Some of you may know that I have an Etsy shop. No, it’s not where I sell my website templates or anything related. It’s a totally separate thing from my business. It’s my side hustle! Today, I’m diving into 3 big lessons I’ve learned from running this Etsy shop. This is not an episode about running an Etsy shop business, it’s an episode about having a creative outlet in your life. I hope this episode will inspire you to get started creating something fun outside of your day to day work. I’m diving into what I sell, the story of how I started it, and what this shop has taught me about my main design business.
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In my Etsy store, I sell coffee mugs (and a few other items!).
So, let’s start from the beginning:
I really love television and books! And, in my house we also love coffee. One day I got the idea for a mug I wanted to have with a quote on it relating to Law & Order: SVU. For a while before starting my shop, I knew how to order and design mugs. I’ve used coffee mugs as client gifts for years. And obviously, I’m a designer, so that part is simple. So, I designed a mug for ME. Then I went to print it. All while doing this, I had the thought “I think other people would enjoy having this mug too.” So, I did something about it! I decided right then to start an Etsy shop. In just one day I went from no Etsy shop to a shop with 10 mugs to choose from.
This was near the end of 2017 and just for fun, I posted on Facebook that day about it. After that, I really didn’t advertise about it. Now, I’ve had over 210 sales and even more mugs sold among those sales. And I have 36 mugs you can choose from. And every time I make a new sale, it only takes me an average of about 3-4 minutes per sale to do everything I have to do. It’s very passive now! It all happened on a whim because I was inspired to do so.
I’ll keep sharing my Etsy story, but for now, I want to get into these 3 big things I learned in order to tell the story.
1. Sometimes canceling your schedule and following your creative pull is the best thing you can do.
“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense” - Picasso
I love to follow a schedule, but I’m also a whimsical gal. I even had the word “whim” in my first business name. My husband always jokes with me that I act on ideas quickly. So he often jokes that I’ll have an idea in the morning that I tell him about something I “might do” then by the time he’s back home from work I’ve done the thing and THEN SOME! That’s exactly what happened with the Etsy shop. I told Adam “Hey I think I might start an Etsy shop just for fun selling mugs!” I kinda got his thoughts on it, he leaves for work. He got back that night and I had designed 10 mugs and launched the whole thing.
But, the quickness that day came at the expense of me not doing something else. I don’t remember what was on my agenda that day originally. But, whatever it was got pushed aside so I could do this new creative thing. And that’s ok. I’m all about sticking to schedules and time management, but one thing I learned from my Etsy shop experience is that sometimes you have to follow your intuition and do the thing your soul is craving to do. That’s what I did that day and I don’t even remember looking back on what “important things” I missed.
Lesson number one is trusting your intuition
and what you feel called to bring into the world.
That day an idea came to me for this shop, I felt like I was supposed to be the person to create some “fan mugs” for these TV shows I loved, and I did it. And now those mugs are a nice little side income for me and they bless so many people with laughter! I love getting messages and reviews from my buyers telling me how much their boyfriend or sister or whoever loved the mug they got them as a gift. I was just being creative and having fun when I made these, and I’m thankful I listened to my intuition and worked on the shop that day.
Not everything you do has to make sense or be certain that it’ll make you money, try to just have fun and follow your creative intuition.
2. Hold loosely to the outcome of what you create.
Not everything you do has to be about making money. And even when the thing IS about making money (which a business should make money), when you let the pressure off, beautiful things happen. And when we look at something DYING for it to make money, it’s not good energy.
This quote from Elizabeth Gilbert sums it up perfectly…
“But to yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
It is so true! I’ve always had a pretty easy time doing this with my Etsy shop, but not with other aspects of my business. One thing I learn from my Etsy shop is that when you aren’t, as Elizabeth Gilbert says, “yelling at it to make money”, the money comes easier and everything feels lighter. My question for you and how this can apply to your business is how can you start SERVING more and STRIVING less? The money comes when you’re focused on serving and holding somewhat loosely to the results. That doesn’t mean you don’t have goals and dreams, it just means that you don’t make it all about that. You don’t make your self-worth live or die by the success of your business.
My Etsy shop has taught me this in a beautiful way, and I try to bring that same relaxed energy into my business.
3. Everyone needs a creative outlet.
“Find 3 hobbies you love: one to make you money, one to keep you in shape, and one to be creative.”
I love this common quote and I’m doing all 3 of those things! My Etsy shop isn’t the only creative one for me but it is one of them and I thrive off of that! The fact that I get to be so creative with it is super fun for me. But, there are other ways we can seek out creativity too. Do you find ways to be creative outside of your work?
There are so many little ways we can seek out creativity. And I think we all need creativity in our lives regardless if we call ourselves a “creative person”.
Creativity for the sake of creativity is really beautiful and fuels you in other areas of your life too.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about my Etsy shop and the lessons that I learned when engaging in one of my creative outlets! If you are curious and want to check out my mug collection, you can find those here, and maybe laugh a little while you look at mugs with funny quotes from your favorite TV shows!
To close out this post, here’s a lovely quote from Big Magic that really sums up creativity perfectly:
“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
October 1, 2019
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