For the record, I think there is nothing wrong with wanting to build a profitable business to create a comfortable living for yourself and your family. (Provided that you are doing this in an ethically and socially responsible manner.) But I also know that is is an area of thinking where many of us struggle. If the idea of making more money for yourself is hard, why not consider it from this perspective:
The more money you make, the more generous you can be.
There has been a lot of talk around the creative community about creative tithing, and a few of you even brought it up in the comments of yesterday’s post. This is the idea that you would take 10% of your income and spend it on products from craft and indie businesses. I love the idea that we all need to support each other, and I think for many, the idea of being able to support other indie businesses is one way to put the pursuit of profit into perspective. And of course, it doesn’t have to stop with indie businesses. There are plenty of charities and social causes that you could also earmark some of your profit for.
To give you a few examples:
Let’s say that your business makes $20,000 in one year. (And I’m not talking about gross sales here. I’m talking about pure profit.) So if you make $20k a year, and you’re trying to spend 10% on indie business, or donating to charity, or anything else that makes you feel good, you’ll be spending (or giving away) $2,000. But when you only make $20k, giving away $2,000 can seem difficult. It leaves you only $18,000 to live off of and put into savings. And when you’re walking such a fine line, it’s easy to sometimes spend that $2,000 on other, more pressing bills. (Like emergency root canals.)
Now what if we doubled the amount of profit to $40,000 a year? Giving away (or spending) 10% leaves you with $36,000 to pay your bills and support your family. That feels a little more comfortable AND you have more money to spend on the businesses and causes that are important to you.
But what if we multiplied that original number times 10? What if you made $200,000 a year? That 10% (or $20,000) would still leave you a very comfortable $180,000 to live off of. In fact, you could give away a much larger percentage of your income, and still live very comfortably. Think about the other indie businesses, charities, or anything else that would also benefit from the increased profitability of your business.
I realize that a lot of you are looking at that last example and thinking, “But Megan, I could never make $200,000 with my crafts business.” To which I say, “Why not?” Part of creating a culture of profit in the crafts community is confidently expressing your desire to make a significant profit. I know I would love to make $200,000. I’m not there yet, but I’m letting myself get comfortable with expressing the idea that I will get there. And when I do, I can’t wait to spend a significant amount of money supporting the indie businesses and social causes that I’m passionate about.
So the next time you feel uncomfortable about about your desire to make money, make a list of al the worthwhile things you could spend that money on:
- Other indie businesses
- Your children’s education
- Charities and social causes
- Anything else that’s important to you
Make a list, a collage, or some other visual reminder and hang it somewhere prominent in your office or studio. Use this list as your inspiration to pursue greater profits for your business. When you think about making profits, don’t just think about making profits for you and your company. Picture the people, businesses, or causes on your list as other partners in your business. Now go out and embrace the idea of making a profit for yourself and all your business “partners.”