Tuesday, May 12, 2020

My Pattern Design Business Experience - Part Three

Welcome back to my series on starting and running a home-based quilt pattern design business. Over the last two weeks, I talked a little about my history and touched upon why I decided to start my own business. If you missed those blog posts, check them out here. Part One, and Part Two. This week, I want to talk a little about the challenges I ran into.

In starting a business, one of the first challenges I ran into was how to do it. Between my husband and me, we had to figure out the type of business, what laws governed running a business, how to handle the accounting, and figure out the taxes. Luckily, there are a lot of resources available to assist with this. I would recommend starting by visiting the website of the Small Business Administration for your state. They will have most of the resources and information you need to get started. Just know that starting a business is a process, and you will never know everything. It is a good idea to be patient and learn as much as you can before you start; this could pay off in the long run.

Next is the financial part of running a business. The old saying is that you have to have money to make money, and for the most part, I believe that is true. Starting and running a business can be expensive. I did not want to go out and get a loan for my business, although that may be the right direction for some. For me, my husband and I only took out loans to pay for my longarm and domestic sewing machines—everything else we paid for out of pocket. To give you an idea, we have invested around $90,000 to $100,000 into the business over the last eight or more years. That amount was spread out over the years, and we didn’t have to come up with it all at once. However, I did want to highlight it because you should know that running a business does take financial resources. Also, understand that the amount invested will be different for different people depending on how the business was set up and what resources are available.

Finally, I want to talk a little about the time commitment to running a business. Over anything else, I believe the time required may be the biggest surprise to most. When I worked for the
government, I was up early to get to work and then did not get home until early evening. I was working 12+ hours a day or 60+ hours a week, counting commuting time. In starting my business, I found I was doing far more hours than that. Now it is very common for me to be working every day of the week, including weekends, and if I calculate correctly, I put in up to 70+ hours a week. Knowing the possible time commitments of running a business is essential to develop a good work/life balance. I put in the hours because I enjoy what I do and have a real love of quilting. My kids are grown, and my husband works long hours at his government job, so the hours I put in work well for me. For someone else, that may not be the case, and the time commitment will be a lot less per week. The point of this is twofold. First, know that running a business is a big commitment in time. Secondly, a good work/life balance will need to be reached for the business to survive in the long run. If not, running a business will become more of a chore than a joy and burnout will occur.

Now with this week’s blog post, I am not trying to scare people away from starting a quilt pattern business or any other business for that matter. I just want to ensure that if you are considering starting a business, what the financial, time, and knowledge commitments could be. Also, these are my experiences, and yours may be different.

For next week’s blog post, I am going to talk about what my average day looks like.

See you next Tuesday,

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1 comment:

  1. Tina, you are so right on the time and money. It is really interesting to see the different approaches people have taken too. Thanks for sharing this.