As I sit down to write about how I created my dream job, I can’t help having a knowing smile as I think about how naïve I was when started my business. You see I haven’t always had the entrepreneurial itch. In a former life, I was a special education teacher, trying to make a difference one kid at a time. I grew up in a small town about an hour and a half from Chicago, went to college in Iowa, and never considered being anything but a teacher, nurse, doctor, or lawyer. It never crossed my mind that I could forge my own dream job.
I decided to become a teacher even though it never felt quite right. After college, I taught in a Chicago Public School. I loved living in a big city. It was a whole new world to me, but I didn’t love my job. The city changed my perspective about career paths and opened new possibilities to me. Through a series of events, I started marketing businesses on the side. It was like a breath of fresh air. I loved marketing. I wanted to eat, breathe, sleep, drink and soak up anything marketing! My husband had to instate a, “no talking about marketing” rule, because it started to consume all of me.
Eventually, this passion lead me to create my dream job. At the time, I had just moved to Boulder, Colorado and had a baby girl. I remember the moment I said it out loud for the first time. “I’m starting a business!” I blurted out to my mom one day while I was grocery shopping. I felt ready and excited to take on a new career. It was this niggling feeling that I just couldn’t ignore anymore. Never mind that I was struggling to stay on top of things with the new baby. I shoved all those alarms to the back of my mind and forged ahead.
My business developed slowly. In fact, when I had the initial idea, I had no intention of building a business out of it. Here’s how the story goes: One evening on the couch I started an Instagram account, @HandmadeLoves. It served as a place for me to curate my favorite handmade items. I have long been an advocate of shopping locally, ethically, and in small batches. I thought that this account would serve as a great place to curate the things I like and give me a creative outlet.
Soon people started to find me, share my photos, and even send me DM’s asking me to feature their handmade items. I reached 10,000 followers in a blink of an eye….that’s when my wheels started turning. I pulled myself out of babyland and dusted off all that marketing knowledge I acquired before having my daughter. Next, I created a one-page website with an application for people to fill out if they wanted to have a featured spot on my Instagram account and rode the wave of gaining a large social following from the new and “it” social media platform. I loved (and still do!) helping the handmade movement by supporting artisans through marketing items they created from the heart.
Today my business has grown beyond Instagram. Handmade Loves is more than a social account for showcasing products; it is a community for all creative entrepreneurs. At its core, it is a space for creatives to expand through balancing personal development and entrepreneurship.
So much of our lives can be consumed with jealousy, doubt, and fear. It stops us in our tracks. It keeps us from pursuing our dreams. As a result, we play small or not at all. My business strategy is twofold. The first step involves moving past roadblocks and shifting your mindset. Once you have the right mindset and understand how it affects your business, I share the knowledge, resources, and strategies that help you develop, grow, and streamline your business.
Below are the steps I encourage every entrepreneur to take to create their dream job. I revisit these steps often… when I feel doubt and fear take over, when I need clarity, or when I just need an overall business pick-me-up.
1. Get Over Yourself.
I mean it. You are in the way of your own greatness. Don’t you think millions of entrepreneurs before you were scared or had the cards stacked against them? If they can do it, so can you. Do what you need to do to get past your limiting beliefs and attitudes. Here are a few of my favorite tools:
– Journal: I give myself a hall pass in my journal. It’s the one place where I let out all my obsessive, crazy, fear mongering thoughts. After I get them all out, I close it, and they stay there while I forge ahead!
-Read: A few of my favorite inspirational reads lately have been The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein, and You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero. I mean how can you not start to feel better just by reading those titles?
2. Stay Organized.
I’m sure you all can guess one of my favorite platforms for staying organized… it rhymes with “bunny hook.” But in all seriousness, you have to be super organized when you have your own business. Here is my favorite organizational hack:
-Batch Create: I batch create everything I can. From social media posts to emails, I try to create things in groups, do bulk uploads, and schedule as many things on one platform as I can stand. For example, I create two months worth of Facebook posts at a time, write a month’s worth of blog posts in a day, or draft one month of email content. It can be tedious and mind numbing, but I love the automaticity it creates, not to mention the hours I save!
3. Build it…They won’t come.
This may seem harsh, but it’s true. You cannot rely on hope marketing. You cannot publish a website, Etsy shop, or even a social media page without some sort of marketing around it. Also, gone are the days in which social media was a quick and free form of marketing. Just erase these thoughts out of your head right now and stop dwelling on them. Here are my best long-term marketing strategies.
-Don’t quit…Ever: Have the mindset that you will do what it takes. It takes time, patience, and creativity. Don’t give up. You will start to make a dent…eventually.
– Email Marketing: I am obviously a big fan of social media, but there is one thing that terrifies me. At any point, someone like Instagram can shut me down for no real reason, and then I lose all of my fans and my connections with them. That’s why I focus on getting my social fans to my email list. Plus, it’s a lot easier to share deep thoughts and knowledge via email.
Are you a creative entrepreneur? Then I’d love to have you in my FB community HERE. I also have tons of free resources on my website: handmadeloves.com.
Other ways to connect:
Email: [email protected]