Baby Steps for a Budding Business

Posted on 21. Dec, 2012 by in Finance

Do you have a hobby that you love, but can only work on the weekends and evenings off work? What if the hobby could be turned into a profitable business, meaning you could earn money doing an activity that you love? This is something that many people have done. Whether it’s cushions, hats, bags or glass jewellery, with a bit of enterprise and commitment you could see it turn into a thriving business. This is what I did, creating a bag-making business in Reading which is now entering its fifth successful year.

So what are the first steps?

Get online: This is the number one step to expanding a business. Get yourself an e-mail address, a Facebook page and a LinkedIn account. A Twitter account is also beneficial – once you get some followers you can update them on the design or making of your latest product, and even post photos to show the process. This will make your business seem active and thriving, and the more you create a buzz online, the more people will ‘like’ and ‘follow’ just to see what’s going on. Once you’ve created some social media for yourself, put your products on Amazon and eBay and wait for the sales to start!

Local craft fairs: To get yourself a bit of starting money, cart all your stock down to the nearest local craft fair. Not only will this establish you locally, the revenue you get from selling even a few items will outweigh the cost of getting there, so why not? This is also a useful way of doing some research – take a note of what products sell well, and from that you can work out how much stock to make of each design.

Ask for help: If you happen to have a PhD in Mathematics you should be fine, but for most people trying to make money from a creative hobby, chances are the financial sides of things will baffle you. This is nothing to be ashamed of! Dealing with the books, taxes and payrolls (if you end up hiring help) is not only complicated and confusing, it’s also incredibly time-consuming. If you still have your day-job to make ends meet, you need to be using your limited spare time to be making stock! I used an excellent chartered accountants in Reading who not only took all financial responsibility off my hands, they even taught me how to deal with money myself in case I ever needed the skills (and were very patient when it took me ages to understand!)

These are the baby steps you must take in order to establish yourself as a business. Once you’ve done these, it’s only a matter of time before things start to get off the ground. Then you can quit your normal job, take the business on full time and then expand. Then, of course, it’s time to sit back, relax and watch the profits of your creativity roll in!

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