Do You Have a Business or a Hobby?

It was about 9 years , while answering questions about PR and what other things I could or should be doing to promote my jewelry business and products, that it became clear to me as a craftsperson that I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing as a “business”.

I was very into what I was creating and producing, but the thought didn’t go much past making enough items to sell at this fair and others. It seemed like many of my fellow crafters were on the same boat.

We had no concept about proper pricing or “scalability”. Talking to anyone about a niche market was like speaking Russian because I didn’t know who my target market was, much less to whom I was selling to. I like many of my creative friends, didn’t even know that to grow our businesses, we needed to think this way.

I realized that there has to come a time – and hopefully it’s early in the process- where the decision will be made whether your venture is going to be a business or a hobby.

If it’s a hobby, no need to read further as no more thought needs to go into it – cost of goods, ROI, PR & marketing – none of it matters. The creative person will get a lot of pleasure out of making an item and that will be their reward – they’re not trying to make a living out of it. They’ll sell a few things and give their friends and  family lots of great presents.

But if you want your craft to pay your bills, you need to think of it as a business.

It means getting clear about your service or product and what it is, getting clear about who your customer is, making decisions that will move your business forward, and getting the help and advice you need to do all of the above.

Some things to consider:

1. Read some books that give you a good idea about Business Basics. 

2. Find a mentor and join a networking organization. Picking people’s brains isn’t enough. You need accountability and support.

3. Get a handle on your PR, marketing and promotion. If people don’t know about you, they won’t know about your product or service, therefore you can’t make money. 

4. Find out who your target market is, then build your marketing strategy, media outreach, and events you do around that consumer. 

If you’re passionate about what you’re doing you’ll have no problem succeeding. Starting your own business is challenging, mind-bending, and a lot of work. With a positive mindset and a support system in place, you will conquer the world.

Did you turn you hobby into a business? What helped you decide? How has your journey been?