It’s finally time to take the next step. You’ve been embroidering for some time now, and you’re consistently working on small projects for friends or family. The thought has probably crossed your mind a few times: “Should I turn my hobby into a business?”
We have to start somewhere, and it’s not easy to decide when we should officially become a small business. It’s not easy because of the intimidating amount of information you have to digest before turning your passion into a money-making machine.
“Where do I even begin?” is a commonly asked question. If you’re working on projects for friends and family, you’ve already begun. It’s time to start making an income from your creativity and your machine. You have a skill, and charging for it is a must. After all, fabric and thread aren’t cheap.
You have invested your time and money into providing value for your friends and family, so it’s time that you get the compensation you deserve. That’s how every business comes to life. You offer great value, and in exchange, you earn money. True customers will always understand that.
Understanding the three personalities of every new business owner
Before diving into our 5 crucial steps/secrets, there are some things you need to know. In Michael Gerber’s book, E-myth Revisited, Gerber writes about the importance of understanding the three personalities you have as a business owner. The technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur.
The journey of starting your business begins by wearing the hat of the technician.
This is the part of you that fell in love with embroidery in the first place. You enjoy doing the work, creating the art. You are the technician. You’ve honed your skill and, at some point, decided that you should get paid for it.
This is the part of you that craves order and organization. The manager puts systems and processes in place to ensure that things get done efficiently.
The entrepreneur is the reason why you’re reading this article in the first place. This is the part of you that has the vision to learn how to start an embroidery business, to start taking names and kick butt. The part of you that knows you can get more out of your hobby by turning it into a hustle.
Understanding how they work together
The problem is that these personalities don’t always get along, and that’s when a business typically fails. The technician dislikes doing managerial work. The technician wants to create art and be left in peace.
The manager doesn’t always get along with the technician. The manager wants the technician to do things in an orderly way, and the technician doesn’t always agree because it’s getting in the way of the art.
The entrepreneur only shows up in the beginning, gives you that spark, and leaves you to figure out the rest. The entrepreneur drags the technician and manager towards bigger and better things, whether the technician and manager are prepared for it or not.
When learning how to start an embroidery business:
Remember to work on your business and not just in your business.
This is the key to applying the following points properly. When starting a business, we forget that working on the systems that drive your business is just as important as the craft of machine embroidery itself. You must approach the systems that run your business with as much enthusiasm as you approach embroidery.
Having a hobby that can earn you money is a dream for most people. It’s challenging to find something that you like to do with your time and earn an income from it. This doesn’t mean that you need to quit your job and begin your embroidery business, no. It means that you can start small and begin to grow and adjust as demand for your work increases.
Chances are, if you’ve invested this much time, energy, and money, you owe it to yourself to start generating a return. There are a few essential secrets that you need to know before embarking on your journey, things that will help you figure out precisely what you need to learn before moving forward.
1. How to start an embroidery business: Create a website
Having a web presence is crucial to growing a business. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, but amplifying it through the internet is a must if you want to grow your business and brand.
Yes, it can be disconcerting to try and wrap your head around the process, but these days it’s much easier to build a website than you might think. If you can set up your machine, digitize your designs, or embroider garments for friends and family, then you can build a website.
Easy to use drag and drop website creators like Wix and Squarespace allow you to put a fully functioning website together in a short amount of time. Still uneasy about building your own website using these tools? Sites like Udemy provide cheap courses that will teach you to build your website in a day. You’ll surprise yourself, your friends, and your family.
Remember to upload some high-quality images of your work and add contact information on the front page. There is no use in having a website if people can’t see your work and don’t know how to contact you.
If you’re looking for quality embroidery designs that’ll make your work stand out and impress, check out our giant collection of close to 30,000 embroidery designs! As long as you give us credit by posting a link back to our site when you use our designs in the sample photos posted on your website, you’re welcome to use our designs to showcase your work online.
2. Find a Niche by letting it find you
This is important if you want to grow and increase your income over time. Contrary to what many people believe, offering embroidery services in all sectors of the market will not land you more customers.
Think of the phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none.” If you try to cater to everyone, your marketing message won’t be clear, and you won’t be catering to anyone. Having a clear niche allows you to target a specific audience and provide the specific services the audience requires. Here are just a few examples:
- Athletic teams/Schools
- Weddings and bridal parties
- Focused Niche Market
It might be hard to find a niche right away. This is because you haven’t experimented enough. Start broad. Yes, finding a niche is crucial, but first, you must start broad and then narrow it down.
In the beginning, do precisely the opposite of niching down. Then find out what sort of machine embroidery you like most and can generate a decent profit. That’s the secret. When you’re just getting started, don’t worry about finding a niche immediately. It will eventually come to you – just don’t stay broad.
We’ll be covering finding your niche and most profitable products in-depth in our upcoming How to Make Money with Embroidery Webinar.
3. Invest in embroidery software that saves you time
One of the hardest things for new entrepreneurs to learn is to walk past a small pile of money to get to a bigger pile of money. I’m talking about reinvesting your dollars on software or systems that do time-consuming tasks for you and generate more income in the long term.
For example, these days, you can have your groceries delivered to your front door. Some people might scoff and say, “I’m not that lazy to have someone else deliver my groceries for me!”- those people aren’t entrepreneurs. Bear with me.
The entrepreneur understands that time saved is time that can be reinvested into the business to improve its systems and generate more profit. Paying someone to deliver your groceries might cost up to $10 and take over an hour.
What if instead of doing it yourself and saving $10 an hour, you pay someone $10 to do it for you, and make $50 an hour embroidering at home? Not only have you enjoyed embroidering for an hour, but you’ve also made $40 working for a customer.
Here is some game-changing embroidery software that will save you an incredible amount of time and help you earn more money:
The Fabric Assist Tool Inside Hatch Software
As many of you know, embroidering a design on one type of fabric doesn’t mean it will embroider the same way on a different kind of material. If you use a design intended for Pique Knit on Thai silk, the design will become stitch intensive, promote puckering, and look bad. There will be a visual difference, and the quality of the work will suffer.
Usually, you’d have to extensively alter and edit the settings in the design for different fabric types. This takes up time and energy that can be much better spent. The fabric assist tool inside of Hatch embroidery software alters the design settings (such as density, underlay, pull compensation which often leads to a change in stitch count) for a different fabric in one click of a button. That’s it. Now that is what we call an excellent investment into your business. Check out the video below to have a better understanding of how it works.
4. Invest in an embroidery machine that you can rely on
To produce consistent results and guarantee the same high-quality work on all of your orders, you need a machine that can deliver. It is one of the most critical aspects of your business. The more time your machine is up and running, the more value you can offer to your customers, and the more money you can earn.
Many embroiderers learn to embroider on low to mid-range machines, and it’s completely understandable. However, if you plan on turning your hobby into a business, this is a necessary investment – a machine that is reliable and will last you a lifetime.
Think about it this way, if you’re doing some renovations at home you can likely get away with a common screwdriver. But if you choose to become a professional handyman, you’d need to invest in a drill to save you time and streamline your workflow.
There are many options to choose from, and it can be quite intimidating. I want to make it easy for you. If you’re going to take your business seriously and rest assured that your machine will deliver what you promise to your customers, I highly recommend using a multi-needle embroidery machine to increase your workflow. Now when it comes to making money with multi-needle machines, there are a ton of factors to consider so I suggest checking out our article What is the Best Embroidery Machine for a Home Business if you’d like to learn more.
If you’re looking for our suggestion the best embroidery machine for business purposes though, the ZSK sprint series embroidery machines are an excellent place to start. Granted, we may be a bit biased here at Embroidery Legacy given we’re an official ZSK partner, but they are honestly the gold-standard for quality, precision, and reliability in the commercial embroidery industry. Even if you don’t end up purchasing one, it’s good to see all options available to you and the features that place ZSK a step above most of the other brands out there.
Remember, you are the artist, and your customer trusts you to put their vision onto fabric. If your tools can’t deliver your promise, well, it’s a recipe for disaster.
5. Test and Practice
The most important promise your business makes to its customers is the ability to deliver high-quality work. It doesn’t matter if you have the best machines, the best thread, or the best systems in place if your embroidery skills aren’t up to par.
Knowledge and practice are two things you can impact the most starting now. The central theme of this article is investing time back into yourself and your business. It’s a sure-fire way to grow and become profitable. We are here to help you with that.
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We want to give you the tools you need to succeed. Want to improve your hooping skills? Check out this video. Want to improve your understanding of thread types? Click here.
Finally, if you’re going to become a better machine embroiderer and serve your customers better, have a look at our course, designed to equip you with the skills you need to do what you love for a living. Check out our new How To Make Money with Embroidery webinar here. Whether you’ve never made money with embroidery before or are an experienced embroidery business owner, this webinar will help you turn your embroidery machine into a profit center that’ll boost your monthly income
Conclusion: use these 5 steps at any stage of your business for better results
Whether you’re thinking about starting your own business, or have grown your business successfully, using these five crucial steps will benefit your business. Create a website; this will allow you to access a more extensive network of clients. Let your embroidery business niche find you; start broad and narrow your options down. Invest in the proper embroidery software and a reliable and high-quality machine; these will save you time and earn you more income.
Lastly and most importantly, you must always deliver high-quality work, which occurs with practice and knowledge. Since you’ve got practicing covered, let us help educate you on making money with embroidery.
If you’ve ever thought about turning your hobby into something profitable or already run an embroidery business and want proven tips & techniques that’ll help make you more successful, our new How to Make Money with Embroidery webinar is for you! Whether you’ve never made money with embroidery before or are an experienced embroidery business owner, this webinar will help you find customers, streamline your workflow, increase your profits, and more.