Voss Boss Entrepreneur Spotlight Series — Sarah Trafford, Owner Of Sarah Types
For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, social media can be an absolute game-changer! All it takes is one viral post and a business can suddenly take off.
At Like A Voss Inc., we’re highlighting local businesses and entrepreneurs who are killing the online game. This week’s spotlight is on Sarah Trafford, owner of Sarah Types!
Sarah is a maker, diy-er and lettering artist. She runs two Etsy shops, creates video tutorials for YouTube and Skillshare, and loves getting creative with typography.
Our girl Betina interviewed Sarah about her secret to success in business and in life. We also got some awesome insights into what they think makes social media such an effective tool in business.
A Little Bit About Being a Female Entrepreneur
1: How long have you been in business?
I started my first Etsy shop in 2012, my first sale was 100 printed corporate birthday cards. I didn’t start ‘Sarah Types’ on Instagram until 2014. I don’t remember what I called my Etsy shop in 2012 but did eventually change the name to ‘Sarah Types’.
2: What made you decide to start Sarah Types?
I tend to take a lot of classes and take on a lot of hobbies, one of which was lettering. I took a calligraphy workshop in Toronto and wanted to document my progress so I thought Instagram might be a great place to do that and everything afterwards stemmed from that Instagram account.
3: How do you manage working as a UX designer and owning your own business?
I’m not a very social person and I don’t have a ton of friends. I think all the time people spend socializing outside of their day job is basically the time I spend on my side business. As cliche as this sounds, the work I put into my side business doesn’t really feel the same as the ‘work’ I’ve done for other people or in my full time UX role. I think when you have your own business and work for yourself, you naturally choose to work on projects you really enjoy so you just end up being motivated by default. Even though I’m technically working evenings and weekends after my full time job and to some that make come across as a ‘hustle’, it’s really not. I don’t push myself to do it, I don’t sacrifice my personal life or things I enjoy for it.. I just have spare time and that’s how I choose to spend it because it brings me joy and makes me happy (and trust me, I still get A LOT of Netflix time in there). Also, I’ve become pretty good at creating passive income. A lot of the work I do is something that can bring in money over and over again which allows me to keep doing what I want to do.
4: What do you love most about being an artist?
This is a hard question to answer. I think I like the learning aspect of it, trying something new and getting that satisfaction of creating something. It’s cool to step back and look at the outcome of all your time and effort and think ‘wow, I made that!’.
5: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome as a female entrepreneur? Something you did not foresee when you decided to start Sarah Types?
There have been points in my life where it was harder to move forward as a female (I worked in recording studios at one point and that was a struggle as a female audio engineer). I don’t think this has been the case so much with my side business. With my side business, I’m the boss — I can decide how much I charge and what I want to work on and what opportunities I want to go after. Most of my audience on YouTube and Instagram is female so I think that plays a huge part in being successful online. Women drive consumer purchasing and women love to connect, so I think being a woman has actually been amazing for my side business.
6: What is one thing about working in the creative industry that people would be surprised to learn?
You don’t have to have formal training or be an expert at a craft. You have to be true to yourself which actually ends up being really hard but there are always others who connect in some way with what you create especially when it’s authentic. Oh ya, and you can actually make money as an artist 😮.
7: Where do you find inspiration to create your work?
Other artists, long walks around the city, travelling, ways I can make someone’s life easier or more delightful, watching my favourite shows (Dexter, Handmaid’s Tale.. etc) and listening to music.
And Now Onto The Social Media Questions!
8: Do you have a favorite social media platform? Why?
YouTube. I prefer longer form content, I love creating tutorials and sharing knowledge. I like how easy it is for me to grow there and also connect with new people. I have a lot of opportunities because of YouTube and can also create traffic for my Etsy shop. I also personally engage the most with that platform, I love to watch other creators and chat in the comments.
9: What made you decide to start using social media as a way to promote your company?
Initially it wasn’t a way to promote my company, rather a way to share but I saw the power of it and naturally started using it for my business.
10: How has social media impacted your business? Would you say that it’s an effective marketing tool?
Yes, it’s very effective. I wouldn’t be where I am without it, I wouldn’t have found the opportunities or community without it. I owe a large part of the success of my side business to social media.
11: What advice would you give to other businesses and entrepreneurs who want to use social media as a way to connect with customers?
Do it! Now! Don’t wait! Don’t be overwhelmed by other users with large followings, everyone starts somewhere and even with only a few hundred followers you can still create an amazing community and interact with people who really care about what you are making and sharing. If you don’t have a social media presence you are definitely missing out on opportunities.
A Little More About Sarah
My name is Sarah Trafford (Types is not my last name 😂), I live downtown Toronto with my husband. I’m slightly addicted to hobbies, I am constantly starting a new one even if it’s just for 30 mins haha. I love music and am trying to pick up my guitar and piano again. I love to travel and can’t wait for the time when we can do that again!
Connect with Sarah
Know Any Voss Babes?
Do you know a female entrepreneur who loves social media as much as we do? Leave a comment with her name, or the name of her business — and we’ll do the rest.