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Life & Work with Natalie Terry

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Terry.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My love for entrepreneurship began at the young age of 5 years old. My first ‘business venture’ was a makeshift Fun Center in my backyard, where all the neighborhood kids would buy tickets to play on our rope swing, toss sticks in the creek and climb trees. Thankfully I have come a long way since then, though my love for business has not wavered.

Over the coming years, I would have dozens of business ideas, but it wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I found something I was truly passionate about. I was scrolling through Pinterest late one night when I came across the most beautiful handwriting I had ever seen, which I would later learn was the art of hand lettering.

I immediately pulled out a piece of scratch paper & a pencil and began trying to imitate the beautiful writing. My first attempts definitely did not produce the same results I saw on Pinterest, but I didn’t care. Writing had quickly become therapeutic for me. I loved the attention to detail. I loved that you had to slow down and really think about each letter.

I started an Instagram account to document my progress and share my love of hand lettering & art. I was surprised to learn that there was a whole community of people on Instagram who had the same passion as me! I had no intentions of growing or turning my hobby into anything more, I truly just did it because I enjoyed it so much. As time passed, I started noticing a lot of people were selling their work on Etsy, which got me thinking of ways I could potentially turn my hobby into a business.

I decided Etsy was the route I’d take, but as a shy & anxious teenager, I was worried about what my peers would think of me if they saw my Instagram page or my Etsy shop. I felt insecure about my skills, I felt that I wasn’t good enough yet to be on Etsy. I kept telling myself I just needed a little more time before I was ready. Believe it or not, it took me FOUR years to work up the courage to open my shop.

Looking back, how silly it was to wait so long. My little business has brought me a sense of accomplishment that I’ve never felt before. I find joy in both creative projects and mundane tasks. I love the process of an idea becoming a product, and then being able to share it with others.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My biggest hurdle has definitely been my own self-doubt and insecurities. Growing up, I cared way too much about how people perceived me and it caused me to let a lot of opportunities slip by.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Although my Etsy shop is my biggest passion, I currently work full-time as a graphic designer for a local real estate development company. I’ve learned how to juggle my work responsibilities and my passion for entrepreneurship, though it hasn’t always been easy.

What do you think about luck?
Luck is a complicated thing. On one hand, I’ve had lucky experiences – due to meeting the right person at the right time, having an inspired idea, or simply just posting at the right time to beat the algorithm (if you know, you know).

But the other side of luck is a whole lot of hard work. Luck will only get you so far if you don’t have passion, motivation, and determination. My journey so far has consisted of a lot of late nights, a lot of pondering about how I can make my business better, and a lot of tears caused by self-doubt.

It has been picking myself up after a failed launch day, celebrating every single order, and getting the work done even when I don’t want to.

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