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Did you have to read the title of this post twice? I know I’m normally everyone’s cheerleader for starting their craft business, but today, let’s have a quick chat about starting your business before you are ready.
Why am I writing this post? I see it every year: You received a Silhouette or Cricut for Christmas, along with a few supplies. By early January, you are in business and starting your own online shop. While I commend your eagerness – it’s likely that you just aren’t ready. Here’s why:
6 Reasons to Wait to Start Your Craft Business
- You don’t know the machine. It doesn’t matter whether you received a Silhouette or a Cricut. If you’ve only been using it for a few weeks, you don’t know enough about it to sell products. Sadly, most crafters find this out when their machine jams, refuses to cut, cuts too deep, and so on. If you give yourself time to experiment and explore your machine, you’ll naturally learn how to fix it when it isn’t working quite right.
- You don’t have a niche. Maybe you got the machine to make tee shirts, maybe you are interested in making cups. What I’ve found in working with thousands of craft business owners over the years is that most of them found their niche in something that isn’t what they thought it would be.
- You don’t know enough (if anything!) about design copyrights, trademarked words or phrases, or commercial use licenses. Just like anything else, there are rules you have to follow if you plan on selling. Before you start your business, take time to learn the rules. Of course, the Cutting for Business blog is a great place to start.
- Your family isn’t ready for your commitment. Have a lot of free time? Love spending it with your family? It’ll be gone. When I ask craft business owners the number one thing that they didn’t expect when they started their craft business; over and over I hear it’s more time consuming than they expected. I truly recommend sitting down with your immediate family and discussing your choice to start a business.
- There’s a lot of competition. I am not going to lie: there are certain areas in the craft marketplace that are saturated. I’m talking thousands of crafters offering not only the same products, but the same exact designs. It can be difficult and frustrating to try to break into one of these areas as a newbie. Always remember, uniqueness sells – and it sells well.
- Your first projects will suck. Hate to be bold, but it’s true. While the first projects you make will certainly hold a special place in your heart, they will be nothing compared to what you will make in a year from now.
So, how long should you wait? While it differs for every crafter, I recommend at least 6 months of daily use of the machine. I feel that in that time, you’ll have time to learn the ins and outs of your machine, perfect your products, and do research about starting your business.
Remember, you wouldn’t give a person a stethoscope and call them a doctor. You don’t give a person a Silhouette or Cricut and call them a craft business owner.
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Since 2015, Christine Schinagl has been helping crafters start and run craft businesses through her blog, Cutting for Business. As a Silhouette and Cricut crafter herself, she has a unique take on what works and what doesn’t work in the craft business world. She also teaches a course on creating digital SVG designs, available at How to Design SVGs.
Tuesday 9th of May 2023
Very helpful. I own a yarn shop and can relate to your story. I would add that eBay or Shopify should serve as training grounds before launching a website. It takes 3 years and $25k to launch a craft website selling products. Burnout is real. Consider using contractors and keeping yourself home based if possible. And follow this blog.
Monday 7th of January 2019
Thank you for this article! You nailed it. Simply owning a piece of equipment does not come close to providing you with tools and knowledge to run a legitimate business. One other tip I'd add is this: Yes, there are many FB groups and other online resources for information, but please don't pop on these groups as a newbie and expect everyone to spoon-feed all the answers. Many of us spent countless hours in graphic design classrooms (I studied GD before computers!), visiting government offices & calling tax authorities (internet didn't exist yet), playing with hardware and software, relying on face-to-face marketing (no social media, either), and spent a LOT of money learning, practicing, and perfecting... please don't expect us to turn over the results of our efforts.
Tuesday 9th of May 2023
@Christine, Well put! I learned how to knit in 1984 and didn’t go into business until 2005. I’m still in business today.
Tuesday 8th of January 2019
I'm in complete agreement!