thriving online

Thriving Online: Making Money While You Sleep

The following excerpt is reprinted with permission from Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. “Your Creative Career” by Anna Sabino is available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher at 800-423-7087, [email protected] or

Graphic designer Nicky Laatz, who became known for her bestselling fonts, reached an important milestone selling on Creative Market, a community where photographers, graphic designers and other creatives post their work for sale. Nicky has sold $1 million worth of fonts. Nicky transitioned from contract work and started prioritizing online sales after realizing it was a better fit for her lifestyle. Rounds of iterations and pressure of deadlines were stressful and joy depleting. In the Creative Market video where fellow creatives congratulate her on having reached a million dollar mark, Nicky is glowing; she gets emotional. She found the space to thrive in on her own terms, being surrounded by a supportive community.

Selling online is one of the most desired business strategies among business owners. It amplifies the feeling of entrepreneurial freedom and working on your own terms.

We have to respect the rules we created, such as prompt shipping and answering customers’ questions, but many online business decisions are up to us. We decide what we want to put up for sale and in what quantity. Online business can give us tremendous satisfaction. Isn’t checking your email in the morning and seeing orders placed when you were sleeping like winning a small daily lottery? Getting paid when you sleep is a dream of many. Taking these online orders out of context and disregarding idea generation, site building, product promotion, we can actually make money while we sleep.

In 2013, Corey O’Loughlin and Nina Vitalino launched their online store, Prep Obsessed. Against a common belief not to run a business on a domain that you don’t own, the duo decided to focus their efforts on growing their Facebook business page and driving their sales mainly via Facebook. They did it very successfully by investing $40 a day on Facebook ads targeting women age 20 to 50 who are interested in fashion, home and garden and who are fans of Tory Burch and Lilly Pulitzer.

Related: 7 Online Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business Exponentially

Within four years, Corey and Nina grew their Facebook fan base to 300,000. Because they targeted the right niche instead of the number of likes, Prep Obsessed amassed a large group of fans who are very engaged. Even though Facebook changed the rules of content visibility on business pages and it’s now more difficult to get noticed, Prep Obsessed figured out a way to thrive by providing relevant content. Sharing multiple daily posts, the site uses Soldsie to make the posts easy to shop from. Viewers see suggested items that are styled and displayed with prices. One click will take us to the checkout page without leaving Facebook. These shopable posts, offering well-curated items at reasonable prices, win us over and entice our urge to impulse shop. Prep Obsessed Facebook fans are also encouraged to vote on what type of items they’d like to see more of by reacting with an appropriate emoji. Fans’ choices of whether they’d like to see more little black dress styles, comfy casual, or casual daytime will be visible and accounted for when the team of Prep Obsessed places the orders at their suppliers at trade shows. Including customers in the decision-making process as well as making their shopping experience easy is the key to creating a powerful brand backed by an army of devoted and supportive fans who spread the word.

Multiple streams of income

As a creative, you should be always be thinking of adding another stream of income and refining the ones you already have. Even if your business is thriving now, do think of another stream of income as a security net. You can be inspired by reading success stories of entrepreneurs who do something that you are drawn to. Suggest meetings, get a mentor and think what you can offer to generate an additional stream of income. Consider starting a venture on a side. Creating another stream of income is not only financially beneficial but this slight diversion from what we do may be growth conducive. If your current business reached a comfortable level, you can treat creating another stream of income as your sandbox. You can keep experimenting and discovering what you love doing without the pressure of having to succeed. You can start a hobby and transform it into a side hustle, which may stay as your additional source of income or become your next career.

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You don’t have to start another business to create multiple streams of income. Consider spreading deeper instead of wider. If you provide services, think of the ways to offer complementing products. Write a manual. Film a course teaching someone the basics or specific skills. Any accomplished creative can write and sell an eBook revealing trade secrets, and make a quite a bit of income from this venture. There are many of us who are willing to pay to find out about successful strategies of our dream careers. For example, a $19 or $29 eBook that teaches efficient ways of starting a successful podcast is an effective way to discover if this is the direction we want to pursue. Writing a how-to eBook could create an additional income stream for the creative and can provide value for the reader, who could gain clarity about the potential path to pursue.

Thanks to having multiple streams of income, you’ll be running your business with confidence. It’s comparable with the security of a steady paycheck. You will be less likely to run into financial difficulties if you have the security of receiving income from multiple sources.

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