January tends to make people think about themselves. Many make resolutions. Some want to eat healthier, be more active or have better control over their finances.
I’ve never really been one to wait until a certain date to make important changes, but decided that the timing this year was right for us.
It was time to figure out a way to help out our family financially.
Becoming a single income family
After we had our first child, I extended my parental leave by an extra 6 months (to 15 months total). Preparing for that short period of time was possible and did not really need much planning. When I returned to work full time while pregnant with our second child, we decided that paying for both kids to be in daycare just did not make sense for us.
We decided that I would leave my job as a full time junior high teacher to stay home with the kids, which had always been my wish growing up. It was never supposed to be a permanent thing.
My intention was to go back when all the children were in school, but when my son turned 2, I started substitute teaching a couple days a month. This got me out of the house and gave us a bit of extra money in our pockets to help pay for big projects in our home.
Imagine our surprise when we found out we are pregnant with our third child. My “stay at home” timeline suddenly got extended by several years.
I’m presently trying to substitute teach as much as I can leading up to this birth to put a bit of money aside, but I definitely want to figure out something else that I can do until I can start substituting again (well over a year from now).
Direct Sales? Childcare?
I was asked by a couple different people if I wanted to help them sell different products. From beauty products to oils to Tupperware, I was given the chance to embark in the “Direct Sales” world.
I have some friends that are very successful with it, to the point of making five-figure incomes, but none of that had any interest for me.
I toyed with the thought of caring for other children but realized that it would take away a lot of flexibility in our regular “coming and going”. I enjoy being able to pack up the children and heading out a couple hours away to a cottage. That would be very hard to do if we had to juggle the schedules of other families as well.
I wanted to find something that I could do regardless of where I was.
I took up crochet 3 years ago simply as something fun to do.
I wanted to make warm fuzzy slippers instead of going out to buy them and loved the look of handmade blankets.
One year, I decided that I’d make plenty of afghans, scarves, and hats for friends and family instead of going to a store and buying Christmas gifts. As the years went on, my technique got better and better. I can take old projects, take them apart and fix them into something spectacular.
Now, the time I spend making something instead of mindlessly surfing through social media is quite therapeutic. I have close to 100 balls of yarn that I acquired when it was on super sale or that was handed down to me so I asked myself “Why not use all this yarn and try selling some of my creations?”
I tried posting in a couple facebook “buy/sell” groups but with no real luck. I had some online friends suggest an etsy shop.
I looked into it quickly and since it involves having to pay to list items, I shrugged it off. But then over the holidays, when the grand majority of people are thinking of things they’d like to do to “better themselves” in the new year, I decided I had to do a bit more thinking.
There are very few options that would allow me to list something and not need to keep posting and bumping to stay near the top of the very long list of people trying to sell stuff. I wanted to be where people go to find for exactly what I have to offer. Something easy to share.
Opening my Etsy shop
I considered Etsy a bit more and with help from my friend Emily, was able to use a referral code and get 40 free listings to start my shop!
I was able to add just a couple items to get the shop officially “opened”. I have more items to finish up so I can post them as well. I’m glad I’ve taken pictures of my big projects that I’ve gifted away, since I am able to add some down as “Made to order” while others I have to they can be purchased and shipped right away.
It is very limited right now, but now that the holidays are over and schedules are getting back to normal, I’ll be able to work out the details like “shipping” and “proper descriptions”.
Making a tough decision
It’s a huge work in progress but I believe that in the end, I can turn my passion into an advantage for my family and that is always worth trying. If I do not sell a single item and decide to donate them to a local charity and I would still be ok with that.
Maybe it would sting a little, but at least I tried and I still spent many hours doing something that I love. Ultimately, that is the most important aspect to consider.
Nobody wants to juggle a household and a bunch of children and be stuck with a bunch of products that I truly did not want to get involved with selling in the first place.
If there is anything you enjoy doing that can possibly help generate even a tiny bit of income to help your family, it may be worth exploring.
Hi! I’m Natalie.
I’m a navy wife and mother to 2 wonderful kids with another on the way. When I’m not running or crocheting, I’m trying to figure out the best way to organize our crazy life all while trying to remain calm and feeding everyone real food. I blog at Becoming Granola, and you can find me on Facebook too.