Tips for Becoming an Online Entrepreneur: Owning an Etsy Store

Today’s “I Want to Be” Series features Laura Cole who works from home full time with her husband creating products for their Etsy store, Timeless Journey. One of their most popular items is the cash envelope systems that Laura developed while following Dave Ramsey’s advice to live a cash based lifestyle.  Laura’s story is an inspiring one of finding Dave Ramsey, paying down debt, and finding her calling as a crafter, all while raising her four sons.  

How long have you had your business?

I started Timeless Journey in March 2009 after friends and family urged me to sell my items.  After taking the Financial Peace University class at church, I thought selling my handmade cash envelope systems might be a fun way to help pay down some of the debt that we had at the time.

Are you full time or part time?

As of May 2012, my husband and I have quit both of our “real” jobs and are now totally full time and working together making items for our Timeless Journey shop.

How do you market your business?

Word-of-mouth has honestly been the best way we get our sales.  We add business cards, a handwritten thank you note, and our shop name on the back of every item that we sell.  We also do a few craft fairs each year.  Other than that, Facebook, Pinterest, blogs and Etsy are it.

What is your favorite part of the business?

I’m so blessed to be able to work alongside of my husband every day and be home for our four boys.  After both of us working two jobs and Etsy to pay off our debt, I was so tired of missing the boys’ games and other events.  I couldn’t be happier now.  I also love spending time making things that no one else has.  Everything we make is a one of a kind item.  Nothing is mass produced.  The customer service part is wonderful, too.  Working and designing exactly what a customer wants makes it so fun.

What one question do you get most from people about your business?

I get several!  People are always shocked and they look a little scared for us when they hear what we do.  “It is a scary day and time to start your own home-based business!  Don’t you know we are going into a recession?”  We just tell them that we are going to choose not to follow what the news says and follow God instead. 

People also often ask, “Do you really make money at that?”  Absolutely!  Enough to pay off our debt, buy a home and raise four growing boys.

Another question is, “Do you just sell things locally?”  No.  We have shipped to every U.S. state and every continent in the world (except for Antarctica).

What one myth or misconception do you want to dispel about the work you do?

That working at home is easy.  It is actually very hard work.  Not only do you have all the duties of a stay at home mom, but you’re also the Customer Service Department, Research Department, Shipping Department, Advertising Department and manufacturer.  I work about 19 hours a day, but I love every minute of it.  I’m so thankful for my smart phone!

What advice do you have for others who want to get into a similar opportunity?

The best advice I can give is to follow God in every step and the more work you put in, the more you get out.

What is the first step?

Do LOTS of research.  Be sure you know what you’re getting into.  If you are going to sell online, check prices including shipping and supplies and learn how to take great photos.

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