Get acquainted with Naveen below and learn how she used all of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 to catapult into entrepreneurship ! I met her virtually in a Facebook group that we are both apart of and am so glad I did. We can all learn a thing or two from her persistence and courage to quiet her fears and embark on a new journey that would allow her hobby to generate some cash. She is a great example of how you can redesign possible.
The truth is, this journey would have ceased to exist without the COVID-19 situation. I’m a student at North Carolina State University and I worked a student part-time job to support myself and pay for my tuition. You might have guessed it already. Due to COVID-19, schools have shut down and many students have lost their on-campus jobs, including myself. It was my worst nightmare, and the future started to seem blurry, unclear, and alarming. Reality started to hit me like bullets. How was I going to pay for the next semester's tuition? How will I afford rent? How will I pay the monthly bills?
So...what next? The riskiest and rational choice, of course. I was going to start a new business from scratch.
I have had a passion project and side hobby for a while now, since the beginning of high school. I make plant-based and science fused skincare by hand. Through years of research, experimentation, and dedication there were a handful of products I used daily that saved my skin and many of my family members and friends as well. Until recently, I never pondered sharing these creations to the outside world, it never occurred to me. Until now. I decided to start selling skincare on Etsy, a search engine to find unique, hand-crafted goodies by millions of makers. I didn’t start off by making my own website, because an amateur like myself has never run a business online before, let alone even a business in general. Etsy did most of the work for me when it came to shipping, marketing, and just giving a platform in a marketplace itself. It was a great way to start learning how to sell online. Etsy seemed like a ‘foot in the door’ to start sharing my creations with the world. So, I started by publishing 15 products on my Etsy shop. I worked on the SEO to make sure my products appeared high in the search engine by using appropriate keywords to describe my products. I also made an Instagram and Pinterest for more brand exposure. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
The hardest part about starting a business from scratch is introducing your business to the world. The first big step in every business is having someone other than a family member or friend purchase a creation by you. I couldn’t imagine a stranger buying my products. All the doubts started to creep in once I published my listings. What if no one likes what I have to offer? What if this is all for nothing? I panicked inside and beat myself up. What was I thinking? I invested a good amount of money that could’ve gone towards books in the upcoming semester. I invested the money into starting this business by buying materials, packaging, and experimentation materials. But was it worth it?
A week after I set up my Etsy shop, I got my first big sale to my shock, which also gave me a sudden jolt of euphoria. A customer that wasn’t a friend nor a family member. A stranger. This was a big moment for me. My first customer bought 4 items that included a Green Tea + Hemp Lip Balm, a Rose Herbal Salve, a Green Tea + Niacinamide Face Cream, and a Pink Tinted Mint Lip Balm. I cannot even describe the exhilaration flowing through my veins as I jumped on my bed with excitement. The great thing about Etsy is that shipping is less expensive and there’s also a USPS pickup service. My packages could get picked up by mail service which is great news since I don’t even need to leave the house to ship my packages! A week after, another sale, and then a good review, and then another sale, to present day where I now get daily sales. After only one month of being in business, I’ve made over 100 sales which does not seem like much, but the profit I got was much higher than my student job.
In quarantine, you are more likely to have extra time on your hands. Don’t waste it. Do you have a special hobby, talent, or passion project? I turned my hobby into a small business that I hope to further grow and expand. It’s possible, take the leap! I invested a total of $300 to make over a couple thousand in profit in one month. This does not seem like a lot. But to a student like myself, this is the jackpot. You could even start a small business as just a side gig, why not? It’s a great idea to have another stream of income that can come in handy especially during these unpredictable times.
Go for it!
I sell plant-based, science-fused, and zero-waste skincare in my Etsy shop. All of my ingredients are ethically sourced!
Check out my store! YumBeautyCo.Etsy.Com
Follow me on Instagram! @YumBeautyCompany