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If there is a passion, skill, or hobby that you love to dedicate time to, you have probably wondered whether you could be making a living out of it. Additionally, the challenges we have all gone through in 2020 caused us to rethink our lifestyle, job security, and life passions. So, if you have started to think about what it would be like to work from home and make a career out of your hobbies, this might be the right time to try it.
Indeed, technology has enabled us to connect, sell, market, and advertise any product to any audience. Whatever skills you have been cultivating over the past years, you can start offering them to a paying target market. Just ensure you are clear about your niche, audience, and product – below, you can find a cheat sheet to get your new business off the ground!
Create Your Own Shop on Digital Platforms
In the past, the only chance for you to sell your arts and crafts would have been opening a brick-and-mortar shop. However, today, things have changed. And, even if you are not so handy with building websites or programming, you can still have a fully-functioning, responsible online shop where your customers can browse items and pay in all safety and comfort. However, it is essential that you find the right platforms!
For example, sites such as Etsy or Amazon can help you get started and reach a vast audience. However, if your crafts fall within a particular category, you should look into dedicated sites. For example, if you create knitting patterns, you might be able to sell them on local knitting sites.
Use Social Media
If you have been dedicating time to your hobby just for the love you have for it, you might not even think about putting images of your creations on social media. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that social media are affordable, accessible, and extremely powerful instruments for creators who are launching a new product. Therefore, you should consider turning your personal handle into your business’ storefront – or create a new dedicated page altogether! You won’t need to be an expert social media marketer to get started – but you understand the importance of developing your marketing and communication skills.
Create a Small eCommerce Website
While some sites such as Etsy can help you get started, you might also decide to have your own eCommerce websites. While larger platforms might increase your products’ visibility, it is also vital for your customers to understand who is behind the brand. Investing in a small site can have endless benefits, including:
- Giving you the chance to tell your story
- Speak directly to your customers
- Answer personally to inquiries and questions
- Fulfill each order for the best customer service
- Better understanding your audience
Today, you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on someone to create a website for you. Indeed, there are many tutorials and courses available that can help you keep the cost of running a website lower than $500 a year. While this might seem an investment at first, it is nothing compared to the overhead costs of launching a brick-and-mortar business!
Understand Your Target Market
Many small business owners believe that understanding the target market, customer persona, and best communication channels is only for larger or established companies. However, it is essential not to make this mistake and understand who you are creating a product for! For example, if you have identified your target audience to be young families, local households, and adults between the age of 25 and 50, you must also understand what their needs and wants are. For example, it has become apparent that today’s leading trends include sustainability and service personalization. Make sure your products respond to this trend and fit in the range of products your customers are likely to engage with.
Learn More About the Basics of Running a Small Business
If you are launching your business, that is because you wish to leverage your passions and hobbies and make a living out of it. However, creating beautiful pieces of art or useful crafts is not going to be the only way to success! Undoubtedly, finding your niche is crucial, but you should also not overlook the importance of understanding how to run a business practically!
For example, you should create a detailed business plan, have a business bank account, be clear about your budget, and learn how to send an invoice. And, it is even more important to understand how to do all this with minimal expenditure of resources and finances. After all, your main focus should be on propelling your business forward, not keeping up with compliance! But since the two aspects have to coexist for a company to be successful, make sure you are clever about the systems and strategies you use!
Be Mindful About Materials and Tools
In the beginning, you might have the time and resources to shop for every material and tool you need to create your arts and crafts personally. However, once your creations become more popular, you might find that the volume of orders makes it difficult for you to spend that much time on each piece! In this case, you should consider how to be smart about the suppliers you pick and the resources you use!
If you wish to put an accent on sustainability and local resources, you might still find the best suppliers in the area. However, you should make sure you can count on your suppliers to have available the materials you need to create consistency in your offer. If you are just about to launch your business, make sure you are exploring the various options.
Continue Developing New Products
Creating crafts for the love of that art is undoubtedly different from developing products to sell. And, once you have built a solid customer base, you should consider developing new products and models so that you can keep your audience engaged. Don’t forget that keeping returning and loyal customers have many benefits for a business. Indeed, returning customers show loyalty, which means that they might act as ambassadors for your brand and spread the word. Additionally, attracting new customers can consume much more time and resources than just inviting loyal customers to buy again.
Create a Smart Pricing Strategy
Launching a home-based business can pay off and offer you the lifestyle you have always wanted to have. However, it is important to understand what your pricing strategy is and what return to expect on each product sold. It is also essential to know how much your target audience is willing to pay for your creations. For example, if you are creating a luxury product, you might increase the profit margin and spend more on sustainable or exclusive materials. Oppositely, if you are creating budget alternatives, your pricing should dictate the kind of materials you will be using.
Don’t Cut Back on Marketing.
Marketing can represent a considerable expense for any business owner. However, no business can really survive without the right marketing campaign. Even just word of mouth can be enough for the right product and in the right market. However, until you find the ideal channel of communication between you and your audience, you should invest resources and time into testing different routes.
One of the most obvious choices is social media channels, including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. However, don’t forget that your blog and the use of local SEO strategies are also important aspects. Make sure you increase the reputation and visibility of your business through your message. You can also increase your audience engagement with the right contests and giveaways.
Be Mindful About Packaging and Shipping
When you are dedicating time to your hobby for fun, you might not need to think about how to package it or ship it. However, when you start to sell your arts and crafts commercially, you should start thinking about the kind of packaging and shipping method you want to have. These elements will allow you to create and maintain consistency – so your customers know what to expect!
Put an Accent on Sustainability
Sustainability is an incredibly important trend that no business should ignore – from small local stores to multinational corporations. Embracing sustainability is vital for a company to operate efficiently and with minimal waste or environmental impact. However, it is also crucial for a brand to remain competitive and appealing. Indeed, consumers are always more concerned with the environmental impact of their lifestyle choices, and they are always more interested in buying sustainable and local products.
So, if you already have a core niche, product, or concept for your business, you should consider making it more sustainable. Shopping for local supplies, eliminating unnecessary packaging, and avoiding the use of plastic can help. One of the latest trends to consider is made-to-order items to reduce waste and inventory.
Consider Connecting With the Community
No business can survive alone! So, if you are just in the process of launching your concept, make sure you have involved the local community in your initiative! You can do so by giving away free samples or always having your stall at the local market. Deciding to donate some of your profits to charity and helping local associations can also help your business create a valuable and positive reputation.