If you follow my Instagram account, you may have seen that Johnny and I just launched a new side business/hobby/thingy. We’re not 100% sure what it will be, but we’re excited to finally launch it! We’ve opened an online shop called Letterfolk that sells letter boards (the ones you might see at a neighborhood chapel or in vintage class photos) fit for the walls of a home. This is another piece in our self-employment journey (read: this is not a sales pitch), so I wanted to share a little more about where it fits in with our lives and budget.
How Letterfolk Started
While we were still living in New York, Johnny and I started talking one night about wanting a letter board for our home (because remember, budgeting doesn’t mean you can’t like nice stuff). This talk evolved into wondering if other people would want to put a letter board into their own homes. And that evolved into wanting to create our own letter boards to sell someday. And it abruptly ended there since we lived in NYC and had nowhere in our small apartment to act on such an idea. But as the months went by and we started realizing we’d be moving back west, our letter board idea resurfaced. It sounded less like a business and more like a really fun and exciting side project. As we looked into it more, we realized it would take mucho time, capital, and research to make it happen. We weighed the pros and cons of moving forward and decided we’d always wonder “what if” if we didn’t give it a try.
How We Planned + Saved
Planning: When we moved to Utah, we made sure to rent a home that could accommodate our new side hobby. And even though we’re at the very beginning stages, we’ve had to learn so many little intricacies that we didn’t even think about, like having a retail site, shipping products, and making sure we had our business licensing and accounting ducks in a row.
Saving: Not all, but most, businesses require an upfront investment of some sort. For ours, we decided to use some of our “someday house” fund as our investment money. So basically we loaned ourselves money. We’re in no rush to buy a home just yet, so that money would just be sitting, wishing, waiting otherwise.
How It Affects Our Budget
Our budget itself hasn’t changed much. We often hear about people starting their dream business and putting it all on the line financially to make it a reality. Letterfolk is not that kind of business. It’s very much a side hobby right now. Johnny’s still basically working full time in a consulting capacity, bringing in our income that way. So we’re not relying on Letterfolk for our income; it’s just a side business we feel passionate about. We both love finding decorations to fill our home (which has caused many a disagreement), and this is a piece of art we especially love, in part because it can be personalized for anyone in any home.
And now it’s just another piece of our self-employment adventure. Just like investing, we knew it was important to have a diversity of revenue streams, and this helps to minimize the risk of putting all of our potential income in one basket. Most of the financial pressure is off since we’re a) not relying on it for our main income and b) already building back the money we spent on initial inventory. This process has been really exciting for us, but I think we’re a bit excitable perhaps. We are fully aware that we have no clue what we’re actually doing, but we’re learning and just going with it. That’s what life’s all about, right?
We’ll keep you updated on how it’s all going as time goes by! So that’s us these days. If you didn’t already think we were crazy (which is unlikely), you probably do now. Anyone else out there starting a side venture or considering starting one?
If you’re interested in this piece of our puzzle, you can also follow us on Instagram @letterfolkco where we’ll give more regular updates.