Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? Why did you start your business?
I am a writer who is passionate about quotes and meaningful stories. My niche in my Etsy shop, Pink Gazelle Cards, is inspirational quote cards and photo greeting cards. I started my business to help share the power of the written word (books and quotes) as well as to help give people a smile with my dog photo greeting cards.
What type of products do you sell? How does your manufacturing process look like?
I sell my book, “A Widow’s Awakening,” as well as inspirational quote card sets. I also sell photo greeting cards. My manufacturing process differs depending on the product. To make the quote card sets, I get the sets printed then have assembly day and put the cards in little gauze bags then add the tag.
What are some challenging aspects of your business? How did you overcome them?
One challenging aspect of my business is to ensure enough income comes in from smaller products while I work on completing the time-intensive bigger writing projects (books, play scripts & screenplays). This has been a long slow challenge to overcome but slowly, my Etsy sales of the smaller products (quote card sets, etc) are increasing. It just takes time and perseverance…and paid advertising REALLY helps!
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
I love the freedom to be able to create products & projects that have meaning to me. I know that if an issue, product, or project is something that I care about, then other people do, too. The toughest thing about being an entrepreneur is the enormous amount of time, energy & money intakes to transform a personal vision into a financially viable business. I started the parent company, Pink Gazelle Productions Inc, twenty years ago…and things are just now starting to percolate.
What are some beginner mistakes you made? What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?
I would have started much sooner creating smaller products that would bring in an income stream. I had no idea the larger writing projects I was (and am) working on would take years and years to bring to life. Income is absolutely necessary for a company to survive, so my advice to other entrepreneurs is to do whatever it takes to ensure a steady stream of income is coming in. That HAS to be a priority.
What inspires you while designing and/or creating new products.
It depends on the product I am designing. For the quote card sets, when I am researching the inspirational quotes to put in a particular set, I pay attention to how a quote makes me feel. If a quote resonates strongly with me – and makes me stop and think – then I know other people will find it of use, too.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
As a writer, I learned to write by writing. In the early days, I worked with an editor who taught me, line by line, how to write a book. As for the products I sell in Pink Gazelle Cards on Etsy, I just jumped in and started to create products – such as the quote card sets – to see if people would buy them. I used Christmas markets as a testing ground to see what people were willing to purchase…what they liked, didn’t like, and what they were willing to pay. Then I started my Etsy shop…I figured I could sell my items all year round on-line, not just in the fall!
What are some of the most effective ways in terms of marketing products to your customers?
I find Etsy ads to be effective. I also find posting a product on my FB page, then boosting it, to be very effective.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
Create a product/s that people actually want to buy – not just what you want to sell. Then I think starting slowly is a good idea…post a product & do some marketing to see what the response is. If there are no bites, you better make some tweaks. One of my biggest mistakes (with men & business…hah!) is doing the exact same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It is better to take any action to see what works & what doesn’t then tweak accordingly. Some of my products sell very well and some do not. That is business.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
I personally define business success as LOVING what I do, day in and day out. With my writing, I have learned to love the process. Spending my days doing what I love to do – work that has meaning to me – is my definition of success. I wouldn’t have said that twenty years ago – because I hadn’t learned that lesson yet. I love being able to express my creativity in the projects & products I produce.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
I rise early and have coffee….and think, plan, meditate, reflect, and give thanks. Then I do yoga. Then my workday begins. I put in one to two hours working on a larger writing project. My high energy & high creativity time of the day is early morning, so I do my most important (and mentally demanding) work then. Then I go for a walk. Then I switch gears to other business work – blogging, answering e-mails, social media, filling & shipping Etsy orders, etc. My day is highly structured and I am extremely focused when I work. But I only work 5 to 7 hours a day.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
Slowly and steadily. I will continue to create new quote card sets – because those are the biggest sellers in my Etsy shop. I will continue to market the products in my Etsy shop. And I will continue to complete the larger writing projects and find homes for those (producers, etc). The biggest impact on my profitability is slow & steady perseverance. I have learned it is not the huge big grandiose marketing plans that lead to sales. Rather it is the simple act, as an example, of boosting a FB post every third day or so that leads to the most sales.
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Thank you for the opportunity to share my experience! I really appreciate this & wish you all the best 🙂