There is a difference between a hobbyist and a business owner. Yes, a creative business owner still pursues their hobbies but they also have to have to do what needs done in order to sell the items they make and be a business owner.
It’s tempting to make the things you love making all day but there are things that need to be done to market and sell. Generating revenue. Yup, that makes you a business owner.
If you aren’t sure how to go from being a hobbyist to a business owner I’ve got a few steps you can take to get started.
1. Narrow your focus. Many of us who have been around for a while have interests and skills that would allow us to own any number of businesses. The problem is that if you try to be an accountant, floral designer, candle maker, interior designer… well, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Pick an area and focus on it.
I hear you telling your computer screen that there are just SO MANY things you like to do!! But do this. Decide on a focus and work your buns off for 1 year on it. Just one year. At the end of the year you might find other hobbies to work into your business or ways you can branch out. But giving yourself solid focus for one year will keep you from spinning your wheels while you try to do it all.
Sometimes we get so bogged down in the idea that if we pick one area to focus on we will be stuck doing it the rest of our lives but that simply isn’t true. You can change things up down the road but you have to narrow your focus in order to get your business off the ground.
2. Brand yourself. Even though you are making and selling handmade doodads your customers will eventually want to know more about YOU. The creator of their favorite doodads. In some ways you and your handmade goodies are seen as ONE. Use this to your advantage. Post photos of you doing what you do behind the scenes, post personal tidbits about your life on your blog or Facebook fan page. Promote yourself along with your products and somewhere down the road you may turn that into another stream of income.
3. Toot your own horn. It’s difficult for most of us to do our own marketing. We often think that we will come off as braggarts. But if we are proud of what we do and confident in what we are making it’s OK to brag. It’s not about driving through neighborhoods with a megaphone day and night. It’s about using your natural personality to share what you have to offer. Share, share, and share some more.
4. Invest in you. Be sure to include professional enrichment or education in your budget. It may seem hard to think of hiring a coach or mentor but it’s something you need to do to grow and maintain your business. It’s an investment in you (that knowledge will stay with you no matter what business you own) and your business.
5. Embrace and keep up with technology. Not only are new technologies being developed at a rapid rate but the ones that are around now are changing almost daily. Marketing isn’t what it used to be. Stay on top of new technologies and changes in the ones you already use. The more you get behind on the technologies offered for your particular niche the harder it will be to catch up. So don’t dilly-dally.
6. Develop systems and routines. Have I said that a million times yet? Systems and routines will keep you organized and functioning at a higher level with minimal thought. If you know you always make the doodads on Monday, paint the doodads on Tuesday and package them on Wednesday you don’t even have to think about what you need to do for the day. It’s automatic.
7. Stop calling yourself a crafter. There is nothing wrong with being a crafter it’s just that the minute you start making things with the intention of selling you are a business owner. Maximize your feelings and stature as a business owner. If you want people to hand you their credit card be wary of calling yourself a crafter.
So there you have it. If you’ve been a hobbyist for a while now and you’ve been THINKING of turning it into a business you’ve got some steps you can take to get off the sofa and start making some money.