Being an entrepreneur is in my blood. Growing up I watched my mom use her creativity to help supplement my dad’s income. As a professor, he didn’t usually get paychecks during the summer, so my mom’s income was very helpful.
Ever since I can remember, she has taught dozens of piano students. She has done freelance calligraphy work and has taught children’s singing and art classes. In the pre-Etsy days, she sold crafts and patterns at a local boutique. She has taught everything from tie-dye to cake decorating. She is one of those people who not only excels at everything she puts her mind to, but has a knack for teaching it too!
Getting Started with Etsy
Knowing that I would stay home when we had kids, I experimented with some potential money-making endeavors early on in our marriage, even before there was an explicit need in our family finances.
When I was pregnant with my now-7-year-old, I opened the virtual doors to my first Etsy shop. What started as an experiment to see if I could really make money on Etsy, turned into a small business that fed our family while my husband was in law school and continues to help us pay down our law school debt.
Two years ago we felt inspired to take drastic measures to pay off my husband’s law school student loans. With my husband’s earnings starting at less than $40K, we knew we would need some additional income to make our goal of paying off $130K in three years a reality.
I had all sorts of ideas of how I could contribute to our debt payoff while still running our household and caring for our three children (which have since grown to four). My problem has never been a lack of ideas, but a lack of time to implement them all.
My Blog Idea
One of my top ideas was that I wanted to start a blog to document our progress, hold us accountable, and keep us motivated. I also knew that I could earn an income from a blog. I knew that a blog income would be more scalable than my Etsy shop.
I have been reading blogs for years and was well aware of how bloggers earn money. As a faithful reader of Money Saving Mom since 2008, I have watched how Crystal Paine has turned her blog into an amazing business. I have read practical how-to books that have given me the tools to grow my blog.
I also invested in Elite Blog Academy, a fabulous blogging course by Ruth Soukup. It was pricey, but has definitely paid off to have training that goes from A to Z and answers questions I wouldn’t even think to ask.
Making money didn’t happen overnight and it has required lots of hard work. While I still have lots of room to grow, the additional $2K each month has made a huge impact on our progress toward debt freedom!
How YOU Can Become an Entrepreneur
Maybe you’ve always had business ideas bouncing around in your head, but you’ve never taken action. Or maybe you’ve never even considered creating a job for yourself. Either way, taking the leap to go into business for yourself can be beneficial, both on a financial and a personal level.
Find your motivation
Just wanting to make money isn’t enough. You need to decide your “why,” so you’ll have the strength to stick with your plan when things get tough (and they will). Why do you want to earn an income from home? Maybe you want to be able to stay home with your kids. Maybe you are working toward a specific financial goal. Maybe you just need to be able to pay your bills.
Our current goal, to pay off student loans, is a major part of our “why.” Living with our four kids in my in-laws’ unfinished basement is also a constant reminder of our goal to finish paying off our debt so we can get our own place.
Choose the right focus
Find the intersection of what you’re good at, what you’re knowledgeable about, and what you’re passionate about. Your business idea should fill a need and be something that people are willing to pay for. You’ll want to do lots of research on the topic and scope out your competition before committing to an idea.
Some of my business ideas (which I didn’t mention above) flopped because I wasn’t passionate about them, even though I had the skills and knowledge necessary and there was an obvious need.
Limit start-up costs
Some businesses are inherently more expensive to start. For example, a brick and mortar store requires much more money up front than an online store. Going into debt to start your business (especially when the goal of your business is to help you get out of debt) is dangerous and often disastrous! By letting your business grow slowly, you can make sure that you can stay on top of the growing costs of running your business.
One of the reasons I loved the idea of a blog was that the start up costs were so minimal. Even now, my costs are very low.
Be prepared to work hard!
Erase from your mind all those work-at-home mom stock photos you’ve seen on Pinterest of the happy baby calmly sitting in the well-dressed mom’s lap while she effortlessly works at home on her laptop.
Creating your own job and working for yourself is not the easy way out. It may have more flexibility, more earning potential, and be more rewarding than a traditional job in the long run, but that doesn’t mean it’s easier. Reflect on your “why” when times get hard.
Don’t be afraid to fail
Not every idea is a winner and that’s okay! Our failures are great opportunities to learn firsthand about what works and what doesn’t. What works for others won’t necessarily work for us.
Money Making Mom
I just finished reading a pre-release copy of Crystal Paine’s new book MoneyMaking Mom. It really has me fired up about the potential that we each have to make a difference, not only with our family finances, but in the world.
Throughout the Money Making Mom, Crystal shares the stories and experiences of women working in various fields who have successfully created income-earning opportunities for themselves. I love all the insight into her personal journey, including the failures that have taught her what she needed in order to be successful.
If you have been toying with the idea of turning your passion into an income-producer, then Money Making Mom will empower you to take action and run with your dream. The book is packed full of practical advice to make your dream a reality whether it’s starting a home daycare, opening a local bakery, doing freelance web design, signing up for direct sales, or starting a blog.
One of the biggest regrets I have about my current business is that I didn’t start sooner! While I try not to waste too much energy on wondering, I can’t help but imagine where I would be if I had taken the plunge sooner.
If you are feeling the itch to unleash the entrepreneur within, now might just be the perfect time.
How About You?
- Are you an entrepreneur? How did you get started?
- What failures and successes have you had?
Note: This post contains my affiliate link. For more information, see my disclosure policy.
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