Starting your own business can seem frightening to anyone but it can be doubly as scary when involved in a creative passion such as jewellery making. Not only is your skill as an artist under scrutiny but also your ability as a successful businesswoman.
To that end, we have done some research and collected the following great tips about prospering in the creative industry so you can make money while doing what you love.
10 Tips for Making a Living from Your Creative Jewellery Business
Here are ten top tips for maximising the income from your jewellery business:
1. Treat Your Creative Passion Like a Business
It’s easy to sit back and focus exclusively on your creative pursuits and little else but not so realistic if you expect to earn an income from this. Yes, it is possible to make money as a handmade jewellery entrepreneur but you must remember that it is essential to address the business side of the endeavour as well as the artistic side.
This doesn’t have to be undertaking a university course in accounting but a solid general knowledge and understanding of the importance of sales and marketing can go a long way.
2. Expand Your Education
Bounds of creative talent, a drive for success and supplementary study of the jewellery making process may get your foot in the door but it may not be enough to help your business flourish for years.
Consider reading up on such essentials as accounting, marketing strategy and sales to further increase the earning potential of your creative business endeavour. A basic knowledge of accounting can save you money in being able to handle your own finances. Likewise, a solid base knowledge of marketing will help you know how to present your business better and market yourself to the right audience.
Starting with some short community colleague courses for small business owners can be a great introduction to topics, developing business skills and growing your network. If attending a business skills course is challenging then starting looking online for some courses that you can do in your own time and space.
3. Learn to Sell Yourself and Your Craft
It’s often difficult to picture yourself in a salesperson role if you have no prior experience but it is vital to adopt appropriate marketing tactics and be seen in the business world. The good news is there are a range of avenues for you to sell your designs, from online to jewellery parties to markets to wholesale.
The better sales skills you develop the better your business will grow - any business will grow faster with a good salesperson bringing in the orders.
Websites like Etsy have made it very easy to create an online shop, figure out your target consumer and take charge of your salesperson career. With the advent of the internet, online selling and marketing has never been easier and more lucrative and all it requires is the right amount of online networking and support.
4. Consider Honing Your Jewellery Making Skills
Usually natural talent and mere interest aren’t enough to make it in the creative business industry. Just as jewellery design courses offered by tertiary education institutions such as TAFE can go a long way in turning you from a mere dabbler in the craft to an experienced artist so too can the business skills courses can make the difference between success and failure.
It's true that running a business can be incredibly time-consuming but higher education can be done in person or even via correspondence if time becomes an issue. An in-depth understanding of the creative process of jewellery making could lead you into unexpected and rewarding directions for your business.
5. Network With Artists, Writers and Buyers
You cannot succeed in creative business if nobody knows who you are. This is why social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter have become so important in assisting successful small businesses and maintaining creative communities. Find other artists or crafts people whose work you like or feel may complement yours in some way and acknowledge them on Twitter – some are likely to return the favour.
This can result in a massive mutual increase of contacts and when these people become fans of your work, they also become your unofficial advocates and are able to generate valuable free online marketing for your business.
6. Advertise Yourself
However, often before your creative business gets to the stage where it is selling itself via social media, it is necessary to invest in advertising through other means.
Google is now the most frequently used search engine in the world and strategic planning and investment in a Google search index could take your website or online shop higher up the list of related keywords, thereby increasing the amount of traffic and the amount of customers who browse your wares.
7. Get Used to the Fickle Market
The handmade jewellery market and the economy in general can go through frequent fluctuations. You may have a good sales month and several bad months – learn to recognise the patterns and adjust your business plan to fit accordingly.
For example, if a certain material you use when making jewellery goes up in price, either limit its use or substitute it for something else. If certain costs rise during a particular month, find the reason why and eliminate the fault or work around it.
All businesses have busy and quiet periods during the year so make sure your cash flow is managed well enough to cope with the seasonal cycles as well as the unexpected downturns that can hit successive selling opportunities. This is why having multiple sales channels such as your own online store, etsy, jewellery parties etc are important to ameliorate income drops in any one particular area.
8. Commit to Your Craft
Being interested in jewellery making is simply not enough to succeed in this creative business. You have to live and breathe it, put in ridiculous hours, constantly hone your craft and adapt to changes in the industry and in your own creative processes as needed.
You have to adore what you do. The jewellery market can be very competitive and it is those who persist and put in the labour of love that tend to come out on top.
9. Pay Attention to Your Finances
A well-planned budget is one of the best things you can do for your small business. Evaluate your expenses, trim those that are unnecessary and analyse the earning potential of your products.
The cost analysis of jewellery making materials, advertising and real estate is paramount but don’t forget to take into account other hidden expenses such as eletricity, public liability and other insurances, transport costs, postal increases and labour which may impact your profits (especially important if you run a studio from home).
If you're not confident with financial skills change the situation and empower yourself so you and your creative business can succeed. Your attittude to money is your choice, so to are the range of skills you develop and maintain.
10. Plan Ahead
The most important part of ensuring a flourishing creative business is to be prepared for the future, whatever it may be. Consider that independent and financial success takes time, determined work and healthy passion for the craft itself.
Therefore, doing little things such as construct a detailed monthly budget and allocating your resources effectively will help you maximise the income from your business.
Also important is to regularly renew your creativity well. Do things that inspire you, that bring joy to your heart and get those creative juices going. Whether it is getting along to art exhibitions, bushwalking, painting, lunch with the girls, having a big laugh with a treasured friend, gardening, reading or any activity that works for you it is vital to keep true to your muse. Recharge your creative batteries and you'll enjoy your creative business for years.
Making Money from Your Craft
Financial success from a small independent jewellery making business is certainly possible but it requires a lot of work. You have to be prepared for whatever may happen – with your craft, with the industry and with your finances.
The most important thing to remember is that if you wish to make an income from your passion, treat it as a business and focus on becoming an entrepreneur. Otherwise, your hobby will forever remain just that – a hobby.