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Earning a living from Crafting

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  • Earning a living from Crafting

    Hi all,
    I know this might be a sensitive subject but I am wondering if anyone here will admit to what they earn from running their craft business full time or if you don't want to say, would you at least say if you took a pay decrease to set up your business full time if you were previously employed.

    I am working full time at the moment and earning good money (£20K) as an administrator but I really want to go full time with my wedding stationery business. I just don't know whether to take the plunge. I would be willing to take a drop in income but not too much and it is so difficult to know whether it would pay off. I can't afford to have no income coming in although I wouldn't mind a small decrease if it meant I was doing something I enjoyed. Or should I just stay employed full time and do the stationery business as a hobby which brings in a realtively small amount of extra cash each month. Although this is a catch 22 situation because if you're not doing it full time, you can't devote the time needed for people to take you seriously.

    What do others think - is it worth the risk? Do you earn a good living from your craft business? I am especially keen to hear from anyone else who runs a wedding stationery business.

  • #2
    I would personally recommend that you put a proper detailed business plan together to see if your craft business could sustain your lifestyle on its own. If not, then you need to build the craft business up part time until you are at such a point that it makes sense to drop the job and concentrate full time on the crafting.

    I left a £40k a year job designing airports to set up my personalised card and wrapping paper business but I had the benefit of an enhanced redundancy package behind me, and I most definately am not earning as much as I was in my previous job and so do contract CAD work to bring in extra money and pay the bills. However, I expected this since my business plan forecast a loss for the first year and I had factored this into my plans.

    So I personally wouldn't give up the day job unless you have to or unless you have such a strong business case as to justify it. Also remember that wedding stationary is likely to be quite seasonal so may not sustain you for the whole year.


    • #3
      I would have to echo what woodspirit said - you need to build your business whilst still in employment if you can. I am just about to become fully self emplyed but I have other income streams to help boost the craft business in the early days.

      As well as concentrating on my craft business I will also be welcoming forign students into my home and teaching them english! I am sure I will force a few beading lessons on them as well!!
      Hello Beads Online Bead Shop- "Little Things, Great Joy"


      • #4
        And it dosen't really matter what the business is... Almost all business don't make a profit in the first year so how can you live ?

        Then again many very small businesses can make a profit would a tiny one ...

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        • #5
          You might want to consider reducing your hours at work if you can rather than jump straight in - it'll free up more time for your craft business but still keep a steady income into your bank account. When I initially went part-time me and hubby did a business plan plus a detailed break-down of all our monthly expenditures to see if it was viable. We eventually we did the same calculations for me going fully self-employed - certainly not earning yet what I was when I was employed but we're paying the bills and mortgage (just) and I'm way happier...if a little poorer.

          As someone else said though weddings are quite seasonal so make sure you factor that in to any calculations. I'd say go with your head not your heart when deciding.
          Visit Natty Netty for a huge selection of Iris Folding supplies


          • #6
            Can I have your old job please?


            • #7
              I only started my business after having to give up work due to ill health, I would never have taken the plunge otherwise. I had excellent advice from the local Chamber of Commerce but I really don't know when I will actually make a profit/enough to live on. I'm lucky, I have a supportive partner and am still entitled to some benefits, due to the nature of my incapacity.
              I agree with what has been said before i.e. try working part time, earning enough money to support not only yourself but also the financial demands of a new business & try to get all the help/advice available when putting together a business plan.
              At the end of the day, you've really got to enjoy it, or, it really isn't worth your while....Good luck.

              "One must have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to a dancing star."


              • #8
                I would agree it is a huge step to give up a job and keep your fingers crossed you'll make enough to live on. I would recommend running both together until you know there is a market and an outlet for your stationery.

                I was luckily enough to not be working in order to bring up my young family. Now they are a little older I have enough time to devote some of it to running my business. I do this alongside bringing up my children and doing the day to day house stuff. I would suggest you go for it, but take it slowly, keep your job to start, then if possible reduce your hours, build up a client list and then take it from there. Many craft fairs, wedding fairs are on at weekends and evenings. When I took the decision to give up my job to look after my family, hubbie and I went through our finances to see what we could cut back on. If you want to do something its worth making some sacrifes.


                • #9
                  do i need to register my company name

                  hi there im in the process of opening my owm website can anyone tell me if i need to register as a company to do this


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by audbod99 View Post
                    hi there im in the process of opening my owm website can anyone tell me if i need to register as a company to do this
                    This is called 'hijacking someone else's thread' please don't do it.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for all your replies and great advice - much appreciated!

                      I think I like the sound of staying at work, getting the stationery up and running, see how it goes and maybe go part time at work - best of both worlds until I know how viable it is going to be.

                      I am exhibiting at a local wedding fair next weekend so I am hoping that will give me an idea of potential business. This will be the first time I have really gone out there properly sold my designs so fingers crossed!


                      • #12
                        Hi i agree with everyone else, i started my business just over a year ago and dont make enough to live on yet although i am getting there slowly. We have my husbands wage to live on so i could afford to give up my previous job to do it full time, but its a long hard process. I would say dont give up the day job yet till you have built up the other enough to be able to afford to give up completly.

                        good luck

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                        • #13
                          I agree with Heavenlygirl.

                          Unless you get a huge trade order in your first year, you won't earn an income.

                          It's taken me about 18 months to get my first big trade order, and even now I'm going to find it hard to get enough money together to buy enough materials to fulfil their order (that is until they pay me!)

                          Don't mean to scare you off doing it, just trying to be realistic.

                          I certainly don't think you'd get anything close to what you're earning at the moment.
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                          • #14
                            Hi, I have been working on my wedding stationery business full time for 8 months now. I am lucky in that I dont need to make a profit for us to be able to manage financially.

                            At the moment I havent taken any money from my business, all profits go straight back in for advertising and paying back the initial start up costs. I have invested quite a bit of money in equipment. There are a lot of people making wedding stationery so you have to make sure yours are really well made and a bit different to compete.

                            One of the problems with the wedding industry is that brides tend to plan well in advance but are reluctant to book too far in advance and tie up their money in the deposit so it can take a while between launching your business and actually receiving your orders.

                            Building your business prior to leaving work would be the best option. Most of the orders I have recieved have been placed 6 months or more prior to them being needed, if your orders are placed over a similar time scale then it would give you opportunity to hand in your notice if your business looks like its taking off and you need to create more time to fulfill the orders.


                            Ps I've just realised this is the third of your posts that I have replied to tonight. I'm not stalking you (honest), Ive not been on for a while so just catching up.


                            • #15
                              Hi guys,

                              I know this thread was started a while ago but I'm relatively new and this thread is really relevant to me.

                              I'm working full time at the moment but I'm more or less hating every minute of it. I wouldn't say that the job itself is bad but I just HATE the daily grind and doing something that I'm not particularly interested in or have a passion for.

                              I started making jewellery and stuff a while back and have had good feedback. I know that I would love to do it full time but its such a big step.

                              To add to what newcrafter24 asked at the beginning, how much are you actually doing to make sales? I.e. do you rely on the website and sites like Etsy, do you sell via local gift shops or do you spend a lot of time at fairs also?

                              I've babbled.

                              I'd really appreciate your comments on this as I'm really considering going for it but need some advice from those that have lived and learned...


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