DQYDJ an exclusive interview with fivelittlegems

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Original Post

Our Don't Quit Your Day Job series continues with Etsy's resident ass-hat fivelittlegems. I don't really know what an ass-hat is, but I hope a shop will start selling one soon so we can all buy it and be just as cool as fivelittlegems. Cleveland Rocks! So I was happy to travel there to ask her some in depth question. I think many of us can relate to her answers in regards to our own businesses. :)

Q:How did you originally get into the business of making things?

When I was very young my mom was always making something, from dolls to candles to paintings to christmas ornaments, and pimping it to her friends and family. She was a shameless hussy in regard to pushing her handiwork on people. She always had me help out, so that's who I blame for this fiasco.

Q:Tell us about your previous working situation:

I worked in Human Resources for one of the top global companies. It only took me 23 years of doing that to learn that I really am not a people person. Nor am I cut out for corporate America. Then they laid me off in conjunction with a maternity leave in September of 2008. They later told me that they had never actually witnessed a human snoopy dancing upon receiving that news.

Q:When you first started selling on Etsy, did you have dreams of quitting your day job?

Well, since my "real" dayjob was already a thing of the past by the time I had heard of Etsy, and I had a year to live off the fat of the land (benefit and salary continuance), I figured it couldn't hurt to try. I also thought, "oh, how fun would that be to do while playing with my children in a happy SAHM role?" I'm pretty sure my husband was slipping me valium on the sly back in those days. Too bad he stopped.

Q:Did you do anything to prepare ahead of time?

Prepare? I'd like to say I walked into this with my eyes wide open, but it was more like I tripped through the doorway ass-end first and got hit in the face with the door.

Q:What are the most effective ways you've marketed your business?

Mostly I just goof off in the forums. Once in awhile someone notices my avi and comes in and buys it. I try to keep my avi's fresh and looking good for this purpose. Although once in awhile you'll see me as a yetti, or a purple haired troll, or Phyllis Diller. No one has come in and tried to buy them yet, though. I've never really gotten the hang of using twitter or facebook, but once I get my shop in perfect order (photos, descriptions, tags, policies) I will be spending some money on outside advertising. That will probably be in about 10 years.

Q:Walk us through your typical workday:

1) Wake up at 6:00am, get 3 kids out the door to school
2) Wipe butts and dress and feed kids #4 & 5.
3) Sign on to Etsy and check my sales.
4) Spend the next 4 hours wondering how the house got to be such a huge mess while everyone was sleeping and getting the place cleaned up.
5) Play with the kids for an hour. Put kid #5 down for a nap. Give kid #4 some crayons or paints or playdoh at the kitchen table next to my desk and see what kind of shenanigans are going on in the forums. Check my sales.
6) Dust my shipping suppllies.
7)Time for lunch! Feed kids. Eat their crusts.
8) More play time with the kiddies...we like games like "group nap", "jump on mommy while she lays on the floor", and "brush mommy's hair".
9) Time for a veggie tales movie and a strong pot of coffee. Check forums. Check sales. Reorganize shipping supplies.
10) Pick up child #3 from 1st grade. Catch a few quick naps at random red lights.
11) Get home. Start dinner. Check to see if treasury is opening up. Dinner seems to be a popular time for this to happen. And I love to make treasuries. It gives me that sense of accomplishment that I don't get from my Etsy shop.
12) Eat. Do homework. Give baths. Read books. Brush teeth. Say prayers. Stumble into kitchen half dead.
11) Make another pot of coffee.
17) Sign on to email/facebook/twitter. Check my sales. Give up and go to forums hoping for a laugh or two.
18) Feel guilty, so make a new piece of jewelry. Put it aside to photograph later. Notice that I have a mountain of new pieces the size of the Matterhorn that are "waiting for later to photograph". Drag out camera.
11) Take pictures. Price pieces. Write descriptions. Bounce head off keyboard. Put ice on forehead.
12) Stop in forums again
13) 2:00am - stumble obliviously into bed, wondering when was the last time i showered or changed clothes. Shriek at the sight of a strange man sleeping in my bed. Realize that's my husband and kiss him good night, roll over and pass out.

Q:What do you enjoy most about not having a day job?

Nothing. Somebody get me the heck out of here!!!!

Q:If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

Everyone who oohs, and ahhhs, and tells you how wonderful your jewelry is isn't going to buy it so get over it.

Q:What advice would you give someone else?

Only list 1 item in your shop. That way, everytime you have to redo your pictures or update your descriptions or adjust your tags or have a sale, or change things for SEO or fix things for relevancy it's much more manageable that way.

Q:Is there anything else you'd like to share?

1. Don't hate the world. It's not their fault.
2. Find people who make you laugh and surround yourself with them. It lightens the load.
3. Don't make lists. They seem to piss people off more than anything else in these forums. oh, wait.....


Thank you fivelittlegems. If anyone else would like to be the subject of a DQYDJ interview, please just send me a message. We've already interviewed a profane weirdo like myself, a busty nun, and an awesome ass hat. So I think everyone's qualified. You just have to be funny, or risk your answers being edited to be more funny.

Posted at 9:19am Feb 23, 2010 EST


MissesBird says

LOL! "Everyone who oohs, and ahhhs, and tells you how wonderful your jewelry is isn't going to buy it so get over it." I hear that.

Thanks for this!

I quit my day job 2 years ago and focus on Etsy full time also :)

Posted at 9:26am Feb 23, 2010 EST

Marking to read later, I love these interviews!

Posted at 9:26am Feb 23, 2010 EST

ArtdeJoie says

Yay - a new one! Congrats Five Little Gems and Knot Workshop. Well done (as always)!

Posted at 9:26am Feb 23, 2010 EST

like the interview-marking to keep up with

Posted at 9:27am Feb 23, 2010 EST

WoW! That is hands down THE BEST thread/artilce/interveiw i have read in a very long time. LMAO

Posted at 9:30am Feb 23, 2010 EST

Thanks for the first laugh of the morning! Great interview!

Posted at 9:36am Feb 23, 2010 EST

Thanks everyone! :)

Posted at 9:38am Feb 23, 2010 EST

ZenHen says

I have been so waiting for this, lol!

Posted at 9:38am Feb 23, 2010 EST

So funny! How did I miss the other two???

Posted at 9:45am Feb 23, 2010 EST