How I Got Learning About Running a Handmade Business
In the past month or so, I’ve mentally and emotionally been thrown so off-kilter by the coronavirus pandemic and the loss of our closest friend through it, that my ongoing story about my business journey kind of stalled. So this week I’m picking up that thread again.
Through 2018 and 2019, I had the idea that I wanted to turn jewellery making into a business, but I was still working full time in a corporate environment. I was very much looking forward to being my own boss, nobody giving me crazy deadlines or sabotaging my day with random demands. But I was only seeing the rosy side of things. Being my own boss was actually a lot more difficult than I imagined.
In my world of jewellery making, I had nobody telling me what to do. That was great, until I realised that this meant that now I needed to know what to do. And not just know what to do to make jewellery. That was relatively straightforward, as long as I stayed within my skillset. But making jewellery and running a jewellery business are two totally different things. Even with my limited business knowledge, I knew that.
If you've read my previous posts, you would have guessed by now that I'm an insatiable learner, so of course I feverishly embarked on another learning mission. I went absolutely podcast crazy. Podcasts while cooking, podcasts as I went to sleep, even podcasts as I watched TV. I could tell, my family thought I had become a crashing bore, talking about nothing other than this podcast or that.
I found that a lot of the podcasts professing to teach you how to run a business are mostly motivational ra-ra-ra pep talks that say things like “If you can dream it, you can do it.” No. I can’t become the next Dalai Lama. No matter how much I dream about it. Others focus purely on how to make lots of money. You know the ones I mean. The "I went from zero to 3 million in five short months" ones. Well, that’s nice for those who achieve it I'm sure, but that’s not all I was about either. And then I finally stumbled across one that suited me to the T.
It was called the Create and Thrive podcast, and is run by a lady named Jess Van Den, with a lovely, soft, Australian accent, that I absolutely love to listen to. She had a calm, reassuring voice, didn’t appear to be crazy about money, and what I liked most was that she had a huge level of tolerance for all sorts of people who wanted to achieve different things from their businesses. If you were focused on money, that was okay; she just said that with a handmade business, it could take a while to generate a substantial income. If you wanted to keep it as a small side-business, she understood that too. The podcasts focused on all handmade businesses, not just jewellery, but that was fine. There’s enough in common on the business side, regardless of whether you’re making jewellery or knitting scarves. In fact, I became such a fan that I’m now a member of her community called the Thriver Circle. It has workshops, Facebook sessions, calls and much more. And best of all, she doesn’t make it sound easy, because it isn’t. I now know that it’s a lot more difficult to run your own business, however fledgling, however tiny, compared to working for someone else. But more on that some other day.
That then, was how I started to learn about the business side of things. My gosh, there’s so much to learn. Branding, marketing, photography, social media, ideal customer, SEO … the list is endless. But you know what? So far, I’m loving every minute!
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