If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that having multiple income sources is critical to protecting our financial health and future security. For those who have the skill to start a manufacturing business, it’s important to protect your health, your time, and your space as you build your business.
Strive to Protect Your Home
Unless your business takes very little space, do your best to use your home for planning only, then relocate when you can to a business space for the actual manufacturing work.
Homelife can be stressful, especially if you’ve been sheltering in place for a time. In addition, if you’re working from home for your job and then manufacturing from home to build your business in the off hours, you will rapidly
- get in your own way
- lose track of where work stops and where life starts
- drive anyone who lives with you completely insane
Maintain a Separate Building
If you need special tools and a large space, you may need to rent for a time. Eventually, you might consider installing steel buildings on your current property or on a commercial site to allow you space to design and manufacture these products.
Modern steel buildings are used to house churches and can even make nice homes. Your steel building can have AC, a full bath, and many other features, as well as the space, power, and utility service to run your manufacturing machines.
Create One of a Kind Items
The difference between talent and craft is often action. You may have an eye for creating custom fabric paintings, but if you don’t actually open a paint container, your ideas don’t get to breathe.
Be aware that your starting process may feel very small. Look for ways to show off your creation in a normal setting. For example, if your manufacturing niche includes the creation of painted mandalas, you might show off how your work can be used as a headboard. If you have a friend in a drafty old house, show off one of your creations on a display bar, and then create a series of images that show off the clever thermal backing that your friend uses to keep the drafts under control.
Seek Out a Niche
A single or small manufacturer will work themselves to death trying to compete with mass-produced products. Instead, strive to create a niche product that can only be found in your product line.
Great-grandma’s apple turnovers may be delicious, but if anyone can make them, they’ll be hard to sell. If you have the touch both to make the turnovers and to decorate beautiful baskets and create a wonderful gift that you can also deliver, you can charge more, build a one of a kind product and service and launch your business.
Find Sources of Free Marketing
Set up pages for your creations on social media and ask your friends to share, promote, and take their own photos of what you have made. Handmade items are inherently unique, so make sure you include a disclaimer that your potential customers may be able to select a flavor, color or size, depending on what you’re selling, but that you’re not churning out mass-produced products.
To that end, make sure that you create a template that you can use to create estimates. If you make and sell baby quilts and someone wants to order a twin-sized bed quilt, you may need to get new tools or to expand your workspace. Include a portion of these costs if you’re planning to expand your offerings.
Set a Quitting Time
One of the big challenges of working for yourself is that your boss is flexible; they will allow you to work 24 hours a day if you choose to! Make sure, every day, that you know when your quitting time is. Carefully protect regularly scheduled family time or time with friends.
All work and no play sets both Jack and Jill up for frustration, irritation, and failure. Do not set unsustainable goals by refusing to stop working at a specific time each day. Do what you need to do to recharge and wind down so you can rest deeply and start again tomorrow.