I launched my online only crystal shop on April 22nd, 2017 – I wanted to share some things I’ve learned since then.
Treat all of it as an experiment so you won’t get disappointed, at least not as much.
It’s going to be up and down. Some months you will make consistent sales and you’ll feel happy and accomplished, other times not so much. You will go through a slump, you’ll feel disappointed with yourself and your efforts and often wonder: ‘WTF am I doing wrong’?
There could be a lot of factors as to why you’re not making sales right now; the market you’re in could be oversaturated. Or nobody is really buying right now either. You don’t have to know it all, but it helps to pay attention to the current economic climate and what people are spending their money on.
Lots of people are selling the same thing online too. You’ll have to think of ways to stand out somehow. Get creative, play and experiment with different ways you could tell people about your small business. Social media is great for that.
Focus on doing what you enjoy the most.
This may or may not be true for everybody but having a small business means you’ll probably be doing everything: taking products photos, listing products, packing, shipping, admin and accounting, graphics, email and social media marketing, web design, video editing. The list goes on and on and it can start to feel overwhelming.
Like, there’s SO MUCH to think about. What should you do, what should you focus on?
Some things are a drag, like accounting and taxes but are necessary. As long as you stay organized and keep good records of your sales & purchases, you can stay on top of it.
If you have the resources to do so, maybe pay someone to do the stuff you don’t like to do or if they don’t mind learning and doing things for free, maybe teach or mentor them?
If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of doing it all, pick one thing you really like to do and do that, consistently.
For me, I enjoy taking photos of the crystals, then listing and writing about them. Even though I didn’t build the website from scratch, I still put a lot of effort into customizing it as well as creating & writing unique visual content and posting on Instagram. I did a lot of SEO on it too.
Don’t quit your day job.
There was a time when I thought being an entrepreneur would be a good fit for me, even though I have only worked fulltime my entire life and freelanced when I was in between jobs. I wanted to quit my job so bad during my first year, thinking that my small business selling crystals would sustain me and my family and that I would be able to just work from home.
I mean, a bitch can dream right? Well, turns out I was naive and completely wrong about it. I’m glad I didn’t quit or else I’d be screwed. How would I provide for my family, how do I pay my bills?
Some people will say that you don’t need to spend money to start your business, and while that may be true – you’re going to have to put A LOT of effort. If you spend money, things will go faster meaning your business will really pick up. That’s just my opinion on it, I could be wrong.
Here’s a personal example of what I mean: I spent money on Google Ads and sure enough, I was getting traffic to the website and I made some sales.
Not quitting your day job means you can put those expenses (like buying Google Ads) on a credit card and pay it off with your paycheck.
Whatever profit you make from your sales, usually goes back to buying more inventory to sell, for advertising and for other costs of running a small business. But you also have to pay taxes, so you need to put some money aside to pay your federal & state.
It might take years before your small business is finally sustainable so until then, keep on working.
There’s probably a lot more to this, I just can’t think of it right now. It’s easy to get swept away and romanticize entrepreneurship or having a small business. The reality is far from it. I’m just writing this based on my experience so far with my own small business.