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Well folks! I've been off and on here for a while now and I thought I would ask the community what they thought of my 5 year plan (now 4 years). I've never in my life been so motivated to create something like this. If anyone has stories they want to share or advice about making the jump from one career to another it would be greatly appreciated. First a little background on my situation - I work a full time job and am compensated fairly well. Its just not something I want to do the rest of my life. We have debt that we need to pay off that should be done in 2 years if all goes well. I have accepted that this venture might fail, or that we might not make enough for us to survive on. But that is not stopping me from going full steam ahead and will not be used as an excuse to let things slide or for any type of failure. Accepting that things don't always work out frees up mental energy so I can focus on the things that need to be done. I have to work my day gig 40+ hours a week. Nights and weekends are dedicated to improving my throwing, building some standard shapes and pieces and general scheming and dreaming. We've procured and LLC and a CPA (have not gotten a Sales Tax ID or a Tax Exempt ID because we are not officially selling as a business yet) A business loan and credit cards are pretty much out of the picture. My wife is working full time and is currently on course for a degree in business administration so that is helping out a lot too! We have a business plan in place and are researching our customers and demographic and where and when to sell (this is a continual investigation but Etsy will probably be our first sales platform as we have used it before) I know a lot of that depends on what we are making as a studio - Functional Ware / Cups / bowls / Plates / Serving Dishes / Vases / Lidded Vessels / all in various sizes to create my own line (while like every other potter - experimenting and improving along the way) We are building our social network presence slowly but surely. We are calculating our current personal expenses, time, operating expenses, capital, etc... (again since it's an ever changing thing its ongoing and we'll get dialed in the more data the further we move along) Currently we are working out of the garage with two wheels and an electric Kiln which is being used as a bisque kiln and a test fire kiln. I have a spot where I can woodfire twice a year. This is my sticking point. I am not interested in mid-fire at all. Woodfiring twice a year does not give me enough feedback or testing or experience to line up within this timeframe. Woodfiring is a 10 year goal. Getting up and running in my own studio is my 5 year goal so high fire with gas makes sense. I will be investing in some large propane tanks and I already have a burner and a converted electric kiln so I can do experiments and small amounts of work fired in that for the time being. A decent size gas kiln will be a considerable investment and the heart of the studio. I don't think it is possible to run a good size gas kiln in my garage studio. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. I think renting a building and installing a gas kiln does not make sense at this point but at some point I will have to get up and going at full scale. For those of you that own studios when did you consider renting and installing a kiln? Thanks for any input / experience you want to share.
8 years ago a purchased a "Paint your own Pottery" studio with the intention of expanding it into both painting pottery, and a clay studio with pottery wheels, demos, classes, etc. I thought it would be great to be able to make my own pieces, display and sell them in the studio, as well as have the usual clientelle who just came in to paint. But over the years I have been too busy working to get work done! haha. Payroll, bookkeeping, taxes, scheduling employees, working extra shifts, teaching classes, customer service, ordering supplies, etc... plus getting all of our customer's pottery fired and out on time has left me very little time for what I really wanted to do from the begining, which is my own work. Paying off student loans, business loans and rent and utilities for both my home and studio space has me working for almost nothing. Each month I pay my bills and that's about it. And it's become increasingly stressful and less enjoyable over time. So I have decided to sell the paint your own pottery business. I already have someone interested and we are awaiting the landlord's approval at the moment before moving further. I'm selling the business for how much I owe on it and am really happy to just be walking away debt free. Fresh start. I'd love to start up a little home studio. Work a "real" job part time, and make my own pieces part time. I have a small etsy shop currently and I have my first big art sale this September, and would love to start doing both regularly when I am able to produce more work. My question is this: Is having a home studio easier to opperate than a rented studio space? I know by downsizing I'll save on rent and utilities, and not having employees. But, otherwise, is the business basically the same? Insurance, licences and fees, taxes, bookkeeping... How much time do you spend on those vs making work? There is a little negative voice in the back of my mind saying all the things I stress about now are still going to be there. Maybe I have the pottery skills, but not the business skills. I just want pottery to be fun again! And to grow and get better. And maybe, just maybe, actually make a profit.