If you are a new business owner trying to make it in the world of online business, it can feel very overwhelming. Or, you may be just starting out as a blogger and wondering how you can make money off doing the things you like to do. You may not know where to go next, or you may have so many ideas that you don’t know where to start. When you need inspiration for your own business idea, it can be frustrating to find those online businesses who actually make an income without teaching others how to blog or do business. Say you want to start a business selling plants or making your own crafts to sell on Etsy – It’s hard to find others in that niche that can give you some advice and inspiration. When you do find that, it can be quite inspiring and a great learning experience to see what these creative business owners do and how they do it.

I’ve interviewed 5 business owners who don’t blog about blogging, and have found all of their stories and businesses inspiring and beautiful! My hope is that you will find inspiration from them and know it is possible to earn an income online doing what you love to do.

Jacki Cammidge – Certified Horticulturist

jacki-cammidge
What is your business/blog all about?

Originally, my business was set up to sell succulent plants online, and it did way better than I ever imagined. I could work from home, doing what I love; growing plants.  In time, it got to the point where it was pretty much paying the bills through the summer months, and I had it set up so people could book plants for special occasions months in advance, giving me a good idea of how many to grow and propagate.  I ended up several years in being diagnosed with MS, but I soldiered on, still building it up.  Then it got to be too difficult and I felt that I couldn’t in good conscience take orders for plants that there was a risk of not being able to fulfill. After thinking seriously of just closing it all down, I decided to see if someone else would be able to take the business and run with it. That was my epiphany.  I’m happy to say I found a buyer who purchased the business, lock stock and website (specially made for them).  Now they buy advertising on my biggest website to direct customers to their existing and expanded business.

How did you get started in this business? 

I got started when a friend of mine who grew African violets and other tropical plants died suddenly.  I inherited all her plants, and moved them up to my greenhouse but they weren’t happy in the conditions that I had.  They liked warmth, and I had designed and built the greenhouse specifically for cold loving plants; native plants, grasses and the hardy succulents.  I gave up on trying to grow the picky plants, and concentrated on the ones that do well for me, and for which there is a huge demand.

One of Jacki's projects from BlueFloxFarm - a hypertufa sphere

One of Jacki’s projects from Blue Fox Farm – a hypertufa sphere

What was a big turning point for you in your business?

The biggest turning point was when I realized that there were no suppliers in Canada for wedding succulents.  The demand is huge; people love to give a little plant to their guests.

What are some ways you market yourself and connect with others?

I’ve always promoted my websites on Facebook, with a page for every website.  It’s hard to keep up with it all which is why I’m so grateful to have found scheduling tools like Buffer.  I can spend an hour on there, and I’ve filled up the schedule for weeks in advance.  I still post there on an individual basis, to change it up.

What products/services do you offer/how do you make your income?

I sell e-courses on various topics; the Succulent Crafts E-Course is a ten week (one installment per week) email course, with videos and tutorials to show how to make some of my most intriguing ways to display succulents.  I also have an e-course which is open ended where people can get the goods on starting their own succulent plant business, whatever form that takes.  There are also e-books on various topics such as the Hypertufa How-To Manual, Succulent Plant Propagation and Plant Pests, among others.  There are affiliate links to Amazon on many pages so anyone taking the tutorials can easily order the supplies for it online.

300xNxSucculent-Plant-Propagation-E-Book300.jpg.pagespeed.ic.2K-ydAMaNM

One of Jacki’s ebooks on growing your own succulents

Any advice to people just starting out in online business?

Don’t give up, be flexible, stay nimble.  Always think outside the box, and listen to critics and customers alike.

What do you do to relax?

I relax by reading anything at all; I’m a devourer of fiction, especially historical romance and detective genres.

What are some ways you stay motivated?

I am always thinking; there is no end of topics that I can write about, especially with six websites.  One of my sites is about rustic crafts, another on making trash into treasure, so crafts are always in the offing.

Check out Jacki’s Websites:

The Succulents: www.drought-smart-plants.com

Rustic Garden Art: www.bluefoxfarm.com

Rustic Home Decor: www.my-trash-to-treasure-life.com

E-courses and E-Books All About Gardening: www.xeria.ca

Organic Vegetable Gardening: www.o-garden.ca

Building our tiny house was an experience too. Find out more about it here: www.nofrillsbuild.ca

Linda Smith – Etsy Shop Owner and Blogger

linda-smith

What is your business/blog all about? 

Burlap and Blue is a craft/DIY blog that encourages women to live creatively.

How did you get started in this business?
I started my blog and shops when my son was 6 months old. It was a great way to stay at home with him while still being creative!

One of Linda's freebies

One of Linda’s freebies

What was a big turning point for you in your business?

Being a guest blogger at Huffington Post has been a tremendous turning point!

Here is my latest article.
Of all the things I’ve done to market myself, THIS has by far brought the most $$ and traffic to my site!

What are some ways you market yourself and connect with others?

Social media is the obvious answer, but I also try to comment on others’ posts, share others’ content, and just try to increase my blogging karma whenever I can. 🙂

What products/services do you offer/how do you make your income?

In addition to my two Etsy shops, I make revenue from sponsored content, affiliates, and ad networks.

An item from one of Linda's Etsy shops - "Paper and Palette"

An item from one of Linda’s Etsy shops – “Paper and Palette”

Any advice to people just starting out in online business?

Find that sweet spot at the intersection of your passion, what the world needs, and what you can earn a living doing!

What do you do to relax?

Adult coloring books, reading, and hanging out with my girlfriends.

Check out Linda’s website and Etsy shops:

Website: www.burlapandblue.com

Etsy Shop: www.paperandpalette.etsy.com

Etsy Shop: www.burlapandblue.etsy.com

Jennifer Antonio – Multi Talented Creative and Blogger

jennifer-anotonio
What is your business/blog all about?

 Creative Boundless is created for creative individuals who have failed several times. I come in by teaching others on how they can learn from failure by providing tips, performance sheets and a library with resources that will help strengthen their creative side. To add to that, I give information through videos and blogs about health and fitness to shape their body and mind in order to become more focused. Hence, creative individuals prefer going all out, so I offer unique suggestions and a business model where others can create their own wealth in order to just focus on learning about their own creative adventure.

How did you get started in this business? 

I’ve wanted to blog for years but never came into it until this year. This was the year that transformed my personal development. I realized I wanted to create something that would help others who are similar to me – I’ve had crazy anxiety about having too many passions that it made my brain explode! I was into magic, art, graphics, dancing, fitness and traveling. People told me I could only do one career, and that drove me nuts!I decide to rebel a little bit and I read many entrepreneurial books, how-to books, and informational books about business, blogging, and improving myself. I started seeing a whole new world of bloggers living off their blogs and helping others. The lifestyle seemed so fascinating to me. People were connecting with others and the world of this business seemed limitless.I also read a good book called “Click Millionaire”. It shows many ways on creating and income and a growing audience online. “The Renaissance Business” is another good book I read about transforming your many passions into one. I was really happy that these type of books existed. This assured me that their are other creative individuals out there who would need my knowledge or help.

Read Jennifer's post on how to make time to create every single day

Read Jennifer’s post on how to make time to create every single day

What was a big turning point for you in your business? 

I haven’t really experienced a turning point in this business yet. But, I did realized I needed to rebrand. When I researched other bloggers, I realized my layouts were not as sharp or professional looking. Additionally, my social media was lacking.This business is always about learning, so when you feel like you are doing something right, you always go back a little. This is something I’m still learning, especially with website design connecting with others. Through this I had an awakening moment – I realized I had an opportunity to strengthen my ideas and research a little bit more, so I could come back stronger.

What are some ways you market yourself and connect with others? 

Social media is probably my strategy on marketing myself. This is probably one of the most effective ways to see what the market is doing. Through trial and error and my experiences, I’ve listed my favorite platforms below, with number 1 being the social media app I use the most.

1. Twitter. I love twitter because you can easily follow others fast and retweet other bloggers. Twitter is a fun way to easily reach others in your industry. I personally message new people thanking them for their follow and suggesting that they visit my site for their benefit!

2. Pinterest. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Pinterest but within two weeks, the traffic grew enormously on my site. Repinning and pinning other’s pins connects with others, showing your content in other people’s likes. Looking at my google analytics, Pinterest was my #2 source of new visitors!

3. Linkedin. I really enjoy this platform because you are able to connect with professionals! Oddly enough, other successful people are interested in what you are doing and usually check out your work. Your profile page shares your occupation with others.

4. Facebook/ Instagram/ Google + These are also great platforms that I use to post blog posts and pictures. For me personally, they aren’t my go to marketing places. Though it’s effective to market yourself to other platforms as well because there is always that one person who sees what you do. The people you will meet is always amazing.

What products/services do you offer/how do you make your income?

Right now, I haven’t created any services on income. I’m in the process of continuing building my community. However, I am planning out my first guide that will help creative individuals towards the co-oping process of failure and becoming motivated to excel.

Any advice to people just starting out in online business? 

Read everything you can about business and blogging. All the sources you can get will really help you figure out what type of blog you want to run, how you want to connect with your audience, and your motivation level.  Even looking at other sites will show you all that too!It’s also best to have some different goals and make them attainable. Every small goal adds up!  This can include getting a 100 people in your email list, or a 1000 followers on your Instagram page. Any action you do helps!Also realize that creating a business through blogging takes time, so you want to keep yourself motivated and educated.

What do you do to relax? 

I enjoy visiting new restaurants with my friends. I have a little bit of the travel bug, so trying something new always lifts my spirits. Even engaging in outdoor activities such as skating, hiking or walking helps my mind refresh and gets me excited to write about something new. Plus, these activities relax my mind a bit.

What are some ways you stay motivated? 

Doing my daily habits. I’ve created a daily habits list of goals I need to achieve daily that keep my focus but also bring me further in this business.

1. Motivation speech. I’ve written a future letter to myself, believing all the events I wanted to happen have happened all ready. I read this every morning.
2. Audio’s and books. I read and listen to books about personal growth and other ways to improve my blog.
3. Vision board. I created a board on how I want my life to look. This motivates me to push harder and keep trying.
4. Gratitude. I also do a mini gratitude practice few times a week by being grateful for every thing I have!

Check out Jennifer’s Website:

Creative Boundless – creativeboundless.com

 

Marilyn Arriaga – The Social Butterfly Goody Bags Lady

marilyn arriaga

What is your business/blog all about?

I use the power of 6 niche focused blogs to talk with people about all kinds of topics. It begins usually with an event. I create custom goody bags for events. Inside the goody bags are items from various business owners. My goody bags are never bags of paper, I have requirements and a whole process. From there, I continue the connections through my blog entries to create not just “buzz” but content that helps inform, educate, bring joy and more to the community. I have 2 types of services that I offer. One is for event planners and coordinators and one for business owners.

How did you get started in this business? 

I started Goody Bag Marketing 20 years ago. I did it for myself for about 8 years before I decided to add a select few other business owners into my goody bag world. Soon after that I expanded and added more benefits which include a whole campaign that starts with the goody bag.

What was a big turning point for you in your business?
Finally expanding it to across the USA and opened services to event planners.

What are some ways you market yourself and connect with others?

Everyone basically knows me as the Goody Bag Lady. Everywhere I go, I have a bunch of goody bags. I pass them out to anyone I can. I use the goody bags to also help myself expand into more demographics. I go to events, work alongside and with event planners and in 2016 I will be hosting and launching a few of my own as well.

What products/services do you offer/how do you make your income?

Starter goody bag kits, custom goody bags, and goody bag supplies are the products I offer. The services are a whole campaign, that starts with the consult, where I take what you need, want and wish to happen and produce some Social Butterfly magic. This Social Butterfly magic includes planning, coordinating, strategizing, assembling and distribution of custom goody bags. Editorial content, where we interview the Boss (the owner), we take hold of great golden nuggets from them and add them into all kinds of stories we write. We head to social media and find out what others are saying and join interesting conversations about brands, products and services. As the Social Butterfly, I have become a trusted person whom people come to get my unbiased non sugar coated views of products and services. We do reviews and beta testing of products and services, it allows us to help match people to things they need. So basically we handle advertorial, editorial and custom goody bags, online and offline for a whole campaign, not a piece or half a campaign.

Any advice to people just starting out in online business?

I highly recommend, wish I can demand it that you contact and use services from S.C.O.R.E and the Small Business Association. Get some business minded mentors, a business coach or two with various experiences. Make sure they are reputable, contact past clients if need be. If you decide to become a Freebie user, please do implement what is in the freebie you requested. However please don’t just be a freebie-napper, which is someone that goes form site to site downloading all the freebies they can. Make sure you register your business right away, even if you are a blogger, register it.

What do you do to relax?

I love music, music is so comforting. I have music playing almost 24/7. I enjoy comedy and going to fun places that is interactive, like bowling, min golfing, arcades, amusement parks, the beach I love the beach.  I have 5 biological children, I love listening to their experiences with life and other interesting topics they come up with.

What are some ways you stay motivated?

One day the kids will move on, just like all the other children that used to be in my care whom all went back to their parents. I need something to keep me busy. The more I help someone else meet and reach their goals, the more pumped I become to continue.

Check out Marilyn’s Websites:

Social PR Goody Bags: www.socialprgoodybags.com

Product Gab: www.productgab.com

Tilt a Mom: From Diapers to Grad Caps: www.tiltamom.com

Tuned Up Body: www.tunedupbody.com

Confident Luminous Women: www.fashionbeautybagmakeover.com

Life Topics with Social Butterfly: www.lifetopicswithsocialbutterfly.com

PepperBrooks – Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur, and Human Services Counselor

pepperbrooks

What is your business/blog all about?

There are a few theories of why cat’s purrr. It is unique, distinctive and vulnerable – a sound of contentment and pain. You might be wondering why I’m talking about cats. I named my personal blog The PuRRR. I thought the name was fitting because it is my tool for communication – just like a cat.

It was a difficult decision to share my personal stories through The PuRRR, but it’s been rewarding for myself and my readers.

How did you get started in this business? 

As a black girl, born and raised in a small city in Northern Canada – I often was the subject of racial discrimination and bullying. I felt lonely, isolated, and invisible. So, I started my blog to give that little girl a voice. I have a story and I want to share it, hoping to inspire others while recounting my life experiences.

What was a big turning point for you in your business?

I was nominated and won Best Blogger at the Black Canadian Awards, I received so much reception, and my phone was ringing off the hook. I was moved to tears. I was invited to share my story on CBC Radio, a national radio station and my grandparents who raised me waited patiently by the radio *getting choked up* to listen. They called me immediately after and thanked me for highlighting the experiences racism and discrimination of so many immigrants and black Canadians.

My grandmother told me how much she loves me and my grandfather who is a quiet man and rarely expresses himself, said to me that he was proud.

What are some ways you market yourself and connect with others?

I love information, reading, and studying – through research I find valuable resources to share with my target market on social media. Sharing information helps me to personally engage with my audience and produce a genuine rapport.

What products/services do you offer/how do you make your income?

Working as a Counselor is my way of giving back; it also gives me a greater sense of self-awareness – this is my full-time employment. After dark, a wear a few hats – I am a Creative Consultant and Brand Strategist, assisting new entrepreneurs in discovering innovative opportunities and solutions to market their small business.

Any advice to people just starting out in online business?

Planning is KEY! Even though my blog is personal, I created a plan. I brainstormed all the stories and experiences I wanted to share. There’s no editorial calendar, I’m driven by instincts and that’s when I write. I have a strategy that works for me – I monitor, analyze the results, and make changes to the plan accordingly. With a plan, you can see a clear vision of your goal. And as they say, “A goal without a plan, is just a wish”.

What do you do to relax?

I love to draw! I’m not a big fan of sleeping – I am most inspired at night. I express my emotions through illustration, and digital art therapy. I let my creativity flow in order to unwind and put my mind at ease before falling asleep.

What are some ways you stay motivated?

Let me be completely honest – many times, I’ve wanted to stop, close up shop, save my articles and erase my blog.

And every single time, and I mean, every-single-time, with my finger on the delete button (literally), I got a SIGN! A sincere and touching comment from a reader, a text from a friend asking for more information about a resource I shared, a fallen newspaper clip that says don’t give up… it’s unexplainable, but it has been a blessing.

Check out PepperBrook’s Website:

The PuRRR: www.thepurrr.com

I hope these amazing business owners and bloggers have inspired you! Sometimes it can be a hard thing to figure out how to make an idea work for you. All businesses, creativity, and personalities are so different but seeking inspiration and learning from others is a great place to start.

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