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From Hobby to Business: The Story Behind Starting a Stock Photo and Canva Template Membership for Online Business Owners

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From Hobby to Business: The Story Behind Starting a Stock Photo and Canva Template Membership for Online Business Owners

Starting an online business can be overwhelming and as a fellow online business owner, I totally get it! That’s why I decided to create my own membership, providing monthly stock photos and Canva templates to help you save time and create content that truly stands out. In this blog post, I’m excited to share my journey of how I got started with my membership, my fun and creative process for creating stock photos and Canva templates, and how my membership has helped other online business owners grow and succeed. So, buckle up and get ready for a fun and engaging ride!

How it started: The Story Behind Starting a Stock Photo and Canva Template Membership for Online Business Owners

Picture this: It’s 2015 and I’m working as an Interior Designer and Project Manager in the real estate development industry. But, I’m feeling a little restless and curious about the world of online business. I mean, who wouldn’t want to work from anywhere in the world and have the freedom to create their own schedule, right?

So, I decided to take the leap and start my own online business. But, creating a website, writing blog posts, marketing on social media and adding unique graphics and visuals was a total pain in the you-know-what. I had a hobby in photography, design and a passion for capturing beautiful still life photos. Even before I started my online business, I would spend hours experimenting with my camera, trying out different angles and lighting techniques to capture the perfect shot. 

As I started to build my online business, I quickly realized that my hobby in photography could be turned into a valuable asset. I started using my own photos in my website, social media posts, and digital products. And let me tell you, it made a huge difference! My visuals were more professional-looking and eye-catching, which led to more engagement and sales.

That’s when I first had the idea to start creating stock photos for other online business owners. I wanted to test it out though. So, for the first 3-6 months, I made my stock photos 100% free because I knew I needed to build a community first. I started by creating free lead magnets to grow my email list. I also used Facebook groups to connect with like-minded people and share my knowledge and expertise. I mean, who doesn’t love a good group of like-minded friends, am I right?

But, the demand of working full time and running a “business” that was not making any money really made no sense. Duh! The benefit of growing that community first was that I had hundreds if not thousands of email subscribers for my free stock photo library. So I thought why not start selling? I worried that selling individual stock photos or sets of photos wouldn’t be as easy or as profitable as I had hoped though. That’s when I had an epiphany: why not start a stock photo and Canva template membership for online business owners? I wanted to provide a solution that was affordable, easy to use, and would save entrepreneurs time and money. And so, my membership was born!

As my community grew, I started to get feedback from members about what they needed and wanted from a stock photo and Canva template membership. I listened to their feedback and created a membership that was tailored to their needs. And let me tell you, it’s been a wild and rewarding ride!

Today as a write this 7 years later, my membership has grown into a thriving community of online business owners who are passionate about creating beautiful visuals for their businesses. Members have access to thousands of high-quality stock photos and Canva templates, as well as exclusive trainings and resources to help them grow their businesses. It’s been a challenging and rewarding journey, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to support entrepreneurs in building their businesses and creating a life of freedom and flexibility. Cheers to that!

Starting and online business isn’t free of challenges. Here were some of mine:

When I first started my stock photo and Canva template membership, I had no idea what I was getting into. I was passionate about photography and design, but despite being a professional with a 16 year career in real estate development and Interior design, I still had never run a business on my own before. As a result, I faced a number of challenges along the way.

One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to price my membership. I didn’t want to charge too much and scare away potential customers, but I also didn’t want to sell myself short. I did a lot of research and experimentation before finally settling on a price that felt fair to both me and my members. I documented how to actually plan, create and price your first digital product here in this blog post.

Another challenge that I faced was when my site was hacked. It was a difficult and stressful experience, but it taught me the importance of website security and taking preventative measures. I had to work with my web host and a security team to resolve the issue and ensure that it didn’t happen again. This experience reinforced the importance of being proactive and vigilant when it comes to protecting your online business both online and legally.

Perhaps the biggest challenge, though, was balancing my business with my personal life. I have 3 kids, a husband, and oh – did I mention I’m the sole income? When you’re the sole income and running an online business, it can be tempting to work around the clock and never take a break. But I quickly learned that this was not sustainable. I had to set boundaries and prioritize self-care in order to avoid burnout.

Despite these challenges, I learned a lot about myself and about running a successful online business. I learned that it’s okay to make mistakes and that failure is often just a stepping stone to success. I learned that it’s important to listen to feedback from your customers and to continually iterate and improve your product. And I learned that perseverance and a positive attitude can go a long way in achieving your goals.

If you’re thinking about starting your own online business, don’t be discouraged by the challenges you may face. Instead, embrace them as opportunities to learn and grow. With hard work, dedication, and a willingness to adapt, you can turn your hobby into a successful and fulfilling career.

Common Questions I Frequently Get About Starting an Online Business and Membership

As the founder of a stock photo and Canva template membership for online business owners, I often get asked questions about starting an online business and running a membership. Here are some additional common questions I receive:

1. How did you decide on a niche?

When I started my online business, I had so many ideas and niches to choose from. But after researching and looking at the pain points of online business owners, I noticed that many entrepreneurs, especially health and wellness coaches, mompreneurs, and female coaches, were struggling with creating high-quality visuals for their businesses.

As someone with a passion for photography and design, I knew I could help. So, I created a stock photo and Canva template membership that was tailored to the needs of these specific niches. And it’s been a decision that has paid off in spades!

Not only did I get to help entrepreneurs create beautiful visuals for their businesses, but I also got to establish myself as an expert in these niches. Plus, I got to build a community of like-minded entrepreneurs who could support and learn from each other. It’s been an exciting journey, and I’m so glad I decided to focus my efforts on a specific niche.

Choosing a niche for your online business is an important decision. To decide on a niche, I recommend considering the following:

  • Your passions and interests: Choose a niche that you are passionate about and enjoy working in.
  • Market demand: Research the market to ensure that there is demand for your niche.
  • Your skills and expertise: Choose a niche that aligns with your skills and expertise.


How do you know which business model is right for your niche? You’re not alone. Many people struggle with these questions, and it can be hard to find the answers. That’s why we are creating this workshop to help! In this 60-minute video, Kayla will walk you through everything you need to know about picking a niche and a business model. She’ll show how to choose a niche that’s profitable and less competitive while still appealing to your target audience. You’ll learn how to pick a business model that fits your niche so that you can get the most out of every customer interaction. And she’ll even share his proven formula for choosing the right keywords for your new niche and business! This is a pre-recorded workshop

2. How do you create so much content every month?

When I first started my membership, it was just me! I was a one-person show, creating all the stock photos and Canva templates myself. But as the membership grew, I realized I needed help. That’s when I started to build a team of designers and photographers who could help create new content each month.

Now, at my membership, we have a team of talented individuals who work together to create new resources for our members. It’s been amazing to see how the membership has grown and evolved over time, and I couldn’t have done it without my team.

Of course, creating content for a membership can still be a daunting task, even with a team. That’s why we use a variety of strategies to make it easier. Here are a few tips that have worked well for us:

  • Plan ahead: We create a content calendar and plan out our content in advance. This helps us stay organized and ensures that we’re creating content that is relevant and timely.
  • Repurpose content: We often repurpose and expand existing content to create new resources. For example, we might turn a blog post into a video or create a new Canva template based on an existing design.
  • Outsource: We sometimes hire freelancers or contractors to help with content creation. This allows us to bring in fresh perspectives and expertise, and it frees up time for our team to focus on other tasks.

By using these strategies, we’re able to create high-quality content for our membership without getting overwhelmed. And the best part is, our members get to benefit from all the hard work we put in!

3. What platform do you use?

Choosing the right platform for your membership is important. We use WooCommerce to organize and deliver our content to members, as well as provide a community forum on Facebook for members to connect and engage with each other.

When choosing a platform, think about what features you need and what you’re comfortable using. WooCommerce is my choice but if you’re a coach with online courses, you may not need an ecommerce style of website like mine and instead something like Teachable may be sufficient. 

Learn more about my Tech Tools for Building a Membership Site on WordPress

In this workshop, you’ll learn how to use Woocommerce as a platform on WordPress for your own digital products business. You’ll also learn how to create and manage your own store. This is a pre-recorded workshop

4. How do you market your membership?

As someone who primarily uses Instagram and Pinterest to promote my blog, products and lead magnets, I’ve found that SEO and social media marketing are effective ways to reach potential members. Marketing your membership is essential for attracting new members and growing your business but you don’t have to rely solely on social media or do it all yourself.

Some strategies for marketing your membership include:

  • SEO (search engine optimization) Optimize your website, blog posts and content for search engines to can increase your visibility and attract more organic traffic from search engines. This can be done through keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building.
  • Social media marketing: Use social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, to promote your membership and connect with potential members.
  • Email marketing: Use email marketing to nurture leads and encourage them to join your membership.
  • Affiliate / Referral programs: Encourage your members to refer their friends and colleagues to your membership in exchange for a discount or other incentive.
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The last thing you want to do is start planning a marketing campaign the week before a major launch. So let’s get a head start planning and prepping.

5. How do you retain members?

Retaining members is just as important as attracting new ones. Some strategies for retaining members include:

  • Providing value: Continuously provide high-quality content and resources to keep members engaged and excited about their membership.
  • Engaging with members: Create opportunities for members to connect and engage with each other, such as through a community forum or Facebook group.
  • Offering incentives: Offer incentives for members to renew their membership, such as a discount or exclusive content.

This workshop is designed to help you set up a powerful welcome sequence and trip wire sales funnel for your business. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll learn the key components of an effective welcome sequence, including how to create a compelling lead magnet, craft engaging email copy, and automate your email marketing. You’ll also learn how to create a trip wire offer that converts, and how to set up an automated sales funnel that generates revenue on autopilot. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have a fully functional welcome sequence and trip wire sales funnel that’s ready to attract and convert your ideal customers.

6. How do you handle customer support?

Providing excellent customer support is crucial for the success of your membership. Some tips for handling customer support include:

  • Responding promptly: Respond to customer inquiries and concerns as quickly as possible.
  • Being empathetic: Listen to your customers and show empathy for their concerns.
  • Providing solutions: Offer solutions to customers’ problems and follow up to ensure that their issues have been resolved.

7. How do you scale your membership?

Scaling your membership is important for growing your business and increasing revenue. Some strategies for scaling your membership include:

  • Creating multiple membership tiers: Offer different membership levels with varying features and benefits.
  • Outsourcing: Hire freelancers or contractors to help with content creation, customer support, and other tasks.
  • Automating processes: Use tools and software to automate tasks, such as email marketing and content delivery.

By implementing these strategies, you can create a successful and sustainable membership that grows with your business.

This Scaling Workshop is designed to help you take your business to the next level. In this workshop, you’ll learn the three stages of scaling your business and how to identify when you’re ready to take the leap. You’ll also learn about the systems and processes that are essential for scaling your business, including how to streamline your operations, delegate tasks, and build a team. Whether you’re a solopreneur looking to expand your reach or a small business owner ready to take your business to the next level, this workshop will provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to scale your business successfully.

8. How do you stay motivated and focused?

Starting and running a membership can be challenging and overwhelming at times. Some tips for staying motivated and focused include:

  • Setting goals: Set clear and specific goals for your membership and track your progress.
  • Taking breaks: Take breaks and step away from your work to avoid burnout.
  • Surrounding yourself with support: Connect with other online business owners and seek support from friends and family.

By prioritizing your mental health and wellbeing, you can stay motivated and focused on building a successful membership.

Want to get organized and figure out what your business goals are? As a small business owner, it’s incredibly hard to stay on top of the planning and organization that goes into running your own business. There is always something more urgent than planning your next steps in growing your business. This workshop is the solution! We will help you plan out your entire year in an organized way so that you can spend less time worrying about every little thing and more time focusing on building relationships with clients, creating new products or services, and making money!

9. What is the creative process like for creating stock photos and Canva templates?

As a membership owner, I love coming up with new and exciting ideas for each month’s content. It all starts with creating mood boards and creative briefs to help me visualize the theme and style of the visuals.

Once I have a clear vision in mind, I start collecting props and securing models and locations for the photoshoot. I love visiting thrift stores and flea markets to find unique and affordable props that fit the theme. For models and locations, I often reach out to local friends or hire freelancers to help bring my vision to life.

For Canva templates, I use my design skills and creativity to come up with unique and eye-catching designs that can be easily customized by my members. I look to past collections that worked well as well as new trends that are popping up on social media.

I also gather member feedback, requests and ideas to inspire future concepts and I keep a huge file of saved ideas, bookmarked websites, screenshots and photos that I pull inspiration from too.

Overall, my process for creating stock photos and Canva templates is a fun and collaborative effort that involves lots of creativity and imagination.

In this workshop, we’ll take a deep dive into the key components of a successful brand strategy, including how to get clarity on your audience, develop a clear brand image and color psychology, structure the right brand mission, and convert with a brand voice, fonts, and templates. We’ll also show you how to systemize your brand with a mood board and brand guidelines, so you can ensure consistency across all of your marketing materials. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have a clear and actionable brand strategy that will help you stand out from the competition and attract your ideal customers.

10. How does the membership help online business owners?

Since starting my membership for online business owners, I’ve been thrilled to see how it has helped them grow and succeed in their businesses. Here are just a few ways that my membership has made a positive impact:

Saving Time and Money

As an online business owner, time and money are both valuable resources. My membership provides affordable and high-quality stock photos and Canva templates, saving members time and money that they can invest in other areas of their businesses.

Professional and Consistent Branding

Consistency is key when it comes to branding, and my membership helps online business owners achieve a consistent look and feel across all of their visual content. By using my stock photos and Canva templates, members can create professional-looking content that aligns with their brand.


Increased Engagement and Sales

Eye-catching visuals are essential for engaging and attracting potential customers. My membership has helped online business owners increase engagement on social media and their websites, leading to more sales and growth in their businesses.

Community and Support

Running an online business can be lonely at times, but my membership provides a community of like-minded business owners who can support and encourage each other. Members have access to a private Facebook group where they can connect, share their work, and ask for feedback.

Overall, I’m proud to say that my membership has helped online business owners grow and succeed in their businesses. By providing strategic and high-quality visuals, my membership has saved members time and money, helped them achieve consistent branding, increased engagement and sales, and provided a supportive community.

Starting an online business and running a membership can be challenging, but with the right strategies and resources, it’s possible to build a successful and fulfilling business.

Join the Ivory Mix Membership for Access to 10,000 stock photos, Canva templates, Captions and Workshops

If you’re a content creator looking to take your skills to the next level, our membership is the perfect solution for you! With access to our gallery of 10,000+ stunning images and Canva templates For Female Owned Businesses & Content Creators we’ve also included over 30 workshops available in our library. Our workshops cover a range of topics, including branding and niche building, audience and revenue growth, and systems.

Plus, we host new workshops every month, so you’ll always be up-to-date on the latest strategies and techniques. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned pro, our membership will provide you with the tools and resources you need to grow your audience, save time, and make more money. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity – join our membership today and start taking your content creation to the next level!

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