There are 2 kinds of people. Natural Leaders and Natural Followers. I fall into the latter category. I love my career as a corporate trainer. I love to create lesson plans, to design collateral, and to collaborate with my costars. I love to lead my classes and inspire my participants, but I don’t see myself progressing to become a boss in my professional career. I never had the urge to become one either.
On the other hand, I did always crave to be a boss for myself. I’ve always thought it would be cool to make extra money doing something that I am wholeheartedly passionate about. I pondered on ways to bring in additional income, but nothing set my heart ablaze. I wanted to be able to freely express my creativity and put in hours when it worked with my schedule. You know how the best ideas come when you stop thinking about it? Well, that is exactly what happened to me 6 months ago.
I began making Disney inspired signs for our home in March. I suddenly became obsessed with doing it. Ideas kept flooding my mind and I couldn’t wait to design and make them come to life. It finally hit me that I found a way I could share my love for Disney with the world. I made the decision to enter the realm of side hustlin’ on the 1st of April.
This post is dedicated to share my experience with you!
Patience is a virtue. I read several articles about how long people waited to make their first on Etsy. Some ranged from a few days, to a few weeks, to a few months. Even though I knew it would be silly to expect sales quickly, self-doubt slowly crept in as each day passed without a sale. It took me 20 days. I’ll never forget my first sale – and I didn’t just have 1 or 2 orders that day, I had 3!
I had several dry periods. For the first few months I would get 2-4 orders per month (on Etsy) and it honestly made me wonder if what I was doing was worth the time and energy.
Revise, revise, revise. If something is not working, be bold enough to change it. The whole experience has forced me to think outside of the box and to keep the creative juices flowing.
When I first opened my shop, I only offered 8 x 8 canvases. I researched similar Etsy shops that are successful and one of the things I noticed was that they offered larger sizes. I switched to 9 x 12 (my best sellers!) and 11 x 14. I immediately noticed an increase in sales.
I went through several shop name changes. I started off with madebyadventureLin, then changed to HustleHeartHappiness, then changed to DisneyPassionista and then I changed to HappyDisneyThoughts. I finally found the perfect name that reflected what I aim to deliver. I was honestly surprised that I was able to secure the username on Etsy and on Instagram! No one was using it as a hashtag on Instagram either. I thought someone would have thought of the name already, but I like to think that it was just waiting for me to think of it. =)
I removed all of my old signs and restocked my shop with new designs in late August. I decided to stick with just white canvases with black vinyl or black canvases with white vinyl. It cuts down on my operating costs since I only have to focus on getting a few supplies. I added Halloween and Fall inspired signs. I also added vinyl decals. I had 8 Etsy sales in September, compared to just 4 in August. We are only a few days into October and I’ve already fulfilled 3 orders. I can’t wait to start making Christmas inspired signs!
Use social media. I especially love when my guests share pictures of their new signs and tag my business Instagram in them! It’s such an awesome feeling to see something I worked so hard to design in someone’s decor. Plus it’s free advertising for you. Most of my business Instagram are announcements of my new signs, but I also post Disney pictures too. I think it helps others relate and realize that I don’t do what I do just to make a few bucks, but because I truly love Disney.
Don’t just stick to one platform. Most of my sales come from Etsy, but I have also done handfuls of custom orders from friends and coworkers.
Fast forward to today and I have 29 Etsy sales! My goal before the end of the year is to have 50 sales just on Etsy. I’m forever grateful for everyone’s support and for my guests that have taken a chance on me.