Welcome back hustler! I am getting into Part 2 of Chalkfulloflove the Early Years!
After Chalkfulloflove felt like it was starting to get successful, I landed a full time graphic design job. At this time I couldn’t support myself on CFL and honestly didn’t know if that was my end goal. So I took this 9-5 job in Austin from February 2014 – October 2015. Growing my business in the evenings and on the weekends. The original part-time #sidehustle.
I had spent the year growing the business just through Etsy. Utilizing their organic traffic and really trying to nail the keywords + SEO terms. I would try to think through what an actual bride would be searching for and testing out different ways to name my chalkboards.
In an effort to broaden my marketing horizons I started pinning my work to Pinterest, the main place that brides go to for wedding inspo. Unfortunately, the problem with Pinterest is it’s not an overnight success. It takes a lot of time for a pin to gain traction and be shown to the right people. You saw in the last post some of my older pins that finally gained some traction over the years. Those pins eventually did bring in a lot of business, it just took 6 -12 months.
I had started an Instagram for the biz early on but honestly had no idea what I was doing or what direction I wanted it to go in. I would post very sparingly (like every other month) and did not understand how I was supposed to reach anyone. I had like 30 followers who were just friends who came from my personal account.
Fast forward several months to September 2014. I wanted to start taking this Instagram marketing thing seriously. I starting taking photos of anything. Little doodles, my Etsy projects, a trip I went on, and I would use hashtags + VSCO filters and I am proud to report that I was starting to get some likes! I am talking 20-30 likes. Which was great for me.
I did my first giveaway with a chalkboard wood slice. I asked my family to please enter so I did not look like a loser and I got 36 comments on that post (some were family… some were friends… but more importantly some were people I did not know!) From there, I took some risks. I started following people who had small businesses + tried to connect. These people are still some of my closest Instagram friends. I saw a business called Hurd + Honey featured on the Etsy blog and I was immediately blown away at the business they created for themselves on this platform. I took a leap of faith and reached out to them about a partnership of sorts. I was shocked I got a response back. This amazing + successful company read my message + took the time to message me back! The partnership was born! I bought wholesale Hurd and Honey chalkboards and started selling them with my hand lettering on them in my shop! It was one of the best business moves I have ever made!
From there, I just kept trying to learn anything and everything about Instagram. It consumed a lot (and I mean a lot) of my time. I wanted to be better at it, I wanted to learn the trends and honestly I just thought it was really fun. I have always liked taking photos and this gave me a reason.
From the time I started putting effort into my Instagram I grew my following to 40k in less than a year. I go over all of my techniques in my Instagram course – that you can find here. It has changed a lot over the past few years, but I think the basics are the same. Lately, I have noticed its less about the amount of followers and more about building a loyal following. Because, lets face it. Not all 82k of my followers are or ever will be Chalkfulloflove customers.
I owe most of my growth as a company to Instagram. CFL ran completely off organic traffic until this year and I am very proud of that fact!
Join us next week as we go into more detail about how to keep things consistent on the gram! Want to join the CFL Business Community?
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