I used to think I understood the path to success as a creative. Then I had my mind blown.
It’s mid December as I write this, about two and a half years after I quit my job, with enough savings for two years in the bank. Note that I said two and a half years, after having left with only two years savings in the bank. That means that (spoiler alert) I’ve worked out ways to make more money. How? Through the magic of a product based business.
Hubby and I rented out our house, packed up our 20 month old daughter, and decided we were going to have an adventure in Spain.
After having spent ten years in a very comfortable job (which was paying six figures by the end of it) I was comforted-out. I wanted to get uncomfortable. There were stories I wanted to tell, dreams that needed to be given a chance, and I knew I was never going to tell them when I was living the comfortable life I had. I needed to get uncomfortable.
Kind of like going into labor. I needed to birth some dreams, and I understood that I wasn’t going to get there in my cushy-yet-ultimately-unfulfilling job.
And what better way to get uncomfortable than to live in a country where you don’t speak the language, and everything is different? Well, I got right to work. I had books in me, and within two months I had self published the first one. Feeling confident, I taught myself how to self publish a book. I signed up for writing classes, business classes, you name it.
The assets I had going for me? A successful podcast on my passion, Renaissance England (currently receiving about 65,000 unique downloads/month), the willingness to learn, and time to make it happen.
I understood the path. It seemed very clear to me. There was a set formula, a plan, as it were. I was going to write, and then sell the books I wrote. And as I grew my podcast, those people would buy my books. I’d write for history magazines. I would spend my days surrounded by the music and books of Tudor England.
So, I did that. I wrote books, and submitted articles. Some of them were published. I got a handful of loyal Patreon supporters. And you know what? I made about $150/month out of it. Plus some free subscriptions to magazines.
That wasn’t going to pay the bills. A year into my journey, I knew I had to figure something else out.
So I got a business coach. I did more courses. I learned everything I could about online businesses. Eventually, I reached a point where I was either going to give up, move the family home and get a J-O-B, and declare defeat, or I was going to give it one last stand.
I sat down, and brainstormed every way I could make money from my passion, and from my audience. And I realized I was missing a major source of income. Income from products.
I had seen Shopify ads on Facebook, but I thought it was for people who had Etsy stores or something. What kinds of products could I do, as a writer on Tudor England? What could I sell?
Oh, how limited I once was in understanding all the ways abundance could come to me! I had assumed a product-based business wasn’t for me because I was a writer. The only products I wanted to sell were books. And magazine articles. You know, things people read.
Once I opened myself up to the idea of a product-based business, though, everything shifted.
I had something to sell that people would pay money for. I had something to advertise on Facebook. New people found me through ads who had never heard of me before. This is what I call the Abundance Whoosh that comes from selling products, and I think every creative who is struggling to make money from their art should look at it.
My shop sells T-shirts, mugs, leggings, posters, journals, and jewelry, sourced from several different places, with roots in history. It’s the kind of online shop that I’d like to spend my time in, and every day it becomes more and more of an online “home” for me. I take pleasure in writing product descriptions, and I enjoy finding new products, creating the designs, and seeing them come to life.
I never dreamed that I could find work like this creatively fulfilling. And I never dreamed that I could reliably make five figures every month selling these products in a shop online, while also writing my podcast, putting on virtual summits to grow my audience even more, and still writing books.
Or that having a shop would actually grow my mailing list and audience.
I’ve become a huge fan of Shopify, and the potential for creatives who are struggling to figure out how to make money in their niche. If you want to learn more about it, you can sign up for a free two week trial with my affiliate link.
But I’d also love to make myself available to you to help you get your store set up. If you have questions about how to set up a store, drop shipping, creating products, what products sell well… any of it … just email me.
I believe that this way forward can work to create abundance for any creative – photographers, bloggers, musicians, painters, and obviously, writers. And I never ever dreamt it, or would have thought of it if I hadn’t been open to new ideas for receiving. Sometimes the answers are there. You just need to open up to them.