Sidehustling a graphic design business
Sidehustling a design biz & selling products online with TCC designer @sarahynesdesigns
Sara Hynes of Sara Hynes Designs is a graphic designer and we talk about branding, running an Etsy Shop, where inspiration comes from, graphic design, running a side hustle, starting an LLC and more!
Sarah designed the TCC mugs which you can buy at www.twincitiescollective.com/shop
Jenna Redfield is the leader of the Twin Cities Collective, the largest resource in the Twin Cities for bloggers, small business, entrepreneurs & creatives. She is a well known speaker, educator & social media strategist. You can work with her one on one with coaching and content creation (photo/video) services
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Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 0:00
Thank you for listening to the Twin Cities collective podcast conversations with creatives. Each week we will be interviewing creatives, small business owners, entrepreneurs and bloggers in the Twin Cities and learn more about them and their businesses. So sit back, relax and enjoy this episode of the podcast. Let's get started. This week's episode of the podcast is brought to you by Jenna brand photography and video. Do you need a custom brand photos or video for your business? Go to Jenna read for the signs calm To learn more, thanks to this week's sponsor, and we'll get right back to the podcast. Hey, everyone, so a few quick updates for the Twin Cities collective just wanted to give a shout out to everyone that follows us on Instagram. We just hit 4000 followers this week. So it's very, very exciting. Time for us here at the Twin Cities collective. We have a lot of stuff happening in the next few weeks with mastermind starting soon. If you're still interested in joining that will be closing April 1. So make sure to join our Facebook group, as well as go to our get involved page on our website to learn more about masterminds we are still looking for we're a few leaders. So make sure to fill out the form if you're interested. Our meetup was so fun on Tuesday, we will hopefully be having another meetup very soon. I think that's it for all the announcements for this week. This week. I'm interviewing Sarah Hines, she runs Sarah Hines designs, which is an amazing Etsy shop where she sells mugs. She sells all sorts of graphic stuff. And she actually just redid my logo. So if you go to general designs.com you will see my new logo is designed by Sarah. She's very, very talented. So I wanted to have her on the podcast. It's a really, really good podcast. I thought it turned out really great. We've talked a lot about branding. We talked a lot about the side hustling if you're a side hustler, we talked about when to actually go full time in your business, when to have an LLC made all that stuff. It's really, really packed full of interesting content. So I'm hoping you guys enjoy. Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the Twin Cities collective podcast conversations with creatives. And this is episode number five. I'm very excited to introduce our guest today and her name is Sarah and we recently connected on Instagram and we met in person at one of the meetups I go to. She's a graphic designer at Sarah Hinds design. And she has an Etsy shop where she sells mugs which I actually have one and a few other items. So welcome, Sarah.
Sara Hynes 2:15
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 2:16
I'm so excited that you're here. Is this your first podcast?
Sara Hynes 2:19
It is a little nervous. It's all
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 2:21
right. It's it's the first one I recorded wasn't the first one I'd ever done ever. Like I'd never been a guest I had never, you know hosted so it's kind of exciting for me. So do you want to give a little bit of intro about who you are and all that stuff?
Sara Hynes 2:35
Sure. Um, so I'm Sarah, I have a graphic designer, I own my own business. But I also work as a graphic designer at a company called travel takes. So we produce and manufacture gift cards for different companies all over, we even have a hub in France. So I get to work on a lot of different materials for that. And then I've been working I've had having my Etsy shop open since 2013. So I started when I was in college, was kind of in my free time school projects, anything that I kind of thought was fun putting out there. And then when I graduated college, I really sat down and decided that this was something that I wanted to invest some time in. And so I want to say about a year, year and a half ago, I took it really seriously and started making it I establish an LLC and took it to the next level and decided that this is something that I really care about. It's not just something I'm going to do for fun anymore. So
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 3:33
So what was that deciding point for you when you decided to take it more seriously.
Sara Hynes 3:38
Um, I really think that I see my freelance work as people come to me because they like what I do, and that I get to be, have total creative freedom. And they come to me because they trust me. And I thought that that was so special. Because I love my corporate job. And I love the corporate world. I've had a handful of jobs in the corporate design world, and I love it. It's very different every day, but clients don't come to you because they love what you do. You get to do what they want to do. Yeah. And so this was my way of being able to start it as a creative outlet. And then it just kind of like like Bob Oh my gosh, like people love what I do. And that's exciting. So that I extended on their just being able to design and do what I wanted to do and love it and then be able to profit from that was just a bonus.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 4:26
Yeah, for sure. So how do you come up with your ideas for your designs? Like, is it based off of customer recommendations or what they want? Or is it kind of your vision and your what you want to do?
Sara Hynes 4:38
It's both. Every once in a while someone will message me on Etsy and say, Hey, I really love your style, but you don't have X, Y, and Z. And I'll let it all either hire them as a personal client, like one on one or all consult them and say, Hey, I'm not really, really have the bandwidth right now. I'll let it marinate and then maybe I'll get something up in the shop soon. And then I'll re contact them and let them know that I have to something out there. That was more of what they're looking at. But most of the time, I'm just I'll see a funny quote, or I'll see something that I really loved the style. And I could just go off of that I get a lot of inspiration from Instagram and interests and be hands and just in general being around in the world, especially in Minnesota. Such a pretty place. Yeah, inspiration anywhere. I get a lot of inspiration from being in Minnesota.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 5:26
Yeah, a lot of your designs are about Minnesota, which I think is kind of the mug that I got was a Minnesota mug. So yes, it's like you might as well buy one from someone that lives in the 10 cities rather than like someone that solves every state, you know,
Sara Hynes 5:40
yes. I love because I was I went to college in Florida Oh, sick when I lived there. I lived there for five and a half. Minnesota so that really drove my love and realize like open my eyes to all the things that Minnesota has to offer that other states don't. And it really kind of grew out to an inspiration for something like Minnesota specific mode designs for sure.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 6:06
So with the Etsy shop, what else besides mugs Do you sell? I do sell prints and what what kind of things do you sell in the shop?
Sara Hynes 6:15
I mainly do mugs just because I think there's so much have an addiction. Yeah, so secretly make them all for myself, but then I sell them to other people. And then I have business cards designs, I have some stationery design. So I have different notepads. I have a couple t shirt designs. I have a pregnancy announcement that is really popular. It was one of my first things I listed. It's been featured on a bunch of pregnancy blogs, I actually made it for my sister, and Camilla really popular. I actually work with my sister a lot for inspiration as well, she's just create a bit hard to have any type of creative condition as a professional gentlemen. But she's an independent distributor for essential oils. So I seek to her a lot, because that's one of my target markets is independent distributors. So my business cards are geared towards them and the stationery and I have some love some cute Euler sayings on them. And I kind of go to her and I say what would help you sell your oils or what is missing in your market that you're you're needing? So she kind of helps me come up with different ideas of things that I can offer in my shop that will aid the essential oils owners. It's kind of fun. Do the best
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 7:32
sellers ever surprised you? Like Like, like the best sellers that you have? I always like wait, that was the best seller. I didn't think that was going to be a best seller.
Sara Hynes 7:41
This one, it's, it's a so if there's sure I'm sure you know, on Etsy, there's stats and analytics. Yep. So one of them I saw that was driving people to my site all the time. And this was when I was first starting out
on mugs. I was like
those top one of the top searches was pregnancy announcement. They're all getting drunk drove to my page to that was like, what does it come up with a mug that was tied to that. So I'm a mom that says baby brewing. Oh, it sounds all the time. And I just like I guess I did the work behind the scenes said have that be successful. But it's not my favorite design. So it's just kind of funny of it. Like that gets old all the time. But I'm not complaining.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 8:27
How much do you utilize analytics to decide future designs? Is that a big part about it?
Sara Hynes 8:34
Um, recently, yeah, I'm kind of in the stages right now where I'm really analyzing my business and really deciding is it worth it? Is it worth the stress? Is it something I want to eventually do full times, it's something I want to do part time I'm really trying to dive in and really figure that out. And so looking at the analytics and looking at the Pinterest analytics, and analyzing all the things that are selling and how it's going is really helping me make that decision whether, if I'm in put more effort into this, is it going to be worth it, or that kind of thing. I'm just trying to weigh my options, because it's at some point here, as my business keeps growing, I can't keep doing both. So I need to decide if this will be bringing enough money or if I just need to dial it back. So there's a decision that needs to be made soon. Somewhere one way for sure. For sure.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 9:29
When would you think you will decide like what At what point will you either take the leap and go full time? Or will you decide it's not worth it anymore? Like I know that you're a side hustle right now. And I used to do that too. And I took the leap a couple weeks ago and went full time. But it was exciting, but really, really scary too. Because it's like you don't have any backup income. It's all of your income. And part of me like there's days where I'm like, maybe I should just go back to being a side hustle just because it's more it is a creative outlet. And I don't want to rely 100% on this, it almost like makes it more of a stress than a fun thing to do. So then I kind of have to always have like a side hustle. And I feel like that obviously that's for me, the Twin Cities collective is kind of one of those. So it's like, do you like so if you do go full time? Will you have another side hustle?
Unknown Speaker 10:17
Or will you know,
Sara Hynes 10:21
I think I will make the decision after I purchase a house. So okay, by the way, I think we're getting I hate talking about need to put a ring on it. I think we're getting engaged here in the next couple months, I'm pretty sure. And then we plan on buying a house right away. So I feel like making this decision before making those big life purchases would be responsible. So I want to wait and make sure that we're okay with our finances with our house for that everything in order so we can afford a wedding. And then I think after those things will have passed, I can make that decision because I've been doing all the footwork now. So I'll have all the data to go back and look and say I made this much this month, and I made this month this month. And here's why. And here's my expenses. And I have all that information where I can look back and say, Okay, this won't work, like because I put work into it. Or if I just put X amount more that can make this work. So yeah, once all those big, huge, like events, tasks, and then I think I'll be more comfortable and making it this is for sure.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 11:27
So how do you right now balance the side hustle, like with your time and your? Yeah, basically your time. I mean, that's really what a side hustle depletes you, it's not so much money, you're getting more money because you're making more money, but at the same time, you have a lot less time to do other things. So how are you balancing that and all that stuff.
Sara Hynes 11:48
I wasn't for a while I thought I was like gonna lose my mind. Like, every time a mug order came in, I got so excited. I just rushed home and sell it as fast as I can and put it in the mail. And I just thought everything it'll be done right now, quickly realize that you drive yourself insane if you do. So I established a schedule, and I don't hold myself to it like Die Hard. So I let myself have. I'm also a CrossFit athlete. And I like to compete. So that takes a lot of dedication. So I do gym days, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and then I get to come straight home from work and work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is when I'm the most productive when I get done with work. And I'm in work mode. And I've been designing all day, my brains still working on all cylinders, I can just come home and almost like, continue the workflow. And that's where it was getting hard with trying to go to the gym and then come home that brain break, I couldn't get back into the rhythm because it was so late at night that I wasn't being productive with my time. So on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I usually come home, I'll assess online orders, I'll get those all fulfilled and ready to go. And then I'm on the weekends as we usually when I take global clients and bigger projects and client work because then I have more creative thinking time. And I'm not trying to force it. So if I'm sitting and I'm really burnt out at the end of the day, I'm not trying to force this creative logo is represented someone's business. It's important. So I allow your time for it on the weekend. And then I'll kind of consult my boyfriend's a big golfer. So I say you can go go work. So he kind of, I don't feel like I'm missing out on time with him because he gets to go do something that he loves. And then I get to spend actual concrete time doing what I love so
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 13:34
so you do on Saturday, do you also do on Sunday, or is it just Saturday,
Sara Hynes 13:38
Saturday and Sunday? It depends on how much work I have. Like today I'm blocking out pretty much the whole day to do freelance work. And then on Sundays we usually go to Mass in the morning will go to the gym together, we'll go to the grocery store and meal path. And then in the evening, I'll usually do some hand lettering or if have some little side projects, I'll work on those or whatever. If I feel some inspiration, I'll work on something but Sunday's usually pretty busy anyway. So if I can find the time I'll I'll work on Sunday.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 14:11
So how do you have a full day of designing continue to like have any more creative ideas? I feel like I'd be totally drained. How does that work for you? Are you always flowing with ideas?
Unknown Speaker 14:22
Sara Hynes 14:27
Sometimes I'll get done with the day and I have a full eight and a half by 11 sheet of paper from front to back just jotted down with ideas or concepts or something I need to do. And throughout the whole day at my corporate job, I'm also making to do lists and other things that I need to do for my freelance work. So it's almost like a, like a, like a time like time countdown like, I only have a couple more hours and it's like shoot out of the gate. Now I get to do more creative stuff. So a lot of my corporate job is critical thinking I have to solve problems, and I have to find out what the client wants. And then I have the stay within their guidelines. And then I have to I'm still pretty new at this job. So I have to learn the new guidelines, I have to learn the new way that this works. That's a lot it's actually is really put your brain sometimes the critical thinking, so I'm when I get to go home, I'm like, all these on my list or a either a fun or B I don't do them. So it's like I just get to sit down and do it. And it's like, one song what to do. And I don't have to answer anyone. I have to make sure this is granted script on the bus. I'm in like, and that feels good. So
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 15:40
yeah, that's so true. So how do you use I know you use Instagram a lot to Market. But how do you market yourself besides Etsy dude on social media, how else do you market yourself?
Sara Hynes 15:52
I get a lot of my clients through word of mouth right now I think client relationships are really important. So I always do my best to go above and beyond experience really special. I have a lot of brand loyalty and the brands that I use, and I always share them with people based on my experience. So if someone goes above and beyond for me, I'm going to do the same. I use Instagram a lot. I have explored some Pinterest ads and some other Facebook marketing. And anything that I've paid for really hasn't paid off. I haven't really, I think that's something I'll explore a little bit more when I decided to take this full time. I definitely think that it can be worth it. I think that especially with Facebook ads for how much I run into them personally, I feel like they would be beneficial. But we're melds as much Facebook and social media as I can do. And then my family members help me out whenever they can, if they have someone that needs a graphic designer, if they want to put a flyer up where they work, or I helped me in all the ways the best family ever. That's awesome. So how do you
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 16:59
how do you have any free time?
Sara Hynes 17:03
I don't know. I
don't know, it's, it's some days, some weeks, I'll have a bunch of free time, I'll just decide that. I'll get what I need to get done. And then everything else that's kind of like a nine right now kind of thing. I'll push it off, and then I'll binge watch Desperate Housewives hang out with my boyfriend, but I try and multitask as much as possible. And like I seriously, I'm addicted to Desperate Housewives. All throughout Desperate Housewives on my computer, on one of them. And I'll continue to work in my office. And as long as I'm sitting in my office, I'm pretty productive. So yeah, um, but yeah, I do find time. And yeah, anytime that I think that I'm not where I want to be or what not like things aren't falling into place, I think I repeat to myself, we all get the same 24 hours in a day, it's how you use them. So if I feel like I'm not getting somewhere life, it's my fault. So I'm a multitasker, I'll take something out, or I'll do something. And to an extent, if I feel like I'm getting too stressed out, you also have to take care of yourself. But, um, yeah, I just I kind of hard on myself, to be honest. Because I just I had set myself to higher standards than anyone else would hold me to. So that helps me,
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 18:22
I think that's so true. Because a lot of entrepreneurs are like that they want to, they want to go with their speed, and they can go faster than they can add a regular job. So for me, it's like, I feel like I have so much more to give. And I can go faster if I do it myself and do what I want to do. So how how do you kind of balance your, your all of your ideas and prioritize what you're going to do next? Like, is it based off of your interest? Or is it based off of clients requests? Like how do you decide what's coming next on your on your big plan?
Sara Hynes 18:57
Whatever inspires me the most. So
okay, I just had a vision, if I have a usually when I have a vision for something, which is sounds, I get these visions of how like completed designs in my head. And then if the vision is really strong, I'll sit down and try and make it to come to life as fast as possible before I lose it. Sometimes if I have a vision, I let it marinate and I let it sit. And then if I go sit down and do it, it feels forced and it doesn't come together. And then I have to let it sit and sit and sit. versus if something's if I can see a completed piece in my head then I can sit down and make it come to life, then that's already done. Like it's only been on it to do list for something later. But sometimes I don't have the bandwidth for that time. So sometimes things do sit which is unfortunate. But yeah, I try and do whatever is most inspiring at that moment because then it doesn't feel forced. It doesn't get half done. Gotcha.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 20:02
Awesome. Well, we will take a really quick break and we'll be right back with Sarah. This week's episode of the podcast is brought to you by gentleman Phil designs, brand photography and videography.
Sara Hynes 20:13
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 20:14
are you looking for a video to be made for your business? Do you want a promo video to sit on your website, Etsy shop or even on your Instagram page? Well, I'm very excited to tell you that my business Jenna Redfield creative is now offering local videography services. For creatives in the Twin Cities. I'm so excited to be relaunching this service, I used to do it as part of another business that I had. And now I'm actually relaunching local videography. So if you're interested in getting a promo video done, if you want to have me film you doing whatever you need for your website for Instagram, social media, please go to my website Jenna for designs. com This will be launching on I believe, April 1. And so I'll have all the information including pricing. In addition, and I'll talk about it on next week's episode, I will be doing a giveaway of a free promo video for a lucky person that has entered in a raffle. So if you are looking for that, make sure to go to our website that will be up within the week and I will have the contest and then I will actually announce the winner on the podcast in two weeks. So make sure to check that out and I will have more information next week's podcast. But I'm so excited for that to happen. And let's get back to the podcast. Alright, we are back with Sarah so we talked a little bit about side hustling and and all that stuff. But I'm curious about your life here in Minnesota. What What's your favorite things to do around town on what what's your favorite thing to do here?
Sara Hynes 21:47
Um, I like to try new things. So my boyfriend and I are kind of pulling bodies I love I'm kind of like a nomad. I love my space. I love to just be inside on the weekends. I usually don't go and do a whole lot thing we do is to go see a movie. But I absolutely love to try new things. So every once in a while when I feel like we're in a rut or we need to do something fun. I will Google some new place some i what i i went ice skating at the depot. Last year, I was like this is
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 22:17
so iconic. I know. But did you know that shutting down? Yeah, in March, I'm so upset because I used to be a figure skater. And that was I filmed a wedding there and like all this stuff, like there's such a big history and they're tearing it down and I'm so sad and going the day before it closes because I look so sad. So we should like start a petition but I'm not.
Sara Hynes 22:41
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 22:42
but yeah, like Yeah, I'd love to debo. I mean like, do you go to any like festivals around town like the stone arch festival or any like art festivals, especially since you do design? Like do you ever go to any of those?
Sara Hynes 22:53
Hey, which I honestly always find out about those too late. And it's so frustrating. I see them I've actually gotten the word out to my friends. I said tell me before they're half. You're like, Oh, it's at three o'clock today. I don't have time. So unfortunately no, but Well, like I love to do just walk down my stone arch bridge or walk around downtown and find a new little place to eat or I love the city I that's one of going to be one of my biggest regrets in life is not living in the city. I wish I could have done that and look the way that my life panned out. It just wasn't in the cards and at something I will always regret because I'm love. I just love the energy. Anytime I get the chance to go and work downtown and the space or the lobby of a hotel or anywhere. I feel like I'm losing with creativity just being in the atmosphere like it's me. So I guess we like talking about it. I love the city. I think it is so inspiring and so amazing. I'd go down there way more. I wasn't such a home.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 23:55
Yeah. So we're so where do you go to work like dude go to coworking spaces? Or what where do you go when you go to work places or clients? Or how's that work?
Sara Hynes 24:07
No, it's just sometimes I need to get out of the office, I have a home office that I actually really love.
Um, I whenever I need to get out of my space and get out of my head and get into somewhere new to get some inspiration, I won't just go to the care who down the road, I'll try and drive downtown and go somewhere. So I used to go to my brother used to work in the IDS building. So I go down there and meet him for lunch and then find a little shop somewhere down there. Honestly, anywhere, I can walk on the street and see all the buildings and be outside for a minute and then just cuddle up into a coffee shop somewhere down there. That was good enough for me. Or even like I forget where it was, it was a while ago, I was been meaning to go back. It was this beautiful hotel lobby, cafe in it. And there's just like, is a huge crystal chandelier is it was just like it was like open space or anything. I need to find the name of it.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 25:08
I think I just got an email from a company that said that, oh, we do that you should tell your group about it. I was like, Oh, it's off to put up on our workspace page on the website. But that's so cool. So what is your favorite thing about your business and about having your own business.
Sara Hynes 25:26
Um, my favorite thing
about having my own business
using my products, like when I get to drink out of a mug I designed or write on an old pen that I made or anything physical, I'm really act as a person I love the like people say the printed world is dying. I think they're lying. action of designing something on a screen. And then holding a professional piece in your hand is like one of the most satisfying things on the whole planet. And so I think that getting to open a pamphlet in a an event that I designed or drink Yeah, like I said drink out of a coffee cup that I've designed or something a real world spaces that I did. It gives more joy than anything else in the world.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 26:19
That's so cool. Have you ever? I don't know if you do currently. But have you ever thought about putting your stuff in shops locally?
Sara Hynes 26:25
Yeah, um, I actually have my shop my monster in a shop in lesson called kit Sona. Okay. And then I have more of my bugs in a shop. And I think it's rich tail. Um, it's one Minnesota makers. I've heard of that one. Yeah. And then I also just got an inquiry. The other day, there's another shop opening in Minneapolis that's very similar to Minnesota makers, and they want me to host my stuff in their store. So that's actually one of my 2017 goals is to do more wholesale opportunities and have my stuff sold and more places and it's honestly, mustering up the confidence. It's really intimidating, and the most they can say is no good, scary.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 27:07
And I think that I've learned that too, even from doing the Twin Cities collective and like asking businesses, it's like, hey, do you want to host a meetup? And I've learned that Yeah, they might say no, but like, they're super gracious about it. And they are like, hey, like, we still want to do something with you, it just not the thing that you asked for. So they might even be like, Oh, we might not want you in our shop. But you can sell it on our website or something. I mean, there's always, I think it's great to reach out to people. I mean, they're probably looking for locally based artists that they can sell products of so what did you What have you learned from that? Has it has it gone? Well, or for the stores that you're currently
Sara Hynes 27:45
in? Or? Oh, yeah. Sorry. So I went into kids on a one day and this
is was so I was playing with the idea of drain logs. I thought it was really fun. And I done the research part of print them yourself. And I just love the process from start to finish. I'm a control freak. So being able to order my inventory printed and do everything myself. It's just like to do it. So that feels awesome. So I was kind of playing with the idea of doing this. And then I walked into kits on one day, and I saw all this local amazing stuff in there. And I was like, this looks like so all my designs like I how do I get my stuff in here? So I went up to the shop lady and I just said, How do local artists get their stuff in here and she was all we just find them on Instagram. just blown away. She was just take her shopping. Well, our owner will reach out to you if she feels like you're a good fit. So I went straight home, I ordered my press. I ordered my printer. I ordered my inventory. I did everything I possibly could. And it took me about a week or two weeks. And then I've listened my first month on Instagram. I take its own and I got a message Five minutes later. That was me. That's awesome. Excited. I was
So that was like my huge win right off the gate. Like that was super inspiring. And I was like, Okay, I can do this. Like, so. That was a really fun start tonight. Yeah.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 29:15
So was that was your business already started at that point? And you just added mugs? Or was it that was the start of your business?
Sara Hynes 29:21
And my business is already established? And that was the started? Okay, gotcha. Okay, it started mugs, and almost a year ago, which I?
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 29:31
Sara Hynes 29:35
So yeah, I was already selling all the business cards and stationery and doing logo clients. And I had pre pre established freelance clients from when I when I graduated from college, I did freelance for six months. So okay, I still doing work for them. And yeah, the month is a whole new thing. And that was like I think one of the best decisions I've ever made is because so many of my designs, I love prints so much, but they're not very lucrative, I guess that might be the right word. So I was just thinking that, what can I do with all my designs that are in my head that are so cute, but they don't want to sell prints. And then I thought mugs. And I'm already I'm really addicted to really fun too. And that was one of the best decisions I ever made. Love. Awesome.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 30:27
Very cool. So any advice to those who want to start an Etsy shop or an online business or a product business or any type of business, any advice? Do it.
Sara Hynes 30:38
So many people and so many people from college, my friends in college and people all over that just say that they don't have the time or they're putting it off, or they just still get to it someday just sit down one day and do it. You won't regret it. It is so much fun. You'll even if you only sell a handful of things or you get addicted, it's really really fun. Like you get to someone bought something that you made because they wanted it like that is the best feeling ever. And you can't get that anywhere else. So
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 31:11
Sara Hynes 31:12
The sit down and pull the trigger. Yeah,
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 31:15
I mean, that's honestly, like, I decided to start my Etsy shop and a month later is up. I mean, like that was like I just I just decided on a whim. And I was like, What is the only thing I have to lose is 20 cents for every listing. That's it. I mean, honestly, I was like, Okay, I put it like I think I put like maybe like five items. And I was like, Okay, I lost $1 if no one ever buys anything, I lost $1. I mean, really, that's that's like the only risk especially with online shots, it's different. If you're starting, obviously, a physical store location, where you have to buy all the inventory and fill it up and have to pay rent. I feel like online businesses can if they become successful, they can move to that, you know, in store sort of thing. But I feel like you should start online first, because the real estate is so cheap, you can have your own website, you can sell on all these different platforms for really inexpensive cost in terms of, you know, like hosting and stuff. So do you have so you do you ever own website to? or How are you planning on selling on there as well.
Sara Hynes 32:14
I had one at one point is called all the essentials, and it was all the essential oil somebody had. And I really just didn't see it being worth it for me. Okay. When I look at all my analytics, majority of my search hits and and the reason why people getting driven to my shop or an Etsy, okay, we already have that built and have it going to Etsy to find that unique gift or that special thing or that crazy mug saying that you're not going to find on Google. I think that I and I thought about it a lot more because I did I know how to run an e commerce commerce website. And I know how that works. And that for me for my personal services, being an MC is more beneficial.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 33:03
Okay, that's cool. Because, for me, it was like I use the website as another way for people to find out about me have my blog, all that stuff on there. And then also for custom stuff. Because it's hard to I think it's hard to do custom on Etsy. It's all just messages versus on website, you can really customize how the custom experience works like you can have, I can select this and this and this. I mean, it's up to you. I think that it is a great platform. So I think a lot of people should definitely start there for sure.
Sara Hynes 33:32
Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's that, and I, if you get an established client base, then I think it's good to branch out. And I just think for me, especially as a side hustle managing a whole lot of work. I mean, I have my own website, which I it's Sarah hands designs, it's my portfolio websites where my logo clients go, it's where I have all of my stuff listed, but it all links a sec, there's no e commerce there. But, uh, yeah, I mean, and all the custom stuff. I think that that makes total sense. But
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 34:12
it's different for everyone. Yeah, it's different.
Sara Hynes 34:14
Because you have more like variety of things. So once the customer most of the time they just want me to handle it. Yeah.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 34:22
Just change up the words. Do you ever have like a custom listing on Etsy, where it just is custom and they give a price? Is that what you do?
Sara Hynes 34:29
Okay, yeah, so I have a custom mug listing. So there's two different prices, ones for an 11 ounce mug and ones for 15 ounce mug. And then, if anyone ever contacted me about doing a custom project or anything, I will direct them outside of Etsy. Their transaction won't happen with an Etsy I'll show I want to do freelance client.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 34:46
Okay, that makes sense. Because I feel like it's very hard to do that through.
Sara Hynes 34:52
anyone's coming to me for design work. I will. Then there's contracts and bombers. Yeah, y'all different stuff involved that and even the transaction will happen outside of Etsy. And then any of the liabilities on me then. Yeah,
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 35:07
yeah. So how, why did you decide to do an LLC so early? Because I only did it about a year into my year and a half into my business? Is that just something you decided early on?
Sara Hynes 35:16
Um, I decided, well, I guess it wasn't too early on. I it was about a year ago. Okay. You need it when I started selling books.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 35:24
Now, when you started, like when you incorporated an LLC and did all the legal stuff. Was that early on? Or was that like later on? It was
Sara Hynes 35:33
in the middle. So I started to shop in 2013. And I did the LLC about a year ago when I started to take it seriously, I guess. Yeah, I did it right away when I decided to take it to you. Okay, gotcha. Okay, that was something I talked to my dad, and I sat down with him and I and I talked to him about everything. And I'm just said, this is something I really like. And I really want to take this level, and it's not something I just want up for fun. I really want to put some energy into it. He's like, you should get an LLC, especially for me being a local client, like, Look, I have local clients, so no one can come and attack me or sue me or do anything like that. I'm not happy with the process, or, God forbid that whatever.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 36:10
Yeah, I know that it's like some people I feel like are like hesitant to do it. Because it's a lot. It's a lot of money sometimes. And also, it's like, Is it worth it? If you've never get it? You know, for me with stock photos. For the longest time, I was like, no one's gonna sue me over a $10 stock photo. So I didn't feel like I needed one. But once I just started taking on more like client clients, like I felt like I was like, I need to protect myself and protect my money more than anything. And you never know if there's crazy people out there. I mean, I haven't had any crazy clients. But you never know. And I think it's a really good idea to protect yourself from them.
Sara Hynes 36:47
Absolutely. And my dad was saying that, like, if you're going to put money into this, and you're going to make this a certain thing, you can't have it all be bundled under you. So that was like the big thing to protect myself. And then even I mean, it's been a while now. But it took me a really, really long time, way longer than it should have to implement contracts. Oh, yeah. so afraid of scaring people away, and I still do sometimes get contracts back and they're like, whoa, this is intense. I'm like, I'm not trying to scare you. I'm just being
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 37:17
it's better be safe than sorry, honestly. And and it's people. They might not be used to it. But I mean, if they read the contract and sounds good to them, they'll sign it, you know, and it's if they don't sign the contract, they're probably not the right client. Have you figured out who your ideal client is?
Sara Hynes 37:33
And they haven't put a sentence on me. Okay. So I know who my target market is. And
whenever I sit down to actually decide who my ideal client is, I just know that
I tried to attract small businesses with a feminine vibe. So same.
I mean, if I were to put a sentence on it, that would be I mean, I can design for client, or corporate clients, some of everything now. So I mean, I do that all day long. And so I can do it. I do it for my dad's business all the time. My dad's businesses, one of my clients, and he owns a health clinic and design in the corporate clinic. Yeah, oh, for him all the time. But yeah, when people come to me, I want them to come to me, because they want that feminine flair, and the colorful vibes and the script fonts and the hand lettering, I really want them to be in that same zone. So it can be a fun experience for both of us. And we're on the same page versus having to put my corporate hat on more corporate
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 38:44
work, I think the more you put out that you love, you'll attract the clients that love your stuff, too. So I think that's really important. I mean, it's, it's hard, because with custom, you can design, whatever. But it's like, you don't always want to put that in your portfolio, because it's not what you you want to attract. It's the same with like any type of photography, you want to put out your favorite images, so that you attract those kind of clients.
Sara Hynes 39:08
Yes, absolutely. My whole portfolio, I re hold it. And this new website redesign I did a few months ago, and I only put in the custom hand lettering, the branded expansion, the custom logos, all the stuff that was in what I want to attract my load my portfolio is could fill this room. Huge, I have had so much work. And as I was even a working designer, when I was in college, I started the design club at my college and turned it into a little business and we took on local business clients. And then as a club, we designed for them and brought money in that we got to spend them going to field trips or doing all different kinds of things. So my portfolio is quite large, but I got to pick down to what I enjoy doing. That's,
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 39:57
that's a that's a good place to be because hey, if people ask for even more, you'll have it available. I mean, in some maybe hidden page somewhere, like there's all my portfolio.
Sara Hynes 40:08
Okay, just bring me my
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 40:12
go. So how do you like, like, do the clients have a specific vision? Or do you like direct them?
Sara Hynes 40:19
So I was speaking local clients,
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 40:22
anytime I usually is that like your biggest client for most of your stuff is local stuff.
Sara Hynes 40:28
Outside of Etsy, I do mainly logos, okay. It's every once in a while I it's a what I call brand expansion. If someone has an established brand, but they're looking for thank you cards, or they want more marketing materials or social media or something like that, then that's something I offer, but it's not something I get often. Okay, um, so I would say yeah, local clients I'm working on to right now, the process is I, they contact me, and then I send them a consultation and a contract, all of the consultation and then they sign the contract. And once I get those two back, then I'll connect with them if I have any questions, and then the consultation is a list of questions, and I came up with that helped me get a better idea of not only what their business is, but what they want to become. So the audience they want to attract if they have any type of tagline, what colors are they attracted to? What colors don't they want to use? What type of font do they love or dislike or, and then I have, there's different styles of logos, there's a word mark, that's just writing, and then there's a emblem, so I make sure to get an idea of which one they're attracted to. And then I have them send me examples of current logos that they like, and that from there, then I sit down, and I designed two to three concepts. And I flush them out from start to finish. So I don't just give them a design and said, Do you like it? I? Well, the design, I'll do a color scheme for their phones, I'll give them variation. And then if they're planning on using it on social media, I'll implemented into a social media setting or I'll mock it up in some way, shape, or form, so they can visualize it and where they're using it. And then I return those logos to them. They pick one of the three, and then we work together on what they liked, disliked, and then we kind of work on revisions until they're happy. So that's awesome.
That's really cool to hear that like
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 42:25
as I've heard different designers do differently. How did you decide on that process? Like was it trial and error over the years? or?
Sara Hynes 42:31
Yeah, so at first,
I was just kind of asking them a couple questions, and just getting as much as I could think of what they would think they would want. And some of the time I would get it back to them. And they just totally tear it apart. And I was just like, how did I miss the mark so much based on it, just based on our conversation. So that's why the logo examples are really important to me is you may describe one thing, and then you semi logos that you like, and they are not what you just like, even someone I just worked on. A few weeks ago, she was explaining Oh, I love clean lines, and this, that and the other and she sent me examples. And she really loves like a romantic feel. Like I would have given her a minimalist modern logo just based on her description. And then she sent me all these swirly curly, romantic logos that she loves. And I was like, yeah.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 43:30
That's, that's interesting. That's very good. Because Yeah, so you probably discovered that later on, you're like, Oh, crap, I didn't realize that, that there were the two dichotomies between the two things when they're saying and what they actually meant.
Sara Hynes 43:42
Yes. So and actually, I developed the contract last year or the consultation last year, which was just me sitting down. And really, I'm trying to analyze, what am I asking what's important? How do I What do I need to know to actually sit down start, and then it was kind of funny, the company I was working at, at the time adopted my new people coming in, internally for logos, departments all the time. He's like, I'm going to borrow this if you're okay with that.
Go for it. Awesome.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 44:16
So any last words for our audience before we say goodbye for this week's episode, any last minute tips for how to get your name out there how to do successfully in your business?
Sara Hynes 44:29
Um, just be confident yourself, take the leap. I think that's the biggest thing that I can say. A lot of people don't have enough confidence to take that first step. Then once you take that first step, and you start doing what you love, and you start seeing that people are receiving that it will make you feel so good that you will never, never turned back. Awesome.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 44:48
Well, thank you so much, Sarah, where can we find you online on Instagram, your website? What's your usernames and all of that stuff?
Sara Hynes 44:56
My website is Sarah Hinds. designs.com. And then my social media handles are Sarah. Hi, designs. Awesome. Pretty straightforward. My name with designs at the
end. How do you spell that so people can look it up?
It's Sa ra. h y n e s.
I always thought design.
Unknown Speaker 45:17
I think it's d s. g. Yeah, I know.
Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 45:21
There's always those words, I can never spell the word definitely. Every single time I get that word wrong. And it's like, I have to auto correct it every single time just because I can never remember how to spell it. So. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Sarah, for joining us today. Yeah, I hope everyone can connect with you. You have a really fun Instagram account. I love seeing everything that you put up there. It's so girly, just my style. So it's really fun. So I'll talk to everyone next week. So have a great week, everyone. Bye. Thank you so much for listening to the Twin Cities collective podcast conversations with creatives. If you liked this podcast, make sure to give us review on iTunes and let us know how we're doing. If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, or a guest on the podcast, please go to Twin Cities collective calm to learn more. Thanks again to Alan Murray design for creating our cover art and for the glide less for the use of the song in the intro and our intro. Thanks again for listening to conversations with creatives.