How Vee Rae and Karla Midwood Earn $7k+ From Their Site, Etsy, and TpT Stores Via SEO and Pinterest
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Vee Rae and Karla Midwood first met through their daughters, and not only did they share a connection from the start as moms, but they also had the same professional goal: to be entrepreneurs.
Together, they embarked on an adventure.
First, they dipped their toe into the Etsy market in 2021 with a shop selling affordable printables for all kinds of celebrations. Once that was up and running successfully, they started their own website: Little Halo J. Then they opened a Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Today, they’re proud to have sold over 28,000 products on Etsy, plus many more on their website and TpT store. With their site recently joining Raptive, they’re seeing even more success.
They escaped unscathed from the HCU and today are earning over $7k per month across multiple platforms.
Keep reading to find out:
- Exactly how they met and got started
- What happened with their store initially on Etsy
- Why they created their website
- What really moved the needle for their site
- How they chose their niche
- How they come up with ideas
- Where their income comes from
- What marketing strategies work for them
- Their thoughts on SEO
- Their approach to keyword research and links
- How they create content
- Their thoughts on list building
- Their go-to tools and resources
- Their biggest challenge
- Their greatest accomplishment
- Their main mistake
- Their advice for other entrepreneurs
- Meet Vee and Karla
- Why They Created Their Website and Stores
- How Vee and Karla Come Up With Ideas
- How Much They’re Making
- Their Top Marketing Strategy
- The Importance of SEO
- Their Content Creation Process
- Their Email List
- Their Favorite Resources
- Their Top Tools
- Their Biggest Challenge
- Their Greatest Accomplishment
- What They Wish They Knew When They Started
- Their Main Mistake
- Their Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
Meet Vee and Karla
We’re Karla and Vee, the creative minds behind the website Little Halo J.
We first crossed paths through our daughters (who incidentally were born on the same day!). We shared the same ideas about wanting to be our own bosses one day, but we were just not sure how to make it happen.
Karla spent many years in the travel industry, and Vee had worked as a private investigator, but we both wanted a way to escape the 9 to 5.
Then, one day we were chatting and brainstorming, and that day over coffee we decided to explore selling online.
We initially delved into making and selling vinyl decals. While this sold well, it was very time consuming, so we started looking for other options.
We purchased a Cricut machine and watched YouTube videos on how to make the decals. We sold these at local markets.
We transitioned quickly from physical products to selling printables due to their passive nature and scalability.
Initially starting with a store on Etsy, our journey has extended and now includes our own website, specializing in selling printables and blogging about party games and ideas.
When we are not putting pen to paper or working on our business, we juggle the joys of motherhood as we both have teenagers and family dogs.
Family is at the core of what we do and if we are not immersed in writing or working on our business strategy, you will find us planning our next family holiday or simply soaking up the sun down at the beach.
Why They Created Their Website and Stores
We both wanted an outlet for our creativity and to earn an income outside of our normal 9-5 jobs. We didn’t know what direction to take but saw huge potential in the digital download market, so we decided to start there (and you can learn how to sell digital downloads on Etsy in our guide).
Before launching our business, we did some research and kept an eye on some top Etsy sellers in our niche and took note of how many sales they were making each day. This really surprised us and spurred us on knowing that we really could make money doing this.
We could see that some top sellers were making over 60 sales every day, and based on their average selling price we estimated their earnings to be around $200 per day.
This was at off-peak times, and their sales dramatically increased over popular times such as Valentine’s Day and Easter.
Wanting to spend as little money as possible to start this venture, so we bought a Canva subscription, and in the evenings we created a bunch of printable products and listed them on Etsy.
We were so excited and thought we were onto a winning combination. We launched our store just before Easter and had a fantastic response to our Easter-themed products.
However, we had not done enough research into pricing, and despite the initial success, our profits were very thin.
We didn’t enroll in any specific course, but gained our knowledge from different sources: blog articles, podcasts, and YouTube. We chose a niche that we love and are continuously educating ourselves.
Choosing a niche we are interested in has been crucial in helping to grow Little Halo J into a profitable business that we enjoy.
The experience and knowledge we have gained along the way have led us to create an ebook on How to Sell on Etsy.
This book is our way of sharing what we've learned, by providing a practical guide for others looking to embark on a similar path. You can find the ebook on our website.
We faced another unexpected twist when, just a few weeks after launching our Etsy shop, we were hit with a temporary closure. This closure lasted three days and occurred without any warning or explanation. This was a pivotal moment that made us reassess our business strategy.
We still do not know what caused the temporary closure of our store, but have heard that from time to time, Etsy does close down brand-new stores. We contacted Etsy numerous times via email and then four days after being closed, Etsy reopened our store and we were back up and running.
We could still see the potential in printable products and our initial success was enough to push us into taking the leap and launching our own website. Sales continued to come in and we were making some pocket money, but not enough for us to take our new venture seriously.
We poured hours into our website, and although we could see our website traffic growing, for the first 18 months we were still earning very little and our dreams of leaving our regular jobs were put on hold.
But all of that changed when we added a blog to our website and started seriously focusing on keywords and SEO. Adding the blog turned out to be a game changer by attracting more visitors and finally turning our website into a profitable business.
During this time, our Etsy shop also thrived.
How Vee and Karla Come Up With Ideas
When it comes to creating our printable products, we like to mix things up.
We start off with a bit of keyword research with KeySearch, checking out what buzzwords are most popular. This helps us tap into the current trends and figure out what people are currently searching for.
We have a specific niche that is focused on party themes, games, and ideas but we will also create products outside of this to tap into current trends.
We usually start by looking for a good keyword that usually aligns with our party niche. We will then write a blog post and try to create a relatable printed product to add to that post.
A great instance of this is our Printable Family Reunion Games blog post. For this, we created a variety of printable family reunion games to add to the content of the article.
Similarly, with our Princess Party Ideas blog post, we have created relevant products like a Princess Treasure Hunt and Princess Cupcake Toppers.
We feel these products are helpful to our readers and enhance the content of our posts.
You can see these examples and how we integrate our printables with our blog content here:
This strategy helps us maintain a balance between sticking to our niche and leveraging popular trends to offer a diverse range of products.
We also keep a close eye on what's hot on Etsy.
Checking out what's popular and the bestsellers gives us a good sense of what people are loving right now. We take notes on successful products, see what patterns emerge, and let that inspire us to cook up fresh and new additions to our lineup.
We are working towards our ideal business model, but on average, we each dedicate about 25 hours per week to our business.
This time is invested in a variety of tasks including creating new products, managing our website, Etsy store, and Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) shop, as well as blogging and staying updated with the latest trends in our niche.
We are consistently tweaking and improving our work strategies to grow Little Halo J to the point where it matches our vision perfectly.
How Much They’re Making
Our income does vary throughout the year depending on the seasons, with spikes around Easter, Halloween, and Christmas.
Our Etsy shop has sold over 28,000 products with an average monthly revenue of $3,200 over the last two years.
In addition to our Etsy store, our website now features over 430 blog posts and a shop that has become a thriving revenue stream. Our website is generating over $1000 per month in sales and Little Halo J is now on a premium ad network, Raptive.
Since joining it on October 16th, last month we hit over $3,000 in ad revenue, and this month is on track to make $4500.
Raptive Ad Network
We are continuing to expand our business reach and opened a Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) shop in March of this year. Despite being a relatively new venture, the TpT shop generated over $433 in revenue in November 2023.
Our average monthly earnings are:
- Website Little HaloJ - (printables) $1000
- Raptive Ad network - $3800
- TPT - $435
- Etsy - $3200
Little Halo J is getting approximately 193Kk pageviews per month (145K sessions).
And the majority of our traffic is from organic search.
Their Top Marketing Strategy
When it comes to marketing, we use SEO and rely on Pinterest and email. Our popular posts will bring people to our website where they can download freebies and sign up for our email list.
When we first started our business, our SEO knowledge was pretty basic. We learned the ropes through self-education: reading numerous blog posts, joining blogging-focused Facebook groups, and watching tutorial videos on YouTube for practical, visual guidance.
This approach allowed us to gradually build our SEO skills, directly contributing to the growth of our business.
Our Pinterest strategy has been significantly influenced by the insights from Carly, creator of the Pinteresting Strategies course.
Her approach has guided us in developing a strategy that works well for our business.
The Importance of SEO
We believe that SEO is absolutely crucial for our business and our online presence. With the majority of our traffic coming from organic search, having a good understanding of SEO is indispensable.
We try to stay updated in the SEO world with their constantly evolving trends and algorithm updates.
We approach SEO very simply.
Firstly, we focus on lots of keyword research. We don’t want to be spending lots of time writing blog posts or creating products that people are not searching for.
We use tools like KeySearch to help identify low-competition keywords with a decent search volume. This helps us target specific niches and create content that we know our audience is actively searching for.
Then we get to work creating high-quality, relevant content. We try to make sure that our new content is not only interesting, but also optimized for search engines.
Another critical part of our SEO strategy is on-page optimization. This means we optimize our meta descriptions, titles, and images.
And finally, we’re creating a strong backlink profile, with internal linking within our site also playing a significant role.
So overall our SEO strategy is about creating value for our customers and making it easier for them to find us online. We still have a lot to learn, so it’s a continuous process of trying, testing, and adapting, but the effort is well worth it given the impact it has on our traffic and business growth.
During the latest Google Helpful Content Update, we were lucky to not have been impacted at all, and our traffic continues to go up and up.
We try to target keywords that have a search volume of over 100 and a difficulty score of under 35.
Then we try to write the best article we can to rank for those words.
Link Building and Internal Linking
Link building is a vital part of our SEO strategy. It really helps to improve our website's authority and also drives a lot of referral traffic to us, along with helping with our search engine rankings.
One of our key strategies we use is internal linking. We use Link Whisper to help us with this.
In terms of backlink building, we actively participate in round-up posts. This approach has been quite effective in gaining quality backlinks and increasing our online visibility.
To find these opportunities, we joined numerous Facebook groups dedicated to round-ups. These groups are great resources for connecting with other bloggers and website owners looking to feature various content.
By engaging in these communities, we're able to contribute to round-up posts that are relevant to our niche, which in turn helps in building our website's authority and reach.
Their Content Creation Process
Our approach to creating content is pretty straightforward.
We start with some good old keyword research. Both of us dive into this, looking for topics that not only excite us but are also something that we think our audience is looking for. If we stumble across a blog post idea that we're both keen on, we say, 'Let's write about this!'
We keep everything organized with a simple Google spreadsheet. It’s our go-to for planning who writes what and when. This way, we’re always on track with our articles, and since we have a pretty similar writing style, it all flows together nicely.
Every week, we get together and do our research. It’s a mix of brainstorming, trend-spotting, and adding fresh ideas to our spreadsheet. It's not just about keeping our content updated; it’s also our time to sync up and make sure we’re on the same page.
Our strategy is centered around providing value to our readers through well-researched and engaging content. By staying in sync with each other’s work and keeping a steady flow of content ideas, we ensure that our blog remains relevant and informative. This has been key to growing our blog and connecting with our audience.
We have a good system in place when it comes to publishing content.
We average 4 to 5 posts a week and have found that being consistent with posting new content has really helped with our growth. We don’t outsource anything, but as we’re growing, this will be something we will need to consider.
Their Email List
Yes, we currently maintain a small yet engaged email list, primarily comprised of customers who have made purchases or downloaded our freebies. This is an area we are working on as we realize the value in growing your email community.
Currently, to grow our email list, we use incentives on our website, encouraging visitors to subscribe with offers like freebies and discounts.
We use Omnisend as our email provider and currently have 3000 people on our list.
We realize the importance of growing and maintaining your email list but this is an area we have not put much focus on. Going forward, this is something we will be working on more actively in the new year.
Their Favorite Resources
One of our go-to resources and one we recommend to everyone is the Niche Pursuits Podcast. We have gained so many valuable and practical tips and advice from listening to this podcast.
One aspect we love is the success stories. These are so motivating and inspirational and also shed light on the many ways to gain success in online business.
Listening to the in-depth discussions between Spencer and Jared on a multitude of topics, from SEO strategies and affiliate marketing to niche selection and blogging tips are all extremely relevant for anyone looking to grow their online venture.
Their Top Tools
First, Canva Pro is an absolute game-changer for us. It is so user-friendly and has a range of features which we use for quickly and easily creating our printable products and marketing materials.
We can quickly design professional-looking products, which has saved us so much time and streamlined our workflow significantly.
Second, KeySearch is our go-to tool for SEO and keyword research. It's easy to use and helpful for understanding market trends, discovering what our audience is searching for, and optimizing our content to rank higher in search results.
We believe this tool has been instrumental in driving organic traffic to our website.
Lastly, the Pinterest native scheduler is a vital part of our marketing strategy. This allows us to plan and schedule our pins so we can maintain a consistent presence on Pinterest without having to spend all day on the platform.
These three tools form the backbone of our digital strategy, which enables us to create, optimize, and promote our products effectively in a highly competitive online marketplace.
Their Biggest Challenge
One of our biggest challenges has been the unpredictable nature of online platforms, particularly when faced with unexpected events like the temporary closure of our Etsy store.
Additionally, we've realized that outsourcing is not our strong suit. Balancing the need to delegate tasks while maintaining the quality and vision of Little Halo J has been a learning experience.
We understand the benefits of outsourcing, but finding the right balance and trusting others with our brand has been a gradual process.
Their Greatest Accomplishment
Our most significant accomplishment to date, and one that we are most proud of, has been securing a place on the Raptive ad network.
From day one, this was a major goal for us, and achieving it was such a special moment in our journey. Being accepted onto Raptive is a reward for all of the hard work and dedication we have put into growing our website.
It's more than just an ad network for us; it shows our ability to create a website that not only attracts substantial traffic but also delivers value to both our audience and advertisers.
What They Wish They Knew When They Started
Don't stress about everything being perfect right away.
Looking back, we wish I knew that it's totally okay not to have everything figured out from the get-go. You're going to learn and get better as you go along.
Don't let the fear of not being perfect hold you back, focus on staying committed and improving bit by bit.
Their Main Mistake
Our biggest mistake was not starting to write blog posts earlier. While we had always been focused on SEO and keyword research from the beginning, we didn't initially realize the huge value that regular blogging could add to our business in terms of traffic and engagement.
Additionally, while we've been active on Pinterest, in hindsight, employing a Virtual Assistant (VA) to help us maximize our presence there could have really accelerated our growth and allowed us to focus more on other aspects of our business.
Recognizing these has helped refine our strategy and drive our business forward.
Their Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
Our biggest piece of advice is to embrace the journey with all its ups and downs. Building a successful online business is a marathon, not a sprint. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment and be open to pivot when necessary.
Understanding the value of your unique voice and ideas in the market and what sets you apart can often be your greatest strength. We started Little Halo J in our mid-40s, proving that it’s never too late to chase your entrepreneurial dreams.
Believe in your vision, and know that success is achievable at any age.
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