Grow DIY Business Panel Wrap-Up

This past weekend we had our first two "real" events and we were pretty pleased at how they turned out. We met NYC author Eleanor Whitney through mutual friend and Academy of Handmade supporter Danielle Maveal of Creative Little Beasts (she's awesome and if you are a member she'll do a free mini business boot camp for you). Eleanor just had her book Grow: How to Take Your Do It Yourself Project and Passion to the Next Level and Quit Your Job published AND it's first run of copies has already sold out. We held panels in Echo Park and Costa Mesa with great and different information at both!

Here are a few key learnings from the panels:

  1. Owning your own business isn't for everyone. Have a frank discussion with yourself to see if you are really cut out for this.
  2. Be okay with mistakes and making less in exchange for other freedoms. You will make less than probably most of your friends, but that's okay because you love what you do. If you don't love what you do more than things money can buy you should really not go into business for yourself.
  3. You will work hard and stay hungry. While you will love what you do, you will be doing lots of things and you don't always get to neatly "leave it at work" the way you can with some jobs.
  4. Network and be nice. You never know when a contact has a contact that is the one you totally need. Opportunities can come disguised in weird packages, so don't blow people off.
  5. Don't under charge. It's probably the biggest problem for creatives and people who work for themselves. You have to make enough to pay yourself a wage you can live on, so that means you need to do some math. If what you are doing is something that people will not pay the right price for what you should make, then consider if you need to just keep it as a hobby.

A big thank you to our panelists: 
Grace Juhn, Cake Bar
Michaele Musel, culinary consultant
Iris Porter, artist
Shannon Flaherty Randall, writer/owner at Sunland Studio 
Dave Conrey, Fresh Rag
Delilah Snell, Patchwork and Craftcation

Photo credit: Eleanor Whitney