A little over a year ago, when I was still contemplating opening an Etsy shop to sell my jewelry, I had NO idea how much work it would be. I thought it would be easy to put up a few listings on the web, sit back, and rake in the money.
Then I realized how many hats a craft solo-preneur wears. (Still going with metaphorical hats, here...)
- Jewelry designer - of course
- Jewelry crafts-person - the nuts and bolts of putting the jewelry together
- Photographer - Not exactly point and shoot... I had to teach myself the finer points of F-stops, shutter speed and white balance. Not to mention props, lighting, and camera angles.
- Photo editor - Once you get the picture out of the camera, you still have to pretty it up. (See previous issues with white balance and lighting). I taught myself how to use GIMP (free Photoshop-level editing program).
- Marketer - Starting with the copy for listing descriptions and moving swiftly into other marketing options, online and in person - pitching to bloggers, word of mouth marketing, business cards.
- Social Media Specialist - Facebook pages and ads, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs - you name it, I do it!
- Sales Person - I've just dipped my toe into doing craft shows and I already know this is something I'm going to have to work on. I've never been a good salesperson, I'm just not assertive enough.
- Shipping Specialist - You have to be up with (down with?) the USPS, UPS, FedEx, international shipping regulations, what size does a package need to be to actually be considered a package?, boxes or bubble mailers?, customs forms, it costs how much to ship to Australia?!, etc.
- Web Designer - You can pay a real web designer to create your website for you - if you have the budget... If not, it's into the wormhole of domain name registration, hosting, website design and online commerce options. I just spent the last 3 hours creating Paypal buttons for my upcoming website.
- Accountant - How do you know if you are losing or making money if you don't track it? Luckily my last "real" job set me up to understand how to track expenses and income, create pricing formulas, and put it all on fancy spreadsheets.
- Tax Professional - OK, so professional may be going too far. But while my business income is still small, I am preparing and filing my own state and federal taxes. Schedule C, COGS, B&O and sales tax - here I come!
- Administrative Assistant - luckily this job is what I do for a day job, so no self-training required. But keeping up with organizing paperwork and digital files, keeping myself on a schedule, and keeping track of all the other little administrative details takes quite a bit of effort.
And I'm sure there's a toque or two in there that I've forgotten, but that's still quite a pile of hats!
Even though it's more work than I imagined when I started, it is very rewarding. I have learned more than I thought I could about business practices, taxes, the internet (and life, the universe, and everything.) And you know what? Even if I was making enough money to hire someone to delegate some of these things to, I don't think I would. I enjoy being a one man operation - my own boss, in charge of everything and learning a ton as I go.
Even with all the hats.