Are you thinking about starting your own handmade business?
In this post, I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of starting a handmade business so you’re prepared for both the really fun and exciting stuff that can happen, but also the ugly side of things. Keep reading.
Hey there, my name is Mei and I help makers, artists and designers create a consistent income from selling their handmade products online.
If you're planning to start a handmade business or even if you've already got one but you still feel unprepared and you’re not sure how things are going to go, I want to share with you the comparisons on the wonderful pros and awful cons for your handmade business. You'll have a head start before you even dive into this new adventure.
Flexible Work Environment
The first pro is you get to work from home or you can work from anywhere that’s convenient for you, and that is a dream come true for most people.
There’s no hassle going into your car, or riding public transit and spending hours every week just to get to work.
- You get to be in the comfort of your own home
- You can sleep in when you want
- You can take a nap when you want
- You can even work from your bed, if you want to
Those are just a few of the benefits you get when you work where you live.
You control that life.
- You can take time off whenever you want
- Go on vacation
- Take a trip to the craft store
- Make your own lunch
It can be an amazing life.
Even though working from home can be great, it can be detrimental to work in the same space that you live in.
You probably have a pretty big stash of crafting supplies, right?
You do need some extra space in your home to store those supplies, equipment, materials, packaging boxes, bubble wrap – that can be pretty big.
It can quickly feel messy and if you’ve ever read or watched Marie Kondo, you’ll know that messy spaces can take an emotional toll on you.
The key would be to be as organized as you can after each project. But, let’s face it, we all know we have multiple projects happening at once, so maybe, clean up after every working day, so you can start with a fresh, clean space on the next workday.
When you have a successful handmade business, you can reap the rewards of profit from your sales. As your sales go up so does the profit you gain.
This is so nice and why we call this financial “freedom”. All the restraints of making an income (the income ceiling) are removed.
Compared to being an employee working a regular nine to five job, you will always be paid a certain, fixed amount.
On the other side of that coin, you now have a ton of financial obligations.
Every business needs to start with some capital even if you’re a tiny handmade business selling for fun on Etsy.
There is no longer such a thing as running a business for free. It’s actually kind of expensive to run a business.
I don’t recommend starting your own business to anyone who needs to make those sales to pay for bills, put a roof over your head, or to put food on the table.
If you’re in that situation, the best thing you can do is to get a stable job.
Unfortunately, this might even become a sacrifice for some of you. Especially if you need to use your personal savings, retirement funds, or investments for the expense of daily living expenses or for your family’s needs.
For other people, they make take out a loan.
Not to mention, it does get really tricky, especially if you’re not fond of numbers or money management, to do proper accounting and cash management. Keeping tabs on your finances is so important, otherwise it’s easy to start leaking cash and you’ll feel like you’re not bringing home any money even though you’ve made some sales.
Believe me, I have been there myself several times and it’s not fun.
You're in Control
You are your own boss.
When you’ve got your own handmade business, you’ll be the one to make decisions for almost all of the operations. You get to decide. You get to call the shots.
You don’t have to consult with your boss or answer to a supervisor. You control your own life and your career.
This can be super liberating and empowering.
This control can be really frightening for some of you, depending on your personality type.
When an idea comes to you, people tend to just dive in without proper planning or thinking about the long term outcome of that decision. This can lead to potential failure.
There is a lot of trial and error and experimentation when you work for yourself.
There are risks, and to avoid them as much as possible, proper, strategic planning is essential.
Just give some thought as to the possible outcomes, do research, and listen to other business owners that have gone through similar experiences and see how they were able to make it work.
Even the simple action of knowing your goals and knowing what destination you want to head to once you start your journey can help.
You are a Creator of Opportunities
When you have your own handmade business, you become a creator of opportunities. These are opportunities in your local community or even in the online community.
You are now in a position where you can employ help and hire people and give them jobs. But not just that, but you’re also providing solutions for people that need your products.
You are helping the society and its economy as a whole, whether or not you realize it.
Even when you purchase materials and suppliers from your vendors. Those products had to come from somewhere, and there are lots of people behind that process that you’re supporting because you’re buying their stuff.
The con to that is there is definitely a lot of risks involved when running your own business.
Risks are inevitable in business and in life.
- You risk your ideas and products getting copied
- You risk meeting and making unhappy customers
- You risk making business decisions that go south
- You take financial risks
All of this is why I encourage you to have some capital when you start a business.
On the bright side, as you go along in your journey, you will learn if you’re open to learning. You will develop effective ways to solve even the most taxing issues at hand.
I mean, think about how much brainstorming and problem solving Mark Zuckerburg or Elon Musk had to do in establishing their company and how they were able to overcome problems, especially when no one knew who they were.
You will find your way. The most important thing is don't give up.
Most of you will birth a business out of passion for the craft you make.
It’s a hobby for you, whether that’s jewelry making, knitting, sculpting, or painting.
I remember when I first started my business, making my miniature food jewelry was all I could think about. I even failed school exams because crafting was all I could focus on.
If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.
A lot of people ask me what I like to do in my free time, and honestly, I love working on my business. It’s fun and I’m passionate about it. Most people don’t get that.
Having said that, I want to make a point that there is absolutely no shame in starting a business just for the money and because you see the potential.
Even if passion was not a part of that equation, that doesn’t make it wrong.
It’s still a job, and it’s not a bad thing to get paid for it even if you have no personal interest in it.
It is very challenging to find that perfect business with that perfect ideal customer and audience.
Sometimes, starting a business purely out of passion, doesn’t always guarantee you’ll make sales because you may not have any demand for those products you make.
So just take the time to learn who your customers are and that will give you some idea of what kind of business you want to start.
Research is very important and it can take a lot of resources, whether that’s energy, effort, money or time, to ensure success for your business.
You Have SO Many Options
There cannot be a better time to start a handmade online business because you have so many options for setting up your shop.
It is so easy to get started.
There’s Etsy, Amazon, Shopify, Wix, SquareSpace, and that’s just naming a few of the places you can sell on.
There are also new platforms out now that help connect you and potential brick and mortar store buyers to buy your products wholesale. It used to be that doing wholesale meant you had to work with sales reps or a showroom or do a trade show which would cost thousands of dollars.
Now you can just sign up for a free account on sites like Faire.com where they put your products in front of potential retail buyers and when you make a sale you just pay a commission.
It’s just really time-consuming to run a handmade business.
You have to make your products, package and fulfill orders, do customer service, promote your business, post on social media. The list goes on.
Manage your time well or you can hire help.
Those are all the pros and cons for this post and by no means is this an exhaustive list.
I would love to hear from you, if you are currently running your own business, what other pros and cons can YOU think of. Let me know in the comments. And if you’re still concerned about starting your business, comment below and we'll see how we can help you.