I was over at the Soap Queen's blog, and there was a very lively discussion about starting businesses. I saw a few things in the comments that got me thinking and I thought it might make for an interesting discussion here...
give it time before selling products isn't because I'm jealous of you, I'm worried about competition (note: I don't sell my products), or I want to ruin your dreams. I worry that a newbie making a bad product will give handmade products a bad name. I worry that you won't use the proper preservative or get proper testing done and someone will get hurt and might sue you and ruin your life. I worry that you are entering a business you know little about, and you'll lose your money.
You have to take time to see how the product stands up over that time. You have to make mistakes and learn how to fix them. You have to learn which oils can be substituted for others so you don't have to have many different oils because you use 3% sweet almond oil in one product. You have to learn how to modify your products when your supplier is out of that thing or it's gone rancid. There is so much to learn, and I don't think you can do that in a few short months.
The idea of a craftsperson means that person has worked hard to obtain the skills they have and can be considered a master of that art. You don't become that after a few batches of lotion!
If you want to start a business I won't stop you, but recognize that it isn't all hearts and flowers and the coolness of being an entrepeneur. Your very long hours will be filled with hard work. You will get disheartened when you get to the first farmers' market and no one buys a thing. You will get sad when you see your bank account in the red. You'll get upset when you see mould in your lotion or some weird pink discolouration in your scrub and have to throw it all out. Owning a business is a worth while thing, but why not start from a position of knowing how to face those inevitable mistakes or problems instead of floundering and losing money?
The reason experienced soap and bath and body makers are telling you to wait until you have more experience to open a business is because they've been there. They've lost sleep, time, money, and sanity with their businesses, and they are trying to help, not hinder. They want you to be successful and make tons of money and be happy! (They are offering you advice you would normally have to pay for, so take it!)
My dad always said to me that when I wanted to do something, I should find the smartest person in the room and pick their brains clean. That way I'd know as much as they did. It was about getting information but, more importantly, about learning what mistakes they had made so I could avoid them, too. When you shut down another person by calling them jealous or "haters", you're losing out on the opportunity to learn so much. Lose the defensiveness and let them mentor you so you can have the best business possible!
Thus endeth the rant...Any thoughts?