Guest blogger, Krishnali Dholakia, discusses how during lockdown she discovered a love for jewellery-making and set up an Etsy store.

My story

The Covid19 lockdown has given back to many of us something of great value: time. Hours that we would’ve typically spent on our commute to the office or attending post-work drinks. Instead, we can now spend more time on ourselves and pursue new hobbies, which for many over-worked business professionals has until now been almost impossible.

I initially started learning new skills during the lockdown simply to kill time. Like many of you reading this article, I was separated from my loved ones, living in social isolation and didn’t have any outside space. So, I needed to find indoor activities to keep my mind stimulated. I built and treated furniture, took classes on investing and most recently, bought a jewellery-making kit.

Thinking these would all be casual hobbies I soon discovered a hidden knack for jewellery-making. It appealed to my creative senses, which I don’t often get to utilise as a corporate lawyer and fitted in well with my interests – namely shopping.

After receiving glowing feedback on my jewellery designs from family and friends, I decided to sell some on Etsy. After all, what did I have to lose? I had already purchased all the materials and if no one bought my jewellery, I could wear it myself and give some away as gifts.

I’m pleased to say my endeavours paid off and at the time of writing this blog I’d already made a sale! Naturally, this has given me a great sense of personal satisfaction, perhaps even more so than a 3am completion after several months’ hard work. I think that’s because I’m entirely responsible for this store – it’s mine so its success is my success.

Do it yourself

I’d recommend everyone to pursue a hobby or interest outside of work because there’s no denying it promotes good mental health. What’s more, some activities can be an avenue for you to express your individuality and provide a deep sense of joy and satisfaction.

If like me you’d like to go a step further and are thinking about turning a new or existing hobby into a business, have a look at my five tips below, which are based on my own experience:

  1. IDENTIFY

Find a hobby that’s closely aligned to your core values and is a source of great happiness. In my opinion, the best and easiest transitions from hobby to side hustle involve activities you’d still want to pursue after a long day’s work because you enjoy doing them and they help you to relax.

  1. RESEARCH

Research the materials and other resources you’ll need to create a product or service to sell. Select the best platform to sell your product or service. Three of the largest online selling platforms are Amazon, eBay and Etsy. I chose Etsy to sell my jewellery because it attracts buyers for handmade crafts and goods. Also, check-out what your competition is up to and research the top sellers in your particular area, paying particular attention to their keyword choices, images and marketing strategy.

  1. PLAN

Prepare a budget, initial inventory and marketing strategy. Decide your brand name, brand imagery, taglines, target audience and take test photos of your product or service. For early stage marketing, utilise your existing networks to keep costs down and use free social media such as Instagram and Pinterest.

  1. TRIAL

Make and test your product or service on friends and family. Ask for honest feedback and then make necessary tweaks to enhance your offering.

  1. MARKET & SELL

Set up your store, then send a link to it to all of your friends, family and wider networks and encourage them to check out your new venture. Consider paying for advertising if you have the option (this often starts at £1 per day). Post regular updates about your business to keep your networks engaged. Be patient and play the long game, it can often take months for a new business to make any sales.

Enjoy and good luck!

Krishnali Dholakia is corporate lawyer at Womble Bond Dickinson

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