Today I wanted to talk about work outside Etsy, picking up odd jobs from your friends and family is a great way to begin your marketing and hone your skills. You may not get paid, but you are helping your loved ones out and in turn you get to try out your business practices. For example, my step-mother asked me to create business cards and fliers for her aerobic classes. She offered to pay me once her marketing starts working, so in the meantime I am using this as an opportunity to dry run my printing and packaging ideas for Mrs. Pea’s Papers.
When you start putting your work out into the world these one-off jobs are going to find you. I started volunteering for the Boston Preservation Alliance back in 2009 and they quickly moved me over from an intern role to a graphics role. I had only dabbled in graphic design as a hobby but I went from typing papers and answering phones, to designing their awards posters and helping to plan their auction that year in a matter of weeks. People need your skills, as an artist, a sales man, or whatever you might be, use these opportunities to explore beyond your day-to-day job. I just delivered a raffle poster to them today and it felt great to hear how much they loved it!
I may not have sales coming in yet, but these odd jobs keep me busy. They also allow me to grow my graphic design portfolio beyond my Etsy shop. Even if you don’t have people calling yet, you can create these opportunities for yourself as well. For instance, my friend had a bridal shower the other week and I made her a funny, personalized card. Well that card got passed around the entire room, putting my logo (on the back of the card) out there. When I ran into one of her friends on the street the next week, she remembered me as the woman who made that card!
Don’t say no to these odd jobs as they come your way. In lieu of money you will gain much-needed exposure and experience. AND you will definitely get a lot of really wonderful feedback to keep you going.