Turning Scrapbooking Ideas Into a Small Business
My name is Danielle; I am a full time mother of two as well as, a full time student. I work from home on a part time basis; this was not something I had chosen to do, I was more or less pushed into it.
I was put on a lay off that is still ongoing. I knew the moment I had received my first unemployment check; there had to be another way or my family would lose everything. Unemployment was just enough to pay the rent and nothing more. By the sixth month of the lay off and applying to hundreds of jobs, with no response; I was desperate, depressed and feeling worthless. I began scrapbooking. This was something I did on a regular basis so my children would have a detailed and visual look back on their lives. It also had a calming effect when I needed a break from daily life.
At one point, a member of my sister’s church came by the house to visit. I happened to be in the middle of creating a Halloween theme for one of the pages in my younger daughter’s scrapbook, when my sister walked in with the church member. She was amazed at the work and detail that I had put into the book and asked to see more. I showed her the three books I had been working on for what seemed like years.
She asked if I would consider coming to the church and conducting a how to class for scrap bookers. My first thought was no; I couldn’t teach someone how to do this, I did it because the ideas came to me without thought behind it; how was I to explain this to a roomful of women.
If I said to them, just sit back and close your mind to everything but what is in front of you, the ideas will come. I was going to sound like I had lost my mind. I told her give me some time to think about it and I would get back to her.
This is how I got started. I didn’t advertise, I didn’t create my own web page, I didn’t buy the most expensive materials I could find; I started by word of mouth, nothing more. Things aren’t always so easy when you start a home based business, I got lucky. I have experience in this area so when I was asked for details I could answer honestly and I could show proof of my work; via: three scrapbooks I had already in my possession.
I taught the class because I couldn’t think of one reason not to and because I love to talk; especially, when it comes to scrapbooking. I never thought anything would come of it but there were several women who were interested in some of the embellishments I had on my pages. Embellishments are; stickers, ribbons, one dimensional figures, anything you add to a page to give it definition. Most of the embellishments I had created myself and they were interested in having some made for them.
I was excited to have others use my work and began creating pieces specifically for them. In the beginning, there wasn’t much money to be made from this. I was more than aware of how bad the economy was because of my lay-off; I didn’t consider this a job, and at this time I was more or less doing it because it was something I enjoyed but word of mouth spreads quickly; especially, when it involves women.
There came a point when someone asked if I could create a book for them; they would give me their pictures and any information needed so I could base each page on the activity in the pictures. This was not an idea I was happy with; having responsibility over someone else’s priceless pictures made me nervous. What if I cut the picture to small, accidentally got glue on the front of the picture, spilled something, etc.
I did give it some more thought and came up with a better idea; if the pictures were scanned and I printed them myself, this would create backups and there wouldn’t be a reason to worry. Of course, this would take money to get the idea off the ground. I needed quality picture paper and plenty of ink for the printer. Instead of having the pictures printed from my house, I suggested they print the pictures themselves. For the woman who wanted the entire book done, this was not a problem.
That was the very first book I created for someone; of course, she showed her friends and I did get more work, thanks to her. As I said before, there wasn’t a whole lot of money to be made from this. I did a lot of research before completion of the book to find out how much people were charging for a project like this.
I was astounded to find that a lot of sites were charging hundreds for something that cost me no more than twenty five dollars. I could have charged the same amount; but how many return customers would I have, and how likely would someone refer something so expensive. It took some time to work with the figures but I did manage to set prices that were fair and very competitive.
Now, I do make more money than I had in the beginning; it is a very good supplemental income but I don’t plan on turning it into a full time job. I am happy with the amount of time I spend on my projects, as the amount I make from them but my ultimate goal is to finish my degree and seek employment in the field I am going to school for. I know that if I continue making scrapbooks I could turn it into a full-time income from the amount of customers I now have. As much as I love what I do; I would prefer to work full time in the field I am now studying.
In order for anyone to succeed in any type of business they are in, you need to be aware of several things: chose something you know people are interested in, give it your all; you can’t give one person an exceptional piece of work and another a less than perfect quality because you’re tired or you just don’t feel like doing it that day, set goals; if you know what you want, list steps that will help you get there.
Do plenty of research; if you are selling a product that is on the market, find out what is the going rate may be, you don’t want to charge more especially if customers know they could get it cheaper somewhere else.
Take time with your idea; making money may be the ultimate goal and getting it as quickly as possible would be wonderful, but rushing through could cause your plans to crash and leave you with nothing. Above all, have patience; it is very rare that something happens over night and even if it did, would you have to supplies to meet the demand.
The most important thing I have learned through this experience is this: talk, talk, talk if you have a product you feel is worthwhile and people would be interested; telling them about it generates better advertisement in the beginning than you could imagine.
This causes a chain reaction that could benefit you in the long run; you may tell one person about your product and they could tell twenty, who then could tell one hundred and so on.
I also highly recommend learning how to take constructive criticism; some of my best ideas came from my customers. Starting your own business is worthwhile if you are willing to put effort, thought, patience and reasonable prices on your product. I hope this has given you some ideas to pursue of you own even - if it’s nothing to do with scrap-booking.