Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Hi there, I’m Paul and I have 27 years old. My niche is digital art, since I have Photoshop more than 5 years of experience I was thinking that it will be a great idea to have this tiny store as a hobby as I’m not working in the Photoshop field anymore.
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
Well…I have all the responsibilities from replying back to potential customers to completing the orders and sometimes my wife is helping a lot with the customer service since in this period of time (November-December) it seems to be a really full period with a lot of orders.
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?
The Custom Sketch from Photo that’s for sure the best selling product of mine. I’m using only my skill along in Photoshop. Some of the other sellers I saw that are using a preset, an action for this and everything they have to do is to wait…I’m doing it in this way, everything is made manually. I think more than anything it stands out with the competitive price that I have on it, but at the same time the quality of it as many customers told me that it’s simply perfect haha
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
The best part is that I really get in contact (even in writing) with different persons and collaborate with them to have the best final product from their photos. The hardest one is that moment when you are alone and you have to do everything I guess, but as long as it is a hobby, everything comes out easier.
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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?
Well at this point I’m just using the Etsy Ads and organic traffic from SEO, keywords and I’m very satisfied with the outcome as I have a lot of orders that I cannot manage to handle all of them on the same day.
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
In my opinion, I think that the winning formula is to be focused, have an attitude, and keep that flag up. In our days is hard to work in a full-time job (which I still have), it’s hard to do everything because (at least in my case) all the time something unplanned happens and ruins all your initial plan. That’s why working hard, be focused on what you’re doing, and always have a plan B is the best formula for this.
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
Since it is a hobby, I didn’t expect to have even some orders, I mean I didn’t expect that someone will be interested in my Photoshop skills. I made the Etsy shop and let it like that. I saw day by day that the traffic is growing and the first order came out after 3 weeks before I opened the store. It was a very nice moment for me since it was my first sale ever, but at the same time those 3 weeks were a mess since every day I watched out if an order came in….the waiting time is the toughest thing for me as I do not like to wait and sit for something to happen.
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?
When I’m creating the photos for my customers, I usually listen to music to get creative and get that unique vibe that only music and photoshop can give to me. New products!? Actually only after Christmas Holidays, I will think about this, until then I’m just happy for this wave and living the moment.
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?
My products are not shipped, but I send them via Etsy message or via e-mail, but as I know 3 different languages besides my mother tongue and my wife know as well 2 languages different from mine, we try to keep it up with the orders from all over the world, including Russia, France, Australia, US, Germany and so on.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
If you have a passion for something, go ahead and give it a try, it won’t cost you more than 50$ on Etsy and also you need to have patience, a lot of it.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
Follow your passion and try as possible to niche it out.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
Well to be honest it depends a lot from a person to another one. I believe that a business success won’t give you the freedom as you will need to work hard to keep that success and influence with an online store is not really applicable as in my case, I cannot have influence with orders from all around the world. I guess that for an online store the success is money in the end and more than this if your customers are happy with the final product it’s all that matters at the end of the day.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
Well, today is not the same as yesterday as well as tomorrow. Everything is running so fast that I cannot be happy for enough time about all the things that I manage to do on that day because it always comes something else that needs to be done. On a normal day, I begin with drinking my coffee and reading all my e-mails, then starting my 9 to 5 job. After finishing it, I open my personal laptop and start working on the orders from my store and answering everyone that sent me a message.
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How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
Well, I plan to hire someone part-time to make myself some free time, but I hope that I will find that guy since is about Photoshop and he will need to have some skills haha. I do not think that it will have a big impact since this is all about my hobby 🙂 it will have indeed a positive impact as I will have some free time to spend with my wife.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Definitely the one in regards to the SEO and keywords…I think I’ve spent at least 6 hours watching youtube videos about it and still I do not manage it properly.