It's impossible to state here every single thing you'll need to do to get your new business off the ground; books have been written on the subject (Brabec's, for instance). To get her Ardenvoir, Washington, handmade soap business started, Cheri Marsh created a name and logo, designed an e-commerce site, and created a line of products. And though she's been in business for more than four years, her challenges haven't ceased.
"I live about 80 miles roundtrip from the nearest town," says Marsh, who started The SoapMeister LLC in 1997 after friends and family expressed interest in the soaps she created for her sensitive skin. "It's very difficult to find raw materials and near impossible to have them delivered. Juggling manufacturing in with everything is a challenge, as the soap must cure for four to six weeks prior to sale; that entails estimating needs two months in advance." To combat these challenges, Marsh plans to relocate and expand her business so she can have easier access to potential employees, manufacturing materials and offline customers.
So take a long, hard look at your favorite hobby before you decide to turn it into a business. Do you want to associate accounting, fulfillment, licensing, marketing and all the other components of a successful business with what you do for fun? If the idea of the public enjoying your handiwork and you taking charge of your own life via your craft makes all the hours of research and hard work worth it, then get going. The world is waiting for your artistic touch.
Ready for some serious research? Start with these resources:
- The Crafts Business Answer Book and Resource Guide by Barbara Brabec
- Home-Based Business for Dummies by Paul and Sarah Edwards and Peter Economy