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April 27, 2017

How Maria Dug Her Business Out of Debt

Last November, Maria Morris stepped through the doors of her second Business Boutique event in Nashville. As she grabbed her welcome bag and workbook, she knew that she was in for an inspiring weekend of growth, learning, and connection. She’d...

Last November, Maria Morris stepped through the doors of her second Business Boutique event in Nashville. As she grabbed her welcome bag and workbook, she knew that she was in for an inspiring weekend of growth, learning, and connection. She’d already seen success from what she implemented at the last Business Boutique! This time, however, she had a new obstacle to overcome. As she made her way into the auditorium that was lit up in turquoise, she felt the weight of $10,000 in debt from her business.

 

 

Let’s back up a bit. Maria’s passion is watercolor and design, and she saw opportunity in the marketplace to do something with that. She says, “I saw amazing women entrepreneurs on Instagram with piles of orders ready to be shipped. I saw them do beautiful, creative work. With credit card in hand, I set out to do the same—or better!”

So she opened an Etsy shop selling watercolor prints and hand-painted signs. She attended her first Business Boutique in 2015 and began to implement the plan, and it worked! In a short amount of time, her Etsy shop earned hundreds of five-star reviews and $10,000 in revenue. Which would be awesome, except that she was over $10,000 in credit card debt for the business.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t jump on board with Dave Ramsey’s budgeting principles from the first Business Boutique,” she says. “I wasn’t controlling my business spending.” As her Etsy store made sale after sale, she never took a step back to do the math. She was actually spending more than she was making on the cost of supplies and shipping! “I didn’t pay attention to what the real numbers were,” she says. “I was in denial.”

When she finally realized that she hadn’t actually made any profit, it was a devastating blow. “I went to the second Business Boutique during a total low point. I knew I needed to make a pivot. I wanted to get out of debt as well as build a business that helped other women entrepreneurs.” So she re-evaluated her business idea and came up with something more cost-effective that was still close to her heart.

Now Maria owns Design Blossoms, providing custom photography, branding, and web design for other women who are starting up businesses! Looking around her website you can see Maria’s watercolor flare in all of her work, which I love. It’s beautiful! She still has an Etsy storefront, but it’s much different now. She uses it to sell mood boards and stock photos that she took herself. She loves helping women brand their businesses and offers marketing consultation services.

It turns out this new business was right in Maria’s sweet spot. She was able to pay off all of her debt from the previous business, and now she loves what she does more than ever. She says, “The Lord is showing me this is what He’s always had for me. I understand what these other women need to market their businesses, and I get to work with florists, boutique owners, ‘mommy bloggers,’ financial coaches, and more. I have so much business I can’t even believe it!”

Maria is working 40 hours per week on Design Blossoms and is paying cash for things like braces for her two children with the profit! Her next goals for her earnings are to pay off the family car early, and eventually, the house.

Everyone defines success differently, and for Maria, it’s the ability to provide for her family while using her eye for photography and passion for branding and fun colors to help other women like her.

If you’re like Maria and trying to start or grow a business, I’d love to help you along the way! My new book, Business Boutique: A Woman’s Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves, is my plan covering all aspects of business, including marketing and selling, business budgeting, balancing work and family, and more. Order your copy today!

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  1. Lisa Jones says:

    I’ve had the privilege of working with Maria and her work is AMAZING!! She sees things that are far and beyond what I can imagine. From a full website to a simply downloadable file, her work is flawless. It’s elegant and graceful and captures the essence of the owner. I’m proud to call myself her client!