8 min 28 sec

Communications Teacher Turns Love of Journaling Into Etsy Shop

In her search for a side hustle, this college communications instructor turns to her love of journaling. She then learns to manufacture a custom product from overseas and sell it back at home.
Listener Stories Manufacturing Product Teacher Hustle Travel

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What It's About

A serial journal keeper with a penchant for paste turns her Side Hustle School inspiration into action.

Business Model
Skills Required
Design & Experimentation
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

This is indeed a listener success story (learn more about being on the show, here!), and Danielle had this to say for anyone who may be stuck between inspiration and action:

"I think the best thing (yet hardest thing to do) is to just get started. And keep climbing! I notice so many people having great ideas, but all too often they do not follow up with them. They never take action, which Chris reiterates on the podcast. I think we can all be better by continuing to push forward and not give up. Use those precious morning and evening hours to work on what you love, and you will see the rewards!"

Fun Fact

Danielle first started keeping a travel journal in 2009 on her first trip to Europe. She and her friends bought some notebooks and glue sticks in Munich and started gluing all the trip mementos in their journals along with writing down their daily adventures. Danielle has kept travel journals like this ever since and has now been to over 35 countries!

Notes from Chris

Episode 494

When most people look back on trips they’ve taken, they scroll through thousands of photos on their phone, or maybe dig through some postcards or tickets that managed to survive. College communications teacher Danielle Nelson, however, takes a much more hands-on approach to track her travels. Besides posting on her blog, Danielle found that packing a journal and actually pasting in tickets and other memorabilia, along with good old-fashioned writing, was a much better way to capture her memories.

Danielle has been journaling since she was a little girl and keeping travel journals since her first trip to Europe in 2009. It wasn’t until last year, however, that her love of journals and glue pens sparked an idea for a side hustle.

Danielle is an avid listener of Side Hustle School and attended a Side Hustle School workshop in Denver, where she met a group of people she still regularly meets with to keep their hustles on track. Clearly, Danielle was ready to start hustling but still hadn’t found the right idea. Then, when she was attending the World Domination Summit, she happened to run into an old co-worker she hadn’t seen in years. The co-worker was reading Danielle’s blog, A Little Bit Adrift, and suggested that she create her own line of journals.

Finally, she had her idea… and she was ready to take action! She would create a line of travel journals that included a glue pen, called Pack This Journal.

After finding the vendor to manufacture the journals, Danielle set up an Etsy shop and a website to sell the journals on. She sells one to two journals a day through Etsy, plus the random sale here and there from her website. Currently, she sells the small journal for around $15 and the large journal for around $19 on her website.

Despite having a few bumps along the way, Danielle says she has learned so much about business in just a few short months. She encourages everyone to just get started! And if you’re working on an idea that involves getting a product made by an outside manufacturer, make sure to factor that into your process, as it can take more time than expected.

Her next goal is to really try to build a cohesive travel brand for Pack This Journal. She’s currently working on her second iteration of the journal and is including a third, smaller size to the lineup. She’s also taking feedback from her customers and working on how to add those suggestions into the journals, along with travel stickers and clip in pouches for the journals and other products for traveling in general.

Even though it took some time for Danielle to find the right idea for her side hustle, she feels really grateful for being able to create something she loves. If you haven’t found an idea yet for a side hustle —don’t give up. You might just find something that sticks!


  • Pack This Journal: Document and save your travel memories with one of Danielle's journals—pack this journal for your next trip!
  • A Little Bit Adrift: Read more about Danielle and her travels over on her travel blog
  • Alibaba: The platform that Danielle used to locate a manufacturer for her travel journals


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
"I notice so many people having great ideas, but all too often they do not follow up with them. They never take action, which Chris so often reiterates on the podcast. I think how we can all be better is continuing to push forward and not give up."
—Danielle Nelson #SideHustleSchool

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