Making a Living Making Soap - Questions to Ask Before You
Soap making can be a wonderful hobby but if you've ever
thought of turning your hobby into a business you know how
overwhelming the idea can be. Here are some questions to help you
think through your decision:
*How much of a business do you want to be? Do you really want
to this to be a full-time job? Or would you rather just make a
couple hundred bars a year for your church fundraiser? Your
answer to this question will determine your next steps.
*Do you really want to be in business? Every day? Seven days a
week? Any entrepreneur will tell you that when you own a business
it's on your mind every single day.
*Are your sales expectations realistic? As with any other
small business, it's going to take 3-5 years for you to start
seeing a profit. How will you live in the mean time? Do you have
another source of income?
*Do you fully understand the chemistry of soap making? Too
many new soap makers focus on the creative aspect of the craft
and never really learn the chemistry behind it. Getting a good
handle on the basic chemistry frees you to experiment without
fear of wasting huge amounts of raw materials. I suggest Dr.
Robert McDaniel's book "Essentially Soap".
*What's your niche? It's important you distinguish yourself
from the hundreds of other soap makers and avoid falling into the
trap of trying to please everyone. Find a niche and work on
becoming an expert in it. Are your soaps particularly artistic?
Are they especially "natural"?
*Do you really believe that successful soap makers hang out in
online chat rooms and message boards? Don't fool yourself into
thinking that you're going to learn from the "experts". The
people who are really making a living making soap don't have time
to post 20 messages a day-they're on the phone with clients or
just taking a much-needed coffee break.
*Are you willing to put in several hours a week for
recordkeeping? Incorporated businesses require submitting monthly
or quarterly reports even during periods of no sales. Even a sole
proprietorship has at least some paperwork that must be dealt
*Are you going to operate out of your home? Before you get
your heart set on working out of your home make sure you're
allowed to. Not every community will allow you to operate a
business from your residence.
*What are you going to do with your children? What about your
pets? I have never made soap in my home and I can't
possibly recommend that you do, either. Sodium hydroxide is
capable of producing horrible chemical burns, especially if
*Can you deal with criticism? Honest criticism from a
potential customer is one thing but a catty remark from a jealous
competitor is something else
If you can answer these questions with a firm "Yes! I want to
be in business" you're to be congratulated. You've done more
homework than 90 percent of your competition.
Lisa Barger is a traditionally trained naturopath who puts her
knowledge of herbal products to work in one of the oldest and
most respected personal care companies on the internet. Learn
more about Lisa at her website http://www.LisaBarger.com
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