Monday, November 17, 2008

Enterprise Nation: from hobby to shedworking

This week's column from Emma Jones of Enterprise Nation is all about transforming your hobby into your home business:
We’re seeing something happen in the world of home business; every day we hear from people turning their hobby into a way of making a living. This is particularly so for people with a passion for arts and crafts. If you’re in this market, whose lead do you follow and what to do next?

We’ve profiled many a crafty entrepreneur on Enterprise Nation! And, of late, many of them have taken their hobby for arts & anything handmade and turned it into a profitable and home based business. Eloise Hall is a perfect example. Whilst working on a hat design, she started to play with butterfly shapes, mounted and framed them to brighten up her studio and saw the beginnings of a business as visitors wanted to buy them. She’s now successfully running ButterflyButterfly from her sales room studio. Rebecca Shreeve’s hobby for creating textile creatures for kids started whilst she was at University. The hobby has developed, as has Rebecca’s business that’s called Quirkles and is run from her parents' home.

These, and many other hobbyists, show it’s perfectly possible to earn by doing something you love. Take a couple of steps and you could be too. Firstly, show off your work to friends and family; to neighbours and people in the local area. Put a price on your work and promote the fact that it’s for sale. It’s a great way to test the market and get the business up and running. Make sales, increase production, ask for customer feedback and keep on improving the product and your business process.

When you feel confident enough, move on to a national/international stage and open yourself up to a bigger audience. There’s never been a better time to do this and never been so many sites to act as your sales platform. Check these out for starters: – still the mother of all craft sites, this American platform is stylish and powerful – a UK start-up launched in September ’08 yet already swarming with home business bees – passionate about being champions of cool crafts and design talent – featuring independent British designers – a sales and store place that’s spreading fast across Europe

Experiment with these sites and test out the one that suits you most. As sales flow in, have the resource in place to scale up and meet demand. This may involve calling in other crafty folk to help out with production/wrapping/customer care. Which is good news as it means others can share in the fruits of your hobby too!

Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation, the home business company, and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’

Monday's posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists.Click here for more details.

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