The First 3 Steps to Launching Your Handmade Business

grow your handmade business

When you’re first starting a handmade business (or when you’re knee-deep in the process, looking to change up your strategies), it’s essential to have a clear understanding of where you want your business to go and how you’ll guide it there. The term “goal setting” gets thrown around a lot, but simply setting a goal isn’t enough when you’re not sure how it serves the overall mission of your business and how you’ll actually accomplish it. Kari Chapin, author of “Grow Your Handmade Business,” stresses that your maker business’s success has to be build on a foundation of clear intentions, concrete goals, and actionable tasks.

First, declare your intention.

Your intention is your ultimate goal — to set your intention, you ask yourself, “What is the result I want to achieve when I’ve reached all of my goals?”

As Kari sees it, your intention isn’t a hope — it’s a finish line, a declaration, and a fact. “It’s not our goal to do it. We’re not going to try to think about it. We’re actually going to do it…You just are going to do this thing,” Kari explains.

Common handmade business intentions might be making enough money to quit a full-time job, reaching a certain number of sales in an Etsy shop, or growing your social media presence.

Next, support your intention with goals.

Goals are the milestones and concrete steps you need to reach to get closer to your intention. Some intentions may require multiple, complex goals; some may require fewer goals. Your goals may change as you progress toward your intention, but intentions are constant, and less likely to change.

Then, accomplish your goals with your tasks.

Tasks is another way of saying “actions.” A task an action step you need to do in order to get yourself closer to meeting your goals — and, by extension, your intention. For example, each of the items on the to-do list you make each day is likely a task. And just like those to-do list tasks may vary over the course of a day, your tasks will evolve all the time, too. You may find yourself changing tasks daily, weekly, monthly, or maybe even hourly. That’s okay, as long as those tasks are propelling you forward in the service of your goal.

How do I use intentions, goals, and tasks to grow my business?

Once you understand the distinction between intentions, goals, and tasks, you’re ready to put a plan in place to set the goals and intentions that will get your business where it needs to be. Define your intention, describe the concrete steps you’ll take to reach it, and plan the smaller day-to-day tasks that will move you closer to those goals.

Keep in mind that it’s essential to actually write down your intention (and your goals and tasks). Sure, they’ll always be at the back of your mind, and you’ll constantly review them mentally, but it’s important to hold yourself accountable in a visible, tangible way, too. While your intentions typically won’t shift constantly, review them from time-to-time to make sure both that you’re still on track and that they’re still feasible. You’ll review your tasks and goals more regularly.

To aid in this process, Kari says, “I have board meetings with myself, where I actually go over this stuff at a set time. What do I want to do next? Am I moving toward it, or have I started to float or drift away from it?”

Don’t be afraid to change your mind. Business is a shifting and dynamic endeavor, and so your goal-setting needs to be, too. And don’t put too much pressure on yourself. There’s a reason why it’s called a process.

Want more from Kari about how to launch your handmade business? Check out her CreativeLive course, which comes with some great bonuses for crafting entrepreneurs. 

Lauren Hoffman FOLLOW >

Lauren Hoffman lives and writes in Seattle, Washington. By day, she's a freelance writer and editor; by night, she's at work completing a book-length non-fiction project, Up High Down Low.