Side Hustle Open For Business

Laptop showing new online storefront

Some annoying voices in my head are telling me that I’m going about this all wrong, but sometimes the best way to learn is by doing. There are no trumpets playing or ribbons to cut, but my online storefront is now officially open.

John Everett Morton @ Big Cartel

Visit my new online storefront today.

Get 10% off with code GRANDOPEN


I have some concerns about running a side hustle when I’m already so busy. However, it gives me some excuse to work on art projects that I just want to do. While I don’t expect to make a fortune, it also offers the possibility of some additional income.

Only A Few Products

I feel a little weird about this. Three of the five products I have online right now are limited editions. Once they are gone, they are gone. However, if I were to sell out all of those items, I feel like I’d be so jazzed that I’d create some new art or other products in short order. Besides, some of the best side hustles have been a single product.

One of the things that I’m a little bummed about not having for sale right now are some of my handmade notebooks. I have some blank book bodies made, but have not found the time to put covers on them or trim them. But I have to start somewhere and this is where I’m at today.

Pay What You Want Products

I’m trying something new with some “Pay What You Want” downloads. This is a pricing strategy I read about years ago (that some professionals swear by even for high priced services), but have not had an opportunity to employ. I don’t really know what will be successful in my storefront until things start selling, but it feels like The Love Poem is the flagship product because that’s what got me excited about printing for the first time in a while. Anyway, part of it reads:

Says, “Forget third quarter earnings and dollar amounts;

It’s our customers, employees, and long-term prosperity that counts.”

Here are some thoughts around that:

  1. I do actually own a registered copyright to this poem. That was mainly to protect myself if a larger company came in decided they wanted to use it for their own gain.
  2. It would be absolutely amazing if I sold 1000+ copies of the print. I could fix my car, pay off a bunch of debts, and maybe consider switching to a different job where I didn’t have to work quite as much overtime. However, if I really believe the words I’ve written, it can’t just be about profitability. It also has to be about leaving things better than we found them and contributing something to the zeitgeist (even if it is just a simple thing full of rhyming couplets).
  3. The copyright protects me from another entity stealing and selling my work, but I have no illusions that if someone enjoyed this and couldn’t afford it, they would simply write it out in their own style or print out a high-res screen grab. In past times of having less money, I printed out copy of the Holstee Manifesto to hang on my refrigerator. When I was more flush with cash, I purchased a legit copy (and some other stuff). So why not make it a little easier for those who would like a copy, but can’t spring for it right now?

With all that in mind, The Love Poem is available to download and print in both US Letter and A4 sizes. Patrons are encouraged to share The Love Poem on their preferred social media platforms and/or make a small contribution through Ko-Fi.

I hope to offer some other downloads using a “Pay What You Want” model in the future.

Download “The Love Poem”

Handmade prints not in the budget? We’ve been there. Download the free printable PDF.

Pay what you want. Share with your friends.

Available in both US Letter and A4 sizes.

Next Steps

I have some ideas for different products (stickers, apparel) that I’d like to try if some of my existing products are successful. However, I can’t sink any more money into this venture until it starts generating income (or I’m generating more income elsewhere). Thankfully, I do have plenty of art supplies on hand. I’ll be able to create some one-off pieces, notebooks, and maybe some other print designs.

I’m rooting for the “Records Are Ritual” print to be successful. It’s fun to draw things you like, and I’d like to draw some different kinds of turntables in different styles. So tell your vinyl loving friends that they need to spruce up their walls.

As time permits I will employ some UX design strategies and iterate on the store and this site itself. These days I am kind of burning the candle at both ends. (It is currently 1:13am. I have a 2-hour meeting at 8am. I start a 10-hour shift at 1pm.)

So right now I’m going to wrap this up. Tweak it a little between 10am and noon (and hopefully eat something before work), and worry about the rest later.


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