In May 2014 I launched my first business. I was 26 years old and had worked for corporate America for the past 10 years. I had no idea what I was doing but I saw an opportunity and I had to take it. My first business was in the scrapbooking industry selling a monthly subscription of scrapbook supplies. I was in love with the idea but I had no idea how I should be serving my audience.
I actually bought the scrapbooking subscription from an acquaintance who was already selling hundreds of these kits per month. When I finally took over in August and started shipping the kits I put together I was mailing over 300 subscriptions per month. I thought that it could only go up from there. The subscription had grown month after month. I was designing products and assembling subscriptions. I was packaging and mailing and doing all of the customer service. This was all while working full time. I was spread so far thin.
I thought my small scrapbooking business was going to be my exit strategy from Corporate America.
About 18 months into selling these subscriptions and growing my audience I saw a shift in the market. It was a shift I wasn’t ready for. The planner community sprang up and Etsy exploded with sticker kits and the craft stores shifted their focus as well. I was still selling scrapbooking subscriptions and didn’t have the business sense to shift my strategy to include the planner community.
No longer was I serving my audience. I was out of tune with their needs and did not listen to what the market wanted and needed. These subscriptions were created because it was what I knew and I tried so hard to hold onto my audience.
Then after 23 months, I had to close my doors. I ran my business on a cash basis and around month 21 I was barely breaking even. Making a paycheck was impossible and two months later I couldn’t afford to create the kits anymore. I was losing money and needed to get out.
A big sale depleted the majority of my inventory and it was time to shut down my Shopify store and close my doors.
Closing my online store was the hardest thing I had to do but it gave me the entrepreneurial bug and showed me how I could earn money online while I was sleeping. It also showed me the hard work that went into running a business and that I needed more education.
Selling monthly subscriptions also showed me while I love creating the product I hate the packaging and shipping. It is so much work to package each kit. Then with shipping, you have to ensure you send the right products. I don’t even know how many orders I messed up, especially in the beginning. It was more work than I ever imaged and doing it all myself was overwhelming.
When I closed my online store I knew I wanted to continue with an online business but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.
I thought about starting a Youtube channel showcasing our journey because I followed others who shared their struggles and victories online and thought it looked easy. In December 2016 I purchased Elite Blog Academy during a flash sale because I thought blogging was my next best step.
2017 was spent wondering where I should be focusing my energy and just being paralyzed. How could I serve an audience that I no longer had? How could I grow a business to something profitable? I was honestly lost and just put my head in the sand and did nothing.
Then 2018 came and I knew I needed to get the Youtube channel off the ground. I uploaded about 10 videos in early 2018 and gained around 100 subscribers at that time. I enjoy watching videos but honestly, I am a no-frills kind of girl and the thought of doing my hair and putting on makeup to film a video just wasn’t my thing. It is hard to look good on video! I think the bigger issue was I afraid of being vulnerable online and having my face be on the camera. I only watched youtube videos of others sharing their journey and thought that was the route I needed to go.
When the Youtube thing didn’t work because of my own insecurities I turned back to blogging. I had the tools necessary with Elite Blog Academy and decided to give it a try again. This time I stay focused and actually took the course. I made it past the first module and on May 22, 2018, I purchased my first hosting plan with Siteground. It took me almost two months to actually get the site up and running but I had a better idea of what I wanted to do.
I finally figured out how I was going to be serving my audience. While sharing my story about debt freedom and financial independence is part of the bigger picture of Budget and Bliss it is the not the core focus. The core focus is serving my audience by providing value to them by sharing tips and tricks on how to live on a budget. I will be offering freebies to help you with your debt free journey.
Giving more away for free to my audience than I will be taking from them is my biggest goal. This is the key to online business.
Serving my audience is the key to being successful.
I didn’t get that with my scrapbooking subscriptions. My core was selling product and I am a crappy salesman. I didn’t serve my audience by providing value, I only sold to them. I kept taking and never gave back. That is one of the reasons I failed. I was solely in it for the money and didn’t see the bigger picture.
While I am still new at this whole blogging thing I have joined the Elite Blog Academy community as well as the Just Keep Blogging Mentored Membership. I have other bloggers and online business ladies on my side and helping me with my business. I am not afraid to share ideas or think that someone is going to steal my next big design as I was in the scrapbooking industry. It is one big community where we are each other’s cheerleaders and that is what business should be about. We should be helping and lifting one another up while continuing to grow ourselves.
The blogging world is teaching me how to serve my audience and be a better businesswoman. I am excited to give so much value to my audience that they keep coming back. Connecting with the personal finance community and help other families reach their financial dreams is a passion of mine. This blog will be a resource that you can check back in on often for new and exciting content surrounding personal finance, online business, and living a happy healthy life.
I am learning every day how I should be serving my audience and I hope you’ll join me.