Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Self-Employment and Indie Business: How to Survive, Thrive, and Live the Dream

Do you want to live a blissfully self-employed existence? Once where you call the shots? Do you have a distinct vision for a brand, product, blog, online or local shop? Maybe you already have one and want to streamline and grow it. Maybe you work for someone else, but wish you could somehow be self-employed. I get e-mails asking for help on the subject nearly every day.

I was there with you once, I know you may fantasize about a life that includes:

- Independence, running your life exactly the way you want to every single day
- Liberation from a boss or workplace that fails to inspire
- Setting your own schedule
- Waking up exactly when you want to, without an alarm!
- Having time to do things that only happen during work hours, like take classes or attend events
- Having time to spend with friends and family
- The pride and satisfaction from putting your own work out into the world
- Accomplishing long-term, put-off dreams

It's scary to get started on The Dream. You're asking yourself questions like:

How do I survive? How do I keep my business alive and pay the bills? I'm scared!
How do I grow a dedicated audience and get comments/interaction/sales consistently?
- How do I do my taxes and/or keep track of sales easily?
- How do I get a domain name / make a website / set up an online shop?
- How do I make a website banner?
- Where do I even begin?

Getting started is the hardest part.

I know the fear well. I was there for years. And the fears are not completely unfounded. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BED) only 50% of all new establishments survive five years or more. According to the SBA, a big reasons is simply lack of experience. So much goes into running a business, you can plan and plan, but things you don't anticipate will always pop up.

Business Help

This is why, inspired by the questions I get frequently on running a business, I've decided to finally create some packages to help newbie business owners!


Yes, there are other design services out there, but I noticed (sometimes from trying them out) that most of them are cold and impersonal or don't deliver as much as they could. Mine come with the following unique qualifications:

  • I've helped run indie businesses non-stop since I was five (It started with a pinata business)
  • 1997, I started creating websites at age 11, going on to win multiple awards for them
  • From 9/2008 to 10/2011 I was a professional web marketer for a multi-million dollar company
  • I ran my blog all the while, eventually I would become a full-time blogger
  • As a pro-blogger / vintage seller I sold thousands of wares online & in local shops/markets
  • Now I'm living the dream helping indie businesses with product photography, web marketing, organization, business plans, and more, full-time!
Before / After

The Big Difference:

All of my packages come with a personable one-on-one consultations and evaluations because I really want you to succeed. You also get inspiration mailed out to you, because everyone loves tangible presents right in your mail box to help you succeed with your business! (I ordered some really fun stickers for those, can't wait to show you!)

I compiled my years of experience into my services... and I absolutely love what I do. That's the big difference when you work with me. I live and breathe indie business and adore creating the perfect business packages for my clients. When I'm out and about, I take notes about improving businesses, I imagine taking photos and making websites for indie businesses, I'm a giant nerd for it. One of the big reasons I transitioned from selling vintage to helping indie businesses full-time; I realized my favorite part of the process of selling my vintage items was making the banners, websites, product photos, and branding packages! 

Styling / Editorial Photos - One will be featured HGTV's site, another on multiple craft sites

As an indie business helper, I know the in-and-outs from that special, delicate, "insider-artist" perspective. I'm intuitive and sensitive when it comes to making the right design, and I get obsessed with making it polished. I make the unique design your business needs, not a generic template.

How Exactly Does The Package Work?

1) FREE 1-on-1 Consultation: I map out what I can do for you in clear terms.
2) Business Evaluation: We discuss your goals/dreams and turn them into action steps for success.
3) Design: Working with you, I build a polished brand that helps your business succeed.
4) Mini eBook: All my services currently come with a free mini business help eBook!
5) Mail Mojo: I send you something special in the mail you can use to inspire you with your business!

Quick FAQ:

1) Will the cost be worth it?

When you invest in your business, you're taking it seriously. You will turn it from brain matter into reality. I give you the right start, concrete facts, and encouragement and make your business happen. No more putting it off, not more "maybe one days." I make sure to include things most branding and design packages don't, like the business evaluations, so you start out on the right foot.

2) Will your method work for me?

Absolutely. I have a wide variety of skills to tackle your business from many different angles. Look at the diverse array of design work above. I've worked in the financial sector and have made clean designs, but I'm also playful. My designs are diversity and I understand the universal rules to making a business successful that work.

3) How do I know your style is right for me versus working with another person?

If you're reading here, you're the right fit! You need someone who cares if you'll succeed, someone who's personable, and someone who is dedicated to providing a high quality, polished result. I've got your back.

4) I've already started my business and/or am already working with someone and have some plans/materials but need more help from there. Will it be easy to transition to working with you?

Yep! I've made some packages from scratch, but a lot of what I do are updates and improvements of existing work.


Just a few testimonials, if you've worked with me in the past and have a testimonial please send it my way! I'll send you a free goodie in the mail in exchange!
"She's a gem and a wealth of info on Etsy... Beautiful work. She's been with me for a year and I love love love her work! *heart* " -Donna, Green Lotus Studios and Green Lotus Therapeutics  
"Vanessa is a detailed employee who is extremely task oriented and highly dependable...I can attest that her attention to task and commitment toward her job is unparalleled." -Ron, TDN 
 "Thanks for being so easy to work with!" -Hillary, HGTV 
"You are wonderful!! Thank you so much for the banner. :)" - Nelle, Nell's Vintage House 
"I am so happy I jumped into sponsorship with you. I really wanted to say how awesome your sponsorship relationship is. I feel like it's an investment for real!" - Moe, Five/Sixteenths Blog"

The Services

 Product Photography: $25.00 per photo or... 

$500 for 25 photos, $125 savings
$1,000 for 75 photos, $875.00 savings
$3,000 for unlimited product photos for one month
Order must be at a $50/minimum

All Photos Include:

1) Basic photoshop photo re-touching
2) Basic product staging
3) Full Resolution File
4) Standard Commercial Use License
5) Extra $10 per photo for complicated staging, removing reflections and transparent objects

 Detailed Business Question Phone Consultation: $200.00 

1) 1 Hour phone call where I answer all of your business questions

2) Helpful e-mailed printable with custom links to help you reach your goals

3) FREE exclusive mini business help eBook

4) FREE printed planner in the mail to help you reach your goals

 Basic Budget Business Set-Up: $500 

If you have a logo or don't need a 300 dpi (large print size) logo and/or already have photos of your product, this is the package for you. I'll design a banner for your blog and/or your shop, set-up your blogger blog and coordinate your chosen domain name with your blog. This all comes with a free exclusive eBook to help your be successful into the future!

1) Blog Banner Design
2) Shop Banner Design
3) Basic Blog Set-Up
4) Domain Name Set-Up
4) FREE exclusive mini business help eBook

 Basic Online Shop: $1,500 
1) Basic Product Photography, 25 images
2) Basic Logo Design (non-vector illustration)
3) Etsy Shop Set-Up
4) Domain Name Set-Up
5) Online Shop Set-Up (Storenvy, Etsy, or any other provider of your choice)
6) FREE exclusive mini business help eBook
7) FREE business review'

Advanced Blog and Store Set-Up: $3,500
1) 2 Basic Logo Designs (non-vector illustration)
2) Blogger Set-Up
3) 2 Domain Name Set-Ups
4) Product Photography, Unlimited for 1 Month
5) Online Shop Set-Up
6) Exclusive eBook: Increasing Sales With SEO- available only with this deal!
7) Free Detailed Business Analysis
8) Unlimited E-mail Support for 1 month

The Value

Website set-up can cost as much or as little as you want it to, and about tech broke it down nicely with this chart:

Basically, and this nearly doing it all yourself, a basic website for your business can cost up to $1,200 - $3,200 alone! This is Before adding special features! This is not counting the hours you're not paying yourself to do what you really need to do- run your business and make money! This is why we outsource. If you absolutely cannot do something, it really pays to find someone who does.  And trust me, this stuff takes hours! Oh lord, does it take hours! Before I found methods to edit photos beautifully yet swiftly, for instance, I used to spend all night working on the high quality Etsy photos that kept my shop (and hence, myself) fed. It was madness!

Don't Be Scared, You Can Do It

I know it seems scary or maybe even counterintuitive to spend money on business services when you can try to figure everything out on your own for free. I know, I've been there. That has stopped being my view for years now. You're not showing confidence in your business if you are not willing to invest in it to be successful. It truly does take money to make money, and your earnings can definitely go up exponentially with the right investment. I have invested in coaching, I also outsource where I can (say, on wooden signage for my market booths), not because I don't have the ability to do it all- we all can learn to do nearly anything, but because we shouldn't! Try to do it all and you'll be like I was at the beginning of my art market career; working on little to no sleep and scattered. I'm confident that my tools are the right kind of investment. I know they will take the guess work out of starting a business for the uninitiated, I know they are extremely high quality, and I know they work. It's not much to pay for guaranteed success, either.

Make it Happen

Don't dismiss your dreams by not investing in them, and stop putting them off. Just do it! I'd love to help! E-mail me me for that free consultation if you'd like to purchase one of the services above. I would sincerely enjoy making your business happen!

I've learned the ins-and-outs and hard way, so you don't have to...for it is not who I am underneath, but what I do, that defines me ;) haha, I'm sorry, I'll stop sounding Batman here.

Don't keep putting it off, go for your dreams! Chat with me if you want to sign up for a program, I'd love to help you. Most of us spend eight to ten hours a day at work – that’s more than half of our waking hours. Yet according to a recent Gallup poll, only 13% of people around the world feel passionate about their work.

That’s 87% of people who dislike or even hate their jobs!

Don't be one of them, break out, be one of the brave one who dares to live the dream!

Sorry to take over the blog with these services. I added the services to my side bar, but it's hard to note small changes like that and a lot of people get my posts straight to their inbox. Furthermore, I kept getting lots of e-mails about the services I offered so I really wanted to break it down :)

And the posts to come, because, dinosaurs and robots are involved!

I will be back with normally scheduled posting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as usual henceforth. I have a dinosaur DIY and random craziness like feminism in horror and action movies and nerdy diatribes about my favorite hollywood blockbusters on the way. (One is about a man's struggle to rediscover his humanity/existential crisis...and robots. Can you guess what it is!?)

/Comments Off   but e-mail me if you need any help or have questions!
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