And these may even be things you have thought...
In this week's post, I want to share some of the common questions/comments I have been subjected too, and/or assumptions that have made, as the owner of a small creative business.
And yes, it's true that I am a maker/crafter that works from home... it's not all fun and games as you will see below.
Honestly, I find it interesting & sometimes useful to shed light or clarify what I do versus what people think I do as a small business owner. But, all too often I just have to accept that not everyone will understand how a small business works, or the lives that small business owners are trying to build.
So here goes...
1. I could make that... or Wow, that's really expensive... This one is the most commonly heard phrase and as a small business owner, I cringe every time I hear it. In fact, I have designed a sign for my live events that kind of eludes to this. **Yes, you could make it… but WILL you? And, this one’s already made and available right now!!**
More often than not I hear them mumble it under their breath, or to a friend as they walk away. Which is ok, they may go home and try... and succeed or... have an epic fail. But either way the next time they are in front of mine or another vendors booth they will know it's not as easy as it looks.
And I am going to be brutally honest... Ouch!!! This hits me just like I have been double-punched, this comment or phrase honestly has the power to not only undermine the hours spent creating, the ingredient sourcing, label & package designing, market research on pricing, etc. But for me and many others who hear it WAY too often... it can also affect confidence and make you doubt what you are creating for the benefit of others. Interestingly enough they are only thinking of the ingredients (not always HIGH-QUALITY) and not the TIME put into the item or project.
So think about this when you look and scoff at prices. Creatives deserve a paycheck too... they are not just combining ingredients, they are putting their time and their heart into the project.
Sadly, there are also many cheap rip-offs, other businesses undercutting prices, and a lack of high-quality ingredients from overseas manufacturers of mass-produced products that this problem continues to grow.
2. What do you do for your real job? Until a few years ago, I was a member of the workforce outside the home. My employer then wanted to change up the way they worked the scheduling, that would have left me in the city with 4 hours to kill daily while I waited for my carpool partner to complete his workday. When that happened ... this became my real job.
I wear ALL the hats...
I am the Boss, the Artist, & the Investor.
I am "THE Employee".
I am Quality Control and Customer Service.
I am the Marketing Director & Purchasing Manager.
I am the Product Designer, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Copy Writer, & Publicist.
I am Pre-Production, Production, Clean-Up Crew, Packaging & Labeling.
I am also the Packaging & Shipping Departments.
And actually our products are priced at the actual time & materials used in production. We don't buy our ingredients by the 50 gal drum, so they may cost a little more, but they are also fresher when we make each product.
So depending on who's asking and the way they ask it... they may get me full of energy and excitement about my products and upcoming launches, or they might get an eye roll and a touch of "F*ck you" attitude.
3. Seriously though, what do you do all day?
*laugh* Where do I start with this one? Each day is different, it literally could be any combination of creative or non-creative tasks.
If it is a production day it is area & ingredient prep, sanitization of all equipment, double-checking the formulation, weighing out ingredients, making sure that the packaging is also sanitized and ready, and finally creation.
If it is an office or admin day it would entail answering emails, following up on customer support email or calls, writing blog posts (like this one), social media content creation, scheduling & planning social media posts, deciding on sales dates and what will be on sale, list writing, ingredient inventory & purchasing, product inventory, packing orders, the list goes on...