It's now June 2010 and I'm trying to make a real go of working for myself. This is, honestly, where things start to get fun. Don't get me wrong, the juggle of a day job and an internship and a commute and the snow was interesting and it definitely taught me how to use my time efficiently, but our first year married in San Diego when Paul worked all the time and I learned how to work for myself all the time was FUN.
I'd totally do that year over. (And I never say that.)
I had some real time now to devote to this THING. First things first, I got a reseller's license (this is easy to do, learn more at your state's board of equalization website) which made it legal for me to sell product in California. As part of that, I started collecting CA sales tax and purchasing product at wholesale price. I then got serious about branding. Back in Maryland (just for fun since HTML is like ice cream to me) I had built the first iteration of my website as sort of a catch-all for the stuff I was doing.
In the summer of 2010, I re-branded from "Enjoy Design" to "ELISE JOY." It wasn't a big change and if I did it over, I'd probably not use my name, but still. It felt good.
I switched things up and ordered multiple designs of business cards from moo.com that I still think are one of the most creative thing I have done. I had created a business card that people wanted. People emailed me to tell me that they stuck my business card on their bulletin board as a mantra for themselves. I could get behind that.
I started to have more fun with my product packaging. I ordered rubber stamps (foreshadowing!) with my logo. I picked some actual brand colors. I basically got some logistics in place THREE YEARS after I had opened up shop.
This is why I am perplexed when people start worrying about what color font to use on their thank you postcards before they've thought about how they'll produce their products. It matters, but it matters little. Getting caught up in the small stuff is a really great way to procrastinate on the big stuff and never move forward.
I had a 2000th sale celebration week on my blog in the fall of 2010. I had never done something like that and the hype was rad. Today my business and my blog are so blended. For better or worse, people expect me to chat in detail about this crap, but back then it felt novel. I loved it (obviously).
I was selling 11x14 and 5x7 text art prints at the time along with mixed paper books. I launched The Goodness Book in November and that was one of my best product launches ever. I was starting to get more creative with my product photography, for sure.
The blog was doing well - I probably doubled my audience size that year. The truth is I never know what exactly is driving traffic, but if I had to guess, that year it was due to the wedding hype and that I had more time to devote to blogging. My photos were improving, thanks to better light in our new apartment and a DSLR camera purchase. I had tried sidebar sponsors for awhile (I did this on and off for a few years before scrapping the whole idea) and was making some extra income from that. Things felt like they were clicking and it was an exciting time.
As so, as 2011 approached, I set my first ever financial goal:
I was going to net $30,000 working just for myself.
to be continued...read part eight here.