You're a creative person and you really enjoy beading. You have so many pieces of beaded jewelry – at least one piece to match every outfit! Every family member and friend of yours has been given a piece of beaded jewelry on one occasion or the other. Everyone admires your beaded jewelry; everyone tells you that you should sell your work. You've seen other people's work in gift shops and some of yours is definitely better than what you've seen. So you think maybe it's a good idea to start profiting from your quite expensive hobby. You could be working from home as well as earning some money.
No-one can tell you whether or not to start your own home-based beaded jewelry making business. You have to take into consideration the cost of the materials, as well as the cost of your time. Very often, we forget how long a piece took to make because we are so wrapped up in the enjoyment of making it. You might also be a very creative person; however, a terrible business manager. The business side is almost, if not more, important than the creative side. You might consider taking on a partner to do the numbers side of the business. If you are no good at numbers, then you will find it very difficult to make a profit from your skills. A partner might be able to help you price your pieces, as well as work out your costs.
A difficult problem you will have is costing your work. You want to obviously price for profit. The best way is to add overhead, materials, labor and your profit in order to reach your desired price.
Overhead includes your rental, supplies and utilities. A simple way to work out your overhead is to determine the indirect costs (overhead) and then calculate an hourly rate for them.
Materials is your direct cost of the beads, findings and raw materials. It is important to buy your materials from wholesalers even though you might need to buy some things in bulk.
Labor is worth money and you need to charge for your time; however, you cannot place a management hourly rate when you are merely doing the menial jobs. If you are hiring someone to help you for $10 an hour, then that is the cost of labor per hour.
Profit will allow you to expand your business – it's the money that you make that will make you more money. If your business is not making profit, then it is not succeeding. In order to calculate your profit just double your selling price because that is what the stores will be doing to you. If you sell a necklace to them for $100, they will sell it for $199. Profit and labor are not one and the same!
I suggest writing a business plan before you start. Take a piece of paper and write down the pros and cons opposite each other. Research is also an extremely important thing to do before you start. Check out your competition at stores, vendors and websites. Decide how much money you are prepared to spend on opening your business: advertising, materials, etc. Check if it is viable to open this kind of business.
Before you decide how you want to advertise your work, you will need a logo. You also need to make up some text best describing your work. Photographs of your product are also recommended (make sure these are professional photographs – you want to show your work off to it's best advantage). It is very important to remember that your ads always display your name (logo), address, phone number and website (if you have one).
There are many medias for advertising your business: the most common ones are radio, television, the Yellow Pages, brochures, direct mail, magazines, newspapers and specialty advertising.
Radio is good because commercials are very difficult to avoid listening to; however, there are so many radio stations and commercials can be prohibitively expensive.
Television is generally the most effective medium, but it is the most expensive: usually out of reach for a small business. Another con is that you cannot show your work on a radio and also the time is very limited.
Whereas the Yellow Pages is your most basic type of advertising, in my opinion, the ads are mostly ignored. You would think that because the Yellow Pages reaches a huge portion of the population that it is worthwhile; however, I have found that it very rarely brings any clients.
Brochures are an effective way to advertise as they can be relatively inexpensive to produce and fairly easy to make. They can function as a portfolio for your work; they have the most space for detailed text. It is worthwhile showing off your work in full color, even though this is more expensive.
Direct mail can cost a lot and be time consuming, but it can target the correct market for your work. You can also have photographs showing your work and plenty place for text. One of the major cons is that clients today are flooded with junk mail and therefore sometimes don't even look at your ad. It is very important to make your envelope stand out from others and also to address it personally to the client (preferably in handwriting).
Magazines can be effective because their target marketing is most precise; however, there are usually so many well-designed, color ads that the client skips over them all. Rates for magazine advertising are also rather high.
Newspapers remain among the most used media for localized advertising; however, they are expensive, short-lived and their quality is usually poor – doing a disadvantage to your work.
Specialty advertising includes promotional items such as pens, magnets, etc. (anything with your logo on it). Clients love receiving free things, but many are overwhelmed with the same type of things (how many mugs can one person own!). This can be an expensive way of advertising as there is usually a minimum amount for purchase. If you can think of an original way of promoting your work, then go for it!
The best advertising is free: word-of-mouth advertising. It is passed on by clients who know you and your work, have worn it and recommend it. It is the kind of advertising that your good reputation gets. As the saying goes – the client is always right. Work on your person skills and it will always pay off.
Work out where you would run your business from – you cannot use the dining room table every day and clean up after yourself every evening. You need storage for all your materials and you need place for your taxes and record keeping.
It is very important to set goals for your venture. You need to set short-term and long – term goals. No-one can run a successful business without knowing what will be tomorrow, next week, or three weeks from now. Continued success depends on knowing where your business is leading you. Time management is a crucial factor in your business too. It is always recommended to make lists – that way you won't forget something important that would surely slip your mind. Keeping a daily planner and a monthly planner can be very helpful.
Unless you inherited money or married rich, it's most likely that you will have to work for a living. Why not make a career out of something you love to do? I'm not telling you it's going to be easy, but it's definitely doable. If you want it to happen, you can make it happen! Just believe in yourself and your skills!