A fellow Artist who has a stable day job wanted to make his craft into a business so I wrote him the below reply. I just thought its useful, even to me, to realistically see if a niche art can be made into a business. With rising salary, materials and business costs, if you don't have a fan base or getting the habit of shipping over 300 products on your own at least maybe you are not there yet. There are much you have to do with your art including overworking long hours to see a quality product gets made and delivered to your customers. Also having a good sales attitude and understanding that it is a business and your soul is fueling it.
As an aspiring Artist who wants to make his art sustain a life and family - I know what you are going thru and its tougher when you are doing this by yourself and no one to invest in you. My suggestion is this.
BEFORE you quit your job:
If you think you have something of value, design product lines with multiple variations that you think you can sell mass orders.
Do the math and make your business plan, find out the reality of your market and whether this is a sustainable business, in terms of hiring a few workers to make your product, respond to sales orders, and ship everything.
If you have a wife or girlfriend or Sugar mama or daddy, who can partner with you is usually great but if not you will be in debt, like me I owe my wife about $20000 USD. But in 4+ years of doing this BUT I managed to:
- Build a brand
- Build a fan base of over 4000
- Retain an original repertoire of work that has value
- Did all the work on my own, production and getting sales
- Etsy shop shows increased sales over time.
The debt is due to my slow progress of production because 1 person can only do so much
on his own and it slows down the profit return and cost speeds up over time.
The money is not wasted: take a look of your gallery and be honest - does it look like a professional Art shop or bunch of unfinished products? Most of my Art is sold to customers with minimal complaints.
You need to factor in all the costs that run your business and how much your profit is.
You need to know how much you need to run the business and start saving your money
Try to work out a part-time schedule with your work and work even harder on your Craft.
You need to know what you are doing in your craft if you are to corner the market.
After you do this math you will know realistically if your craft can be grown into a sustainable business. You must also research into the public if there are companies doing what you are doing. If there is you may be better off switching day jobs where you get a salary to do what you love by working for that company. Rather than competing with established Pros, just join them if you know you can't beat them.
If they don't have jobs for you, its time you make your art stand out until you have your own voice and style unique to the public without having to sign the work. Brands and stickers can be erased by pirates but they won't be able to cover up your style. To this point everyone looks at a piece of my work that's pirated people will say "That's a Uratz piece."
If you don't think you have the customer base yet, keep working hard. I've been hospitalized
due to my neck spine in one position working long hours.
Don't give up even if the math doesn't add up. It just means you're not ready yet.
Read these articles and think about it more:
Getting to the Heart of Handmade Businesswww.etsy.com/blog/en/2013/gett…
7 Signs Your Business Is Ready to Growwww.etsy.com/blog/en/2013/7-si…