7 min 53 sec

Canadian Mom Spells Out Success with Letter Board Loot

After a search for customizable letter boards leaves her empty-handed, a Side Hustle School listener sees the writing on the wall.
Arts & Crafts International Listener Stories Manufacturing Reselling

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What It's About

A Canadian mom brings trendy letter boards to the people!

Business Model
Skills Required
Research & Resourcefulness
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Sarah’s advice to aspiring side hustlers?

“Have a solid idea about the product or service you want to sell. Create a concrete vision around it, then start researching the heck out of your competitors. Suss out viable suppliers. Then go for it. You only live once!”

Fun Fact

The internet and eCommerce together have brought the world to the customer’s doorstep. If you spend enough time on the internet, you’ll see that almost anything is for sale, from home sushi bars to parrots, and even a diploma in Nose Picking from Snot State University. The Side Hustle School does not recommend including that on your CV, though!

Notes from Chris

Episode 446
Some side hustles are created from a gap in the market. Some come from experimentation. Sarah Chetney, a stay-at-home mom of three from rural Alberta, Canada, created her side hustle out of both.

Sarah is always on the lookout for fun projects to work on with her three children. Life moves quickly in their household, and finding creative projects to tackle together can be challenging. Pinterest was a regular, favorite stomping ground for Sarah because of the visual content and abundance of good ideas that filled the platform.

While scrolling for a new project to tackle with her kids on a dull, rainy day, Sarah noticed a new trend emerging on her favorite, go-to accounts. Customizable letter boards were popping up everywhere. These marquee boards, which allow you to arrange letters on a board into words to create personalized messages, seemed to be flourishing in home decor. To Sarah, they were also the perfect way to entertain her kids and decorate her house at the same time.

She found a board she liked through a seller on social media, but when she went to their checkout page, she saw that the shipping charges made the product's cost much higher than what she was prepared to spend. Sarah decided to see if she could find a similar product through a Canadian retailer, but her search came up empty. There were simply no sellers based in Canada.

This put a damper on her excitement because shipping fees and the exchange rate were both significant markups on an otherwise simple purchase. Sarah continued her search but was less optimistic. Days turned into weeks. The avid Side Hustle School listener was dejected. At first.

The lessons she had learned from other side hustlers taught her that her problems couldn’t be unique. Sarah couldn’t be the only Canadian looking for a letter board, put off by exorbitant shipping fees and a crippling exchange rate. If she struggled in her search, she thought, someone else must have too.

Sarah now had a side hustle idea.

The sense of accomplishment of coming from a non-business background to figuring out the eCommerce landscape has changed Sarah’s life. Her monthly revenue from LetterPoet now reaches about $3,000 a month, which is about the same income she would earn working outside her home while paying for childcare. But her side hustle allows her the financial freedom, plus an added dash of excitement, to continue to work from home and be able to travel with her family!


  • Letter Poet on Amazon.: Learn more about LetterPoet from Sarah's Amazon store.
  • Shopify: Sarah originally used Shopify to set up her store for LetterPoet, and they're offering a 21-day trial and exclusive discount for all Side Hustle School listeners!

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"Creating an eCommerce business that doesn’t involve having physical stock on hand is a great way to lessen the responsibility of starting a side hustle. There’s no pressure with storing stock and fulfilling orders. It’s essentially your business on autopilot—after you set it up."
—Sarah Chetney #SideHustleSchool

Sponsors & Gratitude

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau