Making money doing the things we like is a dream that we all have in the back of our minds. Reality rarely accommodates this dream. A lot of people are stuck in dependable, but ultimately boring 9-5 jobs. Breaking out of that comfortable routine takes guts and preparation.
Most people have a skill they don’t use at work. Some can craft unique items, cook special food or another skill that people want. Taking the leap and quitting their 9-5 to start a business utilizing that skill is risky and scary. Done the right way, it’s not even necessary. Both your business and your 9-5 can coexist. To prevent burnout and to minimize the potential for failure, there are some things you need to consider.
What are you selling?
Nice clothing is not a valid answer to this question. You need to get in there and flesh out every detail of your product.
- What makes my product special?
Find out, how your product differs from the other products of its kind. Only if your product has that, will customers pick your product when comparing.
- What values am I attaching to the product?
Not pricing. What ethical values does your product project? For food, that could be an organic sourcing of the ingredients. For clothing, that could be the local aspect of their production.
- Do I need additional space for production?
Ideally you should be able to produce your product in the confines of your home. A garage, kitchen or basement are ideal bases for your workshop.
- Do I need special machines for production?
Expensive industrial machines take up a lot of space and are expensive. To keep cost low, aim to produce your product using normal consumer level machines.
- What kind of quality am I aiming for?
When it comes to homemade stuff, quality is king. You will never be able to compete with the quantity of industrial productions. Aim for as high a quality as you can without crippling your profit due to high cost.
Who are you selling to?
The best product is useless without anyone to buy it. You need to identify the people that will eventually generate your revenue. Brainstorm how your target audience will most likely look like. You can even create a fictional customer persona to achieve a better understanding. Once you know who you are selling to, research where to find them.
Go out and talk to them. Nothing is more valuable than customer feedback. Bonus points if you have a prototype to show them. Gather as much feedback as you can. Don’t forget to ask them how much they are willing to pay for your product. Once you have gathered all the data you can, return to your drawing board. Incorporate all the feedback into your product. This results in a product you know people will want to buy.
How are you selling?
Opening a shop in your own four walls sounds cool. Unfortunately, it’s both impractical and, at least in most countries, illegal. An option you have is to talk to local distributors. If you convince them with your product, they might add your product to their inventory.
Much easier is selling your product via the internet. Building your own online shop and website is a good option. You retain full control and can invest the time you like in design and marketing. To create one, you need either expertise for your own or the money to hire someone to build it for you.
If those two options are not to your liking, you can still go for the super low maintenance approach: Selling via online marketplace. Arguably the biggest one is Amazon. They allow you to sell your product on their platform. Marketing and site infrastructure will be completely taken care of. The downside is the fact that you will need to pay them a percentage of your revenue as a fee.
If done right, selling your own product from home can be quite exciting and fulfilling. You will be in control of your time. If your 9-5 needs more time, you can easily downgrade your investment in your own business. The same works vice-versa. This prevents one of the two suffering because of the other.
Once your business starts gaining traction you can decide for yourself: Do I keep this level or do I ditch the 9-5 and become a full time business owner? The beauty of business build in this fashion is that they are easily scalable, if the need arises. So, once you take the leap you already have a functioning business. It’s not scary anymore now.
Julius Pankoke is content contributor and start-up enthusiast. His areas of expertise are entrepreneurship, business development, and digital marketing. He enjoys both writing and reading good blog articles. With SmartBusinessPlan he currently helps entrepreneurs write excellent business plans.