How a Full-Time Teacher Grew a Successful Side Business

How a Full-Time Teacher Grew a Successful Side Business

I remember exactly where I was when I decided I wanted to start a freelance writing business.

*Flash forward several years*

I remember exactly where I was when I actually started a freelance writing business.

I beat myself up for waiting so long to start something I’ve been putting off for years. It was easy to focus on all of the wasted time and how lost I felt starting a business from scratch. What we may not realize is that successful businesswomen are not always on TV, or ‘Instagram Famous’, they are our neighbors, colleagues, sisters, mothers and friends. In an effort to help other women avoid this feeling of helplessness, I sought out inspirational women entrepreneurs to tell their stories.

Jennifer Wan, a full-time teacher in Holly Springs, NC began crafting in her spare time as a hobby. What she didn’t know, was that she could turn this into a very lucrative side business in less than 2 years.

Using the platform Etsy, Wan began posting her crafts to her Etsy shop, WanDecor.

And one day, she got a sale. And another…and another…. and another… Now she has more orders than she ever expected and more disposable income to help fund her upcoming wedding.

I’m sure you’re wondering the same thing as me, how does she do it? Full-time teaching, coaching a middle school cheerleading squad, planning her own wedding, and running a successful business?

Gain some inspiration from my interview learning about WanDecor, Jen’s journey into entrepreneurship, and lessons from the life and times of a millennial woman entrepreneur.

Lesson 1- You are Your Own Biggest Critic

Forbes Woman states, “Women are becoming more entrepreneurial. Women own 36% of all businesses, according to the 2012 U.S. Census ‒ a jump of 30% over 2007.” (Geri Stengel, Why The Force Will Be With Women Entrepreneurs In 2016) These are very exciting statistics for the entrepreneurial woman. Although Jen makes this look easy, she faced many challenges on the road to entrepreneurship. One of her biggest challenges was getting started.

As many women do, Jen feared that friends, acquaintances or colleagues would roll their eyes and not take her seriously, so for many months, Jen did not market her business or talk about her goals for her new business venture.


“It wasn’t until I started to receive orders from all over the US that I gained confidence.”

While Jen did not heavily promote her business initially, when she opened up and began sharing her vision, sales from unexpected supporters came pouring in.

How did you break out of your comfort zone and decide to start WanDecor?

“I had a lot of doubt opening up my shop but I didn’t let it stop me. My very first sale was from my former boss, minutes after I opened up my shop on Etsy. I was shocked, excited, and immediately motivated. To think that a woman who I looked up to very much, believed in my work and supported me, gave me the hope and drive to continue working toward my goals. But it wasn’t until I started to receive orders from all over the US that I gained confidence.”

Lesson 2- Differentiate Yourself

Jen began her Etsy shop on February 24th 2015. Since then WanDecor has earned 190 sales and Jen has managed to maintain a 5-star rating on her shop. Jen differentiates herself by offering boutique style customer service, something that seems to have gone to the wayside in today’s ecommerce space. Jen prides herself on her flexibility, adaptability, allowing her customers to drive the process and customize their items.

Buyers can purchase items online anywhere, what makes WanDecor so successful?

“I pride myself on the quality of my items. I do not sell anyone something I wouldn’t want to purchase myself. If an item doesn’t meet my standards, I do not sell it to anyone. I personally send a lot of pictures to my customers prior to shipping, to make sure they are satisfied with their custom order. After my customer receives their order, I follow up with a courtesy email making sure my customer is happy. I believe the quality of my crafts, communication and personal touch makes all the difference in a competitive online marketplace”


Tip: If you are looking to start your own business, do your research. Many online marketplaces can be very saturated, so it is important to find your niche before committing financially to starting a business. Check out this great article 15 Things Every Newbie Needs to Know About Starting a BusinessBrandon Turner (Follow him here!)


Lesson 3- Always be Hustling

No one said this was easy, but you can do it. Jen managed to build WanDecor in her spare time. Jen teaches and coaches for a middle school, recently bought a house, and is planning a wedding. Jen works for a year-round school and schedules her crafting around her work schedule.

How do you keep up with WanDecor along with everything else in your life?

“Every chance I get, I’m crafting. Whether it’s during my track-outs, weekends or after school. I make it a point to find time to craft, ship orders and list new items. My focus during track-outs is creating new items and getting them listed. While school is in session, my focus is to ship orders as fast as possible, while keeping up with communication and customer satisfaction.”

Something I’ve learned starting my own freelance writing business, is that you always have to hustle. If you sit back and expect business to come flooding in you will be disappointed. Focus your efforts and don’t allow yourself to become complacent. Good things come to those who hustle!


Advice to the Aspiring Part-Time Womanpreneur

  1. Never think you can’t do something because you haven’t started.
  2. Allow yourself to be a beginner.
  3. If you wait for the right time, the right time may never come.
  4. Use your drive and passion.
  5. Don’t worry about what everyone thinks about you and just go for it!

Don’t let anyone tell you what you are capable of. If your 9-5 gig isn’t cutting it, or if you are a stay at home mom, there are many ways to earn cash with a side business.

Find WanDecor on Instagram @WanDecor and check out WanDecor on Etsy here!


Know a kickass Womanpreneur? Contact me!

2 thoughts on “How a Full-Time Teacher Grew a Successful Side Business”

  • Miranda, I love your ideas and I am going to view through your whole site. I am also a teacher, but presently do not have a class. I miss the energy of college students.

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