Hi! My name is Amanda Nelson and I am the heart, hands, and mind behind Simplicity&Script. Like many of you, I started this creative journey as a way to express myself when I felt overwhelmed by my surroundings and circumstances. I was eight months pregnant with my first child, finishing my last semester of college, traveling home every weekend to renovate our house, and spending most days in Utah with my mom who was patiently waiting for a liver transplant. I found lettering on a late night scroll of instagram and I instantly knew I wanted to do that. I watched all the videos I could get my hands on, and scripted uplifting words and scriptures into my journal when I was trying to find meaning or understanding.
Lettering, itself, was a cathartic release. But I soon found that lettering a scripture or a hymn had the power help me understand it’s doctrine more — or maybe look at a phrase of words I had never internalized before. Lettering quickly became a powerful addition to my scripture study and I soon began hanging some pieces in my own home as tangible, visual, reminders of the eternal truths that shaped my life.
I’m all for a cute quote hanging above the mantle, but there is something so palpable about hanging straight-up- truth on your walls instead. The spirit is different. I think it’s one of the many reasons why we’re counseled to
keep pictures of temples and of the Savior in our homes. They are short bursts of eternal perspective — and you never know how many times you’ll get up from a tear-filled prayer and read the exact words Heavenly Father wants you to hear, because you were inspired to hang that scripture on the wall.
I knew I wasn’t alone in this feeling because as I progressed in the art, women would come to me asking if I could do a custom piece for their own home — a favorite scripture, a verse of a hymn, or even a small passage of their patriarchal blessing.I knew my little hobby was growing but I didn’t know how to monetize something that was so sacred to me and these women. I was really good at the creating part — not so much the business part. However, I knew if I was going to keep sharing this love I had for taping up, pinning up, framing, and hanging truth in our homes, I had to work at becoming better at the “business part”.
I said a lot of prayers, and the answers didn’t come overnight, but I did find them and I hope by sharing some of the things I’ve learned about running a small business, you can reach some of those goals you don’t even know how to articulate yet 😉
Relish where you are
I don’t know what kind of small business you’re running (or thinking about running) but what I do know — is that you’ve curated a list of about 10 people you follow on social media doing exactly what you want to do. There’s nothing wrong with that and allowing yourself to be inspired by their posts is a great way to get creative juices flowing. That being said, you cannot compare their following, their successes, their methods, their income with yours. I hear a lot of people say “I’m trying to enjoy the journey — but I keep getting discouraged by how far I’ve got to go”. Where are you going? Do you want your business to look exactly like theirs? That’s never going to happen. These titans of your craft are north stars, not destinations. They should provide direction, they should not be something you’re out to copy. So let’s set aside this giant thought of “journey” and handle this exact moment. Think about where you are and relish in the thought that you’re simply facing the right way. A little bit is better than nothing at all. So let that be enougth for now. Keep creating. Don’t be discouraged that nothing has been bought from your etsy. Relish in the thought that you’ve spent the time figuring out etsy and even setting up a page! The steps you take to grow your business aren’t glamorous or even very big — but you’ve got to learn to throw your own party for your small successes and stop basing your worth on whether a stranger wants to spend money on you or follow you. Because even though those wonderful strangers are what’s going to fund your passion project — they are only a small part of building a product you love.
Answers will come by doing
If you take nothing else from this long page of words — just internalize this: give yourself permission to do scary things ON YOUR OWN. I can’t tell you how many times I postponed awesome and amazing projects because I was waiting to talk with someone more experienced, or get feedback from someone else who had previously done this *thing*. JUST DO IT. Do it from home if you have to. Do it with your not-so-top-of-the-line materials. Do it even though you don’t have a computer, or adobe, or whatever gadget “that one person on instagram has”. You learn so much more by putting in the hours to figure it out your own way. Doing research is fine — but it should never hinder you from taking your first step.
Start now, and just pack your apprehension along with you.
I was so worried when I was creating my first few wedding suites because I didn’t have a computer at home or all the fancy design programs most stationary professionals use. I used my Ipad and an app called Graphic. It was slow and laborious at first — but now I’ve fine tuned the process and even with a computer I still return to my Ipad to design my workbooks, wedding invitations, and the majority of my custom pieces.
*YOU* are your most ideal customer
This little truth bomb was dropped on my by none other than the amazing Jody Moore. (If you don’t know who that is, do yourself a favor and check out her podcast “Better than Happy”) Jody was addressing the struggle creatives have pricing their own work. How many of you have called your mom or your husband and asked “how much would you pay for this?!” Guilty. Jody put an end to all that when she encouraged her listeners to ask themselves that question. Because the truth of the matter is, it’s going to take us a long time to find our audience, to grow that following of people with similar tastes and interests as you. You first have to introduce your products to as many people who will view your page/etsy. Ask yourself “how much would I pay for this?” and then honor that price, be psyched about that price, because your IDEAL customer is willing to pay that much.
To add onto this, in that same session, Jody spoke about the guilt we sometimes take on for charging others for our work. She called us all out on it, and then said something I will never forget: “Charging people is not punishing people”.
Just let that sink in.
If someone doesn’t want to buy your product because of the price, it’s a bummer for them, not you. You know all the wonderful and exciting things your products/service can offer. And it’s ok that they don’t want to pay that much for it. You keep believing and honoring your amazing product — you will attract more buyers.
You are 100% responsible for who views your product (not buys)
This is a lesson I’m still learning. How many of you have created something you’re so thrilled about, and then go to launch it only to find out that no one is really interested? (Also guilty)
Your product/service does not have a voice. It may have a beautifully designed face — but no voice. Only you can speak about how amazing and wonderful and life changing it will be. You cannot send out a single “who’s interested” and pull the plug because no one was interested. Talking your product up, doing your own advertising, and selling yourself are as uncomfortable as it gets (at least for me). But I find that if I am genuinely excited about my products and who they will help, I am much more authentic in my efforts.
Not everyone is going to want your product/service, so it’s up to you to find those who will.
You will get stuck
I think everyone already inherently knows this^^, but experiencing it is so draining. You can get stuck creatively, financially, stuck on poor methods…you name it. It’s so disappointing to have set what you thought was a realistic goal and not even see the steps of how you’re going to attain it.
Below I’ve included some ideas on how you can become unstuck, or at least see a way out of the funk. The first is another gem from Jody Moore. She calls this ‘Brain Work’:
List the goal/project you want to accomplish
List all the obstacles (physical and mental) that are keeping you from accomplishing that goal
Under each obstacle, write down how you can overcome it. There may be multiple ways!
The “how I’m going to overcome it” section is your new to-do list!
Physically writing down all the possible ways I can overcome something is intoxicatingly exciting, and helps me make a better plan next time!
The next resource is my own curated list of things you can do when you’re in a creative funk. I’ve tried and tested everything, so they are Amanda approved 🙂 :
Clean your workspace
Stay off social media for 24 hours
Go for a long walk – outside
Create something totally new, or
use mediums you’ve never used before!
Fill an entire page with words or doodles (I like to do this while listening to a podcast)
Finish the piece that’s causing frustration anyway
Fuel yourself with things that inspire you (a good book, reading your scriptures, journal writing, etc.)
Color a coloring page and finish it
Go to lunch with a good friend
Write a list of 50-100 things you’re grateful for
I hope in someway these tips/truths can help jumpstart whatever creative endeavor you have your mind set on. More than anything I want to say to you — all you — with the beautiful testimonies. Don’t ever be afraid to post a faith-filled caption or share the sacred things the Spirit nudges you to. We need your messages of joy, hope, love, and resounding testimony of your Savior Jesus Christ. <3