People always describe success as: “Well, I was miserable in this one job, then I quit to work for myself… and now I’m super rich!” ⬇️
But they don’t really describe the parts in between, which leaves the rest of us wondering why WE couldn’t *magically* pull off the exact same thing.
It’s like some “mystical secret”…How did they get from one end to the other?
Well, as someone who literally went from broke to paying myself $14,000 a month in the last five years, I’m gonna TELL YOU what those in-between parts look like…
Here’s how I went from totally broke, struggling to pay for a loaf of bread, to making more money than I’d ever seen in my life.
I did it all by working from home, but I didn’t start that way.
So, I actually tried to start four businesses before I got to the point where I was successful working for myself.
Yup — I failed four times in rapid succession before I ever saw any success.
Now, some of those businesses were more successful than others, it just so happened that I was working 80 hours a week for like $200, so they weren’t sustainable.
And that was my problem: I could either create a business that wasn’t getting enough customers... OR make a business that was WORKING, but not paying me enough for my time.
In the meantime, I had bills to pay. So I couldn’t mess around forever.
Because I found it really difficult to work for myself, I basically gave up and started working a conventional job.
My work-for-myself experiment failed and I was begrudgingly ready to accept that.
Giving up on working from home…
So I hated working in an office, but suffering through it seemed simpler than figuring out how to work for myself.
Basically, I had failed a bunch of times and I was feeling really sensitive about it.
I was convinced that working for yourself was TOO TRICKY and I was pretty sure that I just wasn’t smart enough — or patient enough — to make it happen.
Meanwhile, I was taking jobs, and because I was in the tech sector, I was constantly getting replaced by an agency or software… Not to mention these jobs were, um….*HELLA boring*.
I mean, honestly, there’s really nothing interesting about being controlled for eight hours a day by somebody who doesn’t know what they’re doing…
...And is telling you to “just do something” to fill the day...(gross)
Hitting the Misery Wall…
Within 5 years of taking an office job, I found myself in the worst one of all.
This particular job was verbally abusive: I was getting yelled at DAILY over things I couldn’t control.
🚫 Expectations were completely unrealistic.
🚫 My boss didn’t understand the department she ran.
🚫 I was being asked to do some legally shady things.
🤢 I was being treated like a secretary by my male counterpart, who was supposed to be training me… But was instead using me to do all his work AND mine.
🤢 I was also being paid significantly less than my male counterpart, who was out buying Teslas and showing off his cashmere socks.
That same weekend: Cut to me begging my husband for $4 at the grocery store because I didn’t have enough in my checking account to pay for groceries.
🤮 Oh, and that male counterpart was also taking all of my commissions because apparently, it’s really easy to take advantage of a brand new employee who you’re training.
I had to get to my most intense level of misery to FEEL brave enough to try working for myself again.
And it didn’t go well at first.
I tried a web design agency...(it got 2 customers in 6 months 🤕).
I tried to sell my graphic designs assets on Etsy, which worked WELL, but people were ripping off my designs and I wasn’t making very much money...
And then finally I decided that Etsy was the only thing that EVER worked for me. And it's getting me consistent, regular traffic and sales. So what if I sell something on Etsy besides web design stuff?
I started designing sarcastic homewares on Etsy.
Sales SKYROCKETED. No one was more shocked than me.
Within about four months, I was making DOUBLE my horrible job salary. ⬇️
In my first year, I hit about $60,000 while working online.
That 60,000 was just for my e-commerce stores. Never mind my (soul-sucking) full-time job income.
I desperately wanted to QUIT my day job.
Here I was, pulling down 2x my "real job" salary...DYING to leave.
And my husband FREAKED OUT and said, "Well, the algorithm could change and you could lose everything! You can't quit a stable job!"
This is a common Etsy seller fear that I hear all the time (NOW).
At that time, I didn’t know better. And I was also terrified.
LOL also I was like, "Hey, I want to be in a relationship where I don’t just tell the other person to screw off while I do what I want..." So I listened to him and stayed for another six months.
In retrospect, that was a stupid decision, and I suffered for nothing.
NOW, after learning what I have all these years...I would say:
You can lose a regular job at any time, the same way that you can lose everything online. Commit to what you WANT for the long haul and forget the rest.
Finally, after endless arguing... I left my "real job" right before Christmas.
It was my first Christmas on Etsy.
If you’ve ever had a Christmas on Etsy, you know what happened next.
Basically, my life exploded, it was insane, I was covered in paper cuts for a month, I packed boxes all day, and I cried on my office floor a lot.
Realizing your work from home DREAM doesn't look anything like you thought it would...
So the pain of a dreaded Etsy Christmas made me realize I couldn’t work like this forever.
The number of sales I made that Christmas was the number of sales I wanted to make year-round.
And I had seen the truth: that it just wasn't possible for ONE tiny person.
I never wanted to clone myself more than I did back then 🤣.
Real talk: I was either gonna need staff to help me (which I couldn’t afford)...
OR I was going to need another source of (passive) income that didn’t require as much of my time.
So I decided to start a blog where I could teach people how to replicate the success that I’d seen online.
I did this because I wanted an online outlet that didn’t require my physical presence to work.
I also did this because I like writing and I’d always wanted to start a blog.
I didn't just think, "this will make money...I need to do it!"
I went "What I am GOOD AT, that I WANT TO DO every day...That I can add to my business?"
This is why I think I succeeded. ⬆️
There are a ZILLION Etsy sellers online who are trying to blog about it. For some reason, I stuck out.
And I'll talk about WHY exactly in a different article (I'll link it here when it's done)...But the bottom line is that I wasn't just chasing money.
I was chasing a CAREER...Something I wanted to use for the rest of my life.
And that's what made the difference.
Transitioning from Etsy to making serious money online...
This part gets a little blurry because we’re heading into a time where I was working 14 hours a day, seven days a week for years.
And quite frankly, my memory didn’t hold on to a whole lot here.
What I do remember is that my business made $90,000 that second year on Etsy (with the blog added).
So some of that money was from Etsy, some of that money was from the blog.
The following year, I decided to focus more on the blog and less on the Etsy shop... And I brought in $180,000.
90% of that was from the blog.
It became clear to me that my blog was the cash cow.
For reference: At this time, I was selling Etsy courses and a membership program where readers could get one Etsy course per month from me.
The blog was a means to an end: find the people who want to buy those things from me and attract them with free advice.
Around the time I hit $180,000 in business income, I realized that working 14 hour days, seven days a week wasn’t sustainable...
AND...Let's be honest: working 14 hour days wasn’t why I started the business in the first place. I wanted MORE time —not less.
So I decided to change my business model again.
I started focusing on my own membership program and I started adding things to it...This was so that I could charge $97 a month instead of $17 a month.
Because of this rise in price, my business income changed from $180,000 a year to around $330,000.
I can chalk that up to very little change. ⬇️
This was one of those magical moments where I discovered that sometimes, changing *ONE. SIMPLE. THING.* will make all the difference.
It was literally the price increase on my product that did all the work for me.
I changed NOTHING ELSE.
Wait, you mean I gotta PAY MYSELF when I work for me?? How much tho??
So now I was working a little bit less and making a lot more.
$330,000 was the business income, but what was I paying myself?
That’s what we really care about here.
So here’s the full breakdown of all the money that went through my personal bank account from September 2020 to August 2021. ⬇️
The only income I have is my business.
🚫 I do not have real estate holdings,
🚫 I don’t have a million sources of income, I focus on one thing and one thing only.
✅ all I have is literally my blog – this website you're on right now – and it's the only thing bringing in income (for the time being 😈 🤣)
You can see, from the screenshot above, I’m paying myself more than half of the total business income.
The only way I’m able to pay myself so well is because I work online and my expenses are stupidly low.
If you remember ONE thing, make it THIS ⬇️
The only reason I was able to make it to $14,000 a month is because of the "messy middle bit"... These are the times I suffered a whole lot and then got miserable enough that I was forced to change.
Making Money Online: Lessons Learned ⬇️
Suffering is kind of the theme of my success.
🤔 You’ll notice I was only brave enough to fully try my hardest when I was in a super miserable day job (that literally made me crawl out of my skin).
🤔 You’ll also notice that I was only willing to make changes in my business when I went through an Etsy Christmas and suffered through something I never wanted to endure again.
🤔 Then finally, I got to the point where I was willing to do the mental work to adjust my business after suffering through 14 hour days, seven days a week for two years.
Basically, the more miserable we get, the more willing we are to make drastic changes. And drastic change is what's required to succeed.
This is why I feel like a lot of people struggle to build the business they SAY they want...
A lot of times we’re doing something... And because it’s bringing in money, we’re afraid to make any kind of changes.
(But usually... we’re miserable despite the fact that we’re making some money. We know we could do BETTER. But we're terrified to let go of the money).
For whatever reason, my brain has always prioritized fixing misery over making more money.
If you are willing to sacrifice a little bit of money in order to fix misery... ⬅️ THIS is the risk that allowed me to get where I am today.
It’s really interesting that focusing on "not the money" can bring you so much more money 🤣.
Fix what's broken, both for you and your customers...And stop living your life just to bring in more pieces of paper. 💸
Getting from "Stuck on Money" to Making Money Effortlessly...
I hope this helped you to understand your business a little bit better.
If you’re struggling to figure out how to get through your messy middle bit, don’t hesitate to check out our 1%ers program.
This was basically the group that I had when I was fixing my business. It pushed me to do things I would not have been able to do on my own...
...These are things that I would have waited years to do (because I was too scared to do them – I needed a push otherwise they were never gonna happen)
Meaning: I would still be sitting here being super miserable to this day and blaming something else for it...
....Instead of realizing that I have the ability to make a change whenever I want.
You just have to be brave enough to make adjustments. And sometimes we need other people to remind us that we had a GREAT idea. And we need to see it thru.
(LOL basically we're using peer pressure for GOOD because it's effective AF).
So feel free to check that out and otherwise, I hope this story helped you to figure out how to build your own income.
Now, I hope you see what it takes to really get from zero to whatever you’re looking for.
It's not a straight line. It won't just happen because you want it to.
You gotta learn things, fail, and suffer to make progress.
At least there's a place you can go to get help if you need it!