Last year at this time, I was doing what a lot of other craft and DIY bloggers do. I was thinking up crafts and ideas to share three times a week, writing about them, photographing them, and then sharing these projects on social media. It was fun, I enjoyed it, but if I’m completely honest, it was starting to become a bit stressful.
I had started Little Girl Designs to share my work with others and in so doing, make a side income for my family. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that and with the number of Pinterest posts I poured over that first six months that were about monetizing a blog, I knew I wasn’t the only one. Still, getting from Point A to Point B started to become a bit blurry.
Act One: I Realize Something Isn’t Working
During the course of those first several months, I took a course, read books, and read close to 8 million blog posts. (Not really on that last number but it felt like it.) I made a choice early on to only share resources with my readers that I had personally used and appreciated. I also decided on a specific style and theme for my blog’s message on creativity that shut the door for me to work on campaigns that didn’t match who I am. (In other words, writing a heartfelt post about car tires was not an option. ;))
In the meantime, I started to notice that many other bloggers were writing and selling their own eBooks. It seemed like a good idea to bring in another revenue stream, except I had no ideas as to what I’d write about.
Flash forward to April of last year. I was sitting in the library and journaling. My husband had taken the day off of work so I could have a morning of creativity by myself and then we were going to spend the rest of the day together as a family.
I remember the moment the idea to write The Creative Retreat workbook so clearly, I can see it like a movie in my mind right now. One second I was sipping my coffee in a comfy chair that overlooked the park outside and the next, I was wondering if everyone did this. I began to journal about this idea—one of the ways I get my ideas out is to write them down—and even as I wrote them I could feel the mountain of doubt building in front of me.
What if people hated this idea? This is so near and dear to my heart, would I be able to take it? What if I tried to write an eBook and it came out all wrong and made me sound bossy and like a know-it-all? What if, what if, what if? And let’s not even start with the doubts about how I was going to do it. I didn’t know the first thing about writing an eBook or launching a product. But something was sparked during that afternoon and I couldn’t shake it.
Act Two: I Start Writing an eBook (Eek!!!)
I began to write an outline and draw illustrations in my sketch book. I told my husband (who was ecstatic because he’s awesome) and we figured out a schedule. I read up about writing and launching products but I’ll admit since they all came from different sources, there was a lot of conflicting information out there.
Last summer was this weird blend of reaching out to bloggers, spending time with my family, drawing pictures, and writing The Creative Retreat workbook. It was my first foray into the world of eBook writing and publishing, so I really had no idea what to expect. My heart was encouraged when some other bloggers began to write me and say they loved the workbook; some of my heroes shared this which blew me away.
Unfortunately this didn’t squelch the self-doubt that came pounding on my door the week before the launch. Usually I don’t care about putting my creative projects out there—my attitude has typically been, “If people like it, they’ll buy it; if they don’t, they won’t. But I’m still going to make stuff because I LOVE it.” Still, I wish I could have told that to my thumping heart the night before the launch. My heart was not hearing that kind of levelheadedness.
But it should have.
Because what happened next was absolutely incredible.
You guys, I didn’t have 10,000 people on my email list. I was not receiving 100,000 visitors to my site every month. With the exception of Pinterest, all of my social media channels were under 600 followers. So maybe my gut fear of launching to crickets was sound.
But during that launch period, I sold more than 100 copies of The Creative Retreat workbook. My $8.98 eBook quickly brought in over $1,000 in sales. By the way, I usually hate talking about money and numbers because it brings up so many converse feelings in me. (Note: I updated this workbook, doubled the pages, and made it into a paperback the next year. You can get it on Amazon!)
To some, $1,000 is pocket change. To others, it’s a huge amount of money. I’m in the others category. I was so humbled, grateful, and beyondo excited about the welcome this workbook received. And can I tell you something else? It didn’t end there. That workbook continues to sell almost every single day. It gives me so much joy to think that something that has given me so much happiness is now being passed on to others.
But writing The Creative Retreat workbook was just the beginning. It’s been followed by another workbook bundle on letter-writing, an audio series and workbook on time, money, and organization, and a creativity course.
What I love about creating my own resources is they come from my heart, and I can tailor them to directly address the questions and emails I receive on a regular basis. It’s such a gift, I can’t even tell you. I love the creative process and have been so blessed this year with being able to share my journey and some of the things I’ve learned along the way. And I’m so grateful that in so doing, I’ve been able to do what I set out to do—bring in a side income for my family. What a gift.
Before you go, consider what you could write about. You never know what your dream will turn into. Go for it!
I loved reading your story, Jennie! It’s so encouraging to others who dream of growing their blogs and businesses! And thank you so much for your sweet words about BookBoss! They truly mean so much!! <3
You’re so welcome, Abby. 🙂 I’ve really enjoyed your course and it’s no lie that it would have been sooooo nice to have last year! 🙂 Even with that said, there’s plenty that I’m learning. 🙂 Thanks for all the hard work you put into it–recording that many videos + compiling all of that info is no joke! 🙂
Wow, your story is so great to read! Very well written, too. Thanks so much for sharing!! I am enrolled in Book Boss and excited to dig into it.
You’re welcome–and have fun with the course! 🙂 I think you’re going to love it. 🙂
What an inspiring post Jennie! I’ve been thinking of creating my e-book for a few months now but keep coming back to the dreaded “what if” thoughts..
It’s so settling to hear that I’m not the only one that struggles (or in your case struggle-d) with the fear of people not enjoying your products.
I’ve been in the blog business for just on 12 months in Feb and feel I have so much to share already. I’m definitely going to be taking a look at Abby’s course, it seems like she has it all put together so well & perfect for someone like me who needs a little guidance (& bit of a push) to get me to achieve my goal!
Thank you for inspiring me to finally take the plunge & get started on my first ebook!
Elley | http://elleymae.com
This makes me so happy, Elley! I’m a big fan of having a guide to “help me through” the process of writing an eBook, especially the first time around. After that, you kind of get into a rhythm of what works/does not work for you. I’m so excited for you—let me know if you decide to write one! I’d love to hear more about it. 🙂
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