Do What You Love: Turn Your Handmade Craft Hobby into a Business

Heart ringAre you ready to turn your crafty passion into a career?  Taking the big step of forming a business from your hobby can be overwhelming, so I've developed this list to help you on your way.  It includes tips for creating a website and logo, as well as other hints for your new venture.

Create a Logo

Once you've decided to take the plunge, you'll need to make a memorable logo, avatar (small square logo) and branding for your business.  If you have graphic design experience, you can do this yourself, but if not, I suggest hiring a professional (or a qualified and willing friend). Graphic designers are typically used to creating logos and more, so this will give your branding a more polished look. 

Make sure your logo reflects your products and aesthetic in every aspect, from the color scheme to the font.  For example, if you make mostly pastel-colored scarves, it wouldn't really represent your brand if you had a logo that was all primary colors with block letters.  A better choice would use soft colors and a more delicate font.

Visit this IndieMade resource article for more ideas on how to create a standout logo that works for your business.

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Make a Website

Now that you've picked a logo and some basic branding for your handmade company, it's time to put together a website!  The purpose of a website is slightly different for each crafty business and should be tailored to your specific needs. Do you want to sell your work online to the public? Provide information and terms for your wholesale clients? Or do you just want a place where you can post photos of your creations and blog about your craft? (Check out this resource article for more thoughts on what to consider when creating your website).

If you want to sell your wares online, a great shopping cart system is essential, so look into different options for adding this to your site.  (On IndieMade, the shopping cart is built in, through Paypal, so it takes no extra effort on your part to set that up.)

Next, think about how you want to design your site. Hiring a professional can save you a lot of time, if you're not web-savvy, but it's not absolutely required. Today, many website hosts (including IndieMade!) offer pre-set template themes that do much of the design work for you and allow for quick and easy editing. If you're an IndieMade customer and not sure where to start, our Quick Start to Your Website handbook page will get you up and running quickly.

Register as a Business

Since you've made the decision to take your crafty hobby to the next level, you should register as a business, both nationally and within your state, before you start making sales.  Every state, province, and country is different — a quick Google search can turn up the tax rules and regulations for your location. Fellow crafters in your hometown, who've been in business longer than you, can also be a great resource to guide you through the process of making your business legal.

Usually a minimum sales amount separates businesses from hobbies, so check with an accountant or tax preparer if you're not sure which category you fall into.  After your paperwork is all sorted out, you’ll be able to create a separate bank account for your business expenses and sales — a must in case Uncle Sam ever decides to take a closer look at your tax return!

Buy Supplies in Bulk Quantities

Eventually, you should invest in large amounts of supplies at one time instead of buying them as you go. This applies to both raw materials for making products and shipping supplies for sending out orders if you sell online.  Once you absolutely know you want to continue using a particular supply, order it in a larger quantity for a discount — or, sometimes, even free shipping.  Then you don’t have to continuously buy it again and again and can focus on other tasks.  Cross-check prices for your materials among a variety of suppliers, and you will often find a better deal.

Doing what you love while making money is the best feeling in the world, as long as you take the proper steps from the beginning.  Now that you have these tips for evolving your fun hobby into a working business, you'll be on the right path towards running a crafty company!   

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Comments

Diane

Really good advice. Especially about buying in bulk. I am working on my website now. Since I don't know coding or Photoshop yet, I bought a WordPress template from ProPhoto. and I found a logo on etsy. The seller put my name in it for me. And I bought templates for all my marketing materials to match the site. The whole thing cost $350 dollars, plus a subscription to the Creative Cloud, so I can tweak things a bit.

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