Welcome to our Day in the Life series, where creators from various industries and backgrounds share how they are spending their days tackling their jobs, passion projects, and that dream we call a work-life balance.
Name: Devin Kane
Location: Wilmington, NC
Occupation: Full-time artist and business owner
Did you attend higher education or technical school? If so, what did you study, and does it have anything to do with your current job?
I graduated college with a degree in Hospitality Management and a minor in Business Administration. I was one of those people who didn't have a set career in mind and bounced around different majors until I found something that sparked my interests. I scoured the university website looking for possible career paths and stumbled upon Hospitality Management. I saw that they offered a concentration in Special Events and decided to go for it. I've always been a creative person, and I figured event planning would allow me to use my creative strengths. At my university, a business minor was required to graduate with a hospitality major, so I also took several business courses.
Although I no longer work in the hospitality industry, I do believe my degree has helped me run and grow my business. In the classroom, I learned a lot about customer service and creating an experience for customers and I use this knowledge every day in my business. Even though I only minored in business, the information I learned in those classes gave me a better understanding of the basics of running a business and gave me the confidence to start.
What do you do in your current job?
As the owner and sole employee of Dev's Doodles Co, I do everything! From design, to marketing, shipping and fulfillment, customer service, and everything in between. But simply put, I'm a digital artist and I turn my designs into products to sell in my online shop.
Are you currently working on a side hustle or passion project and what does that entail?
Before I was able to take Dev's Doodles Co full time it was my side hustle! At the time, I was working as an Associate Photographer. Where I worked at the time focused mainly on headshots and brand photography, and this allowed me to meet many successful business owners. I believe that being surrounded by other business owners helped me gain the courage to take the leap with my own business.
As a creative person, I'm always looking for new projects to channel my creativity into. I followed several people on Instagram that shared how they turned their digital designs into successful businesses, and I thought it would be a fun way for me to make extra money while also allowing me to be creative. I got my iPad in 2019 and eventually I started sharing my designs on social media. With lots of support from my family and friends I opened an Etsy shop and began selling my designs.
Because I was just starting out and didn't have a huge budget, I researched products with small upfront costs and high sell-through rates. I wanted products that were inexpensive, easy to ship, and easy to sell. I launched my business with only five designs and sold them as stickers and art prints. Once I began to get consistent sales, I created my own website and started selling straight from there. In the summer of 2021, I was able to take my business full time!
If you are juggling a side hustle or multiple jobs, how do you find a balance between them?
Before my shop became my full-time job, I definitely struggled with finding a balance between my two jobs and life outside work. Luckily for me, my other job was very flexible, and I was able to dedicate a lot of time to my own business. However, I became so passionate about growing my business that much of my free time was spent designing new products and creating content for social media. This led to creative burnout and overall burnout within my life because I was spending so much time working.
I decided to cut back on work and spend more time doing things that brought me joy. I came to the realization that running a creative business is different than running a standard business in that my creativity comes in waves and it can't be forced. I realized it's very important for me to take breaks and do things that spark inspiration.
What does a typical day in your work week look like?
|9:00–11:00 AM||I'm not a morning person and I hate being rushed, so normally my mornings are very slow. I get ready then spend a few minutes outside with my dog to get some fresh air and vitamin D. I grab a quick breakfast bar and fill up my water cup. If I packed orders the day before, I gather them and head to the post office to drop them off. Luckily for me (but not my bank account) there are three coffee shops right by my post office and I always take the opportunity to grab an iced coffee.|
|11:00 AM to noon||Once I get home, I print any orders that came in and start packing them. This is one of my favorite parts about owning a business. Packing the orders feels so personal to me and I love seeing where my products are traveling to.|
|12:00–1:00 PM||During this time, I film content for TikTok and Instagram. Social media is a huge part of my business so I like to dedicate time to creating content for several platforms. I like to batch content within this hour so that I have several videos or photos that are ready to use when I need the content.|
|1:00–3:00 PM||My Instagram feed is a mixture of photos and my digital art. During this time, I draw my post for the day. If I don't already have an idea for a post, I normally scroll through Pinterest to get inspiration for a quote or graphic. Typically, posts take me between one to two hours to create. Some days my creative juices are flowing and I'm able to draw and other days I struggle to come up with anything and end up with nothing—and that's OK. I've learned that the world isn't going to end if I don't upload a post to Instagram.|
|3:00–4:00 PM||I have a late lunch with my husband. He also works from home, so we like to have our lunch together every day.|
|4:00–4:30 PM||I usually post on Instagram around 3 PM, so I take this time to scroll and engage with other accounts and go through my DMs (direct messages) and answer as many as I can.|
|4:30–5:30 PM||If I still have orders that I didn't get to earlier in the day, I try to get through them. If I don't have orders, I like to check my inventory and supplies to see what is low in stock and order restocks.|
|5:30–6:00 PM||I like to dedicate time to brainstorm new product or content ideas. I have a list in my Notes app full of different ideas.|
|6:00–9:00 PM||My husband and I cook and eat dinner and then we take our dog out for his nightly walk.|
|9:00 PM and on||The rest of the evening is spent relaxing, watching TV, scrolling TikTok, or reading a book. Then I shower and get ready for bed.|
What tools help you in your job on a daily basis?
Social media is the most important tool I use for my business. The majority of my sales come from Instagram, so I try to be active on the app throughout the day. TikTok has been great for growing my account and getting new eyes on my shop.
I use my iPad and the app Procreate to create all my designs. From digital illustrations to apparel, packaging, and branding. My entire design process is done within the Procreate app.
I use Shopify for my website platform and I am so happy with it. You can look through many different analytics for your shop, there are endless apps you can connect to your store, and it was easy for me to learn.
What is one tip you'd give others to help them think about standing out in what is now a very crowded creator space?
Establish your brand and stick to it!
When I started my business, I didn't want to confine myself to a certain look. I thought it would be limiting to only use certain colors or styles throughout my business, so I opted against having a brand identity. But because my business didn't have any defining qualities, it didn't stand out in the crowd. There was nothing that you could look at and say, "That looks like a Dev's Doodles Co design."
Eventually I realized not having a brand identity was hindering my business, so I sat down one day and created the Dev's Doodles Co brand that I use today. I started by revisiting the goals I made for my business and determined how I was going to portray them through my brand. My main goal was to be a happy corner of the Internet for my followers to enjoy encouraging words and find products that put a smile on their faces. Based on that goal I chose colors that I felt represented happiness and comfort. I also wanted to bring a small retro feel to my brand so I picked out a few fonts that reminded me of the '60s and '70s. And lastly, I wanted to tie in my love for the beach and beach lifestyle, so I began incorporating images that had a beach vibe. This was a major turning point for my business because people were able to identify my style and products among many other designers and business owners.
What advice would you give to other creators that you wish you knew when you got started?
When I first started my business, I didn't talk enough about my shop and products online because I was scared that I was being annoying and that people would unfollow me because of it. I didn't want to sound salesy and overload someone's timeline, so I didn't post much. But the reality is, in today's world, we consume so much content that if you aren't showing up consistently, your content is going to get lost among the rest. And if you're not actively excited and proud of your products, your customers will not be either and they won't make the purchase.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I live near the beach, so I love going for short walks on the beach while soaking in the sun and beachy vibes.
I also love the days when I'm working from coffee shops. Getting out of the house and working at a cute coffee shop helps kickstart my creative energy. If I've had a busy couple of days, going to Target or Trader Joe's is another way I decompress and find inspiration. I've found that the excitement of trying a new product or a new recipe sparks my inspiration. As a designer, I also love strolling the aisles and looking at different branding. If I see something I like, I'll snap a picture and save it for when I'm in a creative rut.
Do you ever struggle with imposter syndrome, and if so, how do you overcome those feelings?
Definitely! Because of social media, I have come across so many other talented artists and business owners and oftentimes I find myself comparing my art or success to theirs. Whenever I start to feel like I'm behind in terms of success or not as talented as other artists, I have to remind myself that their success and talent does not hinder my own. Instead of getting upset with myself, I try to use their success as inspiration.
I also remind myself that art is completely subjective and it doesn't have to be the world's next greatest masterpiece to resonate with someone. One of my simplest designs went viral, not because it was a life-changing piece of art but because it resonated with so many people. It was a simple design that played on the quote "Happiness comes in waves, it will find you again," and I believe it resonated with so many people because it is a great reminder that things will get better and a design that gave the quote visual representation.