How to Build a Business that Fits Your Life

An interview with Nicole Warren, owner and operator of GoodNewsCreationsAZ


This week, I’m featuring my interview with Nicole Warren, owner and operator of GoodNewsCreationsAZ – an Etsy shop where she sells handmade goods, from her heart to your home. Check out her shop for welcome signs, coasters, tote bags, and more. 

During the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, I started highlighting some incredible small businesses in the Twin Cities and around the country. 

You can read previous interviews with: 

Every conversation was a joy to facilitate and contained plenty of lessons about how to start or grow a business under challenging circumstances

Well, I enjoyed that process so much, I decided to bring it back and interview small businesses here in my new home state of Arizona and beyond. 

Alright, let’s meet Nicole and GoodNewsCreationsAZ.

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THE ADVENTURE BEGINS

Nicole has experimented with several creative pursuits in her life. She wasn’t always in search of a business to run, she just wanted to find the right creative outlet. And, like many new entrepreneurs these days, her latest project started during the pandemic.

Entrepreneur Interview with GoodNewsCreationsAZ | 321 Liftoff
Nicole Warren,
GoodNewsCreationsAZ

“Right after the pandemic started, I bought my first vinyl cutting machine and I just started experimenting with that and figuring out how to use it. I started making things that I wanted.”

In fact, the first sale of what is today her most popular item in her shop – a welcome sign – happened by accident. She had that “oh wait a minute” moment that I’ve described here before. 

“I wanted a welcome sign for my front door, so I made it. Then, I posted it on Facebook and had family and friends reaching out wanting it or requesting certain designs. I just kind of kept making them, posting them, and selling them locally. It wasn’t until a friend of a friend asked me how much it would cost to ship them to her – and, I thought ‘I don’t know,’ so I went and looked and I had it in my mind that shipping probably costs a whole lot and it’s probably hard to figure out – and, then I just did it and literally I think it was the next day, I started my Etsy shop.”

Sales quickly followed. 

“It wasn’t very long until I started getting sales. I kind of kept it on the down low for a little while because I wanted it to be real, like from real people and not just my family and friends. Once I started getting some traction, I expanded my products slightly and it just kind of kept building up. It’s just been pretty consistent.”

THERE’S NO “RIGHT WAY” TO RUN A BUSINESS 

Now, today’s rise-and-grind, always-on, pro-hustle culture would have you believe you need to be constantly chasing revenue and scaling up your business. 

It’s easy to get caught up in that mindset, but that’s not where Nicole’s head is at:

“A lot of people when they start out, it’s like ‘you need to dedicate every moment of your life to this’ or ‘you have to grow exponentially’ and, you know, that’s just not realistic for me – I have a ton of other stuff going on. I’m a parent, I work full-time, I go to school part-time, so I keep my business at a manageable level and that’s really important to me.”

Sure, this attitude might not cut it in Silicon Valley, but her intentionality is absolutely essential for those of us who are managing something on the side – juggling it with everything else in our busy, multi-dimensional lives. 

Whether you want your business to integrate with your life like Nicole’s, or dominate it, or something in between, recognize that these are simply choices. 

There’s no right way to build a business, except for the way that’s right for you. 

Here’s Nicole again: 

“I think I’ve gotten it to a point where my business works for me and I don’t necessarily work for my business. I’ve experienced it when it’s been too much and it’s a little overwhelming so I manage it now to not exceed what I’m capable of doing. It’s kind of trial and error. I had to figure that out.”

Entrepreneur Interview with GoodNewsCreationsAZ | 321 Liftoff

RUN THE EXPERIMENT 

When you’re starting and growing a business, there are a lot of decisions to make and no way to know all the answers.

Here’s Nicole:

“It’s funny, my mom thinks everything out before anything happens and she thinks of all the possibilities, so I had her in the back of my mind: ‘you need to be prepared for this before you do that.’ You start getting caught up in all these scenarios that could happen, but you ultimately don’t know what’s going to happen until you try to start selling your products.”

Some steps call for careful planning and analysis. While other steps might call for courage and a figure-it-out-as-you-go mindset. What “steps” specifically? Only you can say – it’s totally subjective and depends on your personal risk tolerance. 

“I’ve made a lot of other things for local craft shows that probably could translate into my online shop – like a doormat fits my brand, for example. But, I don’t know how I’m going to ship a doormat, so I don’t offer that in the shop. I may post it locally, but I don’t want to deal with shipping them. I know that I could figure it out, but right now, it doesn’t make sense for my business – I can’t just buy a few doormat boxes, I’d have to buy 35 to make it worth it.”

Nicole’s approach is instructive. It’s not about trying blindly.

She’s willing to try something new – though not before doing her homework to at least understand what’s involved. In a sense, she’s asking herself questions and cultivating self-awareness: What would it take to try? What would make it worth it? And, finally, do I want that? 

“What I’m doing right now, works. But, I had to find out what works.”

Entrepreneur Interview with GoodNewsCreationsAZ | 321 Liftoff

GOOD NEWS EVERYONE

Shop GoodNewsCreationsAZ today. You can visit Nicole’s Etsy shop to view her popular items or contact her about custom products. You can also follow @GoodNewsCreationsAZ on Instagram for inspiration and new product reveals. 

I want to thank Nicole for giving us a peek into her adventures. 

Do you know a small business owner with a great story? Email me at michael@321-liftoff.com

ONE MORE THING

Starting and growing a business is not a straight line.

It can feel messy. It zigs and zags. It starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok.

It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself.

And, that’s why it’s worth it.

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