I’d like to introduce you to a fellow entrepreneur who just launched a new business. Please say hello to Maria Silvo. She kindly agreed to an interview and has shared so many wonderful tips for running a business that I know you’re going to learn a lot from her.
Budget Smart Girl (BSG)-Tell us about yourself and what prompted you to work from home.
Maria Silvo (MS)-I am a creative entrepreneur who stayed home since 2007 when my three kids then aged 2, 5, and 7 were better off with me taking care of them. In Canada, day care services is expensive, and so is hiring a nanny. Working to earn income that would just go towards paying for child care services didn’t make sense. Staying home did.
Raising a family 24/7 was no joke but on hindsight, it was the most fun, prolific, and memorable. It was also the most creative. We played, drew, colored, read books, wrote stories, baked, danced, and sung. At age 8, my youngest son wrote, illustrated, and published his first Kindle children’s book, Sam the Giver. My 10-year old daughter also published her first fan fiction Kindle book. I published The Unwanted Stone that my daughter illustrated and refined with Photoshop. My eldest son gave his inputs from a child’s point of view while also helping with coloring. We didn’t take publishing children’s books that seriously but it sure made us proud.
My children are now in their teens and family needs are growing. I had to help support the family. Working from home instead of getting a job as someone else’s employee is on the top of my list. I struggled to make it happen and after much work, I have achieved some milestones.
BSG-Tell us about your business and how it came about.
MS-I have been online for a long time, mostly browsing on just about anything and buying product after product on how to make money from home. It drained my financial resources at a time when I wasn’t earning that much.
In mid-2018, I happened to sign up to Angela Wills’ Laptop Lifestyle Club. How I came across her, I cannot recall exactly. I was dabbling in line art then and posted my designs in Kelly McCausey’s Solopreneur Facebook Group. I got colorful rave reviews as well as dozens of inquiry on how to buy my product. At that time, I had no product to sell, just pages of coloring designs. I had no website and had zero techie skills on running an online business.
It must have been coincidence or right timing that Angela Wills was launching her first bundle sale. Not a few members were starting from scratch and that added to my self-confidence. “If others can do it, why can’t I?” That was what I told myself. My start up quashed me but Angela supported us all the way through. From that event, I managed to put up my website, offer my first product, set up systems, build a list, and make money as an affiliate. It felt good.
That was in August 2018 when Fresh PLR Possibilities, my first real business venture, was born. In March 2020, I closed it down after a 9-month hiatus from a health-related concern. Also, issues related to running it in a third-party platform made that decision easy. I didn’t give up though. It was a well-planned move. In its place now stands Artsy Challenge that I am self-hosting in WordPress.
Why Artsy Challenge? To me, creating a product has always been a challenge. I have to battle my own fears and anxieties of not being artistic or creative enough and not good enough. Many products past, I have learned to shut off my inner critic. I create art work when I like, no matter what others think. Creating is what makes me happy.
My vision for Artsy Challenge is that it becomes a venue for people to find inspiration and free up their creative selves. I haven’t done much yet to realize this but I have my blueprint and I’m working on it. I know I’ll get there.
BSG-When are you most inspired to create?
MS-I am an impulsive creator, which is both a boon and a bane. My urge to create can come anytime, a major reason for many pending projects and products that haven’t yet seen the light of day.
Taming myself to stick to a structure is a struggle but I’m finding my own way.
BSG-What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about starting a business? Any tips you can give based on past mistakes?
MS-First, be clear on know what you want.
What business do you want to pursue?
Why do you want to be in this kind of business?
Who do you want to serve?
How will you serve them?
What will you offer them?
How will you run your business?
What resources do you have and need?
Where will you take your business years from now?
This is easier said than done. It takes a lot of self-awareness. Running an online business is, in many ways, unlike your brick-and-mortar store. A Ph.D. holder could fail a hundred times while a 9-year old or a high school dropout can succeed in a few tries. Yet, success is not impossible. If you’re just starting out, take this tip at heart.
Second, stick to what you decide on.
After deciding on what you want, stick to it. Skillful marketers abound online who can sway you in subtle ways. For years, I didn’t know what to do. I read amazing stories of people getting rich online. They amazed me. I followed them, bought their products, and tried to copy what they were teaching. Then I stumbled on another pretty thing and another. I got hooked in a vicious cycle without knowing what I was doing and where I’d end.
When I decided to stick to one thing, that’s when my business grew. Now, what I do is creating graphics products for the low content and private label rights market.
Third, focus on things that matter – one thing at a time.
I used to be good at multi-tasking but not anymore. I realized that focusing on a thing or two speeds me up. It’s also my way to counteract distractions. If I’m not careful, I can sucked by social media, free information, television, cellphone, and more. The demands of time with family household chores are no exception.
Guard your time from external elements. Guard it from yourself. Know what matters. Focus on them.
Fourth, invest wisely.
This is easy when you follow the first three tips. I had spent money that I had yet to earn for courses, books, memberships, graphics, video, apps, services, you name it! These days, I think hard before clicking the buy button. That’s because I now know what I want, what matters, and what I need to achieve it.
Fifth, make money even mastering a craft.
Be not afraid to sell what you’ve got. If you want to make money selling printables, go create printables, and sell them. If you want to sell PLR, study how it works, find out if you have a market for PLR product, create it, and sell. You don’t have to be a master of a craft or know the ins and out yet of the business. Learn and earn as you go. Just do it. Soon, you’ll get to your destination.
Fifth, be consistent.
It doesn’t matter how brilliant your idea is. If it’s a one-timer, it won’t get that far… unless it goes viral, right? But that dies down, too, without a follow-up. Even a simple idea, product, or solution, if done consistently, can turn to gold. Going slow at the onset is fine as there’s a learning curve to everything.
Abandoning before the ship takes off is defeatist. Being consistent not only makes you better at it, you also get great results. As Ovid, a Roman poet, said, “Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence.” (Caveat: Make sure that you’re in a business with a sure market. Otherwise, your consistent efforts would yield zero results.)
Sixth, rise up when you fail.
If you fail (and you most likely would), don’t beat yourself and give up. Instead, rise up. Before doing so, ask yourself:
Why did your business fail?
What went wrong?
And Maria has lots of great deals just for BSG.
Visit her main site using the following link and receive a free 60 Day Gratitude Journal
Visit the shop and get a 30% discount for anything in the store using the coupon code susanrocks. It’s good until August 31, 2020 and may be used 3 times by the same user.
And finally, Maria has a new product that launched just yesterday, July 27th and it’s her rose themed multi use bundle, so use the coupon code iloveroses.
In full disclosure, I’m an affiliate of Artsy Challenge and will get compensated when you use my link.