Oprah Winfrey once said that success is about finding your passion and figuring out how to turn it into a business. Business Insider documents Mye De Leon’s successful transformation of her hand-lettering business into a six figure business. This is as great an example of turning your passion into a business, as you’ll get.
Leon is a hand-lettering expert, a published author, and mentor. She says the secret of her success is assuming abundance rather than scarcity and charging what you believe you are worth, rather than what you think people will accept. Another pillar of her success was in using email marketing and Facebook ads to grow her client base and revenues. In this article, we will explore her journey.
43-year old De Leon, started off with a scrapbooking business that earned $2,000 to $3,000 a month. As a creative person, she became interested in hand-lettering after her son was born. Hand-lettering is all about using your hands to draw and illustrate letters. It differs from calligraphy, because in calligraphy you have to write the letters, unlike hand-lettering in which you draw individual letterforms.
De Leon’s son was born with Down’s syndrome and this made it difficult for her to work as she was engulfed in so much sadness and he needed a great deal of attention.
When her husband followed her to the bathroom, fearing she was going to do something crazy, she woke up from this well of deep despair and got out a notebook and started hand-lettering.
She began her journey by drawing the letters of the alphabet in different forms. Afterwards, she asked her Instagram followers for their names so she could draw them. Within half a year, she had been contacted by the chief executive officer (CEO) of Mini Lou Kids, who asked her to create an alphabet coloring book.
Since then, she has created “Styling the Alphabet“, a lettering Bible. She has also created a course, “Mastering the Hand-Lettering Program” in which she teaches the fundamentals of hand-lettering. On top of this,in 2017, the entrepreneurial De Leon published a wonderful book on the subject, “Mastering Hand-Lettering“.
It would not be surprising to learn that De Leon has Go Mini’s portable storage pod where she keeps all her profits! The hand-lettering business has been immensely profitable. Such is the demand for her expertise that, since 2019, she has also offered coaching classes for creatives and artists. De Leon has had the emotional resources to emerge from pain stronger and with some great entrepreneurial idea. Her coaches classes emerged at a time in which she began suffering from myofascial pain syndrome.
De Leon’s business, from her hand-lettering to her online courses, generated more than $148,000 in 2019. That figure declined to more than $104,000 in 2020.
De Leon believes that the biggest secret to her success was charging what you are worth is essential for success. One of the first decisions she made was to charge no less than $500 per project and reject anything less. This was even though many hand-lettering experts were charging $100 to $200 per project.
One project, which she conducted in 2016 for American Crafts, earned her $2,500 over a span of four months. But this worked out because she did it whenever she was free, not full-time. In 2017, another client offered to pay her $1000.
Saying no to offers she thought undervalued her was a big thing with her. She turned down a lot of low-ball offers so she could free up time and resources to accept the high-ball offers. At the end of the day, all she got was high-ball offers. The market adjusted to her estimate of her self-worth.