020: How To Turn Your Side Hustle Into A Full Time Business (Jen and Omar)

Jen Adrion and Omar NooryYou’ve heard the tales of so-called overnight success and usually there’s a backstory: someone struggled for years and then one night they had a breakthrough.

But our guests for episode 20 are actually overnight successes! Jen Adrion and Omar Noory are the artists, creators and owners behind These Are Things. They’ll tell us how they stumbled upon their business and how their willingness to say yes has sustained their success.


Both Jen and Omar have been artists since they were kids. Both were encouraged by their parents to play on their respective family computers and play they did!

Jen designed digital art and was constantly asking her parents how she could make money – so she’s always been intrigued by the combination of art and business.

And Omar used Microsoft Paint to create animations and then eventually web sites. From early on he was into web sites and graphic design which led him to art school where he met Jen.

In art school, they were both advertising and graphic design majors so they collaborated on many projects and took multiple classes together. In short, they learned how to work together before their business and even before they were in a relationship!


  • Did they make money on any other art projects before the maps?
  • True or false: they were e-commerce whizzes before selling maps.
  • What’s the way to get anything done according to Jen?
  • Their “Monopoly money” and how they used it.
  • What has kept them going through the rough patches?
  • How to rebound when your thing isn’t a hit.
  • And so much more!

After college Jen and Omar went the usual route: Jen picked up some freelance clients and Omar got a job at an agency. They both enjoyed what they were doing for the first few years but at some point they wondered if this was what they wanted from the rest of their lives.

Being the artists they are, they decided to make whatever kind of art struck their fancy in their free time.

So they spent their Friday nights at the local art supply stores and stocked up on whatever they wanted. Sometimes they’d make jewelry, other times they’d find some supplies for street art or vinyl cutouts. And they’d spend their free time creating any type of art they wanted.

After one particular round of travel, they wanted a map to commemorate their adventures with a map. Jen searched and searched online but couldn’t find exactly what they needed. So they decided to create one themselves.

They designed it, sent it out to some printers in Portland and waited for it to be finished. They had had to place an order for 50 because the printers couldn’t make individual prints so while they waited, they wondered what they’d do with the extras.

When their beautiful map made it back to them (plus the other 49 copies), they thought they’d post them on an old domain name Omar had and see if anyone in the World Wide Web might want a copy.

They sold out the next day.

Sensing they might be on to something, they allowed people to pre-order some maps and soon they were selling like hotcakes! Overnight, everything changed for them.

But they knew nothing about e-commerce, Paypal or any of the business side of things. Instead of getting bogged down by details, they approached everything with the attitude of “we’ll figure it out”.

And they certainly did. Through the ups and downs, and all of the challenges, they have made it work and today they continue to carry on with a thriving business and their artistic endeavors. Leave a comment below or Tweet them and let them know you dig their story!

Tweetable: “You have to just learn as you do it.” Jen and Omar of These Are Things



Take Our Listener Survey!

We want to hear from you! Click the link above to take our short listener survey, so we can learn how to better serve you. Oh, and we’re giving away a $50 iTunes gift card to one lucky person who completes the survey 🙂

Share this post!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *