I’ve teamed up with my friend and personal business coach, Renae Christine, to bring you some of our best tips for taking your handmade business from a hobby to a profitable full-time gig working from home.
Backyard CEO? What on earth do you mean? When my husband and I decided to close my old business and take Suzy Swede Tees full-time, we sold my high-overhead commercial building so I could run my online business from home.
We had a nice big room upstairs, but I wanted to have a more separate space for business, so we had a 14’x40′ studio built and brought in to our backyard. Voila! I was a backyard CEO. (It’s like a she-shed on steroids!)
I am super spoiled with a 20-second commute in the morning. I like having that separate space so I’m not distracted by a sink full of dirty dishes or tempted to take a nap with the cats. Got to stay focused to build a business!
In 2016, Suzy sold her sign business and now enjoys a 20-second daily commute to her backyard studio, where she subsists on coffee and sarcasm.
I’ve teamed up with my friend and personal business coach, Renae Christine, to bring you a FREE masterclass workshop to help grow your handmade hobby into a profitable business.
So How Did I Build a Six-Figure Business From My Backyard Studio?
I’d love to tell you that before starting Suzy Swede
- • I wrote a out a business plan, complete with pricing, projections, sales goals, etc.
- • Designed masterpiece branding and brainstormed a master marketing plan
- • Created a sure-to-sell collection of products to launch with a big she-bang
You know, all that good stuff that you SHOULD do before starting a business, but I didn’t.
I started Suzy Swede Tees with the intention of it being a “just for fun” side business with the hopes of making just enough to pay my ever-increasing health insurance bill.
Long story short: I started on Etsy in January of 2015 (because I had no idea how to build or get traffic to my own website.)
By March of that year I discovered Renae Christine’s YouTube channel full of free trainings. I watched every single day while I printed and shipped my orders.
I implemented every tip and trick Renae dished out and by May, (my 5th month in business) I was making more profits from my “hobby business” than I was my full-time business. Crazy, right??
By the end of that first year my profits from my Etsy shop were actually more than my full-time business. I was even able to make a 5K down payment on a desperately needed new-to-me SUV. (I also had a savings account for the first time in years. )
Fast forward to summer of 2016 and I knew without a doubt that I needed to graduate from just having an Etsy shop. I needed to go in 100%, take complete control over my business, and build a website of my own to handle my ever-growing wholesale side of the business.
This is where Renae literally saved my life. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but she absolutely saved my sanity. I had wasted months trying to finish and launch a Shopify site when her Ultimate Architect training finally opened up.
I can tell you that I made the best decision I have EVER made for my business was the day that I signed up for Ultimate Architect.
I built and launched this entire website in just under two months! The training takes you through step-by-tiny-little step to create a professional looking, fully functional website that you own 100%.
No more worrying about Etsy tanking and taking your business and income with it, or having your shop shutdown over false copyright violations. No more roller-coaster sales every time Etsy decides to try a new search algorithm.
After just 12 months of launching my own site, I had 3 times the sales through my own site than my Etsy shop AND I blew that six-figure sales goal way out of the water!
I went from around a dozen wholesale accounts to over 400 retailers in over 40 states. Suzy Swede was also featured in many media outlets including NBC, CBS, Fox News, Miami Herald, and my favorite: the March/April 2018 issue of Chickens© magazine. 🙂
My total Etsy sales my first 12 months. My PROFITS (over 25k) from my Etsy shop were actually more than than my profits from my full-time sign business that year.
No brainer to make this my full-time gig, right?! Heck yeah! ↓↓ Here’s what happened when I did just that.
↑↑ This is why I say Architect is very near and dear to my heart and why Renae will always be my all-time favorite business coach and now friend. The graphic above shows my sales stats from my first full year with my Architect-built site. (2017)
Not only did having my own website increase my overall sales by A LOT, I also slept better knowing that I had complete control and 100% ownership of my business. I no longer had to worry that Etsy would go away or shut down my shop without notice.