While I was at school for architecture, they drilled into our brains: always do a precedent study. Even though I never even started my career as an architect, I still follow many of the principals my professors ingrained in me. Research is always the first thing I always do before starting something new. Read more to see which books I decided were worth reading.
Read books, not internet articles and blog posts, when starting a new venture
I decided to go straight to books instead of looking for online resources. The primary reason was because I didn’t have a clue of what was the most effective way to start a craft-based business. I’ve worked for tech startups; I’ve worked for small businesses selling machinery and consulting; I’ve run my own consulting business. But I hadn’t a clue about selling hand-made crafted items. Because I had no good mental image of how the industry worked, I knew I wouldn’t be able to effectively leverage the internet because my search terms would have a lack of proper context.
Researching through the internet kind of sucks when starting a new business
The other reason why I hit the books rather than hit up Google is because there is SO MUCH useless and low-quality information online. I find myself falsely lured into reading an article due to its compelling headline and then find nothing of substance inside. People on the internet tend to copy each other, too, causing a lot of duplicated content. Frankly, I’ve been disappointed in the quality of Google-based research, but that’s another story.
I hit up Amazon (because I have Amazon Prime and it has changed my life) and started sifting through books. And books. And more books. There were way too many. It took me a lot of time, but I narrowed it down to these 6 books for their various messages. I chose only books that were released recently (anything on the internet goes stale within a year) and had a high user rating and quality reviews. I wanted to get the best bang for my buck (I’m on a shoe-string budget, ya know!), so I tried to find books that didn’t cover similar topics of similar detail to ensure that each book will give me solid new information.
The result of my search came to 6 books. Follow the jump to see details and the reasoning behind me placing each book on my list.
Onto the list! Best books to get for starting a new craft business
by Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon N. Miles
This is the first book I started reading and for a very compelling reason - the Kindle version is only $2.99. The book has been motivating me and building my confidence. It goes over all the critical things needed to successfully launch your new home-based craft business, leaving out the boring details like banking, incorporating and other legalities. You can read about that boring stuff elsewhere.
The company Jason and Cinnamon run is heavily invested in online commerce, subsequently this book has a narrow focus on connecting to your customers through the internet without mentioning other sources. If you’re thinking of running a brick and mortar store or going to a lot of craft fairs, this book may not be as helpful (although the concepts divulged are invaluable).
by Lisa Sonora Beam
The next item on my list helps you to define your business plan on your terms as an artist. A formally written up business plan is not just required for getting outside funding, it is required to keep yourself on track. It has all the rules and plans of your company that becomes invaluable over time as you need to refresh your memory months or years later.
The Creative Entrepreneur shows you how to write a visual business plan that caters just for your needs. As an artist, I’m sure you think in pictures and emotion much more than you think in black and white text. This book shows you a way to craft the business plan while catering to your visual way of perceiving your company and record it.
I’m reading this as soon as I submit this blog post. I’m excited.
The Crafts Business Answer Book: Starting, Managing, and Marketing a Homebased Arts, Crafts, or Design Business
by Barbara Brabec
Bought it, but as a reference book. I haven’t dived into it
Only available as a paperback, not on Kindle. I was so close to not buying it because I have switched over to reading only ebooks from now on. I got a used one for just over $5, and I have Amazon Prime, so I decided to go for it.
I am so glad I got this book. The moment I opened it I was in absolute awe. Every single possible question I could think of has its own chapter. A true reference book. I encourage that you buy it so that as soon as you have a question, the book will be right there by your side.
by Kelly Rand
Haven't gotten to it yet
This is quite similar in scope to Craft Business Power but has a slightly broader scale of topics while neglecting the details of an online market product launch. It covers both virtual and in-person commerce, like art fairs and the like. The description claims the book will go over more of the icky boring stuff — like copyright and using customer analytics — but that boring stuff is important so you should be researching them anyway!
by Michael Miller
If you know that you want 1) to sell online, 2) take advantage of the marketplaces created by Etsy, eBay and the like, and 3) have no idea which marketplace is the best for sales or your business style, you might just want to pick up this book. Craft Business Power goes over just 1) your own store, 2) the Etsy market place, and 3) eBay, eBay and more eBay. They found what works for them and only go over that. It would be a good idea, though, to explore your other options and see which one will work best for you and how your business connects to your customers.
The description of the book looks like it targets readers who are just starting their new home-based craft business. It looks to me that it will be a good resource for developing your business strategy when leveraging the internet. Luck favors the prepared, so grabbing this sooner than later looks like a good idea!
by Kari Chapin
Waiting for the second edition
A much larger range of marketplaces for small craft businesses are covered in this book, as opposed to the other books’ leanings towards online-only commerce. The description conveys that the book focuses on being seen in marketplaces through marketing. This could prove very handy! I know I am asking myself these things: I put up a website, posting to social sites with hash tags, blogging, and submitted my website to search engines. So now what? My hope is that this book will give me those answers.
Because that which controls the sway of influence on the internet changes so quickly, I recommend waiting to buy the 2nd edition so you’ll get the most up-to-date information.