One of my favorite parts of a Hearts at Home conference is our exhibit area. Not only do we have great organizations for moms represented, but we also have some unique mom-created and mom-owned businesses. This year, I met Julia Chen who blended her photography hobby and graphic design knowledge into a mom-created business called Lifeverse.
In our book, Living With Less So Your Family Has More, Mark and I have a chapter titled “Income: Make Money Doing What You Love.” We’ve always supplemented our income with some variety of a home business: teaching private music lessons, speaking and writing, installing flooring (that was Mark’s business…not mine!), and now Mark has a handyman business.
If you’ve ever considered starting a home business, Julia’s story and experience may encourage you. I asked her three questions for us to gain wisdom from her journey:
What do you like best about having your own business?
My favorite part about having my own business is working from home. In 2004, I took the leap of faith of quitting my job designing books for Tyndale House Publishers to be able to stay at home with my child. The Lord has blessed that move above and beyond all I could have asked or imagined, as I truly thought in my heart I was giving up art and design, which is a huge part of who I am. He not only has allowed me to freelance for Tyndale ever since a week after quitting, but He also birthed in my heart this brand new art which has turned into a business of its own. To be able to do what I love, create and express what is in my heart and head all the while being a stay at home mommy of my 3 kiddos is a huge blessing. The pro is I get to work in my jammies while they are in bed; the con is it does get hard to separate work and life since both ARE at home.
How did you move your hobby to a business?
I began my art as a personal act of worship, while trying to memorize the fruit of Spirit for a bible study I was a part of. At the time, I had an almost 2 & 4 year old and was sickly pregnant with my third child. I would write Scripture on notecards and place them around the home. One day, while brushing my teeth and looking at the Scripture on the mirror, I thought to myself, “I should design these, I am an artist for crying out loud!” So, I did. I gave them to my entire Bible study. They encouraged me to do the church craft show. I created 12 designs for that first show and completed the show with a nursing 6 week old at my side (I apparently had no clue what I was thinking!) After almost selling out of my product, I knew I had reached a cord with people and others told me about ETSY.com, a website which is essentially an online arts and craft fair. I opened an ETSY shop in March of 2008 and within 2 months of selling online, DEMDACO contacted me to license my work! A miracle every step of the way!
What wisdom would you share with another mom who wants to create their own business?
My wisdom would be first of all, be sure you have your husband’s full support. Even though it is your business, I firmly believe you are a team and need to be unified on this endeavor. You should also research product currently out there, whether online or at local craft shows or boutiques to see how they are pricing their items and displaying their goods. I also contacted several artists and asked for help, concerning supplies such as shipping envelopes and all the little business things you may not think of. Start small, little by little to ease into it and if at any point you are not loving it, quit. And, of course, give it all over to God, trusting Him with your dreams.
Today I’m giving away one of Julie’s prints. You can see them all HERE. If you would like to enter the drawing for a print of your choice, simply post a comment between now and Friday at noon CT (at www.jillsavage.org if you get this by email) on this post. Share about your home business or what you love to do that you’d like to make money doing!
Also Julie is generously offering free shipping through this Friday for my blog readers. Simply put in the coupon code JILLFREESHIP when you check out and you won’t have to pay for shipping!