I always love to hear a good follow-your-dreams story, don’t you? There is just something so inspiring about hearing how other people got the life they wanted by working hard and listening to that little voice inside. It makes you think: Hey, if they can do it, so can I! Right? And it is true. You can definitely get what you want if you are willing to put in the effort.
Now we are not here to say it is easy. Deciding to go your own route is hard and can be scary at times. It takes a lot of courage to pursue something you are not sure is going to turn out well.
We get it, because we have been there ourselves. We both had jobs as graphic designers, we earned good money, and honestly, we could go on living like that forever. But we knew we couldn’t really. There was something missing. So we mustered up the courage, wrote our resignation letters and ventured into this whole new blogging world. It wasn’t exactly from hobby to business, as we literally knew nothing about blogging at that point. But it was something we felt would give us the creative outlet we had been missing for so long. And truly, we felt like our lives started feeling more balanced.
Let me tell you, it is scary. Not knowing, where your next paycheck is coming from, wondering, if this is even going anywhere… It is nerve-racking and frightening but at the same time the most exciting and inspiring thing we have ever done!
And it is stories like the ones we’re sharing here today that keep us going. Knowing that people have gone from hobby to business and succeeded big time gives us so much confidence that we are on the right track.
This is what this post is all about out. Inspiring you to listen to the creative voice inside and go for what makes you happy. Whether it is writing, painting, graphic design, whatever. Everything is right if you feel right about it.
We are sharing stories of three women from completely different backgrounds and different fields of work. However they share one thing in common. They were brave enough to pursue their passion. And it has paid off for them big time!
Jewelry maker Kirsten Devitt from Each to Own
After having worked maaany different jobs (selling Christmas trees in Scotland was one of them) Kirsten Devitt from Brisbane, Australia, turned to jewelry making.
As she says herself, Kirsten was very much influenced by her mother. Kirsten describes her as someone who had an innate style and creativity about her. And back in the 80s she actually ran a local shop selling handmade items. No surprise that Kirsten too was always a maker.
She mostly made jewelry for herself and painted as a form of a creative outlet. But after more and more friends started asking her about her jewelry, she realized there could be a real business opportunity there.
Kirsten experimented for a while, trying to find her style, and then found the idea, that felt right. She started making jewelry from laser-cut components. She opened her Etsy shop, Each to Own, in 2011. First, she worked with a laser cutter in the U.S. who cut her original design. Seeing the orders piling up, she knew what the next logical step would be. She took a leap of faith and took a bank loan to buy her own laser cutter.
And the risk paid off big time. She now makes her amazing laser cut jewelry full time. She has surpassed an astonishing 12.000 sales milestone on Etsy. What is even better, the business has given her and her family the life they want. And not just financially. The flexibility of her business means she can work from anywhere. And let me tell you, her off the grid solar-powered studio in the countryside is something out of a dream!
From hobby to business lesson #1
Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. When you know something is right, just do it. You can’t always play it safe and expect everything to work out on its own. It takes courage to do amazing things.
Shop our faves from Each to Own
Whether you are looking for head-turner or a more subtle piece there is definitely something for you in Kirsten’s awesome shop.
Ceramicist Alicia Zwicewicz from Beardbangs
Reading her story, you get the impression that Alicia has always been an artist and her fine arts degree with a focus on painting goes to prove it. But as she puts it, after graduating she didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do yet. She had been working on her pottery as a hobby in her free time, so she gave herself a summer to pursue this interest and see where it would take her. Working in a rented basement pottery studio she managed to develop pieces which would later become the foundation of the Beardbangs collection.
She literally went from hobby to business, as her Scandinavian and retro-inspired designs with a hint of humor proved to be just what people wanted. One year after opening the Beardbangs Etsy shop the quirky mugs, sugar bowls, and cat-shaped planters were bringing Alicia in a steady salary-level income.
Being able to do what she loved Alicia found a way to pursue her other passion, creating a sense of community with fellow artists. In 2016, she founded an inspiring communal ceramics space called Studio Céramique Sud-Ouest in her home town of Montréal. Kudos to you, Alicia, for giving back to the community!
From hobby to business lesson #2
It is very rare that people know exactly what they want to do from the very beginning. It is never too late to try something different. If there is one thing that has always interested you and you love doing more than anything, go for it! Give yourself some time and see where it takes you!
Shop our faves from Beardbangs
How cute are these? We are in loooove!
Needle felter Teresa Perleberg from Bear Creek Design
Teresa Perleberg, a homeschooling mom of four from North Dakota, got an interesting request from her daughter for her 8th birthday. She asked for a ram, which probably sounds just as peculiar to you as it did to me. But the family lives on a cattle farm – knowing that it doesn’t sound so strange anymore, right? Teresa saw an incredible educational aspect of buying sheep. So they ended up buying four.
A few months after buying the sheep Teresa and her daughter went to a gathering of local fiber arts enthusiast, called the Woolly Women. This is where they learned to spin wool and needle felt. Inspired by this amazing craft, Teresa started playing with felted wool and never stopped.
In 2008, she launched the Bear Creek Design Etsy shop. At first, she mostly sold wool from her sheep and some handmade felted products.
But as she started getting more and more requests to teach classes on needle felting, she saw an opportunity and seized it. She started designing and selling needle-felting kits, which now make up the majority of her shop. As Teresa said herself: I don’t think my business would have grown without the kits. Knowing she would not be able to make enough (time-consuming) felt sculptures to make her business grow, she found a different niche that worked well with her experience.
And the decision has paid off. Combining her love of needle-felting and her passion for teaching, she has made an astonishing 10.000+ sales on Etsy. Not too bad, huh?
Teresa also has a blog, which is a must-read for any needle felting enthusiast. You can find her at Bear Creek Felting.
From hobby to business lesson #3
If you see an opportunity, do something about it. As Teresa says herself, if she continued to only sell felt sculpture, she would never have been able to grow her business the way she did. Sometimes a small change to your original idea is what it takes to really start seeing success.
Shop our faves from Bear Creek Design
If you have ever wanted to learn how to needle felt, this is where to start.
How inspiring are these women? Are you on a path, similar to theirs, or want to be? Do you ever dream of going from hobby to business? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
This article is based on the Quit Your Day Job series from the Etsy community. You can read the full original articles on the links below: