Dream or Reality?

Margaret Riley business organizing studio

By Margaret Riley, Lehigh Acres, FL

Do you dream of having a studio where you can create to your heart’s content? Do you wish your hobby would make you money? So let’s talk reality. Yes, you can make your hobby as your income. But be ready to work and work hard with long hours but yet giving you so much pride and happiness that those buttons are going to pop!!!

Before you walk up to your away-from-home boss, you will want to consider what you will be leaving.

Will you be leaving health and retirement benefits? Will you miss the friends you have made? Will you consider keeping child care if you still have small children? Lots of questions to ask yourself but very important. These days we hear that every man or woman should have an occupation that can support them if a tragedy happens within the walls of their home.

Once you can answer all these questions with positive and pleasing responses, then let’s get you started in enjoying what you love the most and make your dream come true by exploiting your hobby into making you money. Be sure to research where you are going to sell your goods if that is what you are pursuing. There are lots of areas to go into in this grand craft/hobby industry. You’ll find your niche and will succeed!! Think positive!!

Do you have a family?

It is important that your family knows that you are going to be working at home or in a separate building in your backyard. They need to know that you are working just like you have been. You can’t stop what you are doing and fix snacks and lunches if a deadline is hanging over your head. And with that said, you have to be organized and ready to have things in place when your children come home from school. If you have children under school age, continue having day care for at least half of the day (or employ grandparents that are thrilled to have little ones around!). Mornings can be for day care and in the afternoon you can work during their nap time.

And MOST IMPORTANT is to be sure that your husband & family know that you are WORKING a real job.

A lot of husbands think that you can now do all the household chores, run errands, and maybe do the yard mowing. Wrong!! He needs to see that you ARE working and he needs to give you his support and help… wherever it may be. Just like you need to support him. You’ll both have crazy days but remember to allot yourself time to hear him sound out and time to enjoy both he and your children. Then there are your friends!!! They think because you are “home” that you can drop what you are doing and participate in community activities. Learn to say the word “NO!” If you do go out on occasion with friends for lunch, be sure to let them know you only have one hour that your business and deadlines await you.

Where will you have your studio or your office?

Do you have a spare bedroom that can be converted? Do you have a separate building that can accommodate what you want to accomplish? You cannot have a space in your bedroom and claim it on your taxes nor can you use your dining room table. All your business cannot be a part of your family living area. Once you have your work area and supplies in place, you’ll be promoting yourself and your product(s). Purchase a good computer that will assist you in keeping your work in working order. Have your work area equipped with good lightening and have plenty of storage space. If you will be shipping out, designate a space just for that, too.

Keep all receipts and have a bookkeeping system that you maintain every week.

It will be advantageous to you when tax time appears knocking at your door. Consult with a tax advisor on what all you’ll need for deductions. As long as I have been in this industry, I still call my tax lady and ask what is deductible and what isn’t. State laws are different from state to state for state tax laws, too. Be sure you fulfill legalities to guarantee your career is NOT classified as a hobby. Have documentation to prove it all if you claim a loss. I am not a professional in taxes but I do know to call my accountant to be sure I am within the tax laws.

How are you with stress, pressure, and deadlines?

If you are going to work in this industry, you might experience all this. But in the long run, it is so worth it! Yes, you can juggle your schedule to accommodate taking a child to ball practice or check on an aging parent. But remember that deadline still lurks around the corner and awaits your attention. Some designers can work full steam after everyone goes to bed and the moon is full above. Whatever works for you!

The perk? You are your own boss.

You’ll learn to keep your business running smoothly. You will succeed and you must keep telling yourself that! I’ve been in this industry 35 years this year. Have seen a lot of trends/fads, experienced a lot, traveled to amazing cities, have done numerous contracted work, ran my own store, enjoyed creating in a mass production situation, and haven’t regretted doing what I’ve done. I’ve worked hard, lots of hours, and have still enjoyed life and family. You will do the same!! I wish the best to you in whatever you decide to achieve and keep positive!!


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  • Tami Camody on

    Margaret, This Article is so true about making money with your hobby. I’ve been working full time and selling my painting for the past 7 years. My painting business took off like crazy about 4 years ago. I Worked during the day and paint every night to be ready for the weekend shows. The Art shows have been very profitable for me that I can happily say I just Quit my day job and now my job is what I love to do PAINT. Love the article everything you said is so true.

  • CLaudia DI Mele on

    This is the first email I have received. I enjoyed reading everything. Keep the information coming, it is really good. And thank you!

  • Priscilla Zachary on

    Hi Margaret, I have seen your articles here and there and wondered how you are doing. Great article you have written. Hope you are having a great time designing and writing. I discovered a project you designed and I cut the wood for (cooking gingerbread man). I have to attach the base and am finished with the project. Hope you are well and having fun. Drop me a line.

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