Starting a home based craft business can give you the luxury of avoiding a long commute, building flexibility into your day, and having some control over your work environment.
But working out of the home is not without its challenges, and it is crucial to learn how to work from your home effectively if you are serious about growing your home based craft business.
I have been working from home since 2005. The first few months were a bit of a shock, and I needed to make some big adjustments. But since then, I've learned a lot about working effectively from my home.
When you start your home based craft business, ou may have visions of bringing your laptop out to your sunny backyard with a cool drink beside you, and lounging on your deck chair as you write up your marketing plans.
That sounds pretty great, it's a little fantasy of mine, but it is a far cry from how I really work.
Running a home based craft business can be more a matter of sitting in your spare-bedroom-turned-home-office/craft-studio in the twenty spare minutes you have between disciplining your kid and doing the dishes and letting your tea get cold as you work out the math to figure out how you spent so much money on supplies that month and try to resist the urge to shove all of your receipts in a shoe box and tell yourself you will most definitely organize them later.
Most of the time, it's somewhere in between those two extremes, and with some good planning, you can minimize the stresses. For me, the freedom to be flexible with how I use my time, and the satisfaction of building something that is my own from my own creativity and hard work is well worth it.
I started trying to work on my jewelry wherever I had space and do my computer work in an area that was completely open to family activity. Big mistake!
You might get away with having a less defined work space if you live alone and are very disciplined, but if you live with other people or are easily distracted and not naturally organized (sounds like me), you really need to find a dedicated office and/or craft studio space in your home.
Your office and/or craft room does not have to be expensive or huge (unless you need to accommodate large projects or equipment), but it is important to give yourself the space, tools and equipment that you need to work efficiently.
Another shock I had when starting to work from home was having no technical support and no administrative support. It's amazing how much you rely on your colleagues in a traditional work environment, and how much you miss those people when they're not there. Learning to work without administrative and technical support when you are used to a more traditional work environment can be a bit of an adjustment.
When you work from home, you never leave work, so it's easy to let your work creep into every aspect of your day.
To avoid burnout, most people need to set boundaries around when they will and will not work on their business.
Having one specific room for business related activities can help you to separate work and personal time when you have a home based craft business.
If you use your home computer for both business and personal reasons, you might consider creating two separate user accounts on your computer, one for personal use and one for business use. Separate accounts can help you keep your business documents organized, and help you to separate business from personal in your mind when you are on your computer.
Logging in to your business account can serve as a clear sign that you are working on business, not surfing on Pinterest or Facebook (unless you're working on your social media marketing), and when you log in to your personal user account, you're doing personal things, not business.
Sometimes, when you have a home based craft business, it can be difficult to get friends and family members to respect the fact that you are working and running a business.
This can particularly be an issue if you don't have a regular "day job" in addition to your craft business.
I find people don't understand what I do all day, so they think I'm not really working. I often joke with a friend who also works from home, that we are going to start to tell people we are architects or lawyers, then people people will believe we are really working all day at home.
They might see that you are not off at an office, don't have a boss enforcing deadlines and have a certain amount of flexibility in your day to day schedule. As a result, you can become the one who is called on for favors in the middle of the work day.
Many people choose to work from home in order to have flexibility and to be more available for others during the day. However, it will become important to find ways to strike a balance and set boundaries to ensure you have the work time you need to make your business successful.
When starting a home based craft business, the idea that there is no boss who is placing demands on you can be very appealing. However, you will still have deadlines, goals and responsibilities and many bosses in the form of your customers.
In order to stay focused, it will be important to develop long term goals, ideally in the form of a business plan, as well as short term goals.
As the owner of a home based craft business, you will be the only person who is responsible for keeping an eye on the day to day deadlines, like meeting with a customer as well as the longer term deadlines, like getting your product, displays, photographs and paperwork ready in time to apply to a great juried art and craft show.
Planning and writing down short and long term goals will help keep you on track to meet deadlines and achieve goals.
Here are some things I've learned about achieving goals while running my home based craft business:
Importance of Time Management
Discover why it's worthwhile to implement some good time management strategies into your business.
Tips on Time Management
Five practical strategies for managing your time more effectively.
SMART Goal Setting
SMART is a goal setting acronym than helps to remind you of the feature of effective goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. IF you formulate your goals using those criteria, you will create effective, achievable goals for your business.
Home Based Craft Business Goal Setting Tips
Tips on effective business goal setting to ensure you accomplish exactly what you want from your craft business.
Setting Business Goals That are Within Your Control
Strategies for setting business goals that are effective, motivating and help move your business forward.
Have you developed some good strategies for working from home effectively and managing your time while you run your business?
What tips would you give to someone who was going to start working from home?
What surprised you the most about managing your time when you work from home?
What is the most challenging or most rewarding aspect of working from home?
Share your tips about working from home here!
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