So, you’re ready to turn your creativity into cashflow? If you’re here, then I’m sure the answer is yes. But, before you start passing out those freshly printed business cards or taking Facebook orders, ask yourself these 10 questions to see if you’re ready for the leap.

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1. Do you have the money to finance this new business venture?

Depending on your business idea, start-up costs can vary drastically. If your product is digital, such as selling party printables, ebooks, svg designs, or clipart, your start up cost will be relatively minimal. I started selling digital invitations on Etsy and it cost me nothing to begin. However, as I began to explore other ideas, sublimation printing, wall decals,  journals, photobooth rental, baking and treat making, the costs added up. Also, keep in mind the costs do not end at the initial purchase. Consumables (i.e ink, toner, vinyl, paper, shipping supplies, etc) and maintenance can become a large on-going expense.  Make sure you’re able to foot the bill.

2. Do you have storage space for your new supplies?

Never underestimate the amount of space your equipment and supplies will take up. Whether it’s in your garage, a spare bedroom or shed outside, you have to have storage space, otherwise your living room or kitchen will become over run with crafting supplies.

3. How will you gain customers?

Word of mouth is great, but make sure you actively market yourself/talents. Joining facebook groups has been a great way I’ve gained more customers. I made over $300 in 1 day, just from a single picture showcasing a new backdrop design in a party facebook group (Oh, and I literally didn’t have to do anything besides design on my computer because I outsourced the printing). Also don’t forget local craft shows.

4. How will you showcase your products?

Be sure to take plenty of pictures in natural light (next to a window preferably) and just say no to flash. If you don’t want to actually create each product because you have various designs, photoshop smart objects mockups are PERFECT for this. You can display your designs in realistic settings. Imagine your design on a baby wearing a onesie, or your custom  ornaments hanging from a Christmas tree. Have 20 different designs, no problem. No need to waste inventory when you can create mockups on the computer. Also, be sure to watermark your designs so if someone sees your image, they know who made it and how to contact you.

5. Have you set pricing?

A question I always hear is “how much should I charge for…” That is the worst question you can ask anyone, because there is no clear cut right answer. It all depends on YOU. How much you value your time and how much your supplies cost, no one knows but you.  Also, this would be a GREAT time to clearly set any discounts that you may offer “FAMILY 10% OFF” “BULK ORDERS 5% OFF” or completely decide against it.

A quick equation to help: if it takes you 15 minutes to make something you can calculate it as  your 15 minute rate + cost of supplies = your price or if it takes you an hour to make calculate it as your hourly rate +cost of supplies = price. But never negotiate your price. It does a great disservice to your business. If you give one person a discount, they will share what you charged them and anyone they refer will expect the same price.

6. How will you take payments?

If selling anything physical, paypal is good or selling through your own shop using shopify, woocommerce, stripe or even a marketplace like Etsy (get 40 free listings for your new shop using this link). You can use cashapp as well, but I think buyers are leery of that option. However, if selling digital items I recommend against paypal. Opt to sell them in a marketplace like Etsy, or through your own online shop. The reason is Paypal does not protect digital sellers.

7. Are you ready to troubleshoot?

You just received a large order and you have to make 35 personalized shirts for a family reunion. Suddenly your cutting machine goes wonky. You have to know how to troubleshoot your machine to get it back up and running. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a local backup. You shouldn’t view other people in your industry as  competition but as potential collaborators. Hopefully, if all else fails, you have a local crafter who could step in and take on the task you need help with.

8. Have you worked out shipping and delivery?

Shipping can be a tricky thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Before taking on any out of state orders, already have shipping supplies and costs figured out. What might cost $8 to ship to one address may cost $15 to ship somewhere else. If it’s local, are they picking up or are you delivering? Are you meeting? Have a plan in place that makes sense but also keeps everyone safe.

9. How will you handle customer service?

Email, phone, text, DMs? How will you interact with your customers? Customer service is very important. It’s also important to know how you’ll handle certain situations. Be sure to have a turnaround time/refund/exchanges/cancellation policy in place and visible prior to accepting customer orders.

10. Is there a demand for your product?

Last, but certainly not least, you need to sell a product people want to buy. I use google trends, keywords everywhere and erank to determine how many people search for a particular product each month. This is tremendous information to have. For example, if 8,000 people are searching for Taco Twosday for a second birthday party and there are only 1200 products being sold, you definitely need to add Taco Twosday to your to-design list.

I hope after answering these 10 questions you know if you’re ready to start selling. If not, no worries, take your time and start small. If you are ready, can’t wait to see what you’re creating!

 

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Check out these 10 questions to ask yourself before starting a creative or craft business

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