Cottage industries can be a great way to earn some financial freedom, help you out of debt, or even as a productive hobby. I’ve used cottage industries to pick up extra funds to support myself in college, save for vacations, pay off student loans, and donate to charity.
They are unlike normal jobs because they usually promote only one product or service. They are manageable, low-stress, and most often involve the owner’s established hobby. Not only are they fun and rewarding, cottage industries can help you find your place in a community, make friends who have similar interests, and put a little extra bread on your table at the same time.
Step one: Follow your interests
Cottage industries are all about selling your personal product or service. It’s not just something you are good at, it is something you enjoy doing. Apply yourself to things you like; and dedicate yourself to learning more about them. If you like crocheting, then spend time learning new patterns and stitches. Practice making those hats, scarves, afghans, or cute stuffed bunny rabbits.
Step two: Become an expert
Invest yourself in developing necessary skills for your interest. Start by finding out what other experts in your field do. Learn tips and techniques from other people, and find your niche of expertise. Ideally, you learn to make something that no one else makes. If you like baking, you may want to develop your own homemade bread recipes.
Step three: Find a group of prospects
The internet has made it much easier to find a group of prospects who can become your customers. But if you want to start a cottage industry that serves your community, than you need to market yourself in the places your prospects meet. For example, if your cottage industry is making crocheted baby hats, you should go to baby clothes stores to market your products. If you bake homemade bread, you should go to health clubs, yoga studios, gyms, or the Farmer’s Market.
Step four: Make it official
Invest time and money in getting business cards, licenses, sending in the right tax forms, and selling yourself. If you are nervous about investing in your industry before you see a profit, than don’t! Use what you already have and begin to sell your products to people you already know. Keep track of your income for tax purposes. You might be surprised how many of your friends, (and your friend’s friends) will be excited to support your industry. When you have reached these customers through word of mouth, you may have enough profit to invest in business cards and licenses.
If your cottage industry becomes successful, then you should always take the precaution of going through the legal steps. You could be breaking the law if you are not paying taxes on your profit.