Today, I wanted to share a bit more about me and my crazy journey from Dreamer to where I am now.
The start to my journey as a business-owner was pretty dramatic and abrupt (and not a path I recommend everyone follow), but before I took that leap of faith, I was a Dreamer.
How My Etsy Journey Began
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to run my own business. If you would have asked me what I wanted to do as a kid, my occupation would change countless times (there was veterinarian, architect, interior designer, social worker, and a million other things), but there would always be one common factor – whatever I was going to do I wasn’t going to work for anyone.
So, when I wanted to be a vet, I wanted to own my own clinic. When I wanted to be a social worker, I wanted to have my own practice.
So, while I can’t say definitely that I always “knew” I wanted to be an entrepreneur, it was definitely something I subconsciously wanted.
It’s funny, because that indecisiveness of changing “what I wanted to be when I grew up” followed me well into college, which was a big reason why I am where I am today.
I changed my major exactly 5 times during my 4 years of undergrad.
I’m insane, I know…I’m every student guidance counselors nightmare. But, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go in life.
Each major I joined sounded cool, but could I really see myself doing this for the rest of my life?
I eventually landed on Sociology and stuck with it until the end (I actually did enjoy Sociology, but I also only stuck with it because if I changed anymore I would be looking at 2-3 more years of school…which was not an option).
Fast forward to my graduation day…
There I was, little baby Kayla absolutely not ready to take on the real world and strap myself down to a career that I wasn’t 100% about.
And that’s when it happened…
The start of something new, exciting, and scary – my journey to becoming an Etsy seller!
You may be asking yourself, “How the heck do you decide to start an Etsy shop at a graduation ceremony?”
Do you know the musical group Lady Antebellum?
Well, the two gentlemen who perform in this group did our Commencement Speech.
To summarize, these two guys told their stories of getting their degrees and making their way to the corporate world when they realized their passions were actually in music.
So, by taking a leap of faith, they moved to Tennessee and pursed their music careers, having their college degrees be a backup in case things didn’t work out.
And guess what?
It worked out!
Now, they’re doing what they love every single day, all because they went with their guts and pursed their passions.
After sitting and listing to their stories, in that exact moment sitting in a crowd of other college graduates on a hot May day, I decided to quit my job and pursue entrepreneurship. Instead of going into a career I wasn’t too sure about, I could instead create a business I knew I would love, and have my degree be my backup plan.
I told you it was a bit dramatic, but it was seriously like a light bulb went off!
For the 4 years prior, I just couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do, but the one thing I went back to was owning a my own business.
But I was letting any and everything hold me back.
Hearing those speakers made me realize, the only thing that was holding me back was myself.
So, within a month after graduation, I had quit my job, gotten married, and started my first Etsy shop selling organic body butter.
I knew instantly that I wanted to go with my passion of organic skin care, since I consistently stalked my favorite skin care shops that I had supported and secretly wished I could do what they did for a living.
After that day, I went head first into my plan without thinking twice about…and I launched my Etsy shop with a series of organic body butter products that I was already making and loving for myself.
I started my Etsy shop knowing absolutely NOTHING about running a successful business.
Sure, I did some research, but the information I read only really scratched the surface. I realized that if I was going to make this work, I was going to have to pour my ALL into making it work.
With my husband holding it down (I freaking love him for it!), I was able to build my first Etsy shop into something that first only started making a side income to a business making full-time income in less than a year.
Now, this didn’t happen overnight. I wish, but it didn’t.
Where I Went Absolutely Wrong
Now, I highly highly highly recommend against following my lead when it came to how I operated my business.
I worked from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep. Every. Single. Day.
I worked while I ate, I worked on the weekends and on the holidays, I had zero social life, and I was absolutely drained by the end of it.
And only naturally, I burnt out real quick, which may be a big reason why I closed that shop down shortly after I peaked success.
In my perspective, I was so desperate for this dream to work out that I was willing to compromise my health in order to get there.
This backfired on me hard and my passion for organic skincare (rather, making and shipping off hundreds of orders of organic skincare a week) dulled.
The Secret Sauce to Building a Sustainable Etsy Business
While I don’t recommend my methods of getting to where I did, one thing that I did learn throughout this was that hard work pays off!
This was the “secret sauce” I was looking for when it came to getting this whole successful business down. The more energy that I put into my business, the more rewards I got out of it.
After burning out, I wasn’t ready to give up on my dream of being a kickass Lady Boss, but I didn’t want to make one more batch of body butter every again.
Having this “secret”, I knew that I could replicate my success in another business venture without killing myself along the way.
The Transition to Amma Rose Designs
Now, how did I go from selling organic body butter to Amma Rose Designs?
Well, to make a long story short, as an opt-in (or a “freebie”) for my previous blog, I decided to create a planner to help women track their entire beauty care routine and monthly cycles.
Within those moments, my love for creating planners had begun! I spent hours on that planner, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I quickly realized that I enjoyed creating that planner more than I did making and selling skin care products.
At the time, blogging wasn’t bringing me in any money, but I was doing pretty well with my Etsy shop. After 1-2 months, I was already bringing around $500-$600 a month before my expenses. By the time I wanted to quit, I was making over $3,000 a month.
I could have continued my skin care business, but I just wasn’t being fulfilled. I didn’t feel like I was achieving any purpose in my life by selling body butter (some people do find it fulfilling, but I just wasn’t one of them).
Personally, I was more interested in the business aspect of running Etsy than I was actually creating products to send out.
So, after a lot of thought and preparation, I finally decided to close down my successful Etsy shop and open a new one where I would sell planners, templates, and scripts to help other Etsy shop owners and business-savvy people to tackle their daily tasks.
With the help of my husband (who was in the marketing industry at the time), we developed a brand that focused on creative businesses so they can create more and stress less.
And, I have to say, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been! I am fulfilling my purpose with our blog and Etsy shop and interacting with you guys everyday brings so much joy.
Which is something I strive for my students to reach in their own personal journeys going from Dreamers to Do-ers!
What I’ve Learned Along the Way
I’ve so enjoyed sharing these parts of this amazing journey with you! A while ago I came to this realization:
Dreamers Dream, Entrepreneurs Do.
The keyword here is “Do”. Not “Do” a lot, or “Do” to the point where everything on your list is done.
They just “Do”.
The older I get, the more I realize that doing something to the extent that I can do it is better than not doing it at all.
And, not doing it at all is what I so easily do when I wait until I can do it (whatever “it” is) in the way that I really want it done. In other words, imperfect progress and even imperfect completion is still progress. It’s still completion.
Does this speak to you?
This was a huge game-changer for me, and maybe it will be for you, too. Since this is the philosophy I now embrace, these are the amazing benefits in my life.
- I actually get more done
- I feel so much less like a failure
- I feel less guilt since I’m not thinking about and looking at everything that isn’t done
- I have less stress in my life
- I have more joy in my life
- I’m a better wife
- I’m a better person
- I have a new appreciation for others
- I have more time for enjoying life
- I enjoy the current season of life that I’m in
I’m sure there are more, but these are the benefits that I rattled off in less than a minute. Embracing this whole principle really affects every area of my life.
For instance. I have decided that when it comes to my work, it’s better for me to work on the project with the time I have rather than waiting until I have what I feel is enough time to complete the project.
In all reality, I’ve discovered that if I have three minutes to spend dealing with checking my emails, or working on completing a course, I’m better off spending that three minutes dealing with that project than I am being frustrated that nothing is getting done. And, the next time I work on my project, I’ve got three minutes less of work.
It really is a win-win in my book.
I’m really not sure why it took me so long to figure this out, but this all came to be as part of listening to myself and getting rid of the thought process of working, working, working, just to get things done.
Being imperfect is ok.
And, there’s no one who is perfect, just in case you didn’t know this already 🙂
How you can get there too!
So, where has this journey to embracing your Dream and ACTING on it that we’ve been talking about in the past five chapters taken me in terms of taking that leap to following those creative passions?
Well, I’m guessing it might be the same place it can take you. For this reason, I’m going to make this a bit more personal to you.
Start With the Long-Term
If you’ve ever been on a job interview and were asked, “Where do you want to be five years from now,” you might have thought it an odd question. But as a business owner, that might just be the most important consideration you can have.
Without knowing where you’re headed in the long term, it’s impossible to create a map to get there. You need to know what your destination is, so that every day, week, month, and year you can check your progress to be sure you’re still headed in the right direction.
Once you know your ultimate destination, you can draft a plan for getting there, and create the interim goals that will help you stay on track.
For example, if in five years you want to be free to travel for 8 weeks every year, then you need to have a few pieces in place before that can happen:
- Enough income to cover travel costs
- Passive income to sustain your business while you’re not working
- A staff who can manage the business while you’re away
With this list, you can then work backwards from your five-year goal, and create milestones along the way. If you know you’ll need to earn $150,000 annually in order to fund your travel plans, and right now you’re earning $60,000, then reasonable milestones might look like this:
- Year 1: $70,000
- Year 2: $85,000
- Year 3: $105,000
- Year 4: $125,000
- Year 5: $150,000
With these milestones in place, it’s much easier to figure out exactly what you need to do to achieve them, by setting monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
Related Post: Beyond S.M.A.R.T.: Goal Setting for Online Sellers
Create Small Goals
If you say to someone, you need to move from $60,000 to $150,000 in five years, that’s a pretty overwhelming task. After all, it’s a $90,000 increase and most people will look at that and immediately dismiss it as impossible.
But when you break it down as we have above, and then again into smaller steps, it suddenly doesn’t look so daunting.
In the first year of the plan we have outlined here, your income needs to increase only by $10,000. That’s less than $1000 per month! Surely that’s easy enough to accomplish!
You can further break that down by week: $1000 per month is just $250 per week. If you sell just one more group coaching package, or five more of a $50 training program, you’ve already reached your milestone.
That might mean sending one more email to your list, or investing an additional $20 per month in Facebook ads, or perhaps reaching out to one more JV partner. The point is, reaching this much smaller goal is far easier than thinking about that five-year plan.
So what’s your big dream? How can you deconstruct it into achievable milestones, workable goals, and finally, daily and weekly tasks? If you can do this (and you definitely can) then you can achieve anything in business and in life.
Head to the comments below and let’s chat!