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Trish Hodgens of Poly Clay Play tried a number of crafts to make some money, but “most people look at crafts as something to keep women and children busy…not a legitimate way to make an income.”

Of all the excuses people use about why their hobby could never be turned into a business, the most insidious and devastating are those inner voices—the creeping doubts from within—that tell you why you’ll never succeed.

Hodgens says, “I started with the fear of not being good enough. Who would want what I have to offer? There were so many who were better. Then I looked around and decided there were so many who were worse.”

For Hodgens, it was the fear of putting herself out there and failing, then facing doubting friends who would say “I told you so.”

“I’ve learned that you need to surround yourself with cheerleaders,”she says. “Those that will say, ‘Try again, you can do it!’ I am open to constructive criticism, but I take it all with an open mind. I have listened to advice,but the most important thing to do with advice is take what works fo rme and leave the rest.”

Trish offers the following rules of thumb for overcoming doubts:

1. Believe in what you are selling

If you don’t believe in what you are selling, don’t offer it. If you don’t believe in it, how can you honestly convince someone else that they need it or want it? And that brings up…

2. Be honest

If you make a mistake, most people will forgive you if you are honest with them.

3. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers

Listen to what they say. Remember to take the advice that works for you, but you have to listen to it first.

4. Take a chance

Put yourself out there. Some people will like you and your product and some won’t. That is what makes the world go ’round. If you don’t go for it, you will never find the wonderful people that like what you have to offer. Tell everyone you can about your business and what you love about it. List your business everywhere you have the opportunity to. Get the word out, and if you love it, they will too and will want to share what they have found with their friends.Word of mouth is the best advertisement you can have.

5. Do your homework

Learn all you can about what you want to sell. Learn all you can about what you are trying to accomplish and then make it your own. Put your own personal fun into it.

And the most important thing?

6. Love what you do!

Life is too short to put your heart and soul into something you don’t love.

About the Author: Patrice Lewis is co-founder of Don Lewis Designs. She and her husband have been in business for 16 years. The Lewises live on 40 acres in northern Idaho with their two home-schooled children, assorted livestock and a shop with overflows into the house with depressing regularity. Her e-book, The Home Craft Business: How to Make it Survive and Thrive, is now available. This post is an excerpt from, “Are Your Doubts Holding You Back?” The entire article is available in the March 2010 issue of The Crafts Report.

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