In this episode on #MakersTV I’m an open book, talking about everything from finding the space, finding a lawyer that understood wtf I was doing, getting a bank loan, spending ALLL the money, offering multiple products and services, running a studio whist having a baby, re-branding a year in, finding customers, realising I was getting further and further in debt, ultimately making the decision to close (not actually based on the money issues), having clear-out sales, “making good” on the space and saying goodbye to my 65m2 bliss-filled studio.
This is a special episode of MAKERS TV and most definitely NOT under 15 minutes long!
The Makers Hub was my dream to open a space where people can come and be creative together. I was asked to run a workshop and this ignited something in me. I wanted people to realize that they did not need to be creative or artistic to be able to make something and that creating is therapeutic and is actually good for you.
How it all started
I wanted the creative community of Canberra to get together by teaching other people to create stuff. I also founded Canberra creatives where I taught workshops like origami, kids craft, painting, embroidery, candle making, and a lot of other craft workshops.
I was not enjoying all the paper work and red tape of being a teacher at the time so I decided to take up a business course during the school break, and for the whole of 2013, I planned what I wanted to do with my business. My ultimate goal was to open a space.
Think of your ROI
I started importing products like stamps, washi tapes, and fun things that I really wanted to sell. I really liked the idea of selling fun products. So during this time I did different kinds of workshops, I sold craft kits, and I sold imported products mostly for scrap booking. I had too many things going on and I spent on so much stuff that I really did not think of the return of investment. I realized that for every single thing that you do and spend on, you have to think whether it will or will not add profit or if it’s just useless in the end. I added a lot of things in the hub that were pretty but non-essential.
The trick would be to ask yourself what could you give up for now? I wanted the space to look cool and nice but there were a lot that were unnecessary. I could have had the space with minimum viable products and then just add on the other things later on when I was already making money.
And when you loan money from the bank, remember that the money you borrowed is money you don’t actually have.
Focus on one thing
My head was in multiple places. I was focusing on the wrong things like branding instead of how to promote my products and workshops. It is ideal to get things right in the first place. That would be the best thing. I tried selling a lot of things I wanted but did not really think who my target audience was. It is essential to offer stuff that people actually want.
Realizing what you actually want
Ask yourself if you see yourself doing what you’re doing for the next 10 years. When I decided to close the hub there was an immediate sense of relief and I knew I was doing the right thing. It’s still not perfect today and I am still paying for the debt I accumulated as a result of my mistakes but that is why I am sharing this with you. So that you can avoid the mistakes I did and make better choices for when you open up your business. This should not scare you into taking the risk and transitioning from a 9-5 to being your own boss.
Everyone has different situations and different personalities so just do what works for you but be wise in your decisions. Not everyone gets it right the first time but it would be great if you did! Of course this doesn’t mean that failure isn’t an option. There are just ways to minimize and avoid mistakes that could otherwise have been avoided if you had listened to someone else’s experience or story.
So I hope this helped and if you got any questions you want me to answer that I haven’t covered in the video jus comment here and I’ll do my best to answer them!