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Do you have specific goals this year to grow your maker business? As it becomes easier to design and create prototypes, more individuals are turning their hobbies into full-time jobs. With the latest technologies and a large number of DIY YouTube videos and blogs available, individuals are creating companies in basements of homes. And who doesn’t want to be their own boss? 

Launching a creative business idea can be daunting but with maker spaces, crowdfunding and online marketplaces, a number of makers are taking the next steps to grow their business. One of our tool techs, Stan Fernald, turned his microscope hobby into a successful business a few years ago for his retroDIODE LLC company. He told me “whatever idea you have, there’s a way to get it out in the world.”  But how does one take their hobby and turn it into a business?  

  • Develop A Viable Business Plan: Start with a foundation and a mission statement. Communicate the purpose of your business. Who is your company? What vision do you have for the future and what goals do you want to reach? 
  • Customer Outreach: Know your audience. Focus on the customer experience. Is there a demand for your product? 
  • Ask For Help: Collaborate with others. Need help on the business side? Network and join organizations in your city or online where you can ask questions and get ideas. Attend trade shows and Maker Faires to learn how makers can show their products, find partners and share ideas.
  • Research, Research, Research: Price check your wares. Anyone selling product closely resembling yours?  Is there a demand for your product? How do you stand out in a sea of retail? Find a sales platform, such as The Grommet, the place to discover products from local Makers and small businesses, or Etsy, a marketplace focused on handmade or vintage items. 
  • Social Media Strategy: Use social media to help with your long-term growth. Update your product photos using sites such as Lunapic, a free online photo editor.  Blog regularly. Start a newsletter and grow your email list. Measure your activity using instagram, facebook and twitter insights. Use graphic-design tool websites such as Canva to create (for free.)
  • Be Adaptable: Don’t be afraid to change. Be confident in yourself and your product. And don’t put too much pressure on yourself. 
  • And lastly but importantly, don’t forget to support other Makers. The Maker community will be your greatest supporters!

 

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