Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ready to Start a Craft Business

A friend came to me the other day and informed me that she was going to start a craft business with the doll clothes she knits and crochets.  She was gushing about being able to work when she wanted, and going to work in her bath robe.

So of course the first thing I asked her was "Do you have a business plan?"

Her answer "Why, I'm not trying to get a loan or anything."

"How much do you have in savings, will it support you for 18 months?" was my next question.

I of course got the blank, deer in the headlights stare I always get when someone asks for advice on starting a home based business, whether its in crafts, or selling antiques and collectibles (my other business).  So I thought I'd take a few minutes to list a few questions you need to ask yourself before starting out on the self-employment path.  (these are just the ones I consider to be the most important)

1.  Do you have a business plan?
2.  How long can you survive on your savings?
3.  Have you researched the business you want to start?
4.  What will you do, or offer that others in the business you are planing on starting don't?
5.  Have you actually sat down and made a complete list of all your monthly and annual expenses, break  (including that morning donut and cup of coffee, the newspaper you pick up daily, health insurance, food, etc)?
6.  If your current employer provides health insurance will you be able to keep it, or will you have to buy your own at a higher rate?
7.  What happens if you are faced with a medical emergency either your own or a loved ones that you must take care of?
8.  What condition is your current vehicle in, and how long do you think it will continue to get you from point a - b without layouts for major repairs (and did you include oil changes, lube jobs, and tires in your monthly and annual expenses)?
9.  If you are currently living in a rental home or apartment will your rent remain the same or is it due to increase in the near future?
10.  If you own your own home how much are the yearly taxes, and monthly mortgage payments? 
11. Do you foresee any major home repairs such as a furnace, roof, burst pipe etc?

These questions all need to be answered before you jump feet first into a new full time business of your own.  Work on getting at least 18 months of expenses money into a savings account before quitting your day job.  In the meantime do the necessary research on the business you want to start.  There is no rule that says you cannot start a part-time business while working full time.  Then when your ready to go full time you'll have a bit of a safety net to catch you, and you'll have the confidence and hopefully loyal following ready to help you succeed.

I am linking a few books that have helped me along the way, as well as a couple I wish I had found before I started.

Good luck in starting your own craft business.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Passing On The Torch

Or in this case the hook.  A few years ago I taught my then 10 year old niece to crochet.  Just a few of the basic stitches, but enough that she used pony beads and yarn to create bracelets which she then sold or traded for classroom cash to buy things she wanted.  (this was apparently a program started by her teacher.  the kids got play money for attendance, behavior, grades, improvement, etc.  then each month they could cash in the money for small dollar tree type gifts).  About 2 years ago she got into beading.  This for her is "THE CRAFT".  All crafters know what this is, the one craft we cannot stop doing, thinking about, or talking about.  It is our passion.  At the tender age of 16 she is turning out necklaces, pendants, earrings, etc that she is selling to classmates, teachers, family friends, and others.  I am so very proud of her.  When she goes off to college in a couple of years, she'll have a built in way to get that little extra spending money when she wants it.

Back a little over 2 years ago my brother married a wonderful young woman with two of the sweetest kids.  Now age 10, her daughter has decided that Aunt Sharon needs to teach her to crochet.  My sister set her up with a hand picked kit of yarn, hooks, and other supplies for Christmas.  So far she has mastered the chain stitch and the slip stitch.  Her goal, to learn a new stitch every week and make her Grandmothers some dish cloths and pot holders for Christmas.  Her younger brother in the mean time has decided he needs to learn to knit.  Guess I better get my knitting needles out and brush up on my technique.

It is a wonderful feeling to know that the gift of crafting that my Grandmother passed down to me is now being passed on to the next generation.  I love being able to pass the torch.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome 2011

May you be better than 2010.

I hope everyone had a good 2010 and that 2011 brings you even better tidings.  Here's to keeping resolutions, ending wars, resounding peace, jobs for those who need them, and generally good feelings all around.  I have decided to make only one resolution this year,  I plan to start and end each day taking a moment to give thanks for the blessings I have been given.  Whether its my health, the reconnection with an old friend, the learning of a new craft, or even completing one of those dreaded works-in-progress that has been hiding for years in the bottom of my closet.  No matter the blessing, whether large or small I am thankful to receive it and recognize it for what it is.

May all of you all receive and recognize all your blessings in the coming year.