Craft Inc.: Turning your Creative Hobby Into a Business
By Meg Mateo Ilasco
- A mix of business and personal advice on turning a craft hobby into a career.
- Provides excellent examples from actual successes.
- Covers a wide variety of ground very well.
- Extremely artistic layout makes it accessible (and a great gift)
- Occasional digressions can break the flow of the book.
- Small typefaces may make reading difficult
SUMMARY: A useful, friendly, and information packed guide to turning crafty hobbies into paying business
I picked up this book when I saw it in the bookstore not as I have any desire to turn a craft hobby into a career (I really don't have one). Instead, I remembered many a friend who had discussed a similar idea – and of course fandom and geekdom is filled with people making neat little personal crafts. I figured it'd be worth reading and reviewing.
I'm glad I made the choice.
Craft Inc. is written by someone that turned their own business (in this case, wedding invitation design) into a full-time job and then moved on to bigger things. Meg Mateo Ilasco speaks from actual experience, actual research, and interviews with people who did just what she did. It's a very savvy, intelligent book that is high on content and low on un-necessary extras.
Meg takes you in a semi-straight line from your first moments of innovation to when you establish your own craft business, each chapter covering a particular subject or phase. At each step she discusses everything from the real-life skills to the psychology of what you'll face. She provides practical advice, checklists, and of course suggested resources for whatever phase you're in.
To supplement her own advice, she also has in-book interviews and profiles of other people who have made their crafts into successful businesses. These interviews in general work, and often provide insights that her own content doesn't have, especially for specific industries. Though these interviews add a lot, they are often very hit or miss and can at times get overlong, breaking up the flow of the book. They're useful, but I would have preferred that there be smaller bits of advice scattered around the book.
The book is very low on fat, so you'll find plenty to use. Within 160 pages you'll find she covers at least the basics of every stage of a hobby-to-career transition for a craft-oriented person. Even if something requires a lot of other resources, she gives you a starting point and makes you aware of issues you'll need to address.
One flaw of having all this in 160 pages is an annoyingly small font about two points smaller than I'd have liked. This may make it a bit difficult for some people to read.
Despite a few flaws, this is a definite must-read if you're a crafty fan/geek/otaku who wants to try and turn their hobby into a paying proposition. You may not be able to apply all of it, but you'll be able to apply a lot of it – and it'll give you some things to think about.
– Steven Savage