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Now, let's get to the great tips Giovanna Jaspid has to offer. In Part One, you learned about how this Latina went into business with her mom making decorative pillows. In Part Two, you find out about how consistent action helped her grow her business.
HOW DO YOU VIEW HUSTLING?
Do you see yourself as a hustler? Does that bring good or bad connotations to mind?
Giovanna Jaspid didn’t really know what being a hustler meant – until she started hustling herself – selling custom-made, decorative pillows and taking on interior design projects.
“I have a lot of respect for hustlers. Because it’s a lot of work and you have to learn so many things.”
THE TIP JAR (tips provided courtesy of Giovanna Jaspid)
FOR CREATORS, BEST WAY TO TEST MARKET YOUR PRODUCT:
“Try Etsy… To begin, Etsy is a really good place to put your product out there and see if people like it. See what feedback you get. And it’s very economical. It’s very cheap to open a store on Etsy.”
“There are fees. But at least it’s a starting point. Once you decide you’re going 100% [with] your product, start your own website.”
Note: This week, thousands of Etsy sellers are striking to protest the company’s increase in transaction fees, etc. According to Tech Crunch, Etsy says the fee increase will go towards improving support-related services for sellers, as well as for marketing and site security upgrades. As is my usual policy, I do not take a position on things like this. But I wanted to address it since Etsy is in the news. Besides, I always want you to have as many facts in front of you as possible before you jump into anything. As for Giovanna Jaspid, she said she recommends Etsy when you are just starting out. She only has a quarter of her products on there, at this point, because she is established enough now to have her own website. But she acknowledges that, for those just trying to see if their product is worth pursuing full-time, the customer traffic you get on Etsy is hard to beat.
HOW LONG DO YOU DO MARKET TESTING?
“It has to be at least a couple of months… Show [your product]. And show your energy.”
Jaspid says it’s important you tell people you made the product or how you made it (for ex.: cooking).
SINGLE GREATEST FACTOR IN MAKING IT HAPPEN:
“I think persistence and hard work…Every day, a small task. Every day… Even if it seems like a meaningless task, tomorrow, it will be something bigger.”
“I was right that I can build something.”
“I was [selling] at home for the past six years… My company [now] has an actual space. I’m in the space right now. It’s like wow. It’s real. It’s real. It can happen.”
LOTS OF QUESTIONS
Jaspid also learned really fast all the questions that a hustler needs to answer.
It wasn’t enough that Jaspid knew she wanted to make custom pillows with her mom, Ana, who is a seamstress.
QUESTIONS TO ANSWER
“You don’t know where the money is going to come [from the] next month. How many projects are you going to have?”
“How am I going to market this? How am I going to sell this?”
“Who is my customer? Who am I really selling to?”
At the time, “My idea was just, ‘let’s make pillows and sell them.’”
START, EVEN IF YOU HAVEN’T FIGURED IT ALL OUT
The native of Colombia started on her entrepreneurial journey by default. Basically, when she graduated with her Master’s degree in Architecture, the job market was bad. She couldn't find a job.
So she did some work for her brother who is a contractor and quickly realized this might be something she could do for other contractors.
Then, her friend, who was also looking for work, suggested they become partners to do floor plans for renovations and decorate homes.
Not having to figure it all out herself gave Jaspid confidence. So they went into business together and started getting small jobs.
FIGURE OUT THE FEES BY ASKING THOSE WITH EXPERIENCE
But they had questions, namely “How do we charge for this?”
They talked to other people who had experience to get help figuring it out. Once they got their first contract, they felt a huge sense of accomplishment.
“We felt like professionals.”
SOMETIMES, YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO WORKING FOR SOMEONE ELSE
Jaspid did that for a few years. Then, she and her business partner decided to go their separate ways because Jaspid needed to work under an architect for a certain number of hours just to apply for a state architectural license.
She worked for an architectural firm for about four years. But she was still doing some side projects.
A SIDE-HUSTLE CAN LEAD TO A PERMANENT CHANGE
One of those projects involved pillows that she couldn’t find anywhere.
“And I said, you know, my mom is a seamstress. So let me just buy the fabric that I like – that I think would go perfect for this project and give my mom this work.”
The result was better than she expected. Her client loved the custom-made pillows, plus the fact that Jaspid bought the fabric and Jaspid's mother made the pillows.
She explains, “It was not just, ‘Oh, I went and purchased them [the pillows] and here they are.’"
"No, it was like there was a lot of thought and a lot of hands going through them.”
TEST OUT YOUR IDEA IN THE MARKETPLACE
Jaspid posted pictures of the final product on social media and people responded positively. They would ask, “’Can you also make me pillows?’”
So she and her mom decided, with the extra fabric, they would make extra pillows and put them on Etsy. They sold out of them that same week.
That gave her the positive feedback that she should continue doing this kind of work.
“It was something on the side. But I would notice that, every time I would put a little time [into] it, the sales would go up.”
YOUR FAMILY’S HEALTH AND YOUR PEACE OF MIND MATTER
Working for someone lost its shine once she became a mom. When her daughter would get sick, Jaspid would ask for a day off.
“It was looked down upon… It was like, ‘Oh, she’s sick again?'”
Jaspid decided she had to make a change.
And that’s when she decided she’d had enough of feeling guilty about calling out sick with an ill child.
The thought of not getting a paycheck was scary. But continuing down the same path would be worse.
“I had to take a chance and do something different and see where it went. So it was mostly for my mental health.”
Her mother was all for it. So she started Jaspid Studio with her mom.
JOIN SOCIAL MEDIA GROUPS FOR HELP WITH CONFIDENCE AND SUPPORT
What really helped Jaspid with her confidence was following Instagram accounts, including @miamimompreneur and @thempireco.
“It’s good to know other people that are doing similar things… Everybody is kind of pushing each other up… So we were always having this back and forth of ideas…. Just having a community of people that are giving you ideas and always [with] a positive attitude.”
(Note: In the interest of transparency, since Jaspid mentioned Instagram, I want to bring up that Meta (which owns Instagram) is my partner for this publication.)
WORK TODAY HELPS WITH YOUR VISION FOR TOMORROW
Jaspid says it boils down to today and tomorrow and how the two form a bridge to the future.
“You have to work for something for tomorrow. Today, you’re doing something for tomorrow.”
She says she it's about constantly reinventing yourself, learning and keeping things moving.
That takes us back to all those questions that overwhelmed her in the beginning. Now, she doesn’t mind asking herself how she’s going to make it all happen.
“It’s kind of exciting to build something for tomorrow. That’s what I’m doing every day.”
And as for being described as a hustler?
She says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
NO NEED TO GO IT ALONE
HELP ON THE OUTSIDE...because we can all use a helping hand:
Marketing Magic: The 2 Key Questions to Answer
In this class, you’ll find out what you must answer about your business to keep customers loyal and to increase profits. According to the course description, you’ll walk away with a clear idea of what marketing strategies work to create a competitive advantage.
SBA (Small Business Administration) and the Florida SBDC (Small Business Development Center)
Magical Mystery Tour of Marketing Your Business
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
10:00 a.m. EDT – 11:00 a.m.
WORKING ON THE INSIDE...because we know our culture has a hard time asking for help:
Ready or Not?
Starting a business isn’t just about the idea. You also need to make sure you’re ready – and that includes being mentally ready for the challenge. This on-demand webinar will help you gauge how ready you are – not just in the ways you expect (i.e. financially and skills-wise and experience-wise) – but also in terms of your motivation and support system. It’s a roadmap and self-assessment to help you figure it if you’re really ready to start a business.
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
Startup Roadmap – Chapter 2 Are You Ready to Start a Business?
INSPIRATION FOR THIS ISSUE:
Over time, I have come to the realization that the one thing that matters most in trying to achieve any goal, whether it’s losing weight, reading more books or saving money, is consistency.
I'm talking about consistency and discipline in doing something every day, no matter how little or insignificant it may seem, that gets you closer to achieving your goal.
Giovanna Jaspid’s story really shows that slow and steady wins the race. She was very deliberate about the actions she took every day that would get her to her goal of becoming a business owner.
From working with her first partner to then going back to work a 9-5 job to get hours under her belt with an architect - and later making pillows on the side, it was a process.
Starting her business with her mom in her home office for about six years before finally moving into a more formal office space, it was a gradual transition for her. Through that process, she realized every day she was building a better tomorrow for her business and her family.
Her story is a great example of how taking a consistent approach with specific tasks in a plan leads to accomplishment of a goal.
I hope her story inspires you to also do a little something every day to help you achieve your goal, whatever it may be. Good luck!
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