I’ve been talking about opening an Etsy shop for a few years now. Every time I make something crafty and then give it away, I can’t help but reflect on the process and daydream about how much fun it would be to craft for a living. Choose my own projects and tailor them to my talents, make my own hours, have complete control over all design and production aspects, bask in all the rave compliments I would receive, cash big checks. Totally easy, right?
Well, of course it’s not. I’m certainly not naïve enough to think that starting a business—any kind of business—would be a simple and painless endeavor. For one thing, I’m a creative. I don’t do “business” stuff. Budgets? Business plans? Bookkeeping? Taxes? Might as well be speaking Martian.
The fact that sites like Etsy exist certainly takes a portion of the fear out of the equation. Or, at least it gives me a place to sell my wares and reach countless people who would otherwise never see my creations. The rest of that “business” stuff still looms. Still have to carve out space in my already crowded home to serve as a studio. Still have to take the time to make quality products. Still have to register as a business. Still have to collect and pay sales tax. Still have to make sure I make a profit. Yikes.
Second, I still have a day job. I don’t want to give up working full time—steady paychecks and benefits are things I’m simply not willing to sacrifice. Finding time to manage a crafting business outside of the standard workweek is a daunting idea, and I don’t even have kids!
Despite all the doubts, I realize that I can’t let all the scary stuff hold me back forever. So in the last several weeks, I’ve slowly started the ball rolling on getting my shop opened. My makeshift studio is set up in the basement, materials have been purchased, and a small inventory has been finished. I’ve got some idea of what to charge for what I plan to sell, and just have a few more (not-so-small) details to sort out.
To start, I will be selling lined/padded treasure chests like the ones I’ve given as baby shower gifts. These won’t be cheap items, and I have my misgivings about how much someone will be willing to pay for them. But I won’t know until I put some up in the shop, right? After that, I hope to add a greater variety of projects like greeting cards, personalized design services, 6-man Parcheesi boards, and maybe even magnetic perpetual calendars. Until then, I’ll be taking baby steps and hoping for the best. I just hope the water’s not too cold when I jump in. 😉
If you’re a crafter who has dealt with similar trepidation about opening a shop and starting your own business, feel free to comment with any stories, questions, warnings or encouragement you have. I just might need all of it. 🙂