Last month my sisters and I were chatting poolside about our jobs. My younger sister turned and directly asked me "Do you ACTUALLY make a livable wage doing this?". It made me laugh a little because I assumed she knew this was beyond some little hobby but clearly she had doubts. And if my own sister has this question, then I'm guessing many of YOU might be wondering this too! Well let's chat all about it.
So, it is really possible to make a full-time income with an online business?
I couldn’t say “yes!” fast enough. If you haven't been along this journey with me for long, you may not know my back story. I was stuck in a cubicle with big dreams not long ago.
In 2016 I started making handmade signs and opened an Etsy shop. I worked while my kids were asleep and on the weekends hustling to make a few dozen signs a week.
It was creative and rewarding but definitely didn’t make me enough money to leave my corporate job.
I started growing a small following who liked the lettering style I used on signs and the encouragement the signs provided. Truth be told, I was mostly using quotes and words my own heart needed. Then came a time when I'd get customers asking if I'd share my designs for them to use on their own projects.
Message after message kept coming in from customers asking for me to sell the SVGs I used. It took 9 months of them asking, before I finally took the requests seriously. At that point in time, I found myself going through divorce with 3 small kids and sign making became difficult to balance. I finally decided to list the designs I had been using for signs on Etsy. I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything to list them since I already had them designed and listing an item had minimal costs.
Etsy customers went crazy. Gone were my sign-making days! I spent the margins of my life, which wasn’t much with three kids and a 9-5, creating new files to list in my shop.
The reviews and repeat customers came pouring in. The pretty handwriting paired with words of encouragement was just what the craft community needed.
It took some time to get some traction selling SVGs in my Etsy shop, you need good reviews and consistent sales, but when I was making my goal amount every month, I was able to make the LEAP and left my corporate job. (My transition to becoming fully self-employed, did include going to work at my kids school to have health insurance for about a year and a half, but now my household is fully supported by this business....yes, as a single mom.)
Over the years of building this, I skipped many a dinner dates with friends to stay home or turned off the TV after the kids were in bed and picked up my computer to create my SVGs, but I am so happy about those choices. These little moments are where we ALL hold the power to make life changing decisions.
I still have my SVG Etsy shop but now sell on additional marketplaces, and I have added courses where I teach hand lettering or how to create SVGs in the hopes that I can help lead other creatives to the same entrepreneurial freedom I have found. I've recently started coaching other creatives to help them reach their goals. Seeing others reach for their dreams and being a small voice of encouragement in that is where my heart is. (BTW, I'm hosting a live webinar Tuesday, September 13th about building a revenue stream with digital files, wanna join? Sign up here!)
For me building a business that worked for my life as a mom, meant diversifying my income. But it all began with one little Etsy shop. Now, not only SVGs and Courses support me and my kids but my SVG Club, which is a monthly subscription where you can get 10-20 SVGs at a bundled price, is a vital part of that too. The club comes with a commercial license so you can use them on your craft projects and resell your creation. For example: if you’re a tumbler maker you can use the SVG Club files on your tumblers without paying additional licensing costs.
The lesson here is, it IS POSSIBLE! Sometimes, twists and turn along the way can lead us to new directions and open doors we never expected. I thought I'd be a sign making hustling in my garage. Never did I think I'd have a digital business, where I don't have to ship anything, and I'd have so much schedule freedom! There are smart ways to grow a business and I definitely think every business should have some sort of digital offering (ebook, course, templates, etc.) I'll be sharing more about that over the next several months.
For now, if you've made it this far, pop over to Instagram or TikTok and leave me a comment on my recent video where I share the latest club files. I'd love to be able to comment back to you with a little encouragement but I'll also be picking ONE person who comments to receive a FREE 45-minute mentoring call with me.