Home-based Business and Crafts, not for me.

Three years after arriving at The Woodlands, TX.  I was still adapting to the stay-at-home mom thing. I recall learning all kinds of crafts, from painting to jewelry, crochet, and herbal remedies. I realized I could have a small home-based business and get an income out of it. Well, at least I thought I could.

A “Crafty” Home-Based Business

I’m not a salesperson. Thus online sales made more sense to me, Etsy was starting at that time, so I jumped right in! Took some pictures, uploaded some products, and voila! E-shop was live.

I made $35 the first week, $62 the second, and $213 the third. Still, my starting costs were above average, the materials to prepare herbal remedies were expensive because I wasn’t going to buy bulk, I was just starting, so it was complicated to keep up with production at a reasonable price. And the jewelry was beautiful, but it was hard for people to see my stuff. The ones I sold were literally “word of mouth” or trunk parties, and of course, family helping during Christmas. 

After seven months of investing nearly $2,500 and just making $450 -give or take- I closed the e-store and went back to daily chores, and keeping my budget on track after all the investment I needed to repay. 

Yes, every home-based business starts the investment with a credit card, that’s how you control your start-up. Spending alerts and credit line, keeping you accountable on your goals. 

If you don’t meet your goals, you know you only have X amount of money to keep the business afloat, when you reach that point is decision-making time. For me it was easy, I owed $2,500, and I needed to pay them.

handmade jewelry mia joia

What went wrong? 

  • Different products, 
  • Lack of focus on my strategy.
  • No marketing knowledge.
  • No networking, or the wrong one.
  • I was the Chief Everything Officer, including goffer, janitor, accountant, designer, you name it.
  • No family support, emotional yes, I had my cheer squad, but on the house chores? Nope!

What did I learn?

  • Focus on fewer products.
  • A home-based business needs lots of support from your family.
  • Tasked children and husband with chores.

“Tote”ally Home-Based

A year later, after I paid the credit card, I decided to start a new venture to let go of my first failure as a crafty mommy. This time the idea was tote bags with hand-painted quotes, less investment more creativity -I thought it was “tote-ally” amazing. 

I made a dozen. It took me three weeks to make them, a couple of days to upload the images and start promoting them on Facebook, lots of likes, thoughtful comments, but no sales, not a single one after a month. 

I was so frustrated and confused, they like my things but didn’t buy them. Was it the price? The quotes? The quality? I asked the people to post comments for feedback. It was about the kind of quotes I chose, they wanted custom made, not just a quote or the design was not exactly like the postcard I was inspired by (hello, copyright!).

Despair, confusion, and a sense of worthlessness, that’s how I felt, but I kept going since I had ten more blank totes to paint. Taking into account the feedback, I created more intricate designs without quotes (I was not willing to deal with custom orders again). The totes started to sell.

I eventually sold all the totes I made. All 20 of them. This time it just took me 8 months, $360 for materials, $25 for the e-store, and I got a profit of $115.

I made $14.37 per month, worked my brains out designing totes, the craft per se, and the online selling.

What went wrong?

  • Labor intensive product, it took me about a week to do each tote, plus the finishing lacquer needed another 24 hours. 
  • Creativity and copyrights, I had to be extremely careful where I got my inspiration from and how to “adjust” individual masterpieces, so the creative process also took some time.
  • Time-consuming and not enough profit after all.

What did I learn?

  • I have a particular taste for design, not everybody’s cup of tea. My niche is tiny, and the price was average. Custom orders were a possibility, but I had previous bad experiences, so I didn’t pursue that path.
  • Beautiful product, can’t commercialize, so it has to remain as a hobby.
person taking a painting
Photo by Jure u0160iriu0107 on Pexels.com

I Stopped Making Crafts.

After many months of getting rid of the inventory, I stopped making crafts for good, now I invest time decorating my home and teaching my teenagers some HomeEd rather than DIY failures.

At least they will know how to survive in college and do their taxes.

I put aside the idea to transform my hobbies into a home-based business and decided to write my thoughts away. I don’t consider writing a job, but a pleasure. Researching and writing is my thing, I can stay up until past midnight and wake up still energized and ready to keep writing, I’m into that.

I’m deeply involved in social causes, so besides writing, I’m a volunteer, and I’ve had the honor to be selected as a mentor for young women professionals.

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