Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tefi Says I

Recently a friend asked me for some advice on starting her own artsy business. I very humbly replied with this caveat emptor: I did it all the D.I.Y. way without any formal training. No animals were harmed in the making of this D.I.Y. business. Made in U.S.A.

(At least I don't think any animals were harmed. You never know. I think I had to kick George off of my work table a few times in an effort to keep cat hair off of my sterling silver wire.)

So I thought I would impart, piece by piece, the lessons I've learned on my own. Maybe you'll glean from these little tidbits something that will help you launch your own D.I.Y. business. Or perhaps you'll think Whatever, I'll do it my own way. Either way, more power to ya sister!

Tefi Says I
Don't spend what you aren't willing to lose.

Some people spend their extra paycheck money on shoes, DVDs, clothes, a nice car, eating out, etc. I spend mine on beads and jewelry-making components.

It's a hard truth to face, but if you have a lot of debt, don't launch a business. Get your finances in order before you jump headfirst into a venture that will most likely sap a lot of money and time. That's not to say that you can't launch a business if you have debt. But if debt is consuming you, launching a business wouldn't be the best thing to do.

Right now I don't have any debt other than my mortgage. My ghetto Toyota is paid off, I live fairly frugally, and I never spend what I can't pay off at the end of each month. Now, I don't deny myself a few splurges here and there, but I keep my focus on my passion - handmade jewelry - and that keeps me from overspending on crippy crap I don't need. This is key to running a successful business: Focus.

I know from experience that having personal debt is hard enough. Adding business debt to that can be very stressful. If you are drowning in debt, esp. fluff debt like overshopping and charging to your credit cards, get that in check first. Chances are, there are other forces at work here. Find out what the void is, stop charging, get your debt in order, and focus on becoming self-sufficient. Expect this to take a few years. It took me nearly four years to pay off my credit cards. But in the meantime, hone your craft and learn new techniques. Prepare yourself for the day when you can say - I don't owe you anymore money!


Sara said...

Girl, you are so effing fab! I love that you are so willing to offer this kind of guidance. some might be more gaurded of their advicey goodness, but not my Tefi, she is an open book!

Tefi Two Fists said...

Thanks for the kind words! I don't see the point in being competitive. Guarded, yes. I won't give away any trade secrets. But what's a little simple guidance between crafters? :)