789
11 min 39 sec

Graphic Designer Sketches Old Homes for New Money

An Australian graphic designer discovers a way to save for a house of her own by drawing the homes of others.
Arts & Crafts International Product Simple Website Social Media

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What It's About

An Aussie saves up for her own house by drawing yours.

Business Model
Arts & Crafts
Skills Required
Drawing & Marketing
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

It’s okay to start with a really simple site, and Georgia Draws a House in its current form is a stellar example of that. It really just has the essentials but laid out on a minimalistic white background that looks nice. She also used Squarespace to make it, which helps keep it simple. (Wordpress.com, Wix, and Weebly all offer similar setups.)

Fun Fact

Georgia has published two children's books with her sister, which are featured in nationwide Australian book stores!

Notes from Chris

Episode 789
Australian graphic designer Georgia Norton Lodge loves to draw. As a child, her mother encouraged her and her sister to find interesting ways to express themselves. So when Georgia’s sister, Zoë, came to her years later with a request to help her illustrate her book, it seemed only natural to pick up a pencil and get to work.

Her sister was writing a book called Almost Sincerely. It was a comedic memoir that drew from their personal experiences growing up, and was set in their hometown right outside Sydney. Georgia enjoyed having an opportunity to sketch all of the details of the neighborhood she was raised in—including rows and rows of little houses. The design was simple and done in black-and-white. About halfway through her third chimney bedecked rooftop, it occurred to her that “These were actually pretty cute!”

She loved the nostalgia and found it to be a great way for her to explore her creative side when the client work at her day job got to be too much.

As time went by, Georgia began to look for ways to draw more homes. She’d put together sketches as birthday and Christmas presents, and eventually found herself inundated with requests from distant cousins and acquaintances. Georgia felt that if people were actively requesting them, perhaps there might be a larger market out there for her work!

To test it out, she made a two-page website using Squarespace, which she called Georgia Draws a House.

With the website ready and prices set, Georgia began to market her drawings. She used two channels to do this; word of mouth—which was already well underway thanks to her family and friends—and Instagram.

Georgia felt the visual nature of Instagram would give her the most bang for her buck with the limited time she had to spend on marketing around her job. She used graphic design focused hashtags in hopes of reaching a new audience.

These two channels quickly led to Georgia’s first sale. She admits that when she received that first order from a stranger—someone all the way on the other side of the country—she may have stalked them online for an hour or so to confirm that they truly did not have any connections at all. But eventually, she realized that it really was her first proper order … and she opened a bottle of Prosecco!

The more she posted, the more interest seemed to come her way. She’d get orders from people all over Australia as well as America and Europe and, eventually, Georgia Draws A House began getting featured in the Australian press which brought about even more sales.

In the first two years of her side hustle, Georgia earned around $6,000 in total. But, she decided to take the third year off from side hustling to focus on her career. She found it hard to work at a desk drawing all day, then come home and do exactly the same all over again.

Thankfully, though, Georgia has recently felt the desire to draw houses again. She’s partially driven by the creativity and enjoyment of the work, but she’d also love to use the income to help her save for a house of her own.

So far this year, she’s has brought in $6,140—more than her first two years in total. She wants to increase the monthly income so she can focus on Georgia Draws A House full-time, and use any cash left over to obtain a house of her own and perhaps even support a small branding studio.

Her favorite part of this project is seeing the reasons people order her sketches: to remember their mother they’ve lost, to celebrate the home where they had their first child, the pub where they met, or the family home they just sold. There is always an emotional reason behind it, and Georgia loves that she can play a part in bringing it to life.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Georgia Draws a House: Head on over to Georgia's website if you'd like a drawing of your own house!
  • Squarespace: The website building platform that Georgia used to create her website
  • Almost Sincerely: The book that inspired Georgia's love of sketching houses

SEE ALSO:

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

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"Only take on what you can manage, and don't hate yourself if you need to take a break!"
—Georgia Norton Lodge #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau