About The Dutch Lady Designs

The Dutch Lady Designs is a small graphic design company based in The Netherlands. It specializes in colorful and feminine designs for clipart, digital backgrounds, printables & Adobe Photoshop templates. Please feel welcome to browse the website!

Another year in business - the ups & downs

December 30, 2015

business and blogging in 2015

And with only one day left to go, 2015 is nearing its end. Incredible. I don't know about you, but time really seems to go a lot faster with each year I get older. But maybe time flew by as well because I was having fun this year with my business and blog. It hasn't made me a millionaire yet, but it did bring me a whole lot of other things. Good and bad. And that's why I thought it would be nice to share the more personal side of things in this last post of the year. Because it is really easy to keep up appearances online and on social media, but don't we all just want to know the juicy details? After all, we are human, and we like to find out that the people we follow along with online are human too. So let's dive into the ups and downs of my business and blogging this year!


Fortunately the ups have outweighed the downs this year. If that wasn't the case I would probably have thrown in the towel thinking: F*** IT! When I'm passionate about something I can give myself for 200%, but I'm more of a realist than a dreamer. So if things only went down hill I would pull the plug and decide to put my energy in another project. But 2015 proved that I was putting my energy into something that was growing, something that had potential, and something that I loved to do!

I made more profit than the year before

My Etsy shops and my blog audience definitely grew this year, which resulted in more sales and therefore a better profit than last year. But let me be transparent here: I came from the position of a stay-at-home mom with no income, so every little bit of money I started making on the side is a nice extra for our family. And although my profit has grown this year, it would still not be nearly enough to quit a regular job for.

I know that a lot of people dream of making a full income from their blog or online business, and it is definitely possible, but it doesn't happen overnight. And while the income that I make provides us with a nice extra, it would be utter poverty when this income had to provide solely for a family of four. So please think twice before leaving a job to become a full time blogger or small entrepreneur!

I met some really nice people

Even though I am behind my computer a big part of the time for my blog and business, I still managed to meet really nice and sweet people online, be it through my blog or because they became my clients. I often get inspiration from meeting new people and it helps with the solitude of the job. Because it can get lonely behind that computer. I'm glad I still have my two cats as co-workers, although they don't work that much.... ;-)

I expanded my knowledge

Life is one big school isn't it? It's all about learning lessons. Big ones, small ones. Lessons in business, but also lessons on a personal level. And with that learning comes more knowledge and wisdom. So I can definitely say that I know a whole lot more about blogging and creating blog designs than a year ago. And that helps me to better help my clients. With their designs and with tips on expanding their blogs and becoming better visible in blogosphere.

But with gaining more knowledge, the amount of questions about a subject often increases as well. And so it did for me. I know so much more than when I first started out, but still not nearly enough to solve every problem for my clients and myself. So my goal is to keep on learning over the next year!

I did something that made my heart sing

How many people can actually say that they are doing a job that makes their heart sing? A job that creates sparkles inside of them when they get out of bed in the morning, eager to start? Well, I'm one of the fortunate ones that gets to say that and gets to feel those sparkles!

I love the creative part of my job and the fact that I can do it from home, during the hours that suit me best. That gives a feeling of freedom. And it is practical as well. My son (16) is severely affected by autism and needs more care and guidance than most kids of his age. My job gives me the opportunity to be there for him at the times that he needs me without having to ask a boss for another day off to accompany my son to an appointment. And that freedom creates inner peace for me. Something I am very grateful for!

business and blogging in 2015
 Yuki, my sweet, furry co-worker


Of course no situation is totally positive all the time. That's a law of life as well. We need both ends of the spectrum to be in balance. So I won't back down from sharing some of the downs as well. The ones that sometimes made me question myself and my business.

Not knowing it all

While I gained a lot more knowledge regarding designing and installing blogs, I still have so much to learn. And I will probably never be done learning in this field. But it can be frustrating when you aren't able to solve a problem, whether it is a problem that I encounter myself, or one that a client encounters and wants me to fix.

Sometimes the only option is to be fully honest to myself and everyone else that is involved and just say: 'Right now I am not able to solve this for you'. And that is hard, because I don't want to let clients down. But I have to accept that it is a fact of life that we can't know it all.

Struggling with pricing products and services

Upcoming February I will be in business on Etsy for 2 years. You would have thought by now I would have tackled the subject of pricing my products and services. But actually, I'm still struggling with it.

I don't want to over-price products and services because I want them to be affordable for a lot of people. And over-pricing creates the risk of putting myself out of business when my competition uses rates that are a lot lower. This is certainly an issue on Etsy. Some shops will sell a similar product for three times less.

On the other hand, I'm not a philanthropist either. I love my job, but I need to make some money with it in order to support my family and to make up for all the hours I put into it. It basically gets down to the question: 'What do I think I am worth?' or 'What do I think my time is worth?'. I still have a lot to learn in this field, that's for sure.

Feeling intimidated by the competition

I guess this is something many entrepreneurs struggle with. When you look at your competition all of a sudden you feel so inadequate. It seems like they are better prepared, have better products, more clients and sales and a lot more knowledge than you. These thoughts can really put me down from time to time. I know it's only my own insecurity, but it can have a serious impact on my day every now and then. I am still learning to use my competition as inspiration for new products, pricing etc. instead of comparison.

Difficult client contacts

And last but not least: client contacts. While most of my clients are great people with lovely ideas and a realistic approach towards the project we are working on, every now and then one shows up that completely drains me from all of my energy.

And often, it's not even their fault at all. Sometimes I just haven't communicated things as accurate as I should have, or the description of a product or service leaves some things to the imagination. Then it's my job to be more clear in my message towards my clients. And I definitely learn from these moments.

But even if I communicate perfectly clear, there will always be people on this planet that want it all. People  that think that for a really small fee I will be their personal blog assistant. Available 24/7 and able to solve all problems and issues, but when I ask something from them it gets pretty darn silent. I'm slowly learning to deal with these kind of clients.

In business you learn that the client is king, but there are exceptions. Sometimes this queen needs to set some firm boundaries ;-) This even led to the cancellation of a big project from my side this year, but I knew that despite the money I would miss out on, it would be the best thing to do for my sanity ;-)

business and blogging in 2015
Twinkel, my other hairy work companion


Despite some difficult days here and there where I got overwhelmed by intimidating competition, blog trouble and issues and some difficult clients, for the most part 2015 has been positive for business and blogging. It certainly made me decide to continue in 2016. 

So that is what I am looking forward to now: a whole new year to connect with my much appreciated readers here on the blog, to create new products and services, to grow my shop and blog audience even further, and just to feel happy and content with it all!

And I wish all of you the same! In blogging, business, but even more important: in your personal lives! May all your loving and beautiful wishes come true next year and may we all shed a little loving light on the world. It's really in need of some tender love and care. Wishing all of you love, light and happiness for 2016 and see you on the other side of the turn of a year!