“Do it, work hard and chase that dream! Nobody is going to do it for you and yes it going to be a lot of work.” ~Jim Brown
Name: Jim Brown
Day Job: Motorcycle Technician
Side Business: Eville J’s Creepy Closet
1. Tell us about your business.
Eville J’s is a very small mask/prop making business housed in a tiny one car garage in Evansville, Indiana. For the most part it’s a one man show, I do all the sculpting, mold making, tech work, and painting. I have a couple people that help out when I go to shows, but other then that its all me.
2.What motivated you to start your business?
Originally it was just a hobby that paid for itself and the occasional tattoo. But once I discovered how big the industry is and having social media making it so easy to connect with people all over the world, well I started thinking maybe I could make it into something bigger that could save me from the hum drum 9 to 5 job.
3. What steps did you take to get started?
I bought a box of clay and a sculpting armature…. That simple. I had no plans for anything other than wanting to make monsters. I had no training to speak of, I just loved horror movies, Halloween, and all that jazz and wanted to give mask making a try.
4. Tell us about an action you took to help your business grow.
Communication. I think that’s key for any business. I follow a lot of artists on facebook and instagram and it makes me crazy when I see people compliment them or ask them a question and they don’t bother to reply, not even a simple thank you. I always try to reply in someway even if it is just to stay thanks. And when I’m doing commission work for someone I send lots of progress pictures and ask for their input. I want to make sure that they get a piece of work that they are very satisfied with, and that they will keep me in mind for upcoming projects.
5. Name three tools-free or paid- that are vital to your business.
Number 1 is social media- without it, I would not have near the business and exposure. I try to post something at least once or twice a week. 2 would have to be my iPhone. I hate to say that but it is the hub of everything. It has my facebook, instagram, twitter, tumblr (now my evernote) and all my emails. I use it at shows with my paypal slider, also notes, reminders…. I could go on and on. Number 3 would be opposite end of the technology spectrum and that would be the dry erase board that hangs in my shop. It helps keep track of everything coming in and going out and all projects get written down so we don’t forget anyone.
6. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for me so far is finally getting out to that first show. From the comfort of my little shop I know that people buying from me are already fans of my work. But at the shows there are people who have never heard of Eville J’s or my competitor. So, whether they’re friends or foes I knew my work would be judged and sometimes that can be harsh. But so far I’ve felt pretty welcome, have been given some good advice and met some really great people.
7. Share your greatest business success.
I’d like to think I haven’t had my greatest yet. 2014 was a really good year. This was the first year for shipping stuff outside the US, which I like to say makes Eville J’s worldwide! But it was also my biggest money making year to date and that helped me be able to do the Eville J’s First Annual Food Drive in November and a Christmas toy drive this month. Anytime you can give back, I think that alone is Success.
8. What is your ultimate business goal ?
Say goodbye to the day job and do it full time. And also get more organized to do bigger, better give backs and help others.
9. How do you balance your job, business and family life?
I just have to try to not to let myself get too consumed with the side gig. I try to set aside time to spend with the family and also keep focused on the day job. It’s not always easy to do but I’m lucky enough to have a lot of supportive people around me that give me the room and time I need.
10. What advice would you give to someone just starting their side hustle?
Do it, work hard and chase that dream! Nobody is going to do it for you and yes it going to be a lot of work. But once it does start to grow it’s a pretty good feeling knowing that its yours, and that you made it happen…Also sell your TV, it’s a huge waste of time and is only going to slow you down.