Interview with Dee Dee Wheaton – Founder of Printed Sugar
I have a four year old and a two year old and after the birth of each of my children, I could not find that “perfect” announcement to present their arrivals to friends and family. I started receiving more and more invitations by email. I stopped receiving thank you cards for gifts. I was also struck with anxiety about returning to work… and Printed Sugar was born.
In the midst of social media and technology, I was determined to bring the extreme relevance back to the handwritten note. I found a consulting agency to guide me through the process of starting an e-commerce site from website design to order processing and everything in between. Within three months, I had a fully functioning online store stocked with modern, trendy paper products just in time for the Christmas season.
What did you do before launching your own business?
Before launching Printed Sugar, I had 11 year of experience in Education. I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science, and a Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Mathematics Education. Believe it or not, summers and major holidays off still did not give me the time needed to tend to my two little ones and husband. My husband and I depleted a full year of sick time due to the illnesses that affected our family. I made a firm decision to be available for their times of need.
How did you fund your business?
I fully funded my business by borrowing from my 401K. I was completely hesitant against taking a major risk for an unknown venture. But, I believed in myself and my business and the decision was made to fund it myself.
How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent is your home office?
I work a minimum of 35 hours a week in my home office. During holiday seasons I could be working about 50 hours a week. I try to spend at least two hours a week working outside the house for a change of scenery to refresh my mind.
How would you rate your success?
I would rate my success based on my growth. I started my business with 250 invitations and announcements and have expanded to over 1000 varied products such as note cards, candles, and luggage tags in one year. I do not have a business background and had to learn the meat and potatoes of internet marketing on my own. Based on the learning curve and sales revenue, I would rate my success as mediocre. I know what areas need growth and I am fully committed to fulfilling those needs.
What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?
My biggest business struggle has been time. Not necessarily time management, but time committed to the growth of my business. In the beginning, it is very time consuming to start an e-commerce business and as a solopreneur it seems almost impossible to devote enough time to each task that needs to be completed. I still cannot find enough time in the week to complete all my home and business duties. I often wish I could afford a clone to assist with some of my responsibilities, but I’m functioning on a shoestring budget.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
It is not easy, but it’s yours. It is not always glamorous and fun, but it’s yours. It is not instantly rewarding, but it is yours. Remember, you’ve won half the battle because you stepped out on faith.
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
I am a scheduler and just as I schedule my working time; I also schedule my personal time. I make it a point to unplug and spend time with my family including cooking (almost every night) and eating dinner every night as a family. I also make it a point to schedule personal time with friends, my husband, and myself at least once a month.
Connect with Dee Dee and Printed Sugar…
Website: Printed Sugar
Blog: Printed Sugar Blog
Facebook Fan: Printed Sugar Invitations