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Success Stories

Yi Cheng turns artistic talents into lucrative business with Nextdoor

The artist’s path







Filmmaker, painter, creator: What can’t Yi Cheng do? 

Equipped with a master’s degree in filmmaking and a lifetime passion for art, California-based artist Yi Cheng was no stranger to creativity on a Hollywood scale, juggling notable projects with Warner Brothers, Disney, and HBO. 

But on the brink of the COVID crisis, his fast-paced Hollywood life witnessed an unexpected lull. "During COVID, I was a filmmaker but nobody was filming,” Yi recalls. 

Yi needed a creative outlet. Retreating to his old passion for drawing, a hobby he had cherished ever since childhood, Yi found solace amid the pandemic by sketching and painting pictures of animals for his friends.

Despite his newfound pursuit, Yi still felt a disconnection from his broader community; though Yi was part of several online platforms, none catered to his craving for community connection. He desired a platform that would not only spotlight his art but also aid him in establishing a successful business and fostering a sense of community spirit. 

That’s when Yi started posting his work on Nextdoor.

Nextdoor’s solutions


Yi set up both a Personal Nextdoor Profile and  Nextdoor Business Profile, showcased his stunning sketches – primarily of his neighbors' adorable pets – and was met with an enthusiastic response that swiftly transformed his hobby into a flourishing business. 

“Some neighbors said: ‘Wow! You did such a great job! Could you draw my dogs?' And I said, absolutely yes,” Yi recounts on his initial interactions with the hyper-local platform.

The power of Nextdoor went beyond just business. It was a means for Yi to establish meaningful connections within his neighbors, and build on the network effects of local recommendations from its high-intent audience.

Word of his talent started spreading, landing him a feature in a local Pasadena publication due to the popularity he gained via Nextdoor. 

A classic example of his community reach was his art post of Luna, a rescue dog bringing in over hundred of thousands of impressions on his Nextdoor profile and, importantly, helping Luna find a forever home.



The path was not only financially rewarding, but also emotionally fulfilling. Yi’s craft was soon noticed by local businesses eager to showcase his pieces, kick-starting a journey of entrepreneurship that seemed impossible a few months prior.

"A lot of neighbors suggested to me to look at the animal shelters and see maybe there’s something I can do," Yi shared. This endeavor yielded extraordinary results, with his artwork facilitating the adoption process for his local Humane Society, the formation of his non-profit organization called Able Family helping connect pets with people, and the publication of a book and art collection.

The artist’s path that started as a hobby soon turned into a flourishing business, a beacon for promoting animal adoptions, and more importantly, a means to give back to the local community.

"The most important thing that Nextdoor helped me with, is exposing me to the neighbors and building that trust," said an elated Yi. “Because of Nextdoor, we got to meet in person and cultivate great connections with each other through an app," he added, showcasing his appreciation for the platform that empowered him to achieve his dreams.

Looking back on his journey, Yi perceives Nextdoor as much more than just an app. Not only did it pave the way for him to find a thriving business during an unprecedented crisis, it also allowed him to use his talent to contribute positively to his community.

Cherishing his experiences, he sums up, “I'm so happy that, through Nextdoor, I found my dream—something I really want to do.” 

His narrative is a testament to Nextdoor’s power, echoing the sentiment, “Love my neighbors, love Nextdoor.”

Filmmaker, painter, creator… now social media professional, business owner, non-profit manager: What can’t Yi Cheng do? 

How to leverage Nextdoor’s powerful community to kickstart your creator journey

Every month, Nextdoor neighbors post approximately $1 billion worth of goods and services to the platform. 

Are you ready to join your local creator community?

Here’s how to get started:

  • Visit and click either 'Sign up for Free' or 'Claim Your Free Business Page'.
  • Post items in the For Sale and Free category - This will ensure that those most interested in buying items will be able to find them.
  • Attach photos of your item - Neighbors are more likely to purchase your item if they can see recent photos of it. While a good description is nice, a photo is worth a thousand words. 
  • Discount your item to boost it. If you haven’t sold your item within 48 hours, you have the option to boost your item in the feed by adding a discount. Discounting your item increases your chance of finding a buyer in 3 ways:
    • Your item will be boosted so more buyers will see it.
    • The discount will be visually highlighted, making the deal more prominent.
    • It will be a better deal for your neighbors.
  • If you wish, donate. Nextdoor’s Sell for Good program that allows you to donate a portion of your sale to a local nonprofit of your choosing. If you want to participate (it's optional), choose a nonprofit and a percentage of your sale to donate. Note: If you choose to Sell for Good, you will need to collect payments using PayPal.