It can be a daunting time when you decide to turn your craft hobby into a business and it's often difficult to find the information you need so the idea of this business tips course is to help you find that information and gain knowledge of how business works.
Now before we start I want to make it clear that I am a crafter and in no way a business expert nor trading as a business advisor, however, Downland Crafts has now been running for over 5 years and that means myself and my husband Tom have picked up a few things over the years that I will attempt to share with you approximately once a fortnight over the next few months. You should also note that we are based in Ireland so the knowledge we'll be sharing will be in relation to businesses based in Ireland, I would imagine that a lot of countries will operate in a similar fashion but please check with your local authorities in case your requirements are slightly different from ours.
I'm involved, and indeed run, a few pages and groups on Facebook that deal with many different aspects of the crafting community from hobbyists to fully fledged businesses. This allows me to see things from lots of different angles and yet the same questions seem to pop up time and time again. That is why I decided to start this course of business tips to help answer some of those questions and clear up some of the confusion out there. I plan to talk about pricing, copyright, social media, keeping accounts, outlets for selling your makes, trade sales and more but first of all let's talk about making your business official.
As soon as you start selling your makes you are legally required to register for tax regardless of whether this will be your main income or not. You will most likely be setting up as a sole trader which is a simple enough procedure by submitting a TR1 registration form and you can then submit your tax returns under self assessment each year. Visit http://www.revenue.ie/en/business/running/registering-tax.html#section1 to register your new business for tax. We'll go into more detail regarding tax in a later post.
I would advise that you also register your business name with the CRO, this can be done online very easily. Visit http://www.cro.ie/ena/business-registration.aspx to register your business name, it costs €20 to do this electronically or €40 for a paper filing. By registering your business name you will legally be able to operate a business under that name plus you will also receive a certificate with your business number and protect it from being registered in your country by anyone else. This is a must if you want to open trade accounts down the line with suppliers as you will often be asked for your business registration number.
There is lots helpful information to be found on the Citizens Information site including how to identify your own business type and plenty of links for more detailed information http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/types_of_employment/self_employment/setting_up_a_business_in_ireland.html
Every thing I know has been learnt as we went along and yes we made a few mistakes along the way as I'm sure you will too. A lot of what you will do in the beginning will be experimenting with different materials, methods of construction, advertising strategies and more until you find what works best for your particular niche of the craft market.
Well I'm gonna keep it short and sweet for this first instalment as I don't want to overload you with too much to start with. In the next instalment we will be tackling the question that comes up the most in our Facebook groups, pricing. It can be a minefield so I'll do my best to explain it without jargon or too much waffle.
If you have any questions, or something to add you are very welcome to comment below.
Until next time...happy crafting