Starting a craft business does not require as much upfront capital as a regular small business. That is the good news. The other news is that it does take some capital. Here are some tips for acquiring the proper license and ways to keep good records for your new business.
Should I Get a Loan?
It is suggested that you do not start your craft business with acquiring a loan. A loan is something you will have to commit to and getting those monthly reminders can be quite a hassle. Simplify your business. Don’t get into debt over this venture. You can simply fund your business with your own money. Raise some money first by having a yard sale (or selling “stuff” on eBay). Take that extra money to fund your business.
Obtaining Proper Licenses
While a craft business can be lots of fun and hard work, the hard work is not over yet. It is imperative that you are properly licensed to sell your crafts. You will need to contact your State Business Licensing Department to get the details on how to get a business license. It usually costs nothing or next-to-nothing to obtain such a license and can be done very easily. You will need to charge and report sales tax on a quarterly or monthly basis to the proper taxation authorities. They will usually automatically send you proper tax forms to be completed. In fact, most taxation departments allow you to make payments on-line, if that is your kind of thing. Please take the time to do this part right. You don’t want to have the hassles of backtracking and searching for records if something is asked of you. Make sure you file properly with the IRS, as well. You will want to use Form 1040-ES to file quarterly. Visit the Small Business and Self-Employed One-Stop Resource for all the information you need to file properly.
You can find terrific bookkeeping software at great prices, if you look for sales. It will keep track of all your expenses and income for you and you don’t have to worry about manually keeping track of those things. Quicken is a good program for bookkeeping needs, but there are many, many other brand names, too. Of course, you can do the work manually. There is really nothing wrong with that approach.
Get a separate checking account for your business. It just keeps your business separate and makes the bookkeeping easier. Most banks offer free checking, so that makes it even more attractive to do this.
You will want to itemize your expenses by materials, craft show table costs, advertising costs, etc. As well, you will want to itemize your income as eBay income, craft show income, in-home parties income, etc. All this requires is a little note in the memo section of your checkbook. That is one reason why you should use a software program for bookkeeping because it is so easy to sort your itemized assets and liabilities. This way you will know where you are making and spending the most money. You can always allocate funds from one place to another, but at least you will know where money is coming and going from. And, if you use your craft business income as extra income for the family, personal needs, etc., you can transfer funds to your regular checking account.