Missing Out | Why It Pays to Use Pinterest to Grow your Business
Hi, and welcome to this week's episode of the Mom Bosses Abroad podcast. We are here today with Naa Ardua Flohic, I'm sorry I’m saying that wrong. But Naa Ardua is here with us and she's going to share her amazing story of how she quit her job to become an illustrator. And what that has been like so Naa Ardua, welcome to our podcast. It's so good to have you here today.
Naa Ardua 1:38
Thank you so much. It's so good to be here.
Naa Ardua is a mompreneur and digital illustrators. So she helps crafters learn how to use digital art to actually get the most out of their creative talents using her tips and tutorials. It's really, really great to have you here and first of all, tell us a little bit more about your journey and how you decided to become a mompreneur and how you got into illustrating.
Naa Ardua 2:10
I'm sure I started I think it was a couple years ago- 2016. Around this time, I was just kind of having a conversation with my cousin and she's like why don't you do anything with your art, you know, you always like drawing and things. And I just kept going to the same excuse, which I don't want to put anyone down but it's like I was like: I'm a mom, I'm busy. I don't have time to do the thing that I want to do things that like you know, light me up like that part of life is over. And she's like, ‘No, no, you know you can make time if you really want to.’ And so little by little it kind of like got sparked and I'm you know what? Just try it, and I started teaching myself how to draw digital design. So every night after the kids would go to sleep. I would set myself like a little timer because that was another part of my excuse was like ‘oh I don't have the time’ and I said you know what, ‘just go on for 25 minutes, start with 15 minutes and then 25 minutes and just, you know, play around with it.’ And I started learning and I was able to make more than just blobs and be able to design drawings out and put them on my Instagram. And someone contacted me and they requested that I draw something for them and it just started really from there.
That's amazing. That's really, really great. And Iva and I we always call those pockets of time, right? Like when you don't feel I don't have time to block off half the day to do this. I don't have time to you know, attend a meeting or something. But when you have kids, when you have little ones, it's all about finding these pockets of time and like you said, those probably were for you more after they go to bed. You are up late as we speak as well. But it's often the case, isn't it that we just work in the most unusual hours, but that's also when we get our creative juices flowing. So, wow. Kudos to you really. And it all started from that one contact reaching out about your design.
Naa Ardua 4:17
Yeah, it just started from that one person and I was I thought, you know, like, this is someone who knows me and then I looked and I'm like, I don't know this person. They don't know me out there on social media. That's when also like the fear part of it set in with like, they're asking me to do something. What if I mess up?
And I love what you shared about those very common beliefs that we all have, especially when we are making that transition into unknown territory. When we are thinking about possibly leaving the safety of a work of a 9 to 5 to pursue something that is completely different and we have no idea how it's going to play out as you say, we don't know what it's all about, like we're learning. The learning curve is really, really high. But at the same time, it's finding that the passion that we have for that dream that we're believing in is what's fuelling it and as you share it, that's where you find the pockets of time, whatever that happens to be if it's in the middle of the night, then it's in the middle of the night, right? It's in like those in between moments. They don't become excuses anymore. They're just an opportunity for you to pursue what you're after. So how was it for you? Was it more mental when you see this mental transition of saying like, ‘Oh my God, it's real. There's people out there that I don't know, that they're not family or friends that are believing in my dream even before I do’, because you come in a little bit without hesitation. Right?
Naa Ardua 6:02
Definitely, definitely the biggest hurdle I realized was the mental. I thought at first ‘Oh, it'll be the technical part like learning how to make these drawings.’ Uh, once that's done, like, you really need to work on the mental aspect of that because if you don't start you know, working on that you block yourself and sometimes there's some people who they can learn all the technical skills, but they're just so afraid of like being criticized, they won't ever share any of their artwork with anyone. And even once that it's shared and people are requesting things from you which is like the thing that you always wanted. It's also the thing that you're also fearing, and then you think, ‘Okay, I have to promise, I have to deliver.’ And so it was definitely a block to get over that. And once I was able to, you know, talk to the person and deliver the product that they wanted, it was just like, it's like you reached the top of the mountain and it's just a really good feeling that boosts you so it's definitely I would say a lot of mental to prepare you for that.
Totally, totally. And you also kind of mentioned to us before as well, that you know, you felt like you started very, very late into that. But it's really like how you also put it- it's never too late to start that side hustle to go into something completely new. And again, it's the whole mental thing, right. It's the whole attitude to things and you said you started your side hustle at the age of 38, right?
Naa Ardua 7:43
Yeah, I was almost 38. Yeah. And I felt like the people on Instagram were like, you know, in their 20s Or teenagers, like one of my daughter's the one who's telling me like how to work at least most of these things. And I'm thinking what am I doing? Like, no, people are just gonna say you're not serious. They're gonna be laughing at you. But once again, it's the mental hurdles of and it's a lot of this self-talk. Like there's no question about it.
Yeah, I mean, we've also had these conversations before where it's like, you know, some people think they're failing, not really failing, but like we studied to do a certain thing or we set out to do something. But then life happens. Things change, we become mothers, circumstances are different. We're moving all over the place. Probably you also have some moves under your belt and you just say ‘I got to do something different and it's okay to shift.’ It's totally acceptable to do something completely different with your life after a while. So it's never too late to start
and Naa Ardua for you, you would say, when was the moment that it finally clicked for you that this was real? That this was no longer something that you had an inkling to do a little bit on the side, but that it was really what lit your heart up? And that you said, ‘No, this is where I'm going now. This is the direction, I'm not hesitating anymore.’
Naa Ardua 9:29
I think it was after I had the first the person that contacted me on Instagram, and I was thinking ‘okay, maybe that could just be a fluke. It's a one-time thing.’ But then, I also had to have a way to provide him the product, the illustration that he asked me for, and it actually led me to set up my Etsy shop. And so because of this first customer, I you know, opened up an Etsy shop and I started thinking ‘oh, this is getting more serious. I have this this shop set up.’ And from there I actually had another customer who kind of asked me a question and they ended up having me change my shop to go in a different direction to make like different types of illustrations. But once I started getting contact with different people in my Etsy shop to say like, ‘Okay, can you make this for me? Can you make that for me?’ That's when it clicked: you know what? You have some skill, you have something that people want. So don't just, sit here and just keep it to yourself because you're afraid of the criticism or you're afraid that, you know, someone might say, ‘Oh, I'm not good enough or I can do better than that.’ It's like there's people out there that actually already wanted it. So it was definitely when I opened my shop.
What I keep hearing more and more as well is, well obviously, the first thing we learn is, you need to grow your list. You need to grow your email list if you want to get serious, if you want to then get more and more customers to promote your business and all of that and I feel everyone nowadays is so focused on Instagram, on Facebook and all of that. Now I really want to ask you, how do you use Pinterest to grow your list and get traffic?
Naa Ardua 11:19
Okay, I moved towards Pinterest because the way you were thinking about Instagram, everyone's so focused on it and I began using Instagram. But I have to admit I couldn't. I felt like I couldn't keep up because it was like this constant flow of like create more content, create more content.
So fast paced. I know
I always had to be learning new things for example, the stories, then reels and then you know, we don't know what what's coming up next. So we're probably late already.
Naa Ardua 11:52
So I ended up going to Pinterest because when I realized that Pinterest even though it's a social media, like Instagram and Facebook, but it's also a search engine like Google. And when someone told me that I'm like, ‘oh, a search engine, so that when you post things to Pinterest, they last longer than the posts that you make or post on Instagram. And so I was hooked when they told me that. I was ‘okay, so I can post something there and someone to find it two years later because they actually did a search for it? Okay, great. That's where I'm going to focus on to bring me more traffic.’ Because I was able to pin my products from my Etsy shop, as well as blog posts. I also blogged about drawing and helping crafters to make designs, make drawings, in crafts with the designs that I make, but I would post these things and I can still see that I get traffic from things that I posted, like three years ago and it's like, do you see that on Instagram?
Yeah. Yeah, you don't. And for those that maybe are not very familiar with Pinterest, what do you mean about pinning things? Are our posts the same as a Facebook post or what makes Pinterest so different except that being a search engine but how do you actually post things?
Naa Ardua 13:20
You think of it like back in the day when people used to have cork boards and you would post things to those but they've made this into an app that you can use, it's also like a website. So, you can post things the way that you would post it to Facebook but you make a picture. So think of a poster but like over many sites construct something. Okay. It could be something from if you have a podcast or if you have a website or if you have a shop, you can make like a collage, which is called like a pin and you transfer into a board. So it's like a vertical image that you have like the same way on Instagram. Mostly it’s visual. So there's lots of pictures. So for example, if you have home decor business or you make candles and taking pictures of your products and you make the pin so you put pictures of your products on there, or other things, sometimes with texts, sometimes not with texts, and on your board, you pin it to your board so it's like a board on the internet. Think I'm trying to make it seem like it's a visual board, but online, so people can go to it and they can come to your account. They can see things that you've pinned so you pinned it to your board, they can share your pin, you can save your pin, they can send it to other people. And the great thing is, they can search for pins so people go on there a lot and they look for recipes and look for decor ideas and look for improve their life or you know things like that, like personal development and these pins are yours.
Yeah, true. I did my wedding planning on Pinterest actually together with my wedding planner. She suggested that so all the hairstyles and table decoration ideas, right? It's like all inspiration and ideas. Yeah, true.
Naa Ardua 15:13
I've been using mine before I started my business just for like a Christmas. My goal would be to make all these recipes
Yeah, I still do especially when I'm looking now, I was looking for you know, maternity shots or like you know, newborn photos. You automatically go to Pinterest and it's a complete search engine actually for the creative side. Yeah, yeah.
So Naa Ardua, do you believe that you have to have more of artistic leaning type of business if Pinterest makes sense for you, or?
Naa Ardua 15:55
Not necessarily. I think most people, most of the things that you find on Pinterest are going to be the visually captivating things. Like there's mentioned about the wedding dresses and flower bouquets. But there's also businesses that people who do like hair, health, sports and fitness. There was also like a therapist that I follow her on there just because she puts clips of her audio, and it's just the way that she speaks and the topics that she talks about it, I find it interesting. So it's not just limited to people who are in the creative art space. There are other people who are finding a way to make Pinterest work for them too.
So interesting. I keep hearing more and more about this and people nudging to get on there. So like, okay, we might have to have a separate conversation on that.
Yeah, just to have a better idea, because it's very funny how there's been some social media platforms as well that have come up in recent years and there's a hype around them and then it feels like they die down a little bit and then you don't hear about them so much. But Pinterest has always been there right? It's, already quite long standing and assessing now that you shared equating that to a search engine of sorts where you want to search for a particular something that really evokes like an emotion or a feeling as well that you cannot translate necessarily into words. So you're looking for that image that really conveys this, whatever it is that you want, right? Like I don't know, If you're doing a mood board of sorts, you know, you want a certain type of photoshoot, maternity or wedding and then you get inspiration from that and you say this is a little bit of the look and feel that I'm looking for. So Pinterest really serves that purpose quite well.
And I also want to rescue something that you said a little bit earlier because I think it's really important to highlight it. And this is something that I think, again, I also shared at the beginning of our podcast on season 1, which was sometimes we get intimidated when we think that what we have as a gift or a skill, everybody else seems to have it too or there's other people that are doing it as well. And we're not necessarily reinventing the wheel. So, we feel that what we're bringing to the table is not remarkable. However, as you said, I love the fact that you mentioned that it is mental because it is a gift that you have and only you can do it your very own unique way. And just for that reason alone it is worthwhile to pursue it and put it out into the world because your ideal clients, the people that are really going to value it for its worth are going to resonate with that because of you. Your unique energy that you're bringing to it and I like to call that you know momergy- your unique mom energy that you put into your craft, your skill, your talent, and so it's a great reminder for anyone listening, that if they second guess themselves and doubt that what they have to offer put out there somebody else is doing it, and maybe it looks like they're doing it better_ it's not true. That you know, it's like oh, somebody else is writing a book also a bit similar to this. Well, they're not writing the book that you have in your mind. Right? They don't have your voice. You're going to make it completely different and unique because you are the one doing it and not someone else.
And Naa Ardua you are also living abroad right now as we speak right now. You are away from from your home base. And can you share a little bit of what that has been for you in terms of this new life in a different country, of finding yourself and then building a new life with people that you have to meet from scratch, so to speak. And also stepping into this new identity of an illustrator and art is a mompreneur, which is doing something completely different than you were doing in a previous life so to speak when you were back home
Naa Ardua 21:35
Definitely. Well, I live in in the south of France and all of my life. I never thought I would live in Europe. I grew up in America. And I just thought I would spend the rest of my life in America because that's just what I knew. And I ended up meeting my husband online and he was French, and then moving here, but it just was such a culture shock for me because not only did I not speak the language. I didn't really know much about the culture either. And then all of a sudden, we just started a family at the same time. So it was like a lot of things all happening really fast. But I just had to really adapt to it in my mind, I thought because I was so excited, and I'm like so in love, everything would be you know, perfect and just nothing is ever perfect. Like there's always a learning curve. So, in addition to me being excited, I also had to deal with the fact that I was homesick and not able to see my friends and also having to learn new cultures and new traditions. For example, I would go out with my husband and be sitting with friends and see someone making a joke and you know, I'm laughing as if I understood. I didn't really understand. And then I want to make a joke and because I'm translating it word for word from English to French. It's not funny because it's just not right. I had to learn all of those things that um, I also had to learn that it's okay to start over because I think as when we're adults, and we have moved to a new place, it's also difficult because you feel almost like you're like a kid again, like you're starting over again. You're learning all these things, and a lot of times as adults, we don't want to do that. We want to make it seem like we know these things and we know how to do things and we don't have to be a be a child again and start over or make mistakes and people see that we're making mistakes, and sometimes they laugh, but it was all part of the process. It took a while folks.
Well, it's about feeling comfortable with being uncomfortable as part of the transition period while you master the new language, while you master the new nuances and traditions that belong to that place. And you also navigate the way people relate to one another within a different cultural context that is probably very different from where you grew up, and they see certain things as normal that you would never ever have considered to be normal when you were growing up. So there's a lot of that
And that totally shapes you though- that makes you into that unique person and with just a wider view and broader horizon and everything. I think it's really part of the journey.
Naa Ardua 24:31
It builds resilience too, I think that it makes for you to be a stronger person because you face new challenges that you didn't think would be possible for you. You didn't think that you'd be able to get over a certain outcomes and come out on the other side. When I was looking for a job, every step of the way, I was always a little fearful, a little excited, but also fearful and different about little things from like having to go buy a baguette and telling my husband, ‘I can't go buy the baguette. If I go, they're not gonna understand.’ He was like, ‘It's okay. You just go and talk to people’ and then same thing with my job. When I used to work there, I was thinking ‘I'm not going to do this right or here in France you do the kiss were like, you know, you're gonna do it wrong and everyone's gonna be laughing. You just need to let go of that.
And it's so liberating. Also, I feel that the other side of the coin like as you said, at the beginning, it's very nerve wracking to feel that you're going to make mistakes, people are gonna laugh at you or they're going to correct you and you don't come off as being in control. But on the on the flip side, you can also see it a bit as ‘I'm so free, like people know that I'm not a local, right, like, somehow that energy is there. And therefore, it's more flexible, what is applied to me versus what is applied to someone that should know the rules and the conventions and the social norms and all those things. So you can also be a little bit detached from the image that you put out or how people are viewing you because you're completely detached from that- like you have no context whatsoever whether you know the way people are talking, like words have a certain context and you totally miss that. And you can come a bit from a blank space. And I think that element of innocence is pretty refreshing. I think it's very liberating.
It is something I feel sometimes is the source of inspiration for diving into new things, or for reinventing yourself in a way right? It's so yeah, it's exciting.
So Naa Ardua, what tips or advice you can give moms out there that are listening that are on the verge, maybe of wanting to make that transition of saying, ‘You know what, I'm artistic. I have some, you know, unique skills or inclinations or talents that I really want to pursue. But again, I'm a mom or again, I'm probably too old, or again, I don't have time.’ What would you say to them right now if they're listening and you're like, listen,
Naa Ardua 27:26
Yeah, this one is a comical quote, but it's something that I've heard somewhere I read somewhere that ‘No matter what you do, the time is gonna pass anyway.’ So if you don't do it, the time is gonna pass and if you do it, the time is gonna pass. You don't worry about making the mistakes because the time will pass and you will learn with it. But if the time will pass and you don't do anything, how are you gonna feel then? Like, I look back and I'm so grateful that I did start despite the fear, despite being afraid, because the time will pass either way and won't you be so much more happier that you actually gave it a try? Despite how long it would take? And despite thinking like, ‘oh, it might be a waste of time.’ The time slowly passes anyway.
Yeah, I like that. I like that. I've never really looked at it that way. That's really great. I mean, yeah, for our case, as well. We are here living abroad. You know, because of our husband's jobs, and we're going to be here anyways, time is gonna pass anyway. So while we here, we may as well do something for ourselves as well. So, so I like that perspective. Totally.
That's a really powerful inspirational thought. Yeah. And we want to thank Naa Ardua for joining us today. We know that it's late on her time zone and just, you know, the wealth of inspiration that you brought to us today from what you're doing. It's amazing and we want to thank you so much for sharing this with us and with our listeners.
Yeah, but before you go, you also have an amazing freebie for those listeners that are really perked up now with listening and saying ‘I am creative. I want to do that. I want to give it a try.’ So you have a great freebie for these listeners. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Naa Ardua 29:18
Well, I have a free course that they can start out with. It basically shows you how to make your first SVG design. SVG just means Scalable Vector Graphics, so don't be scared by that. It's just like graphic design. And I just teach you how to make an easy simple one using Google and everyone's uses Google. It's a video course. It's quick and easy to go through. You can do it at your leisure. And you can find that over on my website at paperflowdesigns.com.
Fantastic. And you're also working on a brand new program as well. Is that correct?
Naa Ardua 30:00
I also do have a full course. So if anyone tries out the freebie and the free course and said ‘okay, you know what? I kind of like this, I can do this and this is interesting to me. I want to dive deeper.’ I have a full course that teaches how to make your own SVG designs from scratch using a different software program that you will be able to make products with these designs or give them away if you choose to. So I'll show you from starting how to install the software, how to make simple designs using basic shapes like circles and squares. I include text with that, save it and maybe start selling it online if you're interested in doing that.
That's fantastic. Oh my God. Thank you so much Naa Ardua for chatting with us today. And if you want to connect with Naa Ardua you can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and most importantly Pinterest because that's her jam. That's her area of expertise and LinkedIn as well. And we're gonna put all those links as well as her website on the show notes. So thank you so much for joining us today. And we loved having you.
Yeah, thank you so much and have a have a wonderful night now. Thanks for being here at this hour with us.
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Naa Ardua Flohic
Naa Ardua is a digital illustrator turned mompreneur. She helps crafters learn how to use digital art to get the most out of their creative talents using her tips and tutorials. Website www.paperflodesigns.com
SO QUICK SVG COURSE - Create and design your first svg to use in your crafts or even sell.