WAHM: Getting Started Part II

Go Easy and Take Your Time

Depending on how many kids you’ve already got, and whether or not you have already mastered your craft, starting up may take some time. Just remember- Haste Makes Waste!  If you try to rush through things, you are going to regret it! It takes at least 2 years to get any business off the ground, and can take even longer if you are not able to work at it full time. Set yourself some reasonable goals. Make sure that you learn the ins and outs of your craft and make yourself an expert at it! Give as much of it away as you can! Generosity never goes unpaid!!! Just give your stuff to folks and don’t tell them you are thinking about selling it. You’ll get the most honest responses and critiques that way.  

My business has taken off faster than I ever expected and I’ve been scrambling to keep up since day one! So, possibly you should plan for this! Don’t put your name out there until you can keep up with the demand. I had no idea how many dirty people there were on this planet that needed hand made soap. On the web, there are so many sites to buy handmade soap from that it just baffles my mind how anyone finds me! With the exception of blogs of loyal customers who have put my link on their sites, I really don’t advertise. I don’t advertise because I can’t keep up with the demand of just returning customers, let alone seeking out new ones! It’s all surreal to me, still. I’m getting sometimes several orders a day right now and I feel overwhelmed with gratitude! 

Setting a Price

This really varies depending on what you are selling or what service you are offering. The number one raw material that gets used up by WAHM is TIME. TIME TIME TIME. Hopefully, you are not sacrificing time with your kids to do your work, but any time you spend working on an item or service is precious. Most likely, you are giving up some sleep even, and sleep to a Mamma is important time!! You need to be compensated for your time.

If you are, say, a photographer and you spend 1 hour doing a photo shoot and twice that (2 hours) editing the photos, you should charge for 3 hours of your time. Depending on what skill or service you’ve chosen, and how important and thinly stretched your time is to you, you will come up with a different dollar amount. I’d say a photographer is worth at least $50 an hour. You’ll need to charge at least $75 dollars as a sitting fee for a one hour sit. If you are able to do really fantastic special effects and such in your editing, or have some aspect of your photography that really sets you apart, you should charge more. Poor people do not hire photographers to take their portraits. Period. Don’t feel bad about charging a fair amount.

Personally, I consider my time spent making soap to be worth $25 an hour. If you are making a commodity item, here is where it gets beautiful: The better and faster you get at making the item, the more you can do with your time! So, while the quality of my soap has increased greatly since I started making soap, I haven’t really had to raise my prices all that much. I can make 20 bars or 60 bars in thirty minutes, and I’m figuring $25 into the price of that batch of soap, so I might as well make 60 and up my total profit margin. For only 20 bars of soap I’m at $1.25 per bar just for my time, not counting other raw materials. Making 60 at a time cuts it down to a cost of $.41 per bar for my time. I charge $5.25 per bar all the same, but my profits are greater when I make more soap at one time, because I’m spending less time.

You’ll need to consider your overhead. Eventually you’ll have a website which will incur hosting fees, fees for processing credit cards, etc. You can even consider water or energy usage in your home as overhead. Office paper, ink/toner, etc also factor in here. You need to roll these costs into the price of your product or service. I did this by estimating how much paper/toner/water I used per month, in addition to my monthy fees for web hosting, shopping cart, and credit card processing. I added all that up, and divided by the number of bars that I thought I would reasonably be making per month with those resources. That gave me an amount (at the time, now it’s much much lower because I’m making more soap and using a more efficient printer) of $.60 per bar. So, once I figured out the cost of my time and raw materials, I added $.60 per bar to cover all my bills and label expenses. Make sure you’ve covered it all, or you won’t make a profit.

Of course, in the beginning your profits may not be that great. To some women, it is important that their family finances not take a hit for the sake of their WAHM business, but that is up to you. We spent our spending money getting me starter supplies, and I even requested soap making equipment for my birthday one year! (It should go without saying that you shouldn’t even try to do this without your husband’s support!) In my business, I save vast amounts of money by ordering my supplies in bulk, and I really imagine it’s that way for most businesses. Once you get going and have an idea of the demand on your product or service, you’ll be able to order more supplies at one time and up your profit.