3 Ways to Shift Your Leather Hobby to a Profitable Leather Business
Sometimes I get emails from people talking about their struggling leather businesses and how they can take their business to the next level. The other day I got one of those emails but there was something really shocking in this person’s backstory.
Never have I had someone write to me with this big of a problem.
This person has been struggling to get his leather business off of the ground with little to no sales for 4 years. Yes you read that right!
4 YEARS!! NO SALES! Can you imagine?
Starting and running a business is hard, yes but if you're not turning a profit after 4 years, I gotta tell you, you're definitely missing some key steps in your business foundation.
So why am I telling you this story? Not to be mean or make fun of this person, but to make sure you don't wake up 4 years from now with no sales in your leather business! I would hate to see that for you!
These are the KEY things that really shifted my business from a hobby to a profitable business and allowed me to take it to the next level...
1 | FOCUS ON YOUR PROFITS
You might think that focusing on your profits is only for big corporations and successful businesses, right? But it's also especially important for any new small business to focus your attention here from the very beginning.
When I started being more intentional and more efficient with my limited hours I started to see more profits. I started focusing on the most important parts of my business first. This was a total game changer for me and these parts of my business that I started to focus on first were directly related to bringing in income and customers.
When I started doing this I started making more sales and bringing in more income. Yay!
Instead of spending hours obsessing over a font for a business card, focus on how you're going to drive quality traffic to your website and how you can use social media better to get in front of your audience and bring in revenue.
2 | STOP COMPARING YOURSELF WITH OTHER LEATHERCRAFTERS
It's good to be aware of what other people and your competitors are doing, yes, but when you're obsessed with comparing yourself to them and where they are, you really do a disservice to your confidence and your overall progress in your own business.
My biggest challenge was that I felt like I had to keep up with these other leathercrafters, forgetting the fact that many of them had been at it for years before I even pick up a stitching clam. But when I stopped playing that comparison game and just focused on the biggest things that were making the biggest impact in my business, here is where I saw a real shift.
When I realized that my competitors didn't have an overnight success story (meaning, they had been at it for YEARS!), I felt better about where I was on my own path. And when I realized that things can look a lot better online then they might be in actuality, my own self-doubt decreased.
Be aware of your surroundings, sure but keep your eyes on your own road ahead of you. Stay the course and do the work. This is how you get results!
3 | GET REAL ABOUT HOW YOU CAN HELP YOUR CUSTOMER
The most important thing you can focus on in your business is your customer, right? Without customers you don't have a business. You have a hobby. So taking the time to dive into the market research and really figure out who it is that is your ideal customer is so important.
Or if you can't figure out who your customer is, think about your leathergoods and then just pick a customer group and start tweaking your business and marketing to fit what they want.
This is how you create a profitable business and make sales. You find out who your customer is and what they want. And then you deliver what they want to them. Period.
4 | KEEP YOUR OVERHEAD LOW
When I first started my business, I only had a few hundred bucks in the bank. Luckily, i'm good at budgeting / being cheap. And for once this came in handy! Sure it was tempting to run up a credit card and buy a new camera for photoshoots and lots and lots of leather supplies and tools, but I kept my initial expenses as low as possible.
Even once I started making sales, I kept my overhead low and controlled because I knew that the revenue from those first few sales wasn't all profit. I used to laugh when my boyfriend would cheer me on after every sale and say, "now we can go get a steak dinner with that money, right?!"
It would be nice if it were all profit but a portion of it had to be reinvested back into the business if I wanted to see it grow.
I purchased only what I needed to create things that I knew my audience wanted and that would bring in revenue and as I started to make sales. Then I started to upgrade necessary equipment and buy new materials and tools. Doing this kept me in check and allowed me to actually see a profit which I used to both pay myself (and buy those steak dinners) and reinvest in my business.
When you're in the beginning stages of your business, and trying to shift from an expensive leather hobby to a profitable leather business, you want to keep your eyes on a few things.
Keep your eye on the profits from the very beginning. Before every task that you do, especially if you have limited time, ask yourself if this is going to help you bring in profit for the business.
Secondly be efficient with your limited time and planning. We’re all busy, but that doesn’t mean that we can use our time wisely and make the most of it.
Also don't get caught up in comparing yourself with other leathercrafters and where they are in their business. There are no overnight successes, chances are they’ve been at it for years.
And finally keep your overhead low in the very beginning, don’t spend a lot unless it’s absolutely necessary and is going to help you bring in more money for your business. Do these things and you'll be on your way to shifting from a leather hobby to creating a profitable leather business.