For a few years now a friend of mine and I have been kicking around the idea of writing a book on the ins and out of the lampworking business. It’s always been, “Hey we should collaborate and write a book about that.” Maybe we still will one day, but in the mean time I’m going to do a summer series on the topic. So far I have over twenty chapters to cover and the first one is to define what success means to you.
Success comes in a variety of different packages. Does it mean making a living off of selling lampwork? Making some extra mad money? Maybe you want your work to be published in the various glass magazines. Do you just want to sell your work as a form of validation? Then there are those who only want to make enough money to keep up their glass buying habits.
All of these are valid goals and don’t ever let anyone else define what success means to you.
Let me say it again. Only you can define what your success is.
If you want to sell your work for a dollar a bead, then go for it. Last I checked we live in a free market economy. But are you on the right path to being successful? If you’re looking at people buying your work as a form of validation, you might be. But if you want to make a living at this, then probably not, unless you are selling spacers or seconds.
In order to be successful, you need a goal. One person success may be another person’s failure. For instance if your goal is to make a living off of lampork, the financials are going to be very different for someone who has a two thousand dollar house payment and two kids to support compared to someone who’s rent is five hundred dollars and only needs to care for a dog.
First set the goal, then make a plan. When Greg and I got serious about being full time lampworkers our version of success went something like this:
Greg: To make what he wanted, when he wanted to.
Deanna: To make enough money we didn’t have to work for anyone esle.
Looking at those goals, we set a plan. And only part of that plan was financial. We did a budget and figured out how much we needed to make each day to live. Then we took that number and added in how much we wanted to save and came up with a daily sales goal. Then we looked at the items we were making and made sure we listed enough items online each day to at least cover that sales goal. In the early days, if I had it on hand, I put up twice as much as we needed since not everything sells the first time around.
Happily, that worked out just fine. But remember, Greg said he wanted to make what he wanted, when he wanted. He’s got that artist gene. You know the one. When the artist feels stifled when they can’t do their own thing regularly. Luckily, I don’t have that problem. I like production work. So, while Greg tolled away being an artist, I did the production bead work, happily making the same kinds of beads day in and day out. I still do that, but have also learned to build in some play time at the torch for new designs. Greg on the other hand has learned he sort of likes production sometimes. Being creative all the time can be exhausting.
Our version of success had changed over the years. As I said, early on it was to make enough to not have to work for anyone else. That’s a good goal, but does that mean it’s okay if we are barely scrapping by every month? I’ve since revised. It’s now, to make a comfortable living. And my sales goals have changed accordingly and so has my marketing tactics.
For instance, I can sell a lot of beads if I lower my prices. A Lot! But I’m far better off selling less beads at a higher price. Not only do I make roughly the same amount of money (if not more) but it also gives me some free time to enjoy my life. We’ll get to this in another post.
For now, I urge you to set your own parameters of success. It will then be far easier to set your goals and work out a plan to get there.