Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wanted: Full-Time Employment!

How many of us dream of taking our art to the next step: Full-time employment. Making and selling jewelry (or whatever it is that we excell at) to generate enough income to live. Have I got your attention??
It's not about running around the house in our jammies and slippers, or sleeping in until 10:00 am while others are on the freeway of life. It's not about getting away from office politics or a rotten boss. It's about making enough money to pay the bills, keep the roof over our head, food on the table, get the essentials paid for and, hopefully, stash some cash. It is not easy.
If self-employment is your goal, if being a "sole proprietor" is your dream -- with a Tax Return to show for it, then you have to put your heart and brain into it.
I have worked for 20 years on my journey. It had and still has lots of rocks and ruts but it's a great path. However, I'm very proud to say I am a self-employed woman. And, yes, I pay self-employment taxes. Arrgh.....

Here are some ideas I came up with that helped me move along my journey. Some of them are no-brainers, some of them you may already know....hopefully I'll give you ideas that will help you see places you can generate more money, more quickly. And you certainly have your own great ideas too, upon which to build.

Keep Records! It's hard, I know. But you need to keep records of all the raw materials you buy. You need to keep records of how much a necklace, earrings, bracelet, etc., costs you to make, right down to a jump ring. If you can keep those records on a card, computer, notebook, this will help you calculate how much to charge for the piece in the future. This was one of my hardest ones to overcome. I'd look at a finished piece and say, "Well, I'd say it cost me $.... to make." Wrong! When I really sat there and took the piece apart and did a tally of material costs, I usually was off, by a lot. So get yourself a little calculator and do the math.

Production Work: I've added a photograph of a pair of earrings to show you something I have made for eight years....yes, eight long years. And I have made literally hundreds and hundreds of these earrings. I'm sick of these earrings. I could make these earrings in my sleep. I hate these earrings! However.....these earrings make me money. I sell them wholesale to a number of gift shops around the country. They sell like popcorn and they are a staple to my income. So I make these earrings in various colors of beads, in silver and gold. (Did I say being self-employed was going to be all fun and glamorous??)

Put on your thinking cap and create something that can be made fairly easily, that would be a popular item in gift shops or boutiques, and get to doing some wholesaling. Just remember -- you need to ask for about 50% less than what the jewelry will retail for. It's a hit but if you are wize about your material costs, you will do just fine. Besides, selling a dozen of something is better than selling nothing, right? This will also generate money for you to purchase materials to make the nicer pieces you really want to make and sell. You do not have to give up your passion of creating incredible jewelry pieces. But selling smaller, quicker items will enable you to do more gallery-quality work and still keep a steady flow of income moving into your check book at the same time.

Look at this clip of a really quick and easy pair of earrings to make. This may not be your cup of tea, but this is the sort of thing I'm talking about -- quick, easy and fairly inexpensive:

I'll keep adding to this string -- watch for more in the coming days. I'd also love to hear from anyone out there who would like to contribute to this string. Any and all ideas that you've come up with about making your business grow would be greatly appreciated! We all can use help in this area. Email me at: I'll look forward to hearing from you.

A Beautiful Bracelet to Share! Kathy Noda, from Miami, sent me this photograph of a new bracelet she made with some B.B. materials and I am just GaGa over it! She calls it "Violets in My Garden." It combines the 10mm chain (which is coming back in stock in the next couple of weeks), the Wilderness Leaf (love it!), lots of beads and those beautiful blue glass beads I have so few left of....sad to say! Vintage glass and so beautiful. Anyway, I think it's so pretty....I'm a purple fan anyway. Thanks for sending in the photo, Kathy.
Sister Alert! I have my sister coming in from Americus, Georgia, (that's in the USA, Gillian) on Friday. She's going to be here for a week. I've told my husband he should take a room at a hotel for the week as he won't get a wink of sleep while she and are together. We've not seen each for two years and we have oodles to catch up on. We laugh like a couple of crazy youngsters and swap stories until all hours. I think it will be like a week-long slumber party. Poor, poor Hubster!
That's about it for now. Send those photos in! I want to see what you all are doing......
Until later: Pay it Forward! -- Jill

1 comment:

Lorianne said...

This was helpful Jill. I'm having a rough time coming up with a simple design so I can repeat it without too much hassle. And boy is it hard! I just have to keep adding to everything.. That mechanical part of creating, not too inspiring hehe