In the past month, I’ve had several conversations with quilters and fiber artists about how they view their “businesses.” Several really don’t think of themselves as business people. They are happy to share their work/skills and don’t think about the money beyond meeting their expenses. Is this running a business? Not really; it’s supporting your hobby. And, if that’s what you want, that’s perfect for you. If, however, you really want a business, here are some tips:
1. Start to think about how you view your business and work on your mindset if needed. Do you buy into the starving artist mentality? Why? A business is supposed to make a profit. It’s not a bad thing. Is your business structured to do that? And, are you ready, willing and able to do that?
2. Consider how others view your business. Do people think you are running a successful business? Or do they think you make quilts or art for fun and sell it on the side? You might look at how other business people view you vs. how your family and close friends view you, too. Do you have established routines and discipline or do you invoke the solopreneur’s version of “writers’ block” to run an errand or go shopping? Do you want other people and your family to view you as a business person? And, if they don’t, does this affect how your view yourself?
3. Do you know your numbers? It’s critical that you know how much money is coming in and how much is going out. You need to track these numbers and use the information to make decisions about your business. If you don’t understand your numbers, The Professional Quilter is currently running a terrific series by Sue Tucker, who is the CFO at Studio 180 Design.
4. How do you structure your day? Remember back when you had that corporate job. You had tasks to complete. Your role had a place in the company and its profit structure. Now that you are on your own, the freedom is great. That freedom, however, imposes a requirement for discipline. If you used a planner/calendar at your corporate job, consider adapting the same or similar system now that you run your own business. Committing the appropriate time to your business will make a difference.
Running your business is much harder work than pursuing your hobby. It’s just as much fun. And, in the end, it has the possibility of being much more rewarding.
Please share your thoughts below.