May 21 2010 Friday at 08:42 AM

Craft Your Business

This past weekend at the Renegade Craft Fair, a visitor to my booth said how much they enjoyed my business advice in that one book..."You know the one..." (I didn't). "The Boss of You?" I suggested. "No...." "Buying In? Grindhopping?" " has illustrations in it by Emily Martin." Oh! She meant The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin! It's out! I didn't know! Now I do! And so do you.

Now, I know from your many emails over the years that you are interested in starting your own business (are you sure about that?). Which is why I penned my column, "Crafting a Business". But there are many more expansive books on the topic, and you just might want to check them out. I contributed my experiences and (hopefully) helpful advice on what I've learned about starting a business from scratch to these various authors. *Indicates books I was not interviewed for (But they're still good! Heh.)

So, if you are bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, check out these guides that include interviews with numerous, independent entrepreneurs:

The Boss of You by Emira Mears and Lauren Bacon 

Buying In by Rob Walker

*Craft Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco

Crafty Superstar by Grace Dobush

Grindhopping by Laura Vanderkam 

The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin

*The Savvy Crafter's Guide to Success by Sandy McCall

What did I read when I was starting? Well, the DIY movement didn't really exist as such yet, and I didn't have any business advice available to me that addressed a marketplace that...well, didn't quite exist. No one really knew what I was talking about (except other people in the DIY community trying new things with their own businesses). Remember, this is waaaay back in 2000, before etsy or even the Renegade Craft Fair existed. But, business is business. Innovation and entrepreneurship have models for success that apply no matter what you're attempting to accomplish. So, when I was starting out, the book that I used as my business bible was the no-frills "Small Time Operator by Bernard Kamoroff". There's a soft spot in my heart for it. It's sound advice for anyone starting small and hoping to make it big.

I'll see you all next year at the next shareholders' meeting.