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This week I hit 50k sales in my Etsy shop. That’s obviously a pretty big milestone for me. But it got me thinking about what was perhaps the most important sale I have ever received… My first one. The one that started it all!

The start of my business consisted of me painting in my room for a weekend and then (poorly) photographing the canvases with my point-and-shoot (WITH DIRECT FLASH YOU GUYS) before quickly throwing them in an Etsy shop that I easily named after myself. There was not much thought behind any of this, as the concept of selling my art was basically for the fun of it.


My first sale was in 2008, not too long after opening my shop (despite my poor photography choices). I remember where I was and who I was with when that e-mail came in, congratulating me on my first Etsy sale. I sold an original 8×10 painting for $40. It was my favorite painting so I’m not surprised it was my first sale. I now have a print of it hanging matted in my bathroom and secretly curse the person who scored the original for dirt cheap.

You live and you learn.

I have learned so many things since that day. Most importantly probably, I have learned to run my business with purpose. I am much more aware of the choices I am making and the goals that I want to achieve. I have made my own decisions, which created the path I have been on for the last seven years and you know what, I’m doing alright. ;] xo JA


P.S. If you want to hear me talk more about small business, check out this interview I did for The Nudge!

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