I’ve read through a number of blogs that give advice on painless ways to supplement income. In fact, if you search “side hustle” on Pinterest, you’ll be set with ideas for life. 100 ideas here. 1,000 side jobs to make you millions there. Okay, maybe not millions, but there are a some bloggers that have done very well for themselves and someday, I’d like to be one of them.
I find comfort in telling myself it’s their full time job, but I’m guessing it wasn’t always that way. Turns out if you work hard enough on a hobby you’re passionate about, you may just be able to turn it into your main source of income. IDK about all of that, but what I do know is you gotta your side hustle start somewhere, so here it is.
No, literally, this blog is it. Well, part of it.
The term “passive income” gets tossed around like you get to throw your feet up and watch the money roll in. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about trying to establish my own side hustle, it’s quite the opposite. In fact, you have to work your ass off, and no one is going to finish the work for you. Both of my butt cheeks are still very much in tact, which means I need to get hustling. (If earning the “Best Hustle” award in high school sports counts, though, I’m way ahead of the game.)
Before I proceed in this post, I feel it necessary for you to know that as I write these next few paragraphs, one of Curtis James Jackson III’s many hit songs, Candy Shop plays in the background, while his first pitch at the Mets game in 2014 loops in my mind.
He claims his impressive throw was due to an injury caused by “excessive masturbation.” Honestly, okay, wow. Curtis, I’m concerned, but maybe also impressed?
In the quest for the right project, it’s important to ask yourself this question: What do I already do, enjoy doing it, and could potentially get paid for it?
My answer was easy. Do creative shit and hope that other people want to buy it.
With that in mind, I hopped on the hand lettering wagon. The first word I ever managed to brush letter and post on Instagram 2 years ago was areola and guys, it took me hours. For all of you lettering beginners, I must say it’s a great gateway word because all of the letters are particularly flowy. The word, on the other hand is gag-worthy. As is aioli. **shudder**
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know Todd and I went to a lot of weddings last year. For each one, I hand lettered a card for the couple. Following the weddings, I got a lot of positive feedback, which got me thinking. Make cards; make millions. Simple math.
In November, I took a good look at myself and came to accept that I have no idea what I’m doing, so it must be time to start myself an Etsy Shop! 3 months and 8 sales later, I’ve learned a few valuable lessons about being your own boss.
7 Lessons I’ve Learned Since Starting my Etsy Shop
- It takes money to make money: There are start up costs involved in the beginning of all businesses. When starting my shop, some of the costs I didn’t take into consideration were the shipping-related purchases. You’ll need shipping envelopes, a scale to determine weight, a printer to print labels, ink for the printer that prints labels, etc. Luckily, Etsy provides a lot of assistance with the shipping-related confusion for new shop owners like me. One step at a time!
- Be ready for commitment: This is where the “getting paid to do something you enjoy” aspect comes into play because wow, time is money and money is time. Everything takes time. Setting up the shop/site, taking photos, commissions, practicing, working on new content/products. You’ll spend a lot of your “free” time doing this, so make sure you enjoy it! In fact, I’m writing this sentence on my lunch break at work right now. If you want it, you gotta work for it.
- Being your own boss is cool, kinda: You’re in control! There’s no one to answer to except for the customer, but also no one who answers to you. On the flip side, no one is going to finish your work for you. I mean, unless you hire them. You are the business, and your work is a direct reflection of its success.
- It will not be perfect: This is a particularly important one for me to keep in mind as I am admittedly a perfectionist. While researching what other bloggers and creatives are doing, I find that I spend more time comparing myself to their successes as opposed to looking to them for inspiration. I try to find comfort in the fact that they’re likely sitting on the other side of the shop doing the same thing. that they are all likely doing the same thing. I will never be the best, and neither will you and that’s okay. There’s something for everyone and that’s what you can count on.
- There is strategy involved: It’s necessary to be successful. Be mindful of your branding (but not focusing too much on it) and make certain that your products are in line with the time of year, the trends and holidays – opening up a shop in November was a great choice, but I also didn’t prepare to make the holiday season successful for me. I offered holiday gifting options, but too far into the holiday shopping season to really make a great sale out of it. Now I know to strategize what’s in stock with that it mind. OMG did I just become Target selling Christmas trees during the July back-to-school season?!
- Consistency is key: Establishing a brand and style is important, but it’s not the be all end all. The important part to consistency is continually producing authentic content that reflects who you are and not what you think other people want you to be.
- Making a sale is nerve racking: My brother was my first customer and thank goodness. It’s exciting to receive support and figure out WTF I was doing. Then, I got my first stranger as a customer. She lived in Chicago and wanted me to address 70 envelopes for the holidays. SO, SO NERVOUS, but I did it! It was such an exciting learning experience, and now I have a better measurement of my time commitment for certain projects and where I can improve.
- Communication makes sales: Did someone send you a message inquiring about something you have available? Be ready and open to communicate. The goal is to make the sale and that means being available while the potential customer is still browsing. I have the Sell on Etsy app, so I treat each message like a text that has the “Read Receipts” on. No time to dilly-dally here.
As I’m sure you’ve put together at this point, this post that has to do with generating income with a side hustle is actually shameless plug about my Etsy shop. I even added some Valentine’s Day cards to my inventory to premiere with this post. As if that’s not enough, there is now a conveniently placed link at the top of this page that will take you right to my very shop!
Thanks to suggestions from my friends on Instagram. I decided on some cute anti-valentine cards that still express your love without being too affectionate.
Have a suggestion for a card that you’d love to see? Comment it below! I love hive minding and you may just find your suggestion available in the form of a card on my shop in the near future.