The Storque, etsy’s newspaper, blog type thing has an ongoing series where they interview etsy sellers that etsy full time. They want to share the how and why they quit their day job to focus on their home based business. They are pretty good reads and it makes me feel good that there are other people out there like me. So I thought, since etsy hasn’t asked me to be featured in one of these articles, that I would feature myself. So here is my why I quit my day job story, questions by etsy::
When you first started selling on Etsy did you have dreams or goals of eventually quitting your day job? I have had dreams of being my own boss forever. I think I just like the idea of being in charge. When I was working my day job (an assistant manager for stationery store), I just kept thinking to myself, I am helping the owners of the this company realize their dreams, but as far as I get here, I will never fulfill my own.
How long were you selling on Etsy and working your day job before deciding you were ready to switch over to Etsy full time? In my case, they both happened at the same time.
What made you decide to quit your day job? I had been planning to quit from the day I started. I started working at the stationery shop because it was less than a mile from my house and I needed to pay the bills and I had not yet been hired as a graphic designer. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be a graphic designer. I stayed with the company because they liked me and promoted me ad gave me more money. That’s how it always goes doesn’t it? I was all the time working on my company which I originally decided would be a stationery company, but I shifted to fabric for a short time only to come back to stationery. I worked that last holiday season in a retail environment and I knew I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke down one day in January sobbing uncontrollably, having no idea what it was about. I had just been on vacation and I think I had finally relaxed from the months of working 12 hr days, 6 day weeks. I made the decision to quit right then and finally did in August after taking all my vacation time.
How did you know you were ready to take the plunge? I didn’t. I had no idea what I was doing. All I knew was that I couldn’t continue on in that way any longer. I had saved some money and I knew that I wasn’t one of those people who could work their day job while they get their business off the ground at night. All I could do each night was have a cocktail, rant to my boyfriend about the injustices at work and go to bed. I knew that in order for my business to work, I had to give it my full attention. I promised myself, as a pretty young adult that I would never feel stuck, that I would always remember that I have the power to change to direction of my life.
Did you do anything to prepare ahead of time before taking the plunge? I had been saving $ the whole time I was working, (I’m a saver) and I was deciding what wanted to do. I had worked up a logo, started my etsy shop, and had been reading tons of books on the topic.
What goals have you set for your Etsy business in the next few months and year? I want my etsy shop to continue to grow. This year has been incredible with each month significantly surpassing the last in revenue, but the sudden rise of gas set me back a few months. I want to continue to refine my process and my product so that each item received from Avie Designs is a stunner. I want to continue to step up my customer service. I want my customers to know more about me and why I do what I do. I want to continue to ask “what does my customer want?” and “how can I give it to them in the best possible way?”
What are the most effective ways you have promoted and marketed your Etsy business? My blog and reposting items have been the 2 most consistent ways of marketing for me. I think that my willingness to create whatever the customer asks of me has also been really helpful. When a customer ask for something special from me, I do everything in my power to make it happen and I always try to get it done quickly. I think that is what keeps people coming back.
How’s it going so far, are you getting by? If my business were only my etsy shop and orders I do for friends and family, I would be getting by. However, my etsy shop has the additional burden of funding my wholesale business. Due to that, the company is doing fine, but I have yet to start taking a salary. That is my choice to reinvest the money into my business rather than may myself. My emotional happiness and my decreased level of stress are so much more important than money right now.
Can you walk us through what a typical workday might entail now that you have quit your day job? I can try, but the days can be very different, that’s what I love. Usually, I wake up between 7 and 8 and make a smoothie for myself and studying boyfriend. I then take my smoothie to my computer to check my email to see if anything needs direct attention and if I have received any orders. I respond to any orders with confirmation emails and transfer the information to a spreadsheet. I process and mail orders on Mondays and Fridays. I have a girl that comes for a few hours a week to help me make and box stationery for wholesale orders. I read all the blogs via google reader to see if anything exciting is going on. I check out etsy to see what is featured and what people are talking about in the forums. I place orders for supplies, speak/email with shops that carry my product. I also am in the process of designing a new website, sending out leftover catalogs from nss, taking business classes, and learning quickbooks. The day ends with cooking dinner, a glass of wine with friends and bed.
What do you enjoy most about not having a day job? Impossible question to answer, but I will say that I received an email this morning from a customer that took time out of her day to tell me how much she enjoyed the calling cards I made for her. That might be the best part.
What piece of advice would you give someone thinking about taking the plunge to sell full time on Etsy? I think that preparation is a good thing, but honestly, I would have never done it if I really knew what I was getting myself into. I think ignorance was bliss in my case. That being said, the things I thought would be hard (processing an order for 40 Carlton Cards stores) were easy and vice versa (dealing with a printer on a daily basis). The best advice I can give you is that it’s going to be hard and scary, but what isn’t? If you have nothing to lose other than money and time, what’s the worst that can happen? I have a mantra that has stuck with me through all the tough times “Making money is easy, it’s making money doing what you love that is hard.”