Tips for Becoming an Online Entrepreneur: Creating Online Educational Printables
Today's "I Want to Be" series features Jill of Enchanted Homeschooling Mom. She is the homeschooling mother of 2 awesome children (Beck and Elizabeth), a loving wife, who brings readers along on her family’s homeschooling journey in their rural setting - all while running an online printable business from her home! Learn how to connect with Jill at the end of our article.
How long have you had your business?
I started my Enchanted Homeschooling Mom blog as a hobby in March of 2011 and I only converted my brand into a website business (E.H.M. Member’s Only Website) this past summer.
What led you to pursue it?
I struggled for many months on whether or not to stay a hobby or turn my blog into a business. The reason that I ultimately turned my blog into a business is because the economy took a drastic downturn and my husband had to take extremely large cut backs at his job. If our family wanted to continue to homeschool our children I had to find a way to try to bring in some revenue to help put food on the table. I was already creating printable curriculums, unit studies, activity packs, and more for my children to use in our homeschool and my business was a great way to share my creations with everyone else for a low cost.
Are you full time or part time? If part-time, do you anticipate switching to full time?
This is a tricky question. My day is chalked full of responsibilities from taking care of and maintaining the household, to teaching my children their lessons, to cooking, to maintaining a healthy relationship with my husband and my children, to running my business. Some weeks I work more than 40 hours between my business and my blog. Other weeks I work roughly 25 – 30 hours a week on my business and my blog.
How do you market your business?
I market my E.H.M. Member’s Only Website through social media via Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest, advertising areas on my blog, social media giveaways, product reviews by my peers, product giveaways by my peers, affiliate programs and by the all mighty word of mouth. I pride myself on the quality of my creations and their usefulness to everyone who likes them.
What is your favorite part of the business?
My favorite part of my business is that all of my jobs are interconnected. No matter what I am working on for my business it will directly benefit the education of my children. The networking that I do online directly influences the quality of their education. Each printable or curriculum I create will be used to enrich the education of my children. And the best part it, I take my children to work with me each and every day because they are the reason I create my printables.
What one question do you get most from people about your business?
The one question that I get the most about my business is how do I have the time to do it all? People, myself included, wonder how I have the time to fully homeschool two children in different grades, maintain my home, cook, clean, spend time with my husband and children, and take care of three dogs, all while dealing with my chronic health issues. The answer is that I do not sit down and dwell on what I have to do, but rather I prioritize what needs to be done and we work as a family to get it all done. Some days are longer than others, but each day is different and special. In hindsight, this most likely works for my family because we have never have never had any outside help from family so we have had to learn to rely on ourselves and our faith in God that we will preserve.
What one myth or misconception do you want to dispel about the work you do?
The one myth that I would love to dispel is that creating useful educational printables is easy with an immediate return on your time, effort, and resource that you put into it. While I am passionate and fortunate to be doing this for a career, I also am the first one to admit that it is not easy peasy and smooth sailing.
What advice do you have for others who want to get into a similar opportunity?
One piece of advice that I would offer to anyone who wants to get into making homeschooling printables is to make sure it is something that they plan to continue to keep fresh, age appropriate, fun, and attention grabbing. There are a lot of people who are creating free and paid printables, but not all of them are constantly creating new and innovative creations that are age appropriate. I would highly recommend that that someone takes the time to see what it takes to create a handful of successful printables, creations, lessons, curriculums, etc. before they start so that they can see how much hard work and time it takes to create a printable that is not just a template that you switch themes and clip art on so that their business can be successful and hold onto loyal repeat customers. In order to be successful I feel you must be prepared to take the time to research the educational content for your creations and then create the printables with your own signature flare and style so that your potential customers will be able to recognize your products.
What is the first step?
The first step to starting your online educational printables business would be to figure out the answers to the following questions:
- Who is your intended target audience?
- To whom will you market your printables? Teachers? Homeschoolers? Daycares?
- How many people are in the printables market that you will in? (like how many people are selling K-2nd grade printables already?)
- Where are you going to sell your printables?
- Are you going to use an established pay-to-store-site like Teacher-Pay-Teacher or Teacher’s Notebook? Or, store them some how yourself?
- Will they be downloads? email attachments? or shipped?
- What is your start up budget to cover things like fees, clipart, web hosting, advertising, reviews, materials, etc.?
- Are you prepared to research what you plan to make to avoid copyright infringement and intellectual property violations?
- Are you prepared to site sources on ALL materials, verbiage, illustrations, photos etc. that are not your own?
- How will you protect and copyright your materials?
- What are your price points?
- What are the tax implications of your sales?
- What will your creation release schedule be? Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, As you go?
Unfortunately, to date there are a lot of really good books about starting a blog and creating a website, but there are none, to my knowledge about starting an online educational printables business. I have had to learn through trial and error. I feel that my business is different from so many others because I want to make sure that my creations are affordable to other homeschoolers because money is always tight for us. I have heard and discussed horror stories from other creators I know where fees on this site or that are high or the percentage is this or that and they have to charge more money or run sales all the time just to sell their products. To accomplish my goal of providing affordable printables to my loyal fans and followers I have developed the business model of offer access to the E.H.M. Member’s Only Website where I house all of my curriculums, printables, and creations for a single, one-time, lifetime fee. I plan to keep this as economical as I can for new members, but my desire is to ensure that my printables reach those that need them the most and not to just gouge everyone all the time for each item I create.
More about our guest: Jill enjoys blogging about everything related to her homeschooling experience, from the daily happenings of Beck and Elizabeth, to the adventures in nature around them, to her family’s 3 rescue dogs, to just about anything that makes their homeschooling journey magical. Jill also takes the time to create printables for her homeschool classroom that she provides at her EHM Member’s Only Website. She has a wide variety of printables, curriculums, unit studies, and holiday related items that everyone is sure to find educational, useful, fun, and appropriate. You can follow with Jill’s magical homeschooling journey at enchantedhomeschooling.net, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.
*Photo by albastrica mititica via Flickr.