G'day happy people,
Welcome to the "Make It Awesome" Blog. This is post #1, and it seems like the ultimate way to kick off a blog run is to share exactly why this thing exists!
My name is Kyle, and "formally" I am the Director of Growth with Sticks & Doodles. The awesome thing about owning your own home business is that you can call yourself whatever you like... I regret not including "Emperor" in the job title.
Together with my wife, we run Sticks & Doodles, where we produce gifts that can be bought and personalized online. Our specialty is wood signs, but we also produce custom clothing, drinkware, and a random assortment of cool things that you can engrave, cut, or decal.
We started up way back in 2018, and in June this year I took the dive, quit my job, and began working full time. The journey so far has been incredible, tons of work, crazy rewarding, crazy depressing, and a complete learning process through and through.
A blog... how 2015...
I'm starting this blog primarily as a creative outlet. I love writing, and have always wanted to blog, just never knew what to talk about. After spending the last four months out of work, I've realized just how many people have the same dream: of calling it quits and taking that side hustle, that passion FULL TIME!
While I can't tell you when to take the leap, I can share the lessons we have learned, the hindsight that are oh so obvious, and the tricks you can use to accelerate your journey.
I also feel my unique experience in digital marketing, website development, and social media may help answer some questions that many people have: Do I need to be on Linkedin, is Shopify better than Etsy, how much to spend on advertising etc.
So without further ado, let's step on the gas - here today are the top five things to know about the Make it Awesome Blog.
1. Let's Find a Marketplace
If Covid has taught us anything it's that ECommerce and online sales are growing fast, which means that you need to make sure your online game is on point.
Fortunately, most of it is free, save for your time.
One of the biggest questions I get is, "where should I put my products?" The honest answer is, that it's different for every person and every business. There's other sign companies that live on Instagram, doing all their sales right through the DM feature.
I use a multi-channel approach, putting our products on a website, social media platforms, and third party marketplaces.
Do you want more info on a specific marketing channel? Let me know in the comments.
2. Lights, Camera, VIDEO
I can't stress it enough, video is the future, it's fun to make, builds engagement, and has never been easier to produce.
TikTok, YouTube, Reels, IGTV, and Facebook Video have all proved how much content can be eaten up at once, and it's in your best interest to find a way to leverage it.
I'll be sharing some of the things I use to build a following and hype up a product, and some tips on how easy it is to produce your own.
Our focus will be on quick, easy, and fun video - not overly produced. There is a time and a place to pay a professional, but you should be able to handle day to day engagement on your own.
3. The Social Network(s)
As of September 10 2020 we have: Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, Linkedin, TikTok, WhatsApp, Messenger, Tumblr, Reddit, and that's not even touching the Chinese apps!
The first thing to realize is that you don't have to be everywhere. If you follow Gary Vee you'll know that he is constantly live on every channel, and that's because he has a team that works for him around the clock. Social media is work, because it's more than just posting. Most networks come with their own messaging suit, their own advertising, their own notifications, and their own audience.
Overwhelmed yet? Don't be.
In 2020 most people are doing just fine living on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Linkedin, and the best thing you can do is focus and build your following there.
I'll share insights on all of them, but as of this publishing these are our go to networks in order of importance to engagement and revenue.
Primary: Facebook, Instagram
Secondary: Linkedin, TikTok
Active but low utilization: Pinterest, Twitter, Messenger
Not used: YouTube, Reddit, Whatsapp, Tumblr, Snapchat
Remember - at the end of the day, what matters most is doing what you can, and for most entrepreneurs it's simply unrealistic to manage everything on the same level.
4. No Risk, No Reward
You've heard it from every entrepreneur - launching a business is a ton of work. And I promise, it's even more than you think it is.
There's no reason to sugar coat it, because if it's what you truly want, then the work will be worth it.
In the last three months we have worked over 12 hours every single day. We have invested a significant amount of our savings to buy equipment that will give us the ability to grow. We have fallen unbelievably behind in our accounting, while spending hundreds on digital ads simply to learn what type was most effective.
It's an open book here, and I will share honestly the mistakes we have made, and how they have allowed us to grow both as people, and as professionals.
5. Marriage, Children, and Mental Health
Danelle and I currently run three home based business while raising three children aged 10, 4, and 1. I also live with anxiety.
As entrepreneurs we take on too much, and often encounter severe burnouts. These are normal, but not something that we should accept. There are ways of dealing with them, and I plan on sharing some of these ways here.
Working with a family is crazy - it's just crazy! There are times when you are completely lost for time only to encounter a diaper, snack, and tantrum in no particular order.
The flip side is that you are always there, and will never miss an awesome moment. Need a break in the afternoon, just take your kid to the park. Like everything in life, you can always find happiness by looking at the glass half full.
Thanks for reading - nothing really to conclude other than a big thank you for taking the time to read - and I would love to hear any feedback you might have.
Blog number 1 where I share the five things that this blog will cover over the coming weeks, moths and hopefully years!
3. Social Media
4. Taking Risks & Entrepreneurship
5. Marriage, Children, and Mental Health