1366
7 min 35 sec

Homeschooler Unleashes Creativity with Penmanship Posters

While homeschooling her twin daughters, this genetic analyst goes in search of penmanship aids—and ends up making her own.
Etsy Graphic Design

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What It's About

A mother of twins flips the script with her penmanship poster hustle.

Business Model
Skills Required
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Instead of buying expensive monthly subscription design programs like Adobe Photoshop of Illustrator, Melissa bought Affinity programs instead. “I paid a flat $50 for each one… I think it’s helpful for people who can’t afford Photoshop.”

Fun Fact

Until 1984, homeschooling was actually illegal in Virginia. In the 1970s, families homeschooling children fought a series of legal battles until they were finally allowed to legally teach their kids from home. By 2018, about 37,000 children in Virginia were being homeschooled. [source]

Notes from Chris

Episode 1366
Melissa Paden has loved fonts and design ever since she was a teenager. In high school and college, she was the go-to person for designing flyers for different clubs and organizations. After she graduated, she got a job working as a front desk agent, and over time she worked her way up to become the online marketing manager.

The new job was a good fit, and she liked the company she worked for. The only downfall was that she didn’t get to be as creative as she was in her previous marketing career. She needed a new project to unleash her creativity.

So, Melissa started an Etsy shop called Honey Lime Co. in July of 2018. Using her skills from designing flyers, she created a few art prints. Customers could download them for just a few dollars. At that point, she didn’t really have a plan, but it was a good way for her to experiment.

That same year, Melissa started homeschooling her twins, who were now five years old. She started looking for a writing sign to help her kids learn cursive. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find any that she liked. All the ones available were bright and colorful, and she wanted something a little bit more simple.

So, she decided to make one herself. Her first chart was for cursive handwriting and she made it with three background options: all white, a black chalkboard, and a green chalkboard. They were more minimalistic and aesthetically pleasing than all the others she could find. With the encouragement of one of her friends, she decided to list them on her Etsy shop.

Since then, Melissa has expanded her product line to include close to 30 different designs, including translations for Spanish, French and even Greek! She also takes custom orders, and most of the time, she is then able to add those to her store as a general offering. Most of the products on her Etsy shop cost about $20.

By June of 2020, she’d already surpassed $10,000 in revenue. With the extra money, she has been able to buy even more homeschooling supplies for her twins, as well as pay off last year’s taxes. Not only that, but Melissa’s husband works for a large hospitality company and has been on extended furlough due to COVID-19. Melissa’s regular job and her posters are paying the bills.

As time goes on, Melissa hopes to build her own eCommerce website to use alongside Etsy. Not only that, but she plans to continue adding posters and other products, like homeschool themed mugs and shirts to her store.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
  • Learn more about Melissa and checkout her creations at her Etsy store, Honey Lime Co..
  • Looking to sell your own artistic creations? Check out Etsy.com.
  • Looking to a more affordable alternative to Adobe products? Melissa recommends Affinity Design Software.
SEE ALSO: Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work! Yours in the revolution, cg-sig-newsletter


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Quote of the Day
"Design for a product you would want for yourself instead of just something you think will sell "
—Melissa Paden #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau