8 min 27 sec

When the Rubber Hits the Road, This Mom of Three Earns $5,000/Month

After making a simple change to the color of her custom-image rubber ink stamps, this interior designer and mother-of-three from Texas began earning $5,000 a month.
Arts & Crafts Design Listener Stories Product

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What It's About

A side hustle that really gets our stamp of approval!

Business Model
Arts & Crafts
Skills Required
Experimentation & Product Development
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

As a result of her product tweak, when we asked her about advice she had for other side hustlers, Nicole stressed the importance of considering all of your products “works in progress.” She thinks that it really does pay to keep an eye on trends because at the very least some of that rush of heavy search traffic is bound to trickle your way. And it could completely reinvent not only your product but your brand as well, leading to a massive increase in sales.

Fun Fact

Nicole decided on the name Yellow Bess after a brainstorming session with her husband. She wanted a name that would be easy to remember but still catches people a little off guard. Having a design degree and knowing colors have an effect on a person’s mood, she thought leading with a color would be a good start. She settled on yellow because it grabs your attention, is cheerful and represents sunshine.

Notes from Chris

Episode 622

Austin-based Nicole Smith is a stay-at-home mother of three kids (6, 4, and 1 years old). Although she has a Bachelors of Science in Interior Design, she confesses that some days she feels like a professional peanut butter and jelly chef and steward of snacks and juice boxes. [Side note: that would be awesome.]

Following the birth of her first child, Nicole took a bit of a detour, leaving her job at a high-end residential interior design firm. At the time, it was a dream come true to be there for the most transformative period of her daughter’s life. But as with many other stay at home parents, before her have discovered, the novelty of it all just didn’t have the same kind of staying power as the crayon art on the walls. At a certain point, she realized … she was bored!

Since it was “Baby Central” 24/7 in her home, it made sense for her to launch a side hustle drawing on her day to day as inspiration. Her online shop, Yellow Bess, began as a creative outlet making baby clothing, before transitioning to making custom rubber stamps.

It was different from the kind of work she’d been doing, but Nicole soon discovered that she really enjoyed it.

Her rubber stamps were practical, elegant and designed with a custom image that was laser engraved. The only trouble was that there were already a large number of people out there making customizable rubber stamps like her. She was selling some, but to sell more, she needed something that would help her stand out.

That feature ended up being surprisingly simple.

Although “yellow” was in her name, she had always loved robin’s egg blue, so she decided to hand paint all of her wooden stamp handles that color. Prior to this, Nicole had tried a multitude of things to help her get the edge on other sellers and figure out what tactics and products would work best, but nothing worked quite so well as this seemingly small change. Nicole was shocked by how successful her side hustle had become almost overnight, and robin’s egg blue has now become her signature.

So far, in 2018, she’s generated around $20,000 of new business—completely unrelated to rubber stamps—and bringing in roughly $5,000/month from Yellow Bess.

Nicole is also quick to point out how her side hustle impacts her kids. She loves the idea that they’ll be growing up in an environment where they see her being creative, working hard and making things along the way.

So, what’s next? She’s excited about the release of new product lines to her core of rubber stamps. She’s planning on introducing a subscription box on Cratejoy, Drinkware and Home Goods this fall. They’re all bets intended to grow the value of her existing customers. She’d also like to introduce her expanding product line to people who may not have a need for rubber stamps.

This side hustle gets our stamp of approval!



  • EXTENDED CUT #6: The Million-Dollar Etsy Shop: Most Etsy shops don’t make money—or if they do, they make a small amount of money. But some make a lot of money. What separates them? This special episode takes a detailed look at the online storefront for a million-dollar Etsy shop whose full story is coming up next week on the show
  • 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
  • CPA Earns Six-Figures Selling Spreadsheets to Etsy Sellers: This CPA was burned out on office work, so she turned her efforts to an Etsy business—but it wasn’t long before she was hitting the books again, just in a more creative way. Her new spreadsheets help Etsy sellers and earn a six-figure income for her
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 think if you want something, you just have to go for it. You may fail, but a mistake just helps you narrow down your path to a future success."
—Nicole Smith #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau