On Going From A DIY Hobby To Full Time Career

Published: May 5th, 2020
Lindsay Eidahl
from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
started April 2013
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I have been married to my DIY sidekick, Matt for 20 years. We also have two amazing kids. In the beginning of our marriage, we didn’t have a large budget to spend on new items for our first home. The smaller budget pushed me to get creative. I was determined to figure out a way to get the same look of the expensive décor and furnishings I loved, for a lot less.

Our DIY projects and the way we were decorating got a lot of attention from family and friends. The attention pushed me to start my website, My Creative Days. The website allowed me to share our projects, ideas, tips and decor. It started as a hobby, but quickly became a full-time career for me. The budget-friendly projects are still going strong and we have added flip houses to our resume. My website and social channels have grown so much and now include organization, food, recipes, travel, entertaining and much more!


What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship

I have worked with kids since I was 11. I had my own babysitting business and started nannying for different families in high school and college. In college, I majored in child psychology, but after an internship, I found out that I would not be able to do that job the rest of my life. After I graduated college, I took a preschool and childcare director position. It was what I knew. It was what I was good at. It came easy to me. Working with kids is one of my favorite things to do. It came natural to me.

Matt and I got married in 2000 and welcomed our son in 2003. I went to a part-time schedule at the preschool and then, we welcomed our daughter in 2005. After that, I felt the pull to stay at home to raise our kids. Before we made the final decision, Matt and I had numerous conversations about living off one income. We went through every detail and knew what we would have to sacrifice for me to be at home with our kids. After being home for some time, friends started calling and asking if I would watch their kids for a couple hours here and there. That turned into full-time childcare in our home for a small group of kids for almost 10 years. It was not the plan, but it worked great for us through those years.

While I was home raising our kids and watching the other kids, my love for decorating our home on a budget was still strong. My decorating and our DIY projects got a lot of attention from family and friends. They were also asking how we did things, how we saved so much money, and how I came up with my ideas. They kept telling me that I needed to get my ideas “out there”. I didn’t know what that meant and they weren’t sure either, but they said I needed to be sharing my ideas with more people.

Then, one day, I started reading a coupon blog. A light bulb went off. I could get my ideas “out there” with a blog. That way, my family and friends could see all the projects we are working on and learn how we are doing things around the house.

So, My Creative Days was born. I had no clue what I was doing but quickly fell in love with it. I was hooked from the beginning. I wanted to learn all I could so I could get better at it. I spent every nap time, nights and weekends working on it.

When I started the website, I had no idea that I could make money. I didn’t start it to make money. I was doing it to share my ideas and projects. There came a point in my journey that I learned that I could earn an income and things started changing.

Fast forward a couple of years and I got to the point where I couldn’t keep up with the full-time childcare and what had become a full-time job with my blog and still be present with my family. I had to make a choice. I was earning more income with my blog than the childcare and I wanted to see where I could take it and see what it could become. After weeks of thinking, talking it over with Matt, and crying, I decided to quit the childcare and jump into this new adventure with both feet. It was the scariest and most rewarding decision I have ever made.

Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?

Through a lot of work. I put all of my time and effort into this thing. I am not a technical person.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Say yes to things that are scary. Say yes to things you have never done before. Those are doors just waiting for you to open. That is an opportunity to call for you.

I didn’t have a social media channel of any sort (not even personal accounts), so I had a lot to learn. That didn’t stop me though. I loved what I was doing and wanted to learn anything and everything I could.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

This is my full-time job with a full-time income. I am still learning every day. I am trying new things all the time and learning new ways to create more content.

One of my favorite things about this business is that there are endless ways to earn an income. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all business. The sky's the limit.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

My first piece of advice I give to anyone who is thinking about doing this is that you shouldn’t start it for the money. You aren’t guaranteed income and the income isn’t instant. The money doesn’t come for a few years and if you don’t love what you are doing, you will get burned out fast. Start it because you love it.

This is hard work. I think there is a misconception that it is easy. There are many hours spent behind the scenes that no one sees and no one really talks about. It is hard work and work that you have to be consistent with if you want to see success.

A big component of what I do is social media. Social media is one of the most frustrating parts of what I do. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but algorithms change all the time and having to navigate that and change things all the time is not fun. A social media presence is essential to what I do and it has many positive things about it, but it is one of the most frustrating parts. If I were to start all over again, I would put a lot of focus on building an email list. That is a list you can control. An email list ensures you can keep in contact with your “tribe’ – the people you are trying to serve.

Another big tip I would like to share is to never compare your journey to someone else’s. Your beginning is going to look nothing like their middle or even end the journey.

Find a mentor. Find someone or a group who is in the same boat or who has done what you want to do. Having someone who understands the lingo and what you are doing is essential. If you get to the point that you can hire some things out, do it. Hire the things that you don’t love doing or that you aren’t very good at. Partner and collaborate with others in your industry. Never stop learning. This is a career where the learning never stops and just when you think you understand something, a new thing will come out or it will all change. Be flexible. Be open to it and embrace the journey.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

My favorite tools are my VA’s. 😊 My virtual assistants keep my ship afloat. If you can hire some tasks out that you don’t love to do, do it. That way, you can concentrate on the areas of your business that only you can do.

My VA’s do all kinds of tasks: schedule Facebook, design work, handle the tech side of the site, formulate emails and newsletters, FB groups, schedule Pinterest, etc.

We use MailerLite for newsletters, Tailwind for Pinterest, we schedule all posts on Facebook’s scheduler. I have a Wordpress site where one of my VA’s installs different plug-ins and things to make it run smoothly.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I am constantly consuming information about what I do. I love to read and I love to listen to podcasts. My biggest tip here is that you don’t have to consume information from people who are in the same industry. Consume information from people who are successful in what they are doing and from people who are where you would like to be – no matter the industry.

A few podcasts I love to listen to are: The Jennifer Allwood Show, Ed Mylett, Goal Digger, Marketing Your Business. I have also read numerous business books and many personal development books. Again, don’t just consume information on your exact industry. Personal development books are so good for business and so good for you personally.

REMEMBER: Consume books and podcasts for pleasure too. I don’t like the “hustle all hours of the day” attitude. That isn’t what we were born to do and it is something that is impossible to keep up with. You will get burned out fast with that pace. Read books just for the fun of it and listen to podcasts that entertain you. I don’t think balance is something that we should strive for because something will always be off-balance, but balance work and pleasure when you can. You will be happier for it.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Just start! If not now, when?

I think that a lot of people (me included) overthink and overanalyze too much. That is what stalled me for a long time. Then, I literally had to jump in with both feet. If I didn’t do that, I would have never known and would have regretted it. You will never know everything before you start anything. You will learn as you go. Another thing about being an entrepreneur and doing what you love is that you will want to learn as much as you can. You will want to do better and know better throughout the entire journey. I am still learning something new every day. In fact, I don’t think it is a successful day until I have learned something new. I still take courses and join membership groups and reach out to people who have gone before me to gain more knowledge.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Say yes to things that are scary. Say yes to things you have never done before. Those are doors just waiting for you to open. That is an opportunity to call for you.

I never want to look back at my life and regret that I didn’t try something because I was afraid I would fail. Failure is just a stepping-stone in the learning process. I have failed many times but have learned something new each time, so it never seems like a failure. If you don’t think failure will be a part of the process, I encourage you to go back to the drawing board and get clear on what your goals are. Your goals are something you haven’t done before so how do you know what the journey will look like? You must treat this as an adventure. One that will give you bumps and bruises along the way, but one that is going to reward you in so many ways you didn’t see coming. Buckle up and get ready for the ride.

Where can we go to learn more?