I was recently chatting with Tandie of NestaHome about how she was recently let go from her day job. She actually took being let go as an opportunity to be her own boss and not go back into the corporate workforce. Now Tandie enjoys spending her mornings in the yard with her dogs and a nice cup of coffee before heading inside to run her own business. Keep reading below to find out how Tandie is progressing since making such a big decision.
When you first started selling on Etsy, did you have dreams or goals of eventually quitting your day job?
I knew I always wanted to own my own business, however, I didn’t think it was possible to make any money selling arts and crafts online. I figured this would be a hobby.
How long were you selling on Etsy and working your day job before deciding you were ready to switch over to Etsy full time?
I opened up my first Etsy shop NestaUsa in October 2007. I was shocked at how well it did and decided to open a second shop, NestaHome, to branch out with more designs and mediums. Then, in February of 2008, I got laid off from my job as a Landscape Architect, along with many of my fellow co-workers and friends in the profession. There was no local job availability and people began to move out of state for work. I had recently gotten married and purchased a house with my husband so the thought of packing up and moving was both financially and emotionally distressing.
How did you decide what to do next?
Well, for me, it was not going back into the workforce. After examining my budget and expenses, I realized that the money I was spending on gas, car maintenance, lunches, work clothes, car insurance, etc. was unnecessary now. That was huge chunk of money that I didn’t need to make anymore.
How did you know you were ready to take the plunge?
I actually wasn’t ready at all. But, with very strict budgeting and lots of books on business and marketing, I figured out a way to make it happen. There are so many free resources out there on Etsy and the internet in general that can help with many aspects of starting a business.
Did starting from the point of being laid off impact how you moved forward?
I am working backwards, in that aspect. I am very limited on what I may spend on my materials, so I have to be a little more creative. I reuse more and waste less. Also, before I do any piece involving expensive materials, I sketch out my ideas and figure out what I need from there.
What goals have you set for your Etsy business in the next few months and year?
To be honest, my biggest goal is to get through the year and re-evaluate what worked and what didn’t work. This is all pretty new to me and I don’t expect it to be an easy journey. The best I can do is get better and learn from my mistakes.
What are the most effective ways you have promoted and marketed your Etsy business?
I don’t market much outside of Etsy at the moment. I market for free with my blog and flickr accounts and pass out as many business cards as possible.
How’s it going so far? Are you getting by?
I’m not able to buy all of the things I used to and travel as much as I would like, but that doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. Sacrifice isn’t so bad when it’s for your own business. Plus, technically, I am in even more control of my future and financial stability then I was before. I can’t get fired!
Can you walk us through what a typical workday might entail now that you have no day job?
I normally get up around 8am, make some coffee and hang out in the yard with the dogs. We are all wondering how it is possible to already be 90 degrees outside, and on that note, slowly wander on into the office to check emails and package up any orders that need to go out. After a quick trip to the post office it’s usually time to brainstorm some new creations. The rest of the day flies by. [Pssst….Check out the crisp and professional look of Tandie’s packaging, it’s some of the best I’ve seen — marymary]
What piece of advice would you give someone thinking about taking the plunge to sell full time on Etsy?
Talk to someone who has done it. It’s a lot less painful to learn from other people’s mistakes. Save up before you take the plunge and always have a plan B.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
There were two peanuts taking a leisurely, peaceful walk through the neighborhood, and one was a salted. (My jokes are pretty bad.)