Creating an income at home with a chronic illness my etsy shop

My Etsy Store: Creating an Income at Home with Chronic Illness and Kids

Since I learnt that working full time was not conducive to maintaining my health I have dabbled with part time work of varying hours and freelancing. Since I was put off work sick with pelvis issues at 23 weeks pregnant in 2018, I’ve begun looking for potential income generating options that I can physically maintain with three small children.
Creating an income at home with a chronic illness my etsy shop

My Etsy store

I opened my Etsy store originally as a way to share my products for fighting fibromyalgia.
My journey has been all topsy turvy and not at all planned. It sprung from realizing that I enjoy designing templates and printable images.
See this handy article on how to set up a store.
Then I began playing with templates, then affirmations, then planners, then printable art
I started to research how to make a successful Etsy store. I love the Fuzzy and Birch blog for tips on making your store successful.

In brief what you need to make a successful etsy store:

  • Good images
  • SEO for keywords in tags and product descriptions
  • At least 20 items
  • Free marketing
  • Shop updates

Tools I use for my etsy store:

  • PowerPoint
  • Canva
  • Etsy app
  • Marmalead
  • Pinterest
The broad categories I created
my scripture designs for my etsy storePlanning for wellness printables from my etsy storeMotivational and affirmations from my etsy storeplanning printables in my etsy store
The beauty of my Etsy store is that most of the work is done once I create the listing. So once I have my baby, the store can keep ticking over provided I continue my marketing measures. The product is automatically delivered upon payment so the process doesn’t tend to include me. This is the much coveted passive income people talk of so much. Much work done upfront with little (but definitely required) ongoing work.

My home office

My home office is in the landing of the junction of three parts of our house. There is a built in desk with shelves.
My other office is my lounge chair with my phone. Smartphones are an amazing invention for chronic illness and mama digital creators!

How I manage my etsy store, pelvis issues and small children:

  • I work in tiny increments
  • Alternate between computer and phone
  • Ideas go into Evernote
  • I design in PowerPoint on the computer
  • At some point I also use the computer to make the listing images, research keywords for the listing and actually create the listing
  • At another point, using my phone I promote and share listings
  • If I’m feeling particularly sore, fatigued or have my boys home alone all day I might not get anything done.
Side note: I will not be making my fortune off this. I create products I genuinely use or would use myself. I keep my prices at the affordable end. Ultimately I enjoy it and am learning transferable skills for when I reenter the workforce and any income earned will help us out in the meantime.
Business notes
I already had a company setup from freelancing prior to my last job and I have basic bookkeeping knowledge so the business side of things is less of a learning curve for me, but I still had to research sales tax on digital sales etc. carefully. Make sure you don’t get caught out. Create spreadsheets from the beginning tracking income and expenses and document your business practices as if it was a brick and mortar store. Then at year end it won’t be so tricky to go through it with your accountant.

Where my Etsy store is at now:

As at the end of September 2018 I made two sales which covered all of the listing fees of all my new products loaded that month. So anything I sold in October was for a profit (after Etsy’s cut). So that was pretty exciting.
I then loaded a few coffee art prints and scripture prints – which I had loads of fun designing – during October to see if that was a direction my store could take. It’s all about playing and having fun at the moment.
A serious note re creating products – adhere to copyright, use your own images and words or ensure they are free for commercial use (or pay for this license). I am paying for nothing that isn’t necessary until I have made more than I have invested so free is good.
A sneak peak at my next few products going up (yes, I am obsessed with coffee):

Coffee printable art work in MelissavFibromyalgia etsy store

I’d love to hear anything you do to create a side income as a chronic illness fighter.
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Have you Considered Becoming a Fibromyalgia Blogger? How To Do It.

Did you know that my blog got started as simply as me posting diary-like updates while I was pregnant with my first baby and feeling miserably sore and alone?

Once I completed the pregnancy, I began formulating what I had learnt into tips. By my second pregnancy I had hit my stride and utilised my own tips and began gathering the resources that now find their home in the free resources pages.

I wonder if you have considered sharing your unique perspective about fighting Fibromyalgia (or chronic pain, fatigue, xx symptom)? I thought I would share this post about what I did and some resources that might help you if you had though about it but didn’t know where to begin.

Have you Considered Becoming a Fibromyalgia Blogger_

Please note that some of my links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using my link, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. It all supports me running this blog.  

The Tech Stuff

I started my blog on WordPress.com the free version. After a while, reading a lot of advice that we need to be self-hosted, I chose a hosting company and transferred to WordPress.org. Well, I ended up hacked, lost my information and having to fight with the company for automatically charging my credit card three times the amount they had charged for the first year. I am now back on WordPress.com and pay for the personal plan. It’s worth it to me to not have that stress. Plus I don’t have a lot of extra money lying around, so I run my blog on the smell of an oily rag.

I pay WordPress.com a small annual fee. I pay Amazon a percentage of royalties on my books, Etsy (digital products) and Teachable (courses) take a cut from sales. So for my products, I don’t pay much upfront.

How to Start a Blog

If you want a free course on how to start a blog from the bottom up, see this free one by Michelle from Making Sense of Cents. Do also browse through her archives, she has a lot of good content.

If you want to learn about making digital products and an Etsy shop, I love Paper and Oats. Great content, free products and eCourses to get you started and products you can buy later to take the learning further.

Kenz Soliman has a cool blog, YouTube channel and free course about blogging and passive income. I enjoy her content.

A Blog I’ve Been Following for a While

I like Caroline Vencil. She talks blogging, side hustles, budgeting and making money. This link is to her whole shop which has a selection of paid and free options. I particularly like 10 Steps to Start a Profitable Blog.

The Blog Structure Blueprint, Goal Setting Workbook for Bloggers and 7 Tips to Boost Your Income Overnight are all free.

This blogging bundle is for those who are ready for the next level with their blog.

how to be a chronic blogger, blogging with fibromyalgiaa

Blogging for Those with Chronic Illness

I have done everything bit by bit over five years, as my health has allowed. Don’t be afraid to start small. Don’t be afraid to do it a little at a time.

Here’s my blog post process:

  1. Idea into Evernote
  2. Flesh it out when I have the time and energy
  3. Load it into WordPress, format
  4. Create an image for it (or ask my brother, when I wasn’t able to use the computer as much)
  5. Set it to post
  6. Share it on social media

Please don’t think that because you can’t sit at the computer for hours and hours that your story shouldn’t be heard. I’d like to hear your story.

It was only as the Low Dose Naltrexone started helping at the end of last year that I was able to start making my images myself (on Canva), put my book together, create templates and open my Etsy store. Even now it is a constant cost vs benefit analysis as to where to expend my energy: content creation, learning about marketing ideas and utilising Pinterest properly, posting on Pinterest, coordinating my Facebook group, etc etc. I just put one foot in front of the other and do what I can when I can.

My Resources

Below are the resources I have created, in the order that I created them.

My blog posts (over 180 now)

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Resource Page – this finally looks how I envisioned it, but I really had to do one step at a time.

What I Offer Page – which includes my free library of resources and printables.

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia book – published first in November 2017 and updated March 2018.

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia – written slowly over five years!

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia course

You vs Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge FREE Micro Course.

Etsy Shop with printables, templates, micro courses and workbooks.

Please do let me know in the comments if you start a blog, or if you already have one – I’d love to come visit and say hi!


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