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Beading and Jewelry Making
Jewelry Making : Starting a Home Based Jewelry Business

So You Want to Start Your Own Home Based Jewelry Business

By Christopher Gage

So you think you are ready to take the plunge into your own home based jewelry business. This will be a very exciting step for you, your family, and your business. You will be able to finally unleash that creative side of you that has been dying to blossom. OK, now what?

Owning or operating a small jewelry business — no matter what type of jewelry or where it is — can be a challenge, but it really takes a special kind of person to operate a home based business. Most people who run their own home business probably had asked themselves at some point, "What do I want from my business? What do I want from my life?"

I asked myself this same question seven years ago. At that time my daughter was entering kindergarten and my son was in preschool. I was spending three hours a day in my car commuting to a job, and during the short days of late fall and early winter, I didn't see the light of day at home until the weekend. More importantly, I was losing three precious hours a day that I could be spending being creative and being with my family.

Although there are many answers to the question above, the clear-cut choice for me was the need to spend more time at home on what I truly love to do and being with my family. By being honest with myself, I was able to make the courageous leap from being employed by someone else to starting my own jewelry business.

One might think that a home based business is the ideal situation for them, but working at home can, and will be challenging. You may find yourself working longer hours due to the fact that the survival of the business is totally your responsibility. Because your studio is in your home, you and your family may feel an intrusion of the business upon your personal life, especially if you have clients come to your house.

Before embarking in a home jewelry business, you must first honestly, critically answer the following three questions:

  1. Are you disciplined enough to set and meet work schedules?
  2. Can you make a transition from home to business during the work hours you set for yourself, and from business to home during off hours?
  3. Can you deal with the isolation of working from home?

Discipline plays a large part in answering the first two questions. At times there will be distractions at home. For example, you may become more aware of dishes that need to be cleaned, laundry that needs to be washed, the lawn that should be cut, or even the weeds that have to be pulled. This is where you must set your work schedule each day, and stick firmly to it. At the end of your work schedule, you should keep your focus on your home life once you call it quits for the day or you may find yourself burning out quickly. It's extremely difficult not to run to the office to pick up a phone call, play a message on the answering machine, or read a fax that just came over, but with a bit of practice you will soon realize that the work you put down at 5 PM will be there for you in the morning at 9 AM.

In answering the third question, you no longer work for a company where co-workers and staff are available for support. Nor do you have an endless stream of company supplies and materials at your disposal. This is where setting yourself up with a network of confidants can be helpful. Surround yourself with people that are reliable, knowledgeable and possibly veterans of the craft. Join your local or state guild of craftsman. Get to know the other artists in your community. When you attend fairs or shows, get to know some of the other artists. Find a friendly forum on the Internet where you can bounce ideas off other members or troubleshoot a problem. You already found one site with great resources!

Another source may be your local Chamber of Commerce, and manufacturers and suppliers of small business technologies and products. The Chamber can provide networking opportunities for you with other business members of your community, some of whom may be in a similar situation that you now find yourself.

Once you have committed to running a home based business, it should be treated as a separate entity from the rest of your house. Whether you are using a garage, a basement, or a spare room as your studio space, you should maintain a professional environment in your work area. Rooms such as the bedroom or kitchen, in my opinion are not suitable for a professional set up because they do not afford your business privacy and separate space from the rest of the house. If you are going to take this seriously, then you will need a more permanent solution, a situation where you can leave your wares out without being disturbed by family or curious pets. In addition, your business should have its own phone line, mailing address and bank account. This makes tax time much less complicated and it will appear to the IRS that you are a REAL business versus a hobby.

Many home based business owners are honestly unaware of Federal, State and Local regulations. A good place to start is by consulting with your CPA or local tax authorities for specific recommendations appropriate to your individual situation. Finding out this information is important when considering what type of business you will run from your home. Zoning regulations may not allow you to run certain types of businesses from a residential home, for example, the manufacturing of certain goods or using such equipment like a torch or kiln. You should also respect your neighbors and the type of neighborhood you live in. By having a home based business, there will more than likely be an increase of traffic in your immediate neighborhood from your clients, suppliers and any mail services you use. Keep in mind that you must register your business with the proper authorities.

Owning and operating a home based business is a lot of hard work, but it can also be very gratifying especially when one realizes that the things they are looking for in life are being made possible by their dedication to this idea. One of the most positive advantages I have found by running a home business is being able to say, "Yes, I can do it." In addition, not only do I see my children off to school in the morning, but I'm there for them at the end of their day. •

© 2005 by Christopher Gage. All rights reserved.

Christopher Gage and his wife Holly own Gage Designs, the manufacturer of original design jewelry.