Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
I studied art, I love art, I love to create, illustrate, and design. And I wanted to be my own boss. When my child was born I decided to stay at home and then I started my online business. In the beginning, there were a lot of blind alleys, I didn’t know where to start, what art to sell, paintings, drawings, … which platform to use, etc. I did a lot of research, visited some entrepreneur courses, learning all the time and so I built my courage to go forward.
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
As a business owner, I have all the responsibilities, I have to create products, do all the paperwork and taxes, getting customers, and so on. My business is not very complicated – I sell art as digital downloads – I don’t have to carry about supply and shipping, so I have more time to create. The Etsy platform has many customers, but the market is really overwhelmed. I use most of the time to create new products and for marketing.
What are your best selling products, what type of materials are used in your creations, how do you design your products, what makes your products stand out?
My best selling products are drawings made with one continuous line. Mostly I get an inspiration unexpectedly outside working hours when my head is resting. I pick the first paper that I find and I do some quick sketches.
I draw until I find the right shape. When it’s done I transfer the drawing to the computer and finish the process. All my drawings are my original artwork, they are not stock images. They are positive and reflect the values of connectedness, friendship, love, and freedom that’s why I believe my products stand out.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
I enjoy most being my own boss and explore creativity the way I want. The hardest thing is to persist when the sales are down and the inspiration is low. Online sales are not very consistent and many times neither predictable. A lot of visibility and sales depend on algorithms and sometimes it seems like everything is out of your control and there is nothing you can do. This is a false feeling.
Who do you sell to (and how do you get customers)? What marketing tools or strategies you use to boost your sales? Are you satisfied with the results?
The Etsy platform brings a lot of customers, besides this, I have also a Pinterest and Instagram account to promote my work and get customers. I’m not really satisfied yet, I have to put more work into my social accounts.
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
No, I don’t believe in winning formula. I work a lot, I’m learning all the time, trying to improve my drawing and myself, taking care of my dreams and believe. My formula is to persist.
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
The toughest time was the first year. I did a lot of work and there were no significant results, visibility was weak and the sales were low. There were small ups and huge downs. I was angry and lost and I didn’t know what to do. At that time I did many sketches with one line, I draw many hugs. These drawings become one of the most popular in my shop. Now everything is going up.
What inspires you when you’re creating? How do you get ideas for new products? What are some methods or tools you use to get creative?
I really enjoy walking in nature to calm my soul and listen to good music, which plays around with many different feelings. What inspires me most is my own life, my hopes and my fears, my longing, and my beliefs.
Do you ship your product internationally? How do you handle postage pricing? What is the average time it takes from the order to the delivery? Do you use free shipping? If so, why? How do you package your products?
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
The key elements are persistence and learning all the time, about trends, online tools, and marketing.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
Sometimes is tough, but is really worth it. If you believe in your path you will overcome the obstacles. Of course, there are doubts, conquer them they can help you to get better ideas.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
I define my business success with freedom and creative expression. I manage my time and create my art.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
I mostly work from 8 am till 3 pm then I pick my son from a kindergarten, spend time with family and do the housework. In the evening I usually answer the customers and do some custom work. Weekends are for family It happened from time to time that I work more and then I take a few days off for short holidays This is priceless.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
First of all, I have to improve my social accounts: I want to develop more my creativity and drawings and the growth in business will follow.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
I learned that I have to be consistent and patient. Being impatient (I wish to sell something so much, I was changing products, names, descriptions all the time) cost me sleep, sales, and imagination.