Podcast 17! Building an Online Business as a Stay at Home Mom with Jamie Wilson

Podcast 17! Building an Online Business as a Stay at Home Mom with Jamie Wilson

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The podcast is back!  After taking several months off interviewing any guests, I’ve decided it time to get back behind the mic and see what’s going on in the world.

What I’m finding is some really AWESOME stories.  In fact, today is the first podcast interview back, but I currently have 4 others in the works.  So, if you have been missing the Niche Pursuits Podcast at all…you are about to get your fix very soon!

I love being able to interview entrepreneurs and here what is working for them.  And today is no different.  I interviewed Jamie Wilson who is a stay at home mom, but also a successful entrepreneur.

In fact, throughout the interview we dig into 2 successful sites that she owns: OrganicBambooClothing.com and JellyBeanQuilts.com.  Jelly Bean Quilts is currently her biggest money maker, and quite honestly, I think is a pretty cool business (yep I have kids!).

I found out about Jamie because she submitted her “Success” story to me following these guidelines here.  After reading it, I decided I needed to have her on the podcast, and I’m glad I did!  She shares tons or really cool tips and tricks.

As a result, I have the text that she sent in for her success story, so I’m going to share below.  The podcast follows a very similar format to what you see below; but there are TONS of points we discuss in the podcast that is not included below.  So, I recommend both reading and listening to get all the great information that Jamie has to share.

Jamie Wilson’s Success Story

1. What is your name and current job/profession?

My name is Jamie Wilson & I am the owner of the niche site JellyBeanQuilts.com, where I turn that box of baby clothes every mom has sitting in her closet into a modern memory quilt! I have also owned a bunch of niche sites over the years, but creating baby clothes quilts is my passion.

2. How did you get started building niche websites?  How long have you been building websites?

I have been messing around on the web ever since I started helping my dad with his ecommerce site selling Dish Network back in the late 90s (yes… we used Frontpage and a Yahoo store!) I went to college for PR & Marketing from 1999-2003, and after I graduated I got married & started a family. I really wanted to stay home with my son, so I started figuring out ways to make money for myself online in 2004.

3. Tell us about one (preferred) or multiple of your successful websites.  What is the URL and what niche are you targeting?   If you are not willing to publicly share your domain or niche, that’s just fine.

I’ve had 2 major success stories. The first is my current bread & butter – http://www.jellybeanquilts.com. This isn’t an affiliate site at all, actually (although I have had many of those) – but it most definitely is a niche! My niche is baby clothes quilts, as well as other memory quilts made out of clothing.

Back in 2008 I was developing niche sites, doing some SEO for a few local clients, and generally just trying to figure out what I wanted to truly be doing with my life. I have always been a crafty gal, and had made a quilt out of my son’s baby clothes that everyone always raved about. I already had years of SEO experience from some other pre-2008 ventures, so I did a little keyword research. I found a fair amount of long tail searches for baby clothes quilts, baby memory quilts, etc every month, so I put up a website and an ad on Craigslist with a picture of my work, and had my first client contact me & drop off a bag full of baby clothes that week!

I think it only took a few weeks to rank for baby clothes quilts, because I really had no competition… most crafters at that time had no clue about SEO. By the end of 2008 I was getting boxes of clothing sent to me from all over the country, and doing 2-3 quilts every month.

2009-2011 just kept steadily increasing… I have always maintained the #1 spot in Google and that’s where I get the majority of my traffic (once in a while it bounces around due to the preference Google seems to occasionally give Etsy sites,) but as the years go by I have started getting a very significant portion of my traffic & sales from Pinterest and Facebook. I now have over 1300 Facebook fans – all organic – which I think is pretty awesome for such a small niche! I have actually not even paid for a single ad in the last 5 years… it’s all just been social/inbound/SEO stuff or real-life word-of-mouth.

2012-2013 have been truly phenomenal. I get boxes of baby clothes every week from clients all over the world (literally) and business is actually so good I just had to raise my prices just to slow down the pace a bit! I’m doing what I am passionate about, I get to be creative every day, and I get to stay home with my kids and be at every. single. soccer. game. so I couldn’t ask for more!

4. How much money do you make from this successful website(s) each month?

About $4000/month from this business, and more at Christmas time.

5. What is the reason for this website’s success?

I think it’s because I am completely, 100% passionate about my customers and what I do. I try to provide amazing customer service, I always meet my promised deadlines, I work hard to honor special requests, and honestly I just try to make it super easy for people to do business with me. But passion is really #1. I have had a bunch of affiliate sites & made decent money from them over the years, but I lost interest because I just wasn’t “in love” with them.

6. Please briefly share your overall strategy for finding a niche, getting traffic to your site, ranking in Google, and making money from niche sites.

I used a couple strategies for honing in on my niche. To start, I didn’t just create things I liked & tried to sell them, like so many creative people do. I looked at the keyword research to make sure people were actually looking for what I wanted to make, and I tweaked my offerings according to what actually sells on places like Etsy. I also pre-sold quilts to friends and family to get confirmation people were willing to pay for them.

As far as getting traffic & rankings, I consciously chose a niche that wasn’t too hard or dominated by big brands, which is a huge factor for niche sites. I actually focused a little less on SEO than on some of my purely affiliate sites, and more on customer experience, since I was trying to actually build relationships with “real” people. But I made sure all of my ducks were in a row with title tags, content optimization, images, etc.

Pinterest drives a ton of traffic to my site too, so that’s worth mentioning for sure. My images have been pinned thousands & thousands of times because I’ve made it super easy to pin from my site, and included keyword rich auto-descriptions for them. I also pin my own pictures every now & then, just to keep them circulating. Now that Google ranks pinterest boards, and my images are all over pinterest, it’s like a double traffic whammy.

7. What link-building tips can you offer?

Just be awesome at what you do, and people will naturally want to link to you! That’s the whole goal, right?! I also think people are much more likely to link to images, graphics, videos, etc than just content, so focus on that if you can. But I have honestly done very little concerted link building in my almost 10 years of making money online… maybe a bit of blog commenting here & there. If you have to use link building to make it really happen for you, you might be in a niche you’re either not that passionate about, or that’s too competitive. Unless you are really passionate about link building, in which case proceed…

8. How has the success from this website impacted your life?

I would say it’s changed my entire life. I’ve been able to be a stay-at-home mom, which is an amazing blessing. I also get to do what I love, and be in total control of when I work and what I make. Sometimes I do wish it was a little more passive – sewing is a lot of actual work! – but when push comes to shove I wouldn’t want to quit even if I did have a giant passive income stream because I LOVE it. And I’m working on some ideas to add some passive income to this business, so who knows how it will evolve!

9. Do you have any additional tips or advice for others that would like to replicate your success with their own websites?

I think reverse-engineering your passion is always wise. Sort of figuring out what you love, and what you could do/what your skills are, and then using keyword research to figure out how you can fit that into what people are actually looking for.

And think outside the box a little bit… don’t get caught up on making it “passive” from the beginning. Just find ways to make money from your own ingenuity, and the opportunities to tweak things and build the lifestyle you want will naturally follow your hard work.

10. Do you have a blog or other place that people can following along with what you are doing?

http://www.jellybeanquilts.com is my website & http://www.facebook.com/jellybeanbabyclothesquilts is my Facebook – I know there are some people out there with kiddos, so throw me a like!! 🙂

I Need Your Feedback!

If you like the podcast, please consider giving me a review on iTunes right here!  The more positive feedback I get on iTunes, the more my podcast will be listened to.  The more the podcast is listened to, the more likely I will be to put real effort into it.  So, if you enjoyed this interview…please do me a HUGE favor and post a review.

Listen to the Podcast Here

As always, I look forward to any comments or further discussion that you might have below.  Thanks!

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35 Comments for this Post

  1. ray

    ray

    Awesome post! It always amazing me the things people are able to turn into income using the web. Not a huge fan of podcasts, so I’m glad this one is something I can read during my downtime!

  2. Melissa @ My Work At Home Ventures

    Melissa @ My Work At Home Ventures

    That is so cool! I love reading about work at home mom’s that are making it online (or offline) because I am a WAHM also and am just now starting to see some income coming in from my niche sites. Very inspiring! I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but I definitely will!

  3. Chris R Jensen

    Chris R Jensen

    Very very cool story. Thanks for sharing. How awesome it must be to have you passion become your source of income 🙂

  4. Jason

    Jason

    I love the story. She took a passion and made it into a business.

    Even better, she validated the market by preselling quilts before going all out.

    Jamie showed a lot of savvy with the planning behind her keyword research as well.

    Grats on your success Jamie, and I have no doubt you’ll continue to do more great things ahead!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I agree Jason…Jamie has shown a lot of savvy in running her business!

  5. adam

    adam

    thank u for this great post

  6. Jamie Wilson @ Jelly Bean Quilts

    Jamie Wilson @ Jelly Bean Quilts

    Thanks for checking out my story, everyone; I appreciate your comments!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thank you again Jamie for taking the time to share your story with me and everyone…I really enjoyed it!

  7. Winston

    Winston

    Great story Jamie!

    I have a question. I understand that security is one of the things to look out for when building e-commerce sites. I noticed that you use two different types of payment systems on your sites.

    Could you explain how you set them up and how you came about to choosing which systems would work best for you?

    • Jamie Wilson @ Jelly Bean Quilts

      Jamie Wilson @ Jelly Bean Quilts

      Sure! For my Jelly Bean Quilts site I use an online form from Formstack, which is awesome. This lets me just charge a deposit upfront, instead of the full amount like a shopping cart system would. It’s all processed on their site, so all of the security issues are passed along to them… they have all of the SSL, etc, for their forms, and it’s actually really easy to create an order form that can do just about anything. It then automatically integrates & creates an invoice in my Freshbooks account, and from their I process it with either PayPal or Stripe.

      For Organic Bamboo Clothing, I’m currently not actually using a shopping cart… it’s just the WPZonBuilder shopping cart that collects the items from my site that they add & then when the are ready to checkout it sends them over to Amazon.

      For the old version of Organic Bamboo, when it was a “real” ecommerce site, I actually used this program from Avactis that at the time let you use modules, which were sort of like individual widgets for all the different pieces of a storefront, on your own html pages. I really wanted to do it like that because of all the rankings I had on those html pages… I was too nervous to switch over to a total shopping cart system & have all my URLs change to php. It was actually a very cool system to be able to tweak it like that & keep my pages exactly how I wanted them, but I don’t think they even have it anymore because people like the easy all-in-one store builders!

      For the security I used SSL from hostgator & then authorize.net to process everything. They keep all the data there – I didn’t have access to anyone’s CC #s or anything like that, sort of like when people pay with a CC using PayPal… I could only do refunds… so it’s as secure as they are!

  8. Pramod

    Pramod

    I always visit this place to read success stories like this one to get inspiration and work harder . Best of luck for the future Jamie and Thanks for sharing the story with us Spencer.

    -Pramod

  9. Mr. Ryan Cote

    Mr. Ryan Cote

    What an awesome idea with the baby clothes quilts. My wife currently tries selling the baby clothes we don’t need anymore, but I like this idea better! I’m looking forward to listening to the podcast.

  10. Michael Taylor

    Michael Taylor

    Thanks for the inspiring story about Jamie. Building an online business is hard work. It’s good to get some motivation from someone who has made it happen! Thanks

  11. John Gibb

    John Gibb

    hey guys

    Good interview!

    I’d like ask Jamie if and how she “upsells” her customers other related items and if she uses email or snail mail follow-up to boost the profit per customer…

    • Jamie Wilson @ Jelly Bean Quilts

      Jamie Wilson @ Jelly Bean Quilts

      Hi John!
      With the quilting I do have upgrades that they can purchase, and I do discounts if they order multiple quilts to try to encourage that. I also will occasionally send out an email (Mailchimp) to my previous customers & mailing list when a holiday is coming up to remind them of my deadline if they want to order another quilt… I do get a lot of return customers because many just do 1 child at a time!

      With organic bamboo clothing I use a couple plugins to suggest related products – one is a related post plugin, and one is part of wpzonbuilder that suggests related products from amazon.

  12. chaise haute

    chaise haute

    It then automatically integrates & creates an invoice in my Freshbooks account, and from their I process it with either PayPal or Stripe.

  13. MsKatrina @MsCrookedhalo

    MsKatrina @MsCrookedhalo

    As I was walking home from the store yesterday, I was deciding how much money that I needed to make working from home. Randomly, I decided that since I was coming up on my 40th birthday, $4000 by this time next year would be a doable goal. How serendipitous that is the approximate amount that you make. Lol.

  14. Phil

    Phil

    Hey Jamie,

    i like what you do and how passionate you do it! Although this is a combination of online and offline business (so it can never be a real “passive” income) it’s great and definetly scaleable I think.

    I also like the look and feel of your bamboo clothes site where you make it look like an e-commerce store. Did you do SEO and linkbuilding there?

    All the best,

    Phil

    • Jamie Wilson @ Jelly Bean Quilts

      Jamie Wilson @ Jelly Bean Quilts

      Thanks Phil! I have done a little bit of SEO… I just changed it all up a couple months ago and am working on it little by little! Most of my SEO has just been on-page stuff. When it was a real ecommerce store I did buy some directory links, etc, and some of those are still out there, but I haven’t done any recently. That’s on my list though… I will probably have to break down & do a little link building soon! 🙂

  15. Matt Gorden

    Matt Gorden

    Great story!!! I’m looking forward my own success story. However, ranking high in big G is still a challenge for me!

  16. Arwin Adriano

    Arwin Adriano

    This is what we call pure hard work and how quality output pays off. Really love the story very inspiring.

  17. Jason

    Jason

    Good stuff. When reading the title of the post, I thought “Here’s another Mommy blogger making money selling information”. But Holy Crap! So much experience with various aspects of online business. I could hear Spencer’s wheels spinning throughout the episode.

    A suggestion for an additional revenue stream might be to create a video course to show people how to create the quilts on their own. I suspect that many of your customers are sewers themselves. A downside would be you could be training some competition but I highly doubt many people would take that massive action to into business themselves.

    I’d price the course somewhat high – probably starting at $99 maybe. Sorry $97 (this is an online business). You could also offer a full discount for those that go through the course and decide that they’d rather have you create the quilt.

    • Jamie Wilson @ Jelly Bean Quilts

      Jamie Wilson @ Jelly Bean Quilts

      Awesome idea Jason! I have thought about something like that… an ebook, a video series, a package of both etc… to get a little more of that passive download income. While most of my high-value target customers don’t sew (because of my price points, I try to target moms with more disposable income & less propensity to DIY!!!), I always see from my analytics that a huge amount of the actual traffic to my website is from sewers looking for inspiration, how-tos, etc. I actually get email questions every week from people wanting tips or who are making their own & have questions. I really do need to capitalize on that!!! Hopefully once I get another person hired I will have a little time to create a product like that!

  18. MMD

    MMD

    This is a very cool idea and that is certainly a lot of income to be proud of. My wife has dragged me to craft shows before and I’ve seen people sit around all day offering to make blankets or quilts and have what appears to be almost no success. Granted they were not baby clothes like this, but I think the key here is that your website opens you to a much larger audience.

    My only concern would be is this business scale-able? For example, if you were to receive double or four times the orders one month, would that be a burden? Would you be able to handle that volume? I’m wondering if you were able to hire extra hands if that would allow you to open yourself up to more clients and potentially more income while still being profitable and maintaining the quality of the product.

    • Jamie Wilson @ Jelly Bean Quilts

      Jamie Wilson @ Jelly Bean Quilts

      I am definitely working on that right now! I do have a part-time assistant, which has really helped. But I will probably be hiring an actual full-time sewist or two in the next month or so, as long as I can find some good people who I feel would do the quality work that I need… but I look at lots of other businesses that have taken that leap & still created quality, so I know it’s possible. Makes me nervous, though! I’ve been pretty resistant to it so far just because my kids were still at home, but now that they are both in school full time it’s GAME ON!!! 😉

      • Bob

        Bob

        Great podcast. Im interested in how organicbambooclothing.com is doing? And thanks for the info on drop shipping.

  19. Featured on Niche Pursuits Podcast! | Jelly Bean Quilts | Jamie's Blog

    Featured on Niche Pursuits Podcast! | Jelly Bean Quilts | Jamie's Blog

    […] Find it here: Niche Pursuits […]

  20. Iain

    Iain

    Great podcast Jamie and Spencer.

    I love how she has the farming story. It’s funny because I am trying to get into a position where I can start farming and run an online business.

    So needless to say that I loved how you got started Jamie with your father.

    I actually started dabbling in the online world because of my dad too.

  21. Matthew Allen

    Matthew Allen

    Spencer and Jamie – I need to thank both of you! Thank you Spencer for getting the podcast rolling again, which led to something amazing on my front. And thank you Jamie for the inspiration and ideas.

    As a result of listening to this episode, I stumbled into an incredible keyword to build my next site around! I was doing some random keyword research, sparked by an idea I had related to sewing (my wife is a pretty good sewer). Don’t worry Jamie – I’m not going to become your competition. But a long tail of a long tail, related to something I was researching in Long Tail Pro uncovered a great keyword for me!!

    8,100 local searches – KC only 20! – 3,600 products show up on Amazon for this search term – plus, a ton of great long tail keywords related to this keyword with low KC scores

    So, had I not listened to this podcast, I never would have stumbled into this great keyword. A special thanks to both of you! I’ve already started working on the site.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks for the kind words Matthew! That’s awesome that you found a great keyword as a result of the podcast 🙂

  22. L.J

    L.J

    Hi Jamie!

    Awesome story, I was thrilled to see a fellow lady represented in this success story 🙂

    You sound very down to earth, at the same time I loved hearing your total excitement when you talk about your businesses.

    Your success is well deserved and I wish you all the best for the future!

    Keep on representing the ladies!

    L.J

  23. Mike

    Mike

    That’s a great product Jamie. I have two fast-growing boys myself and I know my wife would love to have something like that.

    I took a look at your site (because business marketing is my passion!) and I had a quick suggestion: on your “View my work” section have the images even larger when clicked. I’m not “into” quilts, but even I really wanted to see the images bigger.

    Perhaps also include some close-ups, a variety of zoom levels, on the shots to show details.

    But it’s a great site and business. I wish you continued success!

  24. How to Perform Keyword Research: NSP 2, Coaching Call 2 | Niche Pursuits

    How to Perform Keyword Research: NSP 2, Coaching Call 2 | Niche Pursuits

    […] to try her hand at internet entrepreneurship. Suzy created SuzyQuilts after being inspired by Spencer’s podcast with Jamie Wilson from JellyBeanQuilts.com. SuzyQuilts has only been live for a week, and she’s already made […]

  25. JC

    JC

    Jamie,

    Just stumbled upon this podcast. Great to hear your voice and story. You’ve come a long way. Keep up the great work!

    JC

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