Well hello there! After writing last night, I didn’t expect to have a change of heart! I’m pretty sure the rest of the world doesn’t celebrate this, but today was Thanksgiving in the US. Essentially…we saw a couple of people today whom we haven’t seen in person for two years, and got together over food. It was really…really good.
I gave a bracelet to one person, who was very happy with it. It was interesting: I know I was thinking of her when I made it…I also went and reserved the colors to make a new one. What I realized when I gave it to her is that it actually was of salable quality, and beautiful…and that even if I could not make a full living off of my beadwork, I could (and probably should) be making some return off of it. I mean, it’s a skill, and something I know a lot about, am interested in, and like to do. If I’m not looking at being compensated for my time (which one could say I’m otherwise wasting anyway, outside of school), but rather just trying to make up what I lost in purchases, as well…there is a heavy argument for selling!
It’s also granted that I got full marks for the Business Plan I turned in, in which I was trying to puzzle out just what I would have to do if I wanted to make a living off of this, in this area. It’s amazingly obvious that if I bead, I will not be able to make a living off of my work…unless I charge more than I have been thinking about charging, or hire extra help. I do not think that I could make a full living even if I worked as hard as I could for as long as I could: I still would have to run the business, which takes time. Even so, I’m missing out on a lot by not selling, just because I know I have to also gain another form of income.
I don’t want to have to hire people for piecework labor (people skills are not my forte, and I can see workers becoming bored), and raising prices may price out the people I want to be able to afford my work. If I raised my prices, I would also need to sweeten my value proposition: charge more, for more; or, as was suggested tonight, accept donations, or (this is my possibly not so great idea) use a sliding scale.
In order to make a living without having to either raise prices or hire labor, I will have to split my time between the beadwork and another job…the latter of which, I have yet to acquire. But I can work on this, now: what says I have to get a paying job first, when I could be self-employed, first?
Wow. OK. That’s a revolution…
The major issue I am trying to envision right now, is how much of my time (in hours per day or per week) I devote to beadwork…and how much time to the job search (and then, to the job itself). We have decided over here that the situation with COVID is as good as it’s going to get, which is why we invited over chosen family today. Which reminds me that I should probably seriously get some rest, soon. I know I stayed up until 3 AM this morning, but I should at least try to keep my immunity up.
So I’ve worked out what I would need to do to make this a sustainable full-time business, and I know what’s demanded of me if I keep the hobby but don’t charge anyone anything for gaining from my skills (which I’m beginning to see as a tactic used when you’re otherwise gainfully employed). There is a lot of middle ground here, though. Aside from time division, the primary issue I can see is the question of how much more than nothing, I will be able to commit to earning (or attempting to earn). The two questions are related. D says it’s different if I do it because I love it, and make some extra money on the side, than it is if I use it as part of my survival income.
There’s also the possibility of just getting a job that I love (or at least, don’t hate), as versus trying to find a job within a certain field. M says that I would do well as a file clerk, if I don’t want to deal with people…
So, I’m looking at selling, again: but as a hobbyist, not a businessperson, and not yet through my own website. So far as I can tell, it seems that they pretty much follow the same routes, except that hobbyists cannot deduct business losses on Federal income tax — but I’m not sure, and maybe should consult an attorney. The full cost and risk of going into business outside of an online marketplace, IRL selling, or B2B trade, is not something I want to take on at the moment. However, there are easier options. Even if I get kicked off of one of these sites, there are other sites; and there is also the realistic possibility of selling in-person, or of partnering with a seller.
I seem to keep realizing that my beading could draw a return, towards the end of the year — when it’s too late to build up stock for the holiday buying rush. M says not to worry about this.
It just makes me happy to make people happy. And with that, I should probably brush my teeth and get some rest. It’s been…a grounding two days. Later today (it’s now after midnight here), I should probably get back to my schoolwork…