For a creative individual like yourself, few things beat the idea of starting a business from your crafting pursuits. You love making things, and the idea of making a living out of that is your ultimate dream. You’ve even tried it a few times and seen some minor success. But, despite your best efforts, you’ve always struggled to earn enough this way to quit the day job. You look at other successful creatives and can only wonder what on earth they do that you don’t.
In reality, the reasons for success in fields like these aren’t always obvious. Sometimes, getting it right is about nothing more than knowing the right people. That said, there are certain manageable things which could be holding you back. This is especially likely if you’ve seen some small success which never got going. That’s a sign that people are somewhat interested in what you’re offering, regardless of your connections.
Instead of giving up on your dream, then, it’s past time you considered whether you’re going wrong in the following ways.
You’re never brave enough to sell solo
We’re fortunate nowadays in that platforms like Etsy make it easier than ever to sell creative wares. Whether you paint or make jewelry, you can set up here for a small commission. This is an easy and efficient way to appeal to an existing audience. It’s ideal for testing whether a product has the potential to succeed or not. But, it can fast become a trap if you aren’t brave enough to break away. Few creatives earn a large enough amount from Etsy stores to do this full-time. Setting up on a platform like this does, after all, have its downsides. The small commission, for example, won’t look so little if you start taking a fair few orders. People are also unlikely to remember your company name in particular. You may, therefore, miss out on word of mouth marketing. In case you didn’t know, that’s a pretty big loss.
With that in mind, it would be fair to say that Etsy is a fantastic starting point, but that’s all it should be. Once you begin to see some success, it’s essential that you break away and start selling solo. Only then can you make a name for yourself. You may want to keep your Etsy store open as you direct those customers to your new solo site. Either way; knowing when to go it alone could be make or break. As a general rule, you should do this when your sales are at their peak. Make sure, too, that you think long and hard about your website design and domain name. Even loyal Etsy customers will soon turn away from you if your web design is all over the place, after all. Do your research then, or use a platform like Squarespace which makes things easier. Unlike with Etsy, such services still allow you to operate under your own umbrella.
You’re too precious about your process
It’s also well worth mentioning your creative process and how it holds you back here. We get it; your art and craft matter to you. You don’t want to lessen your products by compromising on the way you make them. It may be that you want to make each piece of jewelry by hand, for instance, or knit those jumpers the manual way. That’s fine until you consider how many orders you would need to turn away to see any success. Even with a team of other creatives onboard, there’s no way you could hand make enough products to pull a profit. If you want to make this work, then, you need to consider investing in some production machinery. That doesn’t have to mean that you lose your company integrity. You still get to hand pick the machines you use, after all. Note, too, that attachments like the cement carbon metal cutters you can read more about here ensure you can still perfect intricate designs. What’s more, those designs will still be your work. You’ll need to draw them out before inputting them into your machines. And yet, doing things this way means you can at least triple your output and profit. So, it’s crucial that you let go of that precious feeling here. If you take your time, there’s no reason you even need to compromise your ethics to tackle this.
You need to get even more creative
It’s also worth asking yourself if your idea is unique compared with others on the market. It’s entirely possible that your failure to succeed here is because you haven’t found a niche. Your knitted jumpers may look fantastic, but are they all that different from others on the market? To some extent, of course, there are always going to be competitors around you. That isn’t a bad thing as it pushes you to compete. But, you don’t stand much chance of winning the battle if your products don’t offer anything unique. Could you shake things up by using wool no one else does? Could you develop a jumper design which is a little bit different? Small changes like these could well be all it takes to pave a positive path for your products. If you haven’t considered this before, then, you should start researching as soon as possible. With most creatives now advertising online in some way, you should find it easy enough to see what’s out there. Once you know that, you can get to work with breaking those norms.
You haven’t spared a thought for marketing
It’s also possible that your failure to launch comes down to nothing more than a lack of marketing. You aren’t a business as such at the moment, after all. It’s possible you thought you could take care of that after seeing some success. In reality, though, this is not a chicken or egg situation. Marketing should always come before success. If it doesn’t, well…it’s no wonder you’re still heading to the office for your 9-5.