Hello, My Name Is Ally, And I'm Addicted To Zazzle...

This year I have been working on what I hope will become a second income for me and my family. I design for a multi-million dollar company called Zazzle, and my job is designing images to place on clothing, products for the home, tablet and phone cases, goods and food for weddings and parties, and accessories to wear or carry.

So what drew me to Zazzle? Well let me tell you a bit about my background. I didn't excel or even put any effort in at high school and I didn't go to university or enroll in a course. Instead I hung out with my friends and worked my short shifts at Red Rooster as a teen to young adult. I made sure I made just enough money to buy fuel and alcohol for the weekend, and maybe some hot chips the next day. A life plan wasn't on the cards for me at the time and I was just a leaf in the wind, rolling towards wherever life blew me. Then I fell pregnant and had my first son and my priorities changed, but I found myself with no valued skills in the work place, I didn't know what I was good at yet or even if I was good at anything, and I was living in a country town where there was no daycare, and no one to help me look after my son, I was stuck on the single parent pension with no job. I thought if I moved to the city I could find work there, but when I did I realized the cost of daycare paired with how much I could earn with no skills wasn't going to be anywhere near what we needed to survive and I would be restricted to daycare hours. Most of the unskilled jobs were shift jobs and no one was interested if you couldn't work nights and weekends. If I was going to study I was told I would get less government payments and we were already struggling. I was regretting that I had wasted my time.

Time went by and things got better for us, I married my wonderful husband and had another child, but my original problems did not go away as once again, I felt that I should be contributing to the finances somehow, but it was the same story - no skills, daycare costs, couldn't work shifts as hubby already worked shifts - so in 2008 I began looking for something to do online and came across Zazzle! I knew I was funny so I slapped a few funny sayings on some shirts and mugs. It took a few months before I saw any sales, but that first Christmas I earned over $400. Now that probably doesn't seem like a lot, but when you haven't ever made much of your own money before you can't help but feel like you accomplished something! I left it for a while and every Christmas I would get around $400.

I have just in the last year gotten back into my Zazzling full time after having another child in 2011. Things are tight around here and I'm working on a new store around my children and I have now gone from making $400 around Christmas to earning $100 a month. Again, it doesn't sound like much but going from getting the odd sale during the year, maybe one every 3 months to 3 to 7 sales a day between the Christmas periods is progress, and progress is not only climbing, it is beginning to gain momentum! I am so excited to see what will happen this coming year as I stock my stores full of designs and products. I have learned so much, going from making the humble stick figures and screen beans to being able to make a black swirly floral stamp look like full 3D gold! I have learned that what I like isn't necessarily what the customer wants so I put my designs on everything now, not just on the products I am guessing will sell better. There have been a few images where I thought did NOT belong on something, and then it sold a few times! My goal is to have 30,000 products in my new store by the end of 2015.

So watch this space! I will be updating on my products, my challenges, my triumphs and all with humour and style!

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