I am so excited to show you today's Miss Independent, Ms. Natty Michelle who makes the cutest wedding maps AND she is a writer for Discovery Channel. I wonder how she does it all?
She has even been featured on Wedding Bee & Style Me Pretty and her artwork is just adorable. Not getting married? That's OK you can still order one of her cute notecards :)
1. What made you decide to start your own business? (what was your biggest factor that helped you commit to the decision)
I was actually laid off -- I was an account executive for an Atlanta advertising agency -- before the holidays in 2009. I was so upset at first -- not knowing where my next paycheck would be coming from was a scary thought. I scraped by for a little while using financial aid and concentrated on my artwork more than ever -- I had more free time on my hands, so why not give it my all? A few months later I got a writing gig with the Discovery Channel, and I still work there today. It's a job I can do from home, which I love, and it allows me to continue my Etsy business from home full-time, too.
2. What was your biggest risk or fear about starting a business?
The fear of failure is something that every freelancer deals with; it's scary to put yourself out there and risk being judged or criticized by others. I've learned that rejection is simply a part of life -- not everyone is going to love my work, and that's OK. I truly value all feedback I get from my customers -- every day is a learning experience, and I tweak my business model often to accommodate new processes and ideas.
3. How did you know what you wanted to do?
I never really knew, exactly -- what I do now evolved from things that I like, like snail mail, for example. I love sending cards in the mail to friends and family for birthdays, thank yous, or just because. I started making my own thank you notes using my illustrations as the cover art, and one day decided to sell them using Etsy. Other items I make and sell, like my wedding maps, only happened because I made a map for my own wedding when I got married in 2010. Once I posted my map on my blog and on Etsy, they really took off! Now I paint maps for brides all across the country -- and as far away as Australia!
4. What support system do you have for your business?
My friends and family have been incredibly supportive of my venture, so I am a lucky gal. My mom actually helped me at two craft shows in December, and my husband is always my biggest supporter in everything I do, 110%. He believes in me, even when I don't!
5. Do you have a "real" job to supplement income, or are you self-sufficient?
I am a writer for The Discovery Channel -- I write creative content for their Web site to support everything from TLC television shows to TLC weddings and beyond.
6. What is the best advice you have for someone wanting to start a business?
I always tell people that the most important thing I've learned is to do what you love -- even if it's in your spare time -- and put yourself out there. You never know what might happen while you're busy pursuing your passions. My job with The Discovery Channel came to be because a friend of a friend reads my blog, and when the job became available in her department, she recommended me because she thought the content on my blog proved that I was a good fit for the writing position. Through Etsy, I've achieved something I never thought I would -- I sell my artwork to awesome, nice people on a daily basis -- and I make a living doing it, too! It's the best thing in the world, and something I always dreamed about, but I didn't know how to make it happen...and never expected that it would happen. Take a few baby steps, and expect to learn along the way. If you work hard and stay passionate, great things will happen!
A great big thanks to Natty Michelle! Be sure to stop by her blog and her store, and be sure to let me know if you are interested in being a part of Miss Independent. See you tomorrow for Friday's Fancies!