Crickets to Cha-Chings Episode 001
Welcome to Episode 001 of Crickets to Cha-Chings!
Hey friends my name is Lauren and I am so excited to get started with this new podcasting venture!
I have been wanting to start a podcast for over a year and I was just so overwhelmed with the technology part of it. I didn't really know anything about how you got it you know submitted to iTunes and all of that stuff, so I kept putting it off putting it off until I finally bit the bullet and I'm doing it.
So you are listening to you episode number one and I am just thrilled to be doing this and I really think you for tuning in.
I wanted you have this first episode sort of be an introduction if you are not a part of the Facebook group and you haven't heard my story before or you don't know who I am and we haven't been introduced, I just want to give you a little bit of background on why I'm here, what I am doing, and why I am qualified to even talk about Etsy and how you can improve your business or grow your shop.
As I said before, my name is Lauren Keplinger and I have a website called CreativeMomBoss.com where I talk all about running a handmade business, specifically selling on Etsy although of course you can always apply to other platforms, but a lot of what I talk about is specific to Etsy.
I coach entrepreneurs on how to build their business on Etsy and grow it to be the profitable and flexible job that they're looking for so that they can have that control over their professional life and still have the control over their time and be flexible for their families.
How I got started
I started on Etsy back in 2012. I had a an acquaintance to had a successful Etsy shop and was doing pretty well with it and I just really wanted and needed something like that.
I was a stay-at-home mom at the time and I felt really unfulfilled in that role. My husband was active duty Army and had been for years at that point and we were moving a lot, and our lives were just kind of chaotic because he was in and out with deployments and I felt like I was a little bit stuck.
I had a one-year-old and I was 6 months pregnant with our second child (the first two children are 15 months apart which was crazy) but I just felt like I was kind of in this position that I couldn't really go back to work because I wasn't going to be able to make enough money to justify paying for daycare, and my husband had absolutely no flexibility in his job so the childcare responsibilities pretty much fell on me.
So I had to have something that was really flexible and worked around his schedule and worked around the demands of our family, and I just wasn't really sure what that was going to be. But I had this friend who was doing really well with her Etsy shop and for probably at least two years before I started mine I kept saying that I wished I had something like her - a job where I could bring in money and work from home and it was flexible and within my control.
In 2012, I really decided to take the leap. I bought an embroidery machine at a yard sale that was broken and I messed around with it and try to figure out how I could make it function with my old computer and this old machine and everything was just really subpar.
But I started to make some things for my own kids and I pretty quickly upgraded to a very small but at least better functioning embroidery machine and started my Etsy shop.
Unlike a lot of people who start their Etsy shop out of a more organic hobby where they have friends or family or whoever who say “oh you make these things and they're really cute you should sell them,” I actually started my hobby so that I could start an Etsy shop. That was always my end goal, and I always wanted it to be a business and to grow it into a business. So it wasn't really a creative hobby for me, although I do enjoy the creative aspect of it, but the creative wasn't really my goal.
I did my Etsy Shop sort of off-and-on really casually for a couple years. I couldn't really figure out if it was worth it for me to pay for childcare so I could dedicate more time to it or if I really wanted to dive in on that level. I still had a really young children, so it was just a really big balancing act and I kind of didn't really dive into the opportunity so much until 2015.
Diving into an Etsy shop
In 2015 my husband made the decision to get out of the active duty Army, and so we knew we were going to be making this really big financial change in our family. He had been in the military since we graduated from college, and we were going to move back to my hometown which was all the way across the country from where we were living at the time. We knew that it was going to be a lot more expensive because there's so many things in the military that are cheaper, like health insurance.
We set out to save as much money as we could in the year leading up to him getting out of the Army, and that meant really diving into my Etsy shop and seeing how I could make as much profit and turn it into a more profitable business than it was at the time.
Another big change
I ended up having another baby right before he got out of the military (literally two weeks before we moved across the country) and so I took about six months off after the baby. I had just to get settled because we’d just had this big move, a big life change, and the baby so it there was a lot going on and I was very stressed.
I decided to open my shop back up when she was 6 months old which was February of 2016 and from there I really dug into the opportunity, and said that if I was going to take this time away from my baby and my toddlers, this business really needs to be profitable.
We were not in a financial position at the time to be able to pay for childcare and not have my business make enough money or have it just barely break even. We didn't have those margins, so if I was going to dedicate this time and stress and the upfront cost of having inventory and stuff it had to be financially worth it for us.
Scaling to major profits
So I set out at that time to dive into the business opportunity and to look at the data that I had and the products that I had sold and really see what what were my most profitable products, how can I make this business more profitable, and how can I really grow it and scale it so that I'm not working just all the time, but I'm still able to make this an income that actually works for our family.
In 2015 before maternity leave, I had averaged about $4,000 a month in sales.
Throughout the course of 2016 I really worked through a lot of trial-and-error, launching new products, growing the business, building a community and a following, just really diving into the business aspect of it and the things that I haven't really tried to do or the ways of marketing that I've had really tried prior to my maternity leave.
By 2017 I was averaging around $7,900 a month in sales on Etsy, and last year I averaged a little over $14,000 per month in sales.
Then Came CreativeMomBoss
I started CreativeMomBoss in 2017, with the goal of working with other at the entrepreneurs and other women who wanted to have that same kind of freedom and work-life balance that works around the demands of their family, but also brings in an actual real income. I was finding, especially in the military community, that a lot of people were wanting these jobs that worked around their husbands career and their young children, which is what a lot of us are wanting, but they were drawn to these work-from-home opportunities that were making such small amounts of money with a really big time commitment that it really didn't even make sense to be doing it.
And there are so many smoke and mirror type opportunities online, and people trying to sell you into their business model that I wanted to give people an option and the belief that they actually could really do this and make this work for them. AND build a profitable business that was in their control, and that was actually their business, not working for somebody else.
Where we’re Headed
I believe so strongly in the opportunity that Etsy provides through this platform that is so easy to use and so easy to set up, and so cheap to get started. There has never been a time that the barriers to entry to starting your own business and really being able to build it and scale it were so low.
Think about in the past when people actually had to invest in equipment, rent a building, buy a cash register, and all of that stuff in order to get started in a business. That was such a big and scary and expensive adventure.
And now with just a computer or a smartphone and $0.20 to throw your first listing up on Etsy, you have a business. And obviously there's so much more to it than just that to build a business in actually make it successful, but that's all it takes to get started.
My hope for this podcast and for the whole CreativeMomBoss Community is that you’ll be able to see the opportunity that is in front of you if you are ready to take it and run with it. It can truly change the future of your professional life and your family and your financial future.
And it is so exciting and such a wonderful thing to be a part of that, and to have that flexibility and the freedom to be professionally and creatively fulfilled in this job that you’re doing. So I am super excited about the upcoming episodes. We have some really exciting guests, and some really exciting trainings for you.
I know this was just the intro and my backstory for you, but if you have enjoyed this podcast and you’re excited about what we're doing or you're part of the CreativeMomBoss community and you've already seen some of the things we’re doing and working on, I would love for you to leave me a review on iTunes.
It helps other people who are trying to get started on Etsy to find the show and become a part of this community that can support them in their handmade endeavors. I hope that you have enjoyed this and that you're excited about upcoming episodes. I will see you back here soon. Bye for now!