My Location Independent Craft Business Sewing Toolkit: Not your typical home business: Video

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When I first started my sleeping mask business, I lived in a house in the suburbs of northern California. I started it more as a hobby and as a tool to keep me entertained while also keeping my online business senses keen.

I never imagined I would have to turn my home craft business into a location independent one.

My unexpected nomadic life

Yet here I am, 1 year after leaving the safety of our suburban life in silicon valley California. My husband and our 3 kids have no permanent home for the first time in our lives. We live semi-nomadically between Maryland and Montreal. We stay with family mostly but we’re planning a year long sabbatical to France. Maybe two.

Your typical location independent business person.

Most location independent business people are digital warriors. They just need their laptop, a smart phone, paper, pencil and a bag for their clothes. Oh and an internet connection.

My unusual business toolkit

imageI have to lug around all of the above, plus what normally stays put in the comfort of ones home. A sewing machine, needle, thread, bobbins, fabric, measuring tape, scissors and more. It’s a lot to carry around which is why most home craft businesses stay in the home. I’m lucky, I’ve devised a way to carry around just what I need with me to make my sleeping masks on the road.

Oh, and my husband and I have 3 kids so we all have our own things to bring here and there.

It can be a challenge but somehow it all works out.

Been there done that

For the most part, I’ve done most everything concerning my business myself. Even when I didn’t know how to do something, I taught myself to do it. I’ve been at this for a few years now and I’ve encountered almost every problem imaginable so I’m pretty good at what I do and It really does seem like I’ve done it all.

From teaching myself to sew to designing my masks and making them. I’ve learned to take professional product photos, write interesting product descriptions, make simple graphics for my website, run my own ecommerce shop. I also handled all of my own (SEO) Search engine optimization. At the time of this writing I should be on the first page of Google for a select set of keywords like “cute sleeping mask”, and a few others.

Transitioning and expanding

I’ve leaned that I enjoy the process, the marketing, the maintaining and learning as much as the actual mask making. I’ve also learned that I want to be more mobile and travel more lightly.

Which is why I’ve decided that I will begin outsourcing the production of my masks and begin to offer coaching and mentoring to others who are interested in setting up their own artisan or craft business.

Don’t get me wrong, I love designing and making my fun sleep masks, but it I want to travel lighter. As I said, we are hoping to live abroad in France for a year or two and I want to be able to pick up and go without lugging around all my tools and mask making supplies.

If you want to start a home based business based on your craft you can do it too. I can help you sort through it all and give you some clarity.

One on one coaching & mentoring:

One important lesson I’ve learned from doing it all myself and being on the road, is that time is valuable. There’s a lot of information out there and half the battle is trying to sift though it all. Especially the technical stuff. there is a big learning curve and I have spent hundreds maybe even thousands of hours learning to do what I do.

Now I want to help others get their own home business off the ground. And I can, More quickly, easily and less painfully then if you were to try to learn to do it yourself.

So if you have ever dreamed of setting up your own home business and need help, I’m your woman.

CURIOUS: Here’s my location independent craft business toolkit

In the mean time, you may not want to run your business on the road like I do but you may be curious as to how much stuff I have to take with me and why I’m willing to do it. I’ve made a short video which you can check out at the end of this post. I’m at the beach with family and friends and I walk you through my location independent toolkit.

So go ahead: Watch the video at the end of this post to get the full scoop.

image

In this video, I show you my travelling  craft toolkit. I’ve turned my home business into a semi location independent business. And you get to see what I bring with me.

————

Update: I no longer run my craft business because we moved to the south of France. It was too hard travelling with suitcases and kids so i’ve turned my entrepreneurial skills to a more portable one. I’m now a hire able corporate and travel writer for blogs and business as well as travel mentor. All I need is my laptop and an Internet connection.

 

Thanks for watching.  Hope you are intrigued and would love to hear your comments.  I’m always open to suggestions and advice… Sleep well.

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About the Author

Annie André was born in Thailand to a Thai mother and French Canadian father. She knew from an early age that she was meant to experience the world first hand. By the time she was 23, she had visited over 20 countries including a 3 year stint in Japan. Currently she lives in the south of France with her husband Blake and three children who attend French schools.

Eugene

That’s a lot of little stuff for a location independent business. Looks like you got it pretty compact though. Congratulations on the expansion decision and good luck with your transition into coaching, I think you have a lot to teach!
Eugene recently posted..Blogging: The Solution to the Education Bubble?My Profile

    Annie Andre

    thanks Eugene,
    i’m hoping i have a lot to teach too. The first step is always the scariest but i love helping others so it seems like a natural transition for me.

    Annie

Benny

So many things to comment on. Where should I start?

First love that song you put the in video. Especially the intro.

What a house and a view!! My fiance would love that kind of house to vacation in.

Those sleep masks are awesome! So do you get an email when someone places an order? What is your turnaround time?

That is a lot of stuff but you seem to have everything organized so well. I noticed on the list one of the things listed was….candy. LOL.

Your video kicked ass!!

What would have made it better was if you showed us how you screamed to win $25. Maybe next time?

Your really stepping up your game Annie! I’ve got to seriously start catching up or else I’m going to get left behind!!

Great job my friend!!
Benny recently posted..Feel the Fear and Do it AnywaysMy Profile

    Annie Andre

    Benny, i’m gonig to make a video of me just scraming. I’m going to say ” BENYYYYYYYYYY”.

    I love French music and have a ton of it. I also love Euro trash but that’s another story.

    It takes me about 3 days to turn around a mask. it just depends on where i am. But it’s getting harder and harder with all the commitments to keep it up. the kids homeschooling, applying for visas, working out, cooking, making masks, my blog, marketing. you know the drill.

    And by the way, I’m only stepping up my game because you are stepping up your game. hahah, i think we motivate each other.

Jermaine

Hello Annie,

This is my first visit to your site. All I can say is, “You’re a GO-GETTER!” Are you really carrying all of this stuff around???? Wow.
Jermaine recently posted..When Can A Man Cry?My Profile

    Annie Andre

    Go getter? Moi? Maybe. I just get these insanely wild hairs and feel that i must pursue my passions with vigor..

    And yes, i do carry all that sewing stuff with me. Just for a bit longer though.

Adrienne

Aren’t you miss organization. You have to be if you are taking all of that on the road with you. Wow, looks like a lot of work.

It sounds like you are the perfect person to teach others how to do this if they have an interest since you’ve already been through all the road blocks in getting to this point.

Congrats on outsourcing it now. I’m sure that is a big relief for you. Your masks are cute. I’ll be sure to let my friends know if they have an interest.

Best of luck to you Miss Annie!

Adrienne
Adrienne recently posted..5 Reasons Why People Won’t Comment On Your BlogMy Profile

    Annie Andre

    Hello Adrienne,
    Mother is the necessity of invention right? I have to be organized because with five of us there is not much room.

    And yes outsourcing is a big relief to me. I’m really looking forward to helping others. I already get tons of email from people asking for free advice, so now i figure i better start charging for it so i can make a living. LOL…..

    Cheers,
    Annie

Meg

I am impressed! Who knew you could craft such adorable masks on the road. I would agree though, this would be a lot to lug around. You just need to sell so many that you can hire someone to make them for you!

    Annie Andre

    Meg, i love your new photo. You look adorably beautiful.

    You are so right, it is a lot to lug around but i’m glad i did it and do it. it has forced me to re-evaluate what i need, and don’t need in terms of bells and whistles..
    cheers,
    Annie

Jk Allen

Annie – you’re still one of my favorite people online. I just love what you and your family represent. You’re a great example showing that life can take any course – but what matter is family.

Yes, I can see that you got a tan. Can you see mine? Just curious!

I think your idea of teaching other people how to create a similar business online is great. You seem to be mastering your craft so well that you’re able to travel and still run a business that requires some labor

I sure hope that you all pass through Colorado. If so, please get in touch!
Jk Allen recently posted..The Hustle Factory: A Place to Manufacture All the Luck You’d Ever WantMy Profile

    Annie Andre

    JK,
    I love being the teachers pet!! You just so happen to be on my A-list of blogger and i count you as one of my favorite blogger/online friends too.

    And yes i can see your tan.

    If we ever are in Colorado, we will definitely take you up on your offer. i have no idea where we will be in the coming weeks so its hard to plan…
    Cheers,
    thanks for spreading good tidings and as always cheering me up with your thoughtful words..

Peter G. James Sinclair

Love to see Annie that you are in a state of magnificent redesign. As a ‘heart to heart’ specialist I fully love the fact that you have titled yourself as an ‘adventurologist’. What a fabulous adventure lies before you and your family
Peter G. James Sinclair recently posted..How To Live & Die In Your MindMy Profile

    Annie Andre

    Thank You Peter.

    We do have a big adventure before us. And i’m excited, scared and more at the prospect of living my life out to the fullest. Hope to see you back soon

Vitaly Tennant

All I have to say is … right on Annie! I’m sure you have plenty to coach people on, as it shows in a lot of your posts. Some advice comes with the price tag, you should definitely take advantage of it. You’re teaching people not what you know now, but what you’ve learned over the years … and sometimes you gotta get compensated for that. Glad to see all is well!
Vitaly Tennant recently posted..Happiness in a Fool’s paradiseMy Profile

    Annie Andre

    Thank you so much Vitaly,
    i love talking about what i do, but i give away so much free info i feel a little bad for wanting to turn a profit. But then i look at my kids and think, i’ve got to pay the bills right?

Jack

That is quite a kit. I don’t know if I could carry all that around as easily as you make it appear. But I love the flexibility of being able to work wherever, whenever.
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    Annie Andre

    Hi Jack, i know it’s a lot isn’t it.

    it is starting to wear on me which is why i’m trying to go completely digital. Physical product based business is not fitting my new life plan of travelling with my family.

    SO as Clint once said,
    Improvise, adapt and overcome.

Stuart

Wow Annie, you’ve got a lot to offer people there, and not just in the home craft business.

If you described what you do in everyday life (live on the road, carry your tools with you, run a business, etc) to someone, and asked them if they think they could do it, they’d probably respond in the negative.

Just your very lifestyle is an inspiration to others who think they need more time, or more money, or more space. There’s something you could help others with Annie :-)
Stuart recently posted..Mila And The MarineMy Profile

    Annie Andre

    Thank you so much Stuart.

    I think having run my busienss from the road has put me in a very unique position and market. I actually can’t wait to actually start helping people. Next steps is working with my copywriter to help get the right messaging out there.

David

Annie, you are freaking amazing and you are my inspiration. Honestly.

I have been under a serious internal debate with myself lately and I’m getting to the breaking point. I think I need to break up with my job.

So that said, I am really on the fence about what I will do for money… Not that I even need it. I am doing my best to believe I already have enough. I mean, when will we ever have enough anyways?

But I want more than this 9-5 job and it is no longer fulfilling. I am planning to be ‘jobless’ come January anyways because I want to travel for a while. Im sure you already know about those plans! :)

So yes, I am in this limbo. And you are an inspiration. And if I do take the plunge, I will be hitting you up. I would love to come up with a way for some location independent income.
David recently posted..You’re Missing the PictureMy Profile

    Annie Andre

    Hi David,

    I know exactly what you are talking about when you say that your 9 to 5 is no longer fulfilling. It can be soul sucking.

    If you want to earn an income outside of the confines of 9 to 5, my advice to you, is start dabbling now in the things that interest you. You know, your side hustle to make some money.

    I’m working with someone right now to figure out how best to get his business up and running. There’s a lot of info out there and you’re going to try and fail a bunch of time before something sticks and works.

    I was telling Megan that she should start her own yoga classes via video for moms and babies or some variation. I actually don’t know the market very well but just threw it out there. Maybe the two of you can put your skills together to figure out a way to run a business online.

    With all the blogging experience you have and connections you have, you are already over a steep hurdle. Lots of people want to start a business and dont’ even know how to edit a photo, or use a camera.

    Let me know what yo guys decide to do. you have piqued my curiosity. I got your backs. And will support you in any way that i can.
    Cheers,
    Annie

    Philipp Knoll

    David, being location independent isn’t really that hard. Basically all it takes is a decision and the will to face the consequences. This might sound drastic but really Annie and her family are the perfect example that life will go on and chances are good that you’ll love what live has to offer you.

    It doesn’t even have to be as extreme as Annie is doing it. I truly admire what they are doing and hope that there plans work out (partly because we get to meet in Europe). I have been working on freeing myself for some time now. I’ve been working from home for a while now and ran my own business for years. There are times when I’m still afraid that it might not work out any longer – but so far it always went on. Now are are just about to take location independence to the next level and move. Right now we are in the busy suburbs of our capitol but seek the quite and outdoor adventures of the countryside. So the plan is to buy a house there, work online, enjoy live, experience adventures etc. all without going to the extreme and living totally nomadic.

    So don’t put your plan to quit your job on hold for too long. It will not et easier. Out of experience it is pretty safe to say that the sooner you take action the better.

    @Annie:

    The lines above tell it all – I admire how you and your loved ones lead your life. It is an amazing journey and great to follow what you guys are up to. Isn’t it just amazing how easy it is to run a business from anywhere nowadays? it is absolutely stunning. All you need is a good idea, some basic skills and lots of passion.
    Philipp Knoll recently posted..Learn the difference between working with and working on your siteMy Profile

Steve

I must say that I’m impressed with your whole setup. I think it’s great that you can setup a business selling sleep masks, learn all the marketing and mask making process. Plus, you’re living as a nomad while doing it. Very awesome. I bet you have a lot of experience to share.

Your video was great too. It’s such an interesting list of things you carry around with. It’s a lot of stuff, but looks well-organized. Good luck on helping others setup their own home businesses.
Steve recently posted..Is It Possible to Do Everything You Want Before You Die?My Profile

Stacey Herbert

Wow..annie. That’s impressive. My good friend made me a sleep mask last year…all hand beaded it was so beautiful. I’m glad your business has taken off in leaps and bounds…It’s funny..I bought too many kilos of beads in Bali last year to start a business with in London…and ended up bringing them all back with me to Bali…less than a year later, lol
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    Annie Andre

    Hey Stacey,
    Wow, those beads did a lot of traveling. I love Bali by the way. Wait, are you living in Bali now or just went there for a trip?

Ameena Falchetto (MummyinProvence)

Wow Annie! I love how awesomely you manage to do fit so many things into one day! Amazing!

The 9-5 certainly was never for me … am ready to consolidate all my experience but think I am a few steps behind where you are at!

It’s a terrifying but exciting journey eh? I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Ameena Falchetto (MummyinProvence) recently posted..The Global Differences of Baby-Making: DUBAI, UAEMy Profile

    Annie Andre

    I’m with you Ameena. 9 to 5 is NOT for me unless it’s working for me myself and I. So yeah, “i wouldn’t have it any other way either”..

Maninder

Nice Post Annie on Independent business. Thanks for sharing this here.
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Bryce Christiansen

Annie,

This is my first time visiting and I’m so glad I did.

You must have an amazing amount of courage to step out and live location independent. After reading your post, I can tell you would not live any other way.

I’ve lived in the same city for 24 years. How wonderful it would be to travel or work from wherever it is you please to be.

It takes a ton of work to get there, as I’m sure you know, but what a great payoff it must be.
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    Annie Andre

    Well Hello There Bryce.

    I so glad you stopped by. You are so right that it’s a lot of work to get to this point but when you love the process and love what you do, the work hardly seems like work. vs. to maintain my old life which was much safer and stable seemed so hard compared to what i do now.

    You said you’ve lived in one city for 24 years. WOW.

    I envy people who can live in one spot for a long period like you. How great it must be to have strong connections to one place and feel at home there.

    Grass is always greener isn’t it? Sometimes.

Stan Faryna

Annie,

You make the impossible look easy and exciting! Wow.

You might want to connect with @bonnie67. She might be interested in what you are doing. I might also be able to connect you with Romanian women interested in crafting for you.

Recently on my blog: The Final Speech of the Great Dictator by Sir Charles Chaplin http://wp.me/pbg0R-qG

    Annie Andre

    Hi stan, this reply comes a bit late. I’m going to check out Abonnie67 and tell me more about the romanian women? This sounds really interesting.

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