You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple step guide to starting your scrapbooking business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
STEP 1: Plan your Business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How long it will take you to break even?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a scrapbooking business?
Opening a scrapbooking business is a fairly inexpensive proposition. Wham.com recommends setting aside $1,000 for the venture.
While some of this money may go toward licenses and a website, most of the funds are used to purchase supplies. Scrapbookers need:
- sheet protectors
- plain and patterned paper
- specialty pens and markers
The paper should be lignin-free and acid-free, so it won’t damage any photos that are put into a scrapbook.
Business owners who have tight budgets can purchase supplies on a per-project basis until they save up enough to buy supplies ahead of orders. Most business owners work at home, so office expenses aren’t a major consideration.
What are the ongoing expenses for a scrapbooking business?
The ongoing expenses for a scrapbooking business are minimal. They include:
- Ebay and Etsy listing fees (if selling on the platforms)
- website hosting fees (if a business has its own site)
- costs associated with ordering additional supplies
Supply costs can be kept low by ordering them in bulk. There are many wholesalers of scrapbook supplies.
Who is the target market?
The target market for a scrapbooking business is people who would like a way to remember precious moments but aren’t able to create a scrapbook themselves. Many customers are women, but men may also place orders. Most are middle- or upper-class, as having someone else make a scrapbook is a luxury that requires discretionary income.
How does a scrapbooking business make money?
A scrapbook business makes money by selling completed scrapbooks. Some business owners also sell individual pages.
How much can you charge customers?
Scrapbooking businesses can charge by the scrapbook, page or hour. Completed books retail for anywhere from $100 to $5,000 (usually these are fancy wedding scrapbooks). Per-page fees range from $10 to $40 per page. Hourly rates often hover around $50 per hour.
When determining what to charge, it’s important to take into account all the time that completing scrapbooks requires. Time spent ordering supplies, talking with customers and physically assembling scrapbooks should all be accounted for in a business’ fees. Talking with customers about what they’d like can be especially time-consuming.
How much profit can a scrapbooking business make?
Because the ongoing expenses for a scrapbooking business are so low, a successful business can bring in a significant profit. Business owners who complete three scrapbooks a week could bring in at least $300 weekly, if not much more depending on the length and total cost per scrapbook.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Scrapbooking business owners can increase profits by teaching local scrapbooking classes. The registration fees for these classes serve as an additional revenue source, and each new registrant is a potential lead. If they don’t have a need for professional scrapbooking services, they may know someone else who does.6
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your scrapbooking business is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.
You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.
For most small businesses forming an LLC is a great option, but if you still want to weigh all your options check our our article, What Structure Should I Choose for My Business?
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a scrapbooking business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Certificate of Occupancy
A scrapbooking business is sometimes run out of a storefront or home office. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a scrapbooking business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your scrapbooking business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
STEP 7: Get Business Insurance
Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
How to promote & market a scrapbooking business
Word of mouth is the most effective way to grow a scrapbooking business, so business owners should seek out customer recommendations and referrals whenever possible. To encourage word-of-mouth referrals, business owners can
- request reviews on sites like EBay and Etsy
- ask customers if they know anyone who might want a scrapbook made
- give customers coupons to share with friends and family
Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.
How to keep customers coming back
Specializing in a niche sets a scrapbooking business apart from much of the competition. Some in-demand niches include scrapbooks for newborns, grandchildren, weddings, family vacations, and anniversaries.
STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence
A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Start A Scrapbooking Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Anyone who enjoys scrapbooking personally might like it doing it on a professional level. Scrapbooking for others isn’t the same as doing it for yourself, but many people enjoy getting paid for applying their creative skills.
What happens during a typical day at a scrapbooking business?
Scrapbooking business owners spend much of their time talking with customers and assembling scrapbook pages. Assembling pages involves sorting photos and other media, arranging chosen the materials and then affixing them to the appropriate page. Sometimes there are also messages to write.
When not directly working on scrapbooks, business owners might be ordering more supplies, shipping completed scrapbooks or marketing their business.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful scrapbooking business?
People who scrapbook personally can use whatever style they prefer, but professional scrapbookers need to create books that their customers love. Because customers’ tastes in style can vary, business owners should be well-versed in at least five to seven different scrapbooking styles.
Business owners who would like to expand their scrapbooking skills may wish to consult books or videos on the subject. A few popular resources are:
- Scrapbooking Techniques: Sewing on Paper
- Encyclopedia of Scrapbooking
- 501 Great Scrapbook Page Ideas
- Scrapbook.com’s free classes
The Stamp & Scrapbook Expo also has vendors, workshops and more. There are expos throughout the country.
What is the growth potential for a scrapbooking business?
Scrapbooking is time-intensive, and it requires an individual’s creative vision. For these reasons, most scrapbooking businesses remain small.
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One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a scrapbooking business?
Listing scrapbooks for sale on EBay and Etsy will jump-start a scrapbooking business. These platforms regularly have customers who want scrapbooks made, and customers are more likely to order off a trusted platform than through an unknown website.
How and when to build a team
Most scrapbooking businesses are one-person operations. If there is sufficient work, business owners might want to hire an assistant to help manage communications and assemble scrapbooks.