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Topic: Start as hobby or business?  (Read 3662 times)
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« on: February 15, 2011 03:30:20 PM »

For the sellers...

Did you start it as a hobby or did you start it as a business?? If it started as a hobby (and later turned it into a business) when did you turn it into a business? And what steps did you take to turn it into a business?

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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2011 07:59:34 PM »

That is a good question.  I'm a nurse, and that's definitely gonna stay my livelihood, but I'd like to be able to sell stuff too as a second income.  So I'm definitely in the "hobby" category right now.
I'm hoping someone has good tips and stories to share.

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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2011 05:50:52 AM »

I don't think a lot of people start out any kind of business without having done it "for practice" first. Basically you find you have a knack or a passion for something, then at some point realize it can not only be fun, but also pay or help pay the bills. A hobby or a business depends a lot on your passion level, and how much time you can devote to it. Turning a hobby into a business is mostly a matter of marketing, paperwork, record keeping, and tax reporting.

« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2011 01:28:06 PM »

there's this one girl that I know (but I'm not close with her, so I don't feel comfortable asking her about business)

she started out as a hobby, and never actually wore the jewelry she made, so she started selling on forums, and after a few years, she got her own site and now has to deal with taxes

I think starting out as a hobby lets you know how much you like crafting and if you're willing to make that your job/do it for money and not pleasure

« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2011 02:33:51 PM »

^^ That's exactly why I don't want to jump straight into it. I don't know how well I'll do (though I'll work my hardest to make it a success) but what if I find that I just don't have it in me to keep it up or something?  

I do plan on treating it like a business in how I act and deal with customers and the obvious things, but I wouldn't go as far as setting up another bank account and registering for a business license and the tax stuff and all of that.

I was hoping to get more stories...oh well.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2011 02:44:05 PM by CeeJayRose » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2011 06:46:20 AM »

I doubt that there are many who just decided, "Hey, I'm going to sell XYZ today when they haven't ever made XYZ before." Most professional crafters that I've met started making something because a friend or family member made something similar or they saw it somewhere and were inspired to give it a go. They became skilled enough that someone asked to buy what they made or upon receiving something as a gift asked for another one or a different color.

That said, when it comes to the more formal arts - painting and sculpture - it seems that many of the artists I've met had formal training and wanted to make their art their career. Stained, blown and lampwork glass is another area that I've often met folks who intentionally learned their craft to do it professionally but, many also started as hobbiests.

Unfortunately, it's hard to go into professional crafting without the tax and other business stuff. Without that stuff, you'll probably only be able to sell to friends and family - sort of under the table and out of the eyes of the government, which is how many do get their start but not one that you should do for very long.

I would suggest that you attend some craft shows and fairs in your area and scope out anyone selling something similar to what you intend to make. Watch what people touch and look at vs what they buy vs what doesn't even get a looksee.  Wait until there's a bit of a lull and see if you can get the crafter talking. Find out if they are having a good day or a bad one - some shows are just bad all around and nothing sells others may be good for selling X but not Y, etc. I met a painter who said that different parts of the country tend to buy different colored paintings so don't assume it's the craft and not the customer or location that is causing something to sell or not sell.

You're also going to have to decide if you can make the same item multiple times or would rather make primarily one of a kind items. From what I've seen, a blended approach can work well.

What sort of crafting do you do? Maybe you could get some more specific feedback. Another approach might be to find folks selling similar things online and check out their About Me pages - many crafters share their journey from hobbiest to professional right on their sites.

Good luck whatever you decide.

« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2011 08:34:36 AM »

I don't even know what we have for craft fairs around here ( live in a small province, in a smaaaall town). And I would only be selling online. I would be selling clothes sooooo...yea, online would be easier.

I always had people telling me I should sell my clothes, but I always said, never gonna happen because my first thought was mass producing the same pieces in different sizes...then I found out about Etsy.

So...really, I would want to start out as a business because I'm still young (only 19 in a few months) so I don't want to jump into something so serious. I still have to get settled and a full time job just to pay bills before I can start doing this. So I know for myself alone I'm just doing it as a hobby to hopefully draw in some extra cash...but I do hope to do good enough that I can make it a business.

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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2011 05:38:57 AM »

Well technically, I guess I started as a hobby. I've been doing hand embroidery since I was a kid, I started making my own clothes as a teenager and I started really really crafting about two years ago.  But I think I've made the leap from hobby to business a little quicker than most.  My "day job" is waitressing, which is something that pays the bills but doesn't keep me very happy, and since I graduated university last April I really needed something more.  So ta-da!  What else is there really to do with a fine-arts degree in a small city?  So I'm really pushing myself now to launch my art-based business, and I am taking it really seriously.  But I do already have some education in small business/ accounting as well as my degree in art (which makes everything a lot easier!)
I plan on registering my business name in the summer, but since I won't be making more than $30,000 I don't need to file for a tax number (at least in Ontario).   
But, I guess I am still in that sort of limbo stage between hobby and business.


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« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2011 01:14:16 PM »

I've done a couple of businesses, both started as hobbies.  The main things you need to form it up into a business aren't hard, but can get tedious.  You need to keep your receipts for taxes, both for supplies and your sales, report income monthly (at least in my state), and advertise, advertise, advertise. (If online, then you need to deal with web design, and making sure you have a way to collect money securely and have good descriptions and all that too.)

My county loves small businesses so it's a dollar to register as a business and another 10 to register a business name. I hated dealing with the monthly income receipts (especially when the amount was a big fat goose egg).  And I'd rather be crafting than doing marketing. So the last time i started a jewelry business, I did a little better than breaking even, but eventually closed down as the paperwork became overwhelming.  But i know whenever I feel up to the challenge again, $11 later and I'm in business. 

If you love making something and think it might sell, go for it. you can start small with very little risk.  My advice would be to either team up with someone that likes doing parts you hate (marketing, web content upkeep...whatever) or at the very least educate yourself in the basics of whatever you plan on doing yourself.

You may start and sputter along and close, but the experience alone will likely be worth it.  That way next time you understand the obstacles you faced before. 

« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2011 08:03:46 AM »

Personally I started as a hobby, then went into business later (well, I say went into, I am literally only just starting out as business, but this is my "story so far" as well as what I know I need t do next).

I started out making jewellery and wearing it myself, generally just because I didn't ever find what I wanted in shops or I knew I could make it cheaper than buy it.. Then friends started commenting and "oohing"at it.. so I started making it as gifts for friends, then at Christmas I gave my friend a cupcake necklace and things boomed from there! She wore it all the time, and is a Roller Derby skater, and all her friends kept asking about it, and she basically "pimped" me out!! A week or so later I got an email from her derby team captain saying she loved my stuff and did I want to do a craft stall at there next home game.

She gave me a few months notice so I googled and googled till I could google no more looking for hints and tips (ending up here more than a few times too so this is obviously a huge resource!) and I made as many pieces of jewellery as I possibly could. Every single night I was making things, and I spent a small fortune on supplies, but my first stall was a success with a ready made fan base and by then an army of people recommending my jewellery.

I'm now really pushing to make this my one and only full time job (I'm currently still working in an office job full time, but feel like I'm doing 2 full time jobs at present!!!) my website is under construction but nearly finished, my business cards are designed and will be sent to print come pay day, and i've booked my next stall and looking out for more!

My brother bought me a "do it yourself" style legal pack about going self employed (he is self employed and said it covered everything i needed) and that had all the hints and tips and forms and templates you could imagine, and i don't think it cost him much (i'm UK based, and he got it from WHSmiths - but i'm sure there's hundreds out there). I've also set up a separate bank account so that I can ensure I keep all my finances separate - it will then be SO much easier when I get an accountant and pass tax stuff over to them (i'm not risking doing my own and messing it up).

I also bought a book that was called something like "making money from your craft business" by craft inc, and it had some great interviews and hints and tips on pricing, approaching shops etc etc.

Every evening I spend a minimum of an hour on my business, and every weekend 5 hours minimum.. and that time doesn't include googleing for inspitration, or browsing, that is time actively doing something. Proactive work. I make sure at weekends I plan what i'm going to do each day (monday - 1 hour website development, tuesday 1 hour pres pack design etc).

It's a long and hard journey starting your own business, and it' such a shame that at the moment I seem to be spending more time promoting and doing budgets and spreadsheets that I do actually creating but if it means I can do this thing that I love for a living, then it is certainly the path I want to take!!

I could go on and on and on and on about the steps I'm going through at the moment, but I tend to ramble, so i'll stop and if there's anything specifically you want to know i'll answer as best I can!!

sorry for the ramble!! Smiley Smiley Smiley
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