once you are established under your business name, it can be very difficult to go back and start over from scrat
3. Business License / Tax ID
If you are going to be selling products (online or not) you will the proper permits. First and foremost you will need a business license. These licenses are relatively inexpensive and can easily be obtained through your town hall or town website.
A tax ID number is required if you live in a state that collects sales tax. To obtain this seller’s permit and view your state’s individual guidelines and rules for use, visit your state’s website.
4. Set Up a Craft Work Space
If you are serious about selling your crafts as a legit business, you need a legit work space. Operating a craft studio from your home significantly reduces your start-up and overhead costs, but will require you to be much more organized and focused with your time. Think of crafting from home as an actual day job and not some casual hobby to pass time. Designate a specific room or space in your house and fill it with your supplies and inventory.
For more ideas on creating home craft studios, read my other hubs on this subject.
5. Do Your Research
This step is often overlooked but can be extremely beneficial if done correctly. Checking out your competition helps you to see other products that exist within your market to give you a little help when trying to figure out your price points. Competition research can also help you take your ideas and make them even more unique. Developing a niche that isn’t saturated gives you the upper-hand because you will be offering products that can’t be found elsewhere.
Before you start selling, make sure you have enough inventory to offer your customers a wide variety of products. Shops with just a few items don’t get much action because there typically isn’t enough of a selection to keep customers interested. It is worth waiting until you stock up on many different items. Also keep in mind that once you go “live”, you may receive custom orders that require you to make multiple variations of a product.
7. Sell to Family and Friends
Once your inventory starts taking shape, you may want to start selling to people in your immediate circle for two reasons: First, it will give you the opportunity to test your market. Your friends and family can offer their honest opinions about your products and costs that will give you a first-hand glimpse into the market. The other reason to start selling to friends and family members is that they are a direct form of advertising. Potential customers who see your items will circle back to your shop, thus growing your customer base.
Now that you’ve stocked up on your inventory and have sold a few of your items to your friends and family, you will need to increase your customer base by marketing. Don’t just assume that because your items are unique or “pretty” that people all over the world will just automatically flock to you. They need to find you first. Start by designing your own business cards, postcards and mailing labels. Include them with all of your first orders to further increase your potential customer list. Leave business cards on shopping market bulletin boards and mail postcards to neighbors, friends and co-worker.
9. Start a Blog
Blogging is great for a home-based business as it offers you a way of photo-journaling your creations and designs. As many of your products will be sold, a blog allows you to keep a record of previous creations.
It also allows potential customers a chance to see items you have previously sold and can lead to custom orders.
Nowadays, social media is huge. Take advantage of it by creating a Facebook page, Twitter account or Pinterest board. The internet is a tremendous tool that allows millions of people worldwide to see your creations. Showcase your products and services in multiple social media markets to increase potential sales.