Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
I was born and raised in Thailand and I have been drawing since I was a teenager. I would draw portraits for family and friends as gifts throughout the year. I got the idea to start my business from my Dad. He always encouraged my art and kept telling me that I should find a way to monetize my work and that people would love the art I created. That was over ten years ago now.
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
My responsibilities are multifaceted. I am the only person, so I create listings, advertise, manage social media, respond to inquiries, fulfill, and create custom orders, and I manage shipping and handling.
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 product is my custom drawn portrait. I use high-quality paper and a variety of art pencils. I believe my product stands out because I work carefully with each client. I can merge separate images into one beautiful portrait. So I can bring together loved ones who have passed or recreate beautiful memories.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
I enjoy being my own boss. That does come with challenges, however. You are only as productive as you push yourself to be.
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?
My customers are usually individuals who are looking for the perfect gift for a loved one. The bulk of my sales have been through Etsy and social media advertising. I run special sales and ads throughout the year.
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
I don’t know if there is a winning formula. However, if you work hard and never give up, you will see results.
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
My toughest moment was at the end of 2019. I was on a job with a difficult employer while simultaneously trying to start my own business. I finally decided to leave that job, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I decided to step out into uncertainty and push forward into t
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?
Music inspires me the most when it comes to creating art. Whether it’s a custom portrait or a book illustration, I always listen to music during the process. The best tool to grow your creativity is going outside. Let nature inspire you.
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?
I ship locally and internationally. All shipping and handling are free. I have priced my products to allow for free shipping. Buyers are typically more attracted to shops and products that provide free shipping. Orders within the United States take two weeks from order to delivery, international orders take about three to four weeks depending on the country.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
Creating a product that provides value, online marketing and ads, and consistency.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Failure is just a learning opportunity. Pay for advertising ….it’s worth it.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
Financial freedom and the ability to chose to be creative.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
I like to get up early and work on marketing and completing orders right away. For me, the morning is the most productive part of the day. Evenings are spent at home with my husband.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
I plan on growing my business through consistency and hopefully partnering with other artists in the future. I think the thing that impacts my profitability the most is the fact that there are so many other artists with varying price points. I will stand out because my clients will see my dedication and the quality of my work.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
The top things that have set my shop up for success are, customization, free shipping, and product sales. When I first opened my shop I didn’t buy advertisements. Now with paying for advertisements, my orders have more than quadrupled.