self-employed

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melsbells
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self-employed

Postby melsbells » Mon Jun 13, 15:25 2016

I've been thinking about becoming self-employed in fiber arts. I haven't settled on anything specific yet. I'm still trying to access my skills and what I would need to do to make this viable. Is anyone up for sharing their experiences as self-employed or as a seller of their handmade goods?

Isabella357

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Re: self-employed

Postby Isabella357 » Tue Jun 14, 9:44 2016

I started a small business making Mexican tacos (aka street tacos, carne asada tacos, little tacos) and quesadillas this year. It was originally a combination of employing my husband and ensuring I had a steady taco supply in an underserved market. I had no idea what I was doing, so I just sort of started googling really basic stuff about how to do the paperwork and banking stuff. Turns out, it wasn't really as bad as I thought. I did an LLC for the ease in transferring ownership and to protect the $16 bucks in my personal savings account. All I had to do was send a simple form with my basic information and what I wanted to call my business to the Secretary of State (SOS) in Montana (or whatever state you live in) to register. If you have employees or just want to use an ITIN (individual tax payer identification number) instead of your personal social security number, you can apply for one online at irs.gov once you have your paperwork back from the SOS confirming your business name and company type is registered. Pretty much any bank will open a business checking account with just that basic information.

As far as the management and planning goes, I still have no idea what I'm doing, but I am able to make the payments on the truck we bought to do this in, so I guess I haven't technically failed ....yet. My day job is a financial analyst/planner/manager, so I am literally pro at forecasting and margins, but that all goes out the window when you have no idea what your demand is and no historical data to create a baseline from. hahaha I would say that I'm keeping it pretty simple for now, trying to sell for more than what it cost to make, but in the long run I have some pretty specific goals and metrics I would like to meet. I think I read an article once that the biggest mistake that people make in being self employed is that they pay themselves more than the market would (essentially overpay themselves). I suppose I am still getting joy from this (and lots of discounted tacos since I let myself buy them at cost), so I don't mind working a taco truck during my lunch hour(s) for free...yet. I have sort of decided that it would help my husband keep busy and meet people in a new state while giving me an opportunity to learn something new and useful. We've accomplished that much, so I consider us at least on the path to success.

I know that a taco truck isn't the same as fiber arts, but I think the initial paperwork and start up concerns are universal in all new businesses. I'd be more than willing to share any further information or answer specific questions if you like. I would also love any bits of advice or to hear from somebody that has a successful or thriving business.

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Charli!
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Re: self-employed

Postby Charli! » Sat Jun 18, 13:47 2016

I attempted to support myself making glass lampwork beads- making the beads was the easy part, but selling them was hard! Setting up a business involved a lot of red tape, and money (in the UK). Before actually being a a business I'd made all my jewellery to be silver or sterling silver- but never hallmarked it. As a real business I had to hallmark things, but the setup fee was like £400!
So, ignoring legality for a bit, I got myself some insurance (that was only £30!) and started doing craft fairs. I picked fairly local ones, and they weren't the right ones. Everyone thought my stuff was too expensive (at £25 a bracelet), people were amazed I'd made the beads and I'd do demos and things, but people didn't buy very much. I put some pieces in shops- but they'd double my price to enable them to make a profit and I wouldn't sell much. I didn't do big enough or prestigious enough shows.

I think the main problem was too many people around here doing 'art and crafts' as a hobby and selling below a sustainable price. they didn't need to charge for their time so my stuff looked really expensive. Or maybe it was that I wasn't upmarket enough, I was aiming at the 'craft' rather than 'art' sector. Also this was 6-odd years ago, in the middle of the recession!

I didn't lose money, but I didn't make any either- certainly not enough to actually live on. i also really hated selling, having to explain to people why my handmade glass beads that took hours to make one by one were worth more than plastic walmart jewellery. I don't want to sound like it was all bad, I picked a really bad time to try it, and I didn't personally enjoy the important bit.
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Re: self-employed

Postby HelenGreene » Wed Jul 13, 0:35 2016

As you I also thinking of becoming a self-employer. Thanks for sharing your experiences here.

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Re: self-employed

Postby melsbells » Fri Jul 15, 14:05 2016



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