I often hear hobbyist who make soap, cosmetics and candles describing themselves as, “I’m just a hobbyist,” as if their work was less significant than the work of a business owner.
Is a hobbyist less knowledgeable, less skilled or less significant than a business owner? Of course not! Let us take a look at why.
Creativity vs. Production – While the hobbyist has the creative freedom to make each batch different from the batch before, the business owner must concentrate on streamlining and consistency. Once the business owner decides on what and how she is selling, she no longer has the freedom to change without good reason. Neither is superior, but each requires a different focus.
Knowledge vs. Sales – The hobbyist might be a research hound, learning every aspect of what he or she is making, enjoying the learning as much as the production and varying his product a bit every batch. The business owner’s goal, however, is on making a quality product his customers will pay for. He may also be limited to some extent by the cost of ingredients in order to turn a profit.
Sharing vs. Competition – Often, hobbyists are the most open about sharing formulas, techniques and other information because their livelihood is not at stake. Where it might be foolish to share everything the business owner has learned to make his business successful, the hobbyist has less to lose and often finds satisfaction in sharing.
As you can see, the difference between the hobbyist and business owner lies in each of their intentions, not their ability to make a fantastic product, or their knowledge in any particular area. The business owner concentrates on the business of selling product, not only in making it, but the hobbyist is free to do as he or she pleases.
The hobbyist should never feel inferior or less significant than a business owner. If you have a yen and goal for making a business, do it. Making a living out of selling what you love is a beautiful thing and bunches of women and men in our industry are doing well at it.
If you find yourself better as a hobbyist, feel proud of the fact you are learning every day and are freely creating. Share what you learn with others. Whatever you do, do not feel that you do not measure up.
Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.
Beth Byrne, for Making Soap, Cosmetics and Candles