This is a collaborative post and contains links to outside websites.
When I started sewing, I was very quiet about it. I didn’t know other sewists and was worried about being judged by people who didn’t understand my hobby. I’d love to go back and shake my younger self by the shoulders, but all I can do is move forward! Technology has changed everything about the creative process, including building a global community of supportive makers who “speak the same language” (even if they don’t!).
I have had a BANNER year when it comes to meeting my virtual community in person. These are women who have been a source of encouragement and inspiration for me for YEARS.
There are so many ways that technology has transformed how we create and how we connect, but there is still a lot of work and intention that has to go into fostering growth. Whether your desire is to build a support network, showcase or sell your creations, or expand your skillset, what you do with the tech provided can make all of the difference. I’m typically bringing up the rear when it come to new tech adoption and that has worked against me!
Here are a few of the many ways that evolving technologies are moving makers forward.
There have been many times that I’ve toyed with the idea of selling my makes – and have done so. When I first made to sell, the best outlets available to me were local makers’ markets or Ebay. Neither were very fruitful! There are so many ways to sell now!
Those fond of sewing or making clothes can use online stores, like Etsy, or create their store through e-commerce platforms, like Shopify or WordPress, to make it more personalized.
Although selling your creations isn’t for everybody (like me!), those who have the time and resources to start a small business could find that their hobbies can generate extra income, even if they only use it to save for a rainy day or their kids’ college funds.
My own site has helped me to connect with independent designers and brands who need help with creative copywriting. I love contributing in this way!
Support and Growth
Google is a verb, amiright? YouTube is a hallowed hall of learning. You can use technology to find answers quickly. No matter what you’re into, you can easily find and meet people who share your interests, and these people may share their knowledge with you.
Facebook groups are especially beneficial if you’re just getting started. If you’re looking for experience and advice, these popular forums are the place to go. I serve as a moderator for several of these groups and the collective brain trust always blows me away.
No matter how passionate you are about your hobby, you will get to the point when you plateau. This doesn’t mean you aren’t as talented as others. It just means you may have exhausted your potential from what’s currently available to you.
Reaching A Wider Audience
Some people start small businesses and are happy to sell locally, but eventually hit a ceiling. If you want to grow your business, you need to reach a wider audience, and technology can help you do that.
Upgrading your computer and carrying out troubleshooting for a faster macOS will make your website more streamlined and efficient, which means your platform will be more appealing. It should also be able to handle more traffic, so you won’t need to worry about slow page loading or crashes.
Tracking the Important Stuff
As exciting as sharing your hobby can be, there’s also plenty of boring stuff that comes along, too. You may need to sign contracts and sort out your taxes. You don’t want to do all this, but you need to, especially as you don’t want to fall afoul of the taxman.
Technology can simplify this for you. Set up a Google folder and spreadsheet to track your earnings or work with online tax services to determine how much you owe and avoid any charges later in the year.
Building Your Brand
Even if you don’t get into a hobby to make lots of money and inspire others, you may not have a choice if your products are just that good. This gives you an excellent chance to build your brand through appropriate social media channels. You can sign up for as many or as few as you want, but it’s best to choose the channels where you will find your customers – your community – and connect with them there.
If you want to turn your hobby into something that generates some extra cash on the side, or simply want to share your creativity with the world, you can use technology to make it happen. From your website to meeting new people who can share advice, there are plenty of opportunities for you to explore.