4 Tips for Turning Your Hobby Into a Business


When you have a creative hobby, earning a living from your craft can seem like the perfect job. Before you move forward with turning your hobby into a business, though, you need to find ways to make your handmade items a sustainable business while keeping it fun.

Start with Pricing

Pricing is a difficult topic for anyone who makes items by hand. It is difficult to gauge the value of an item because it is easy for customers to undervalue the time and effort it takes to create a piece. Start by considering the amount of time it takes to create an item and set a respectable hourly wage for yourself. The hourly wage you feel is appropriate for an item should drastically differ based on the skill involved. For example, taking an hour to string beads for a necklace is different from the skill involved in an hour knitting.

You also need to add the cost of supplies to determine the final price of each item. Do not overlook payment processing fees and other costs associated with your business when pricing items. If you will also sell your items at shows, you may have additional expenses. Once you have established the value of your work, be steadfast in your decision and avoid undervaluing your work to make a sale.

Automate the Process

Consider ways you can automate parts of the process to make your craft less demanding and increase your inventory. For example, if you knit or crochet, automating your work is nearly impossible. However, you may consider investing money in an automatic ball winder early in your business. When you have many large projects you need to accomplish, the time and frustration saved by turning skeins of yarn into tangle-free balls will make the process smoother. Similarly, if your craft is painting, painting the same or similar pieces side-by-side, simultaneously will help you finish your painting session with multiple paintings ready to sell.

Vary Your Projects

Make sure you have different projects to work on that vary in size and/or complexity. Many people make the mistake of consistently working on large projects in the beginning of their business because they may sell better or they feel like it is a better use of their efforts. Unfortunately, this can prevent you from building up any inventory and it may often feel like you will never finish a project.

Work on one large project for a buyer or to add to your inventory and find a few smaller projects to break up the monotony. Having smaller projects in mind is also a good way to make use of scraps and maximize your investment in supplies. For example, some people who have a quilting business often use their scraps of fabric and batting to make mug rugs or cases for mobile devices. Aim to find a purpose for your scraps and leftover supplies.

Expand Your Business

Many people who turn their hobby into a business also find ways to expand their business without making new inventory. Doing this will help you diversify your offerings and give you the opportunity to take a break from creating products while continuing to earn an income. For example, teaching people to create an item through videos or small classes is one way to expand. In addition to earning money from class fees or advertising, you will likely have one or two demo products from the class, which you can sell.

Similarly, developing your own patterns or templates is a popular income generator for many creative businesses. If you choose to sell patterns or templates of your own design, consider becoming a reseller for supplies. This provides a great foundation for building kits for people to purchase. You may offer an inexpensive template for a painting you created. Customers could also purchase the canvas and paints you used and watch your tutorial video.

It may seem like a bad idea to instruct people on how to create the same product you are selling. However, people who are interested in the same type of craft or art will likely attempt to duplicate the work anyway. Besides, there will always be people who would much rather buy the finished piece than go through the effort of making the product.

Strategic pricing and planning can prevent your hobby from turning into a nightmare as you transition to a business owner. By making your hobby less demanding as a business, you will continue to enjoy being creative while earning an income. For further help and ideas, look for small business coaching in your area.


12 January 2016

hiring a consultant to help you improve business

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