This month, I have reached out to several creative business owners to do a blog interview because I enjoy learning and discovering about how other creative business owners build their businesses. These are people that I know, admire, and I absolutely love their work. They are also successful at what they do.
So in the coming weeks, I am looking forward to sharing these interviews with you because I believe we can all learn from those who are more successful than us in building our creative businesses. And who knows, you might find inspiration, ideas or get a gold nugget or two for your own creative business 😉
For the first interview, I have asked my friend, Cecilie and she has kindly agreed to do this blog interview. And for Cecilie, she has built her business with bundles.
I hope you will enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you.
How Cecilie Built Her Online Business with Bundles
Please introduce yourself, your business and what your business is about.
Hi, my name is Cecilie and my business is called the Rippling Wings. I help people go from newbies to successful businesses, despite health issues, while avoiding overwhelm and burnout.
I’m a mom to 3 children with diagnosis, I’m suffering from anxiety, depression and PTSD, and I’ve used these health issues as a springboard to success, instead of letting them push me down. I’ve been self-employed, running different online businesses since 2009, and all of my learnings have created a path, where I now make a sustainable living from the comfort of my home.
What inspired you to start your own creative business?
I started my own creative business as a result of hitting the “burnout” wall hard back in October 2008, due to high workload, commute and 3 children with disabilities. I had to turn things completely around, so that’s why I turned to the internet. First I started an innovative fabric shop in Norway, the first of its kind, where I created my own pattern designs and sold them by the yard – and by bolts – to both B2C and B2B. Due to health issues I had to close that shop in 2013, and from there I moved on to digital products and coaching (first for moms to children with special needs, and then to small business owners).
If you’re looking into starting your own creative business, check out these 7 best FREE printables for your life and business.
How do you stay motivated and focused as a solo-entrepreneur?
For all small business owners, staying motivated and focused is hard at times. But I try to keep my eyes on the price, which is more financial freedom. My kids are grown ups now, so these days it’s easier than it was just a few years back. But the financial freedom has made it easier for me to contribute financially towards their education, and that’s something that’s been very important to me. Another bi-product of staying motivated and focused is the fact that I get to help as many people as possible to start and grow their own online businesses.
Can you share any tips for managing time and staying organized in your business?
Managing time and staying organized is essential if you want to run any business. And the only way to keep your head above water is by scheduling it all. I put everything on my iphone calendar. And I have it synchronized with my Mac. Every meeting, everything that needs to be completed. And I set the deadline a couple of days early, just in case life happens – which it often does. Being my own boss for 14 years has taught me that if it’s not written down, it won’t get prioritized. So even holidays, birthdays (of course) and nights out with my husband are scheduled. This doesn’t mean I’m not spontaneous, sometimes we decide on Friday morning that we’ll go away for the weekend, but I still schedule it in (this way people won’t be able to book a call with me during the weekend).
How do you balance the creative side of your work with the business side, such as finances and marketing
Creativeness, finances and marketing go hand in hand. I have an economics degree, but the first years of my online businesses, I got into so much debt that I nearly lost my house and my marriage. Due to these happenings, I had to let go of the “yet another shiny object I might need to become successful” mindset. Because you don’t need all the stuff you think you need. I now have a bank account only for my business, and I also use an app to track absolutely every $ I make. I set monthly goals, and analyze what worked and didn’t work the month after.
Can you discuss any challenges you’ve faced in running a small creative business, and how you overcame them?
When I first started my online business, I thought that I needed a lot of followers on social media to make sales. Turns out that’s the worst advice I ever got. But since this was what I did the first years (growing my sm followers), one of my main struggles has been to build my list. I found though that a great way to grow it was by hosting – and participating – in bundles. So every month I’m participating in at least one bundle, and several times a year, I host my own bundles – both paid and free.
How do you stay up-to-date with industry trends and changes as a solo-entrepreneur?
It’s so easy to be caught up in “should’ve” and “could’ve”, but I still try to put in some time on Etsy and Pinterest to see what’s trending. That said – you can’t be everywhere all the time, and I’m kind of always creating something, not always trending at that time. But as an entrepreneur you need to think about Christmas in the Spring, because people start looking for resources for holidays and seasons 3-4 months before it happens. Which means I need to sell my themed products to resellers at least 6 months ahead of the season or holiday.
Can you tell us about a particularly successful project or projects you’ve completed on your own? You can also share your successes that you have achieved in your business.
When I first started in the online world, I taught myself HTML, which means I’ve been building all of my websites from scratch, all the way back to 2008. This has now given me the possibility to build websites for others, and demand high prices for them. The $20K product I’m launching later this summer is a direct result of 14 years of trial and error using HTML.
How do you price your creative work, products and services as a solo-entrepreneur?
I price my creative work at around the same price as others in my niche, but for the business coaching and website services, I probably charge a bit more than others. Those prices reflect the hours I put in to help people get the results I promise them. So looking at an hourly rate, I pretty much end up at a lower price than others, because I give people more value in terms of discounted resources (like free hosting, free premium Divi Theme for websites) in my packages than others do.
How do you market and promote your business without a large team or budget?
I have a monthly ad budget of $60. That’s a fee I pay to be part of a specific bundle, that gives me more high-end leads. By high-end I mean more established businesses that are willing to pay more for business advice. By contributing one of my products to bundles, I give away value, but I wouldn’t sell as many products as signups I get, so it’s not like I lose that income. And I usually make sales from the tripwire offer I have for each product.
Can you share any lessons you’ve learned about building a strong brand as a solo-entrepreneur?
To build a strong brand as a solo-entrepreneur you need to remember that YOU are your brand. In good times and bad times, and you need to honor that. Transparency is key. People will understand why you might be absent, if they know what you’re going through. Don’t promise things you can’t deliver. Don’t tell lies about others in your niche. And remember that your customers and JV partners are the most valuable asset you have in your business. And the niche you’re in is not bigger than that if you screw up, everyone will know.
How do you handle client/customer relationships and communication as a small business owner?
Replying to customers is essential. Or not only to customers, but everyone that writes to you. Because they can be future customers or collaboration partners. I always try to answer all emails within 24 hours. I also think that the customer is always right, so if they feel badly treated, I compensate them by giving them extra – although I might not have done anything “wrong”.
How do you balance work and personal life as a solo-entrepreneur?
Work and personal life as a solo-entrepreneur kind of blend together, but that’s because I’m now in a position, with grown up kids, where I can work whenever I want. When the kids were younger, I had to put in the hours when they were at school. So these days I literally work from my couch since my husband works late nights at his job.
Can you tell us about a time when you had to take a risk in your business, and how it paid off?
After I took on all that debt in the early years of my online business, I haven’t taken any major risks, I kind of learned my lesson. So I don’t take risks if I’m not 95% sure that it will pay off in a positive way. This doesn’t mean I don’t spend money. My biggest investment so far in 2023 is a mentoring program of $7.5K. I know the mentor personally, so for me it wasn’t that big of a risk, but it’s a big investment, and I totally get that it’s not for everyone.
How do you connect and build relationships within your niche as a solo-entrepreneur?
I build relationships online by being honest, vulnerable and sharing huge pieces from my offline life too – and not always selling stuff (neither my own or affiliate products).
Can you share any advice you’ve received that has helped shape your approach to running your small creative business?
The best advice I’ve gotten is: “Believe that you can, and you can. Believe that you can’t, and you won’t”. In the end it’s just a mindset shift. If you don’t believe in yourself, your product(s) and your ability – why should anyone else believe you?
How do you measure success in your business as a small creative business owner?
Success to me is when people come back and buy more of my products, or reach out to me, asking me to contribute to something they’re putting together. So whenever either of those happens, I feel I’ve succeeded.
Can you discuss any challenges you’ve faced with scaling your business as a solo-entrepreneur?
When it comes to scaling my business, time is always a challenge – I have too many ideas that I want to get “out” to the world.
How do you stay motivated and inspired to continue growing your business as a small creative business owner?
I love running an online business. I’m multi-passionate, so the thought of growing my business is something that lights me up. Whether it’s new courses, new masterminds, new PLR products or digital planners and printables. I think I must have at least 100 new ideas in my head all the time. But of course, if no one bought my products, I would not feel the inspiration at all times, so number of sales absolutely affects my creativity.
Can you share any future goals or plans you have for your small creative business?
My main goal has been and will always be that I want to help as many potential business owners, and small businesses as possible, to grow to a level that will bring in money, so that they can feel financial independence and freedom.
I’m using my unique 3CC implementation system to help people go from newbies to successful entrepreneurs, despite health issues, all while avoiding overwhelm and burnout. I’m teaching this inside my membership, where you can get access to a unique path to create your business, there’s courses and planners, and there’s products with commercial license(which means you can resell them as your own). This membership is only open for enrolment 3 days each month.
As a natural progress, I also got a mastermind program where my aim is to double your income in 6 months. And I’m launching my first $20K product later this summer. This means that when August comes, I can help you build and grow your business, ranging from products with commercial rights that you can download for free, all the way up to a $20K product. And by spreading out like this, I’m able to reach more people, giving them what they need, right where they are at their journey.
Can you discuss any tools or resources that have been helpful in growing your business on your own?
During 14 years in the online business industry I’ve tried a lot of different platforms, plugins, hostings and email service (EMS) providers. Now in 2023 I only use ConvertKit, Thrivecart, WordPress and Divi Theme. I build my websites on WordPress using the premium Divi theme. And for all sales, affiliate marketing and bundles, I use Thrivecart. I have bought lifetime access to these, so I don’t have any costs to run my business, except for hosting, domain and EMS.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your niche?
It will take some time, but I promise that if you stay in the game, you will start making sales, and you will grow your list. Don’t underestimate the value of your products – you have a unique gift and touch to your products and services that no one else has.
Name a product you like to recommend to others
Here’s a product I like to recommend: Fairytale Forest at Night Digital Planner.
To be an affiliate to Cecilie’s products, click here.
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