I am lucky to have Jessica Dunkle as this month’s mompreneur interviewee. Read on to hear about how Jessica diversifies her business by having multiple streams of income. She also has some great words of wisdom for mompreneurs who may find they over-compare themselves to others. She is truly an inspiration.
Tell us a little bit about your family
I started my Etsy store in August 2011. It was after a very rough pregnancy and the birth of our second son in March 2011. Prior to getting pregnant, I worked full time outside the home but after being put on bed rest in November 2010 I knew there were big changes ahead.
Our son was born with Gastroschisis, a medical condition that hospitalized him for 6 weeks at birth then many more times over the next few years. For this reason, it wasn’t practical for me to go back to work. I became a stay at home mom. I was very nervous having our home go from two incomes to just one. Starting to explore different home businesses, I knew I couldn’t do any of the parties or big meetings. And I stumbled upon Etsy.
I dabbled around for a little while just not able to commit the time needed. In 2013 our family had another big change. We moved across country, away from any family and friends. We were very excited for this adventure but didn’t realize how much it would impact our budget. We were again finding ourselves in a difficult financial situation and thought about sending me back to work. Then we found out we were expecting our third boy. That is when we made the decision for me to hit it hard on Etsy.
What is your current business?
I have a few streams of income. I make personalized clothing and accessories for any occasion. I have a passion for making children’s clothing and small business t-shirts. Recently, I have started partnering with a local children’s boutique in town and also a mommy and me eBay store!
I make party confetti on my Etsy store, as well. This was my first business, and I added the personalized clothing later. I also have a store on Amazon selling through their FBA program. I purchase toys from Target on clearance and then sell them on Amazon.
Why did you pick these?
I have loved having several streams of income! Each one provides flexibility for our family. As an example, we are moving this week. I’m actually sitting on the floor in our new house typing this as my office isn’t set up yet. Since I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get much work done this week, I was able to send in some extra items to our Amazon FBA program to continue receiving an income while we move. I was also able to increase my processing times for my customers by just a few days and still continue to get orders in. I do the same while we are on vacation!
What is a way that your business helps others?
I have a huge passion for ladies with small businesses! By making t-shirts for small businesses, I’m able to help them get quality t-shirts with the design they want at an affordable price. When they wear this shirt out and about, they are able to promote their brand. I’ve found that wearing your brand makes you better equipped to talk about your business. People ask about their services and they can get business that way. Also, I’ve had women tell me it makes them feel more legit and that makes them more confident. Confidence helps small businesses grow by leaps and bounds. It is amazing that a shirt can do that for someone and I am so proud to be able to provide that!
How does it allow you to grow and learn new skills?
This may sound crazy as I primarily work online but I don’t consider myself to be technology savvy – at all. In fact, I had to call my mom last week to help me book a plane ticket! But, I am committed to learning something new each week and writing it down. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m learning or growing much but when I look back in my journal, I can’t believe how much I’ve learned and grown even in the last few months. Forgetting where you were at is a big reason many people don’t feel like they are gaining traction but being able to look back at my journal has been invaluable and has kept me going.
What is your biggest challenge?
As with many entrepreneurs, my biggest challenge is to focus on the task at hand. I’ve always got big ideas swirling around and am always trying something new. J Focusing on one thing before moving onto the next is something I’ve been working on this year.
With small children at home, how do you make time for it all?
I don’t! Hahaha. But I try to prioritize my list of things to do the night before and jump on my list first thing in the morning. Eating my biggest frogs first means I am making sure to do the thing that impacts my business most instead of doing small tasks that are just time wasters or may not be as important. I am also most productive in the morning so by the time the evening rolls around, I can do things like check my inventory, print off some more business cards or do a quick pick up of my office – activities that don’t require me to be at my peak performance level.
Tell us your favorite or most popular product.
My most popular product is the crown confetti right now. With hundreds sold, I sell this three times more than any other item in my shop.
Anything else you want to tell us?
It is so easy to compare ourselves to people online and thing we aren’t good enough. I am in a small business group with some pretty amazing ladies! And I’d be lying if I said I had never envied some of them. People doing direct sales, working with clients out of their home, doing Etsy or Amazon FBA and don’t even get me started on all of the bloggers! I tried blogging and never really understood how. Bloggers intrigue me.
But I have to remember that none of them are in the same place and the same daily situations that I have in life right now. Yes, as moms and entrepreneurs, we do connect that way but so much goes on behind the scenes of our lives that there is no way for me to know who is doing what.
Take a step back and realize what we are doing here. You wouldn’t go past a company with a huge building and cry out, “Why are they doing so much more than me! What have they got that I don’t?!” That would just be crazy. You’d be able to see that they have many employees! So why do we compare ourselves to people we can’t see. We don’t know the hardships they have been through to get to this point or know what support system they have behind them. We don’t know their full story. We should be looking at other ladies and learning from them. But don’t ever compare yourself to them. Be the best you that you can be!
Jessica can be found at her Bits n Pieces Shoppe on Etsy.
This post is linked up at Sharing Saturday.