5 TIPS FOR SETTING UP YOUR OWN ONLINE STORE
1. STOP HOLDING YOURSELF BACK
The best piece of advice I received when I was setting up Little Nell was to stop talking about it and actually do it. I spent so long faffing about what I wanted my logo to look like, what to name my twitter handle etc, when all of these things are changeable. You'll learn much more doing, than talking about doing. Yes, when I first set up my shop it looked drab and the photography was dire, but fortunately It had about 5 views a month, so I try not to beat myself up about it...
2. ASK FOR HELP
Don't be afraid to ask people for advice, you haven't done this before and you're not expected to know everything. Google is my best tool, if I want to know something, I search for it, and if Google doesn't have the answer, I'll ask other small businesses who've been where I am. Although don't be offended if you don't get a reply straight away, I've found the independent community to be really generous with their time and advice, but they're also one-man bands who are super busy.
3. START SMALL, THINK BIG
You don't need a huge range of products to set up your own business, just look at Lost My Name, they have one product, but it's a really, really great one, and they've seen huge success off the back of it. Better to do one thing really well, then lots of things badly. But likewise, think about how your business might grow when the time comes. Selling direct is great for your margins, but one day you might want to sell to retail too, so make sure there's enough margin for both.
4. TIME IS PRECIOUS
Creating items by hand is lovely, I find making jewellery really therapeutic, and customers love that it's been made by someone they can put a face to, rather than mass produced in a Chinese factory. The downside is that it's time consuming, particularly when you have orders to pack, expenses to file, a website to manage, and not to mention another job to get on with. Think about how you can streamline your processes, it might be something as simple as outsourcing printing, or rearranging your packing table, but if it saves you time, it's worth it!
In the profound words of Britney Spears, "you better work bitch". As much as instagram would have you to believe it, working for yourself isn't all long brunches and playing with the cat, (we only do that on tuesdays and thursdays). No one else is going to make your business a success for you. Be prepared to work late nights, early mornings and most lunch hours. But also remember that what you do may be seasonal, try not to get disheartened by the quiet weeks, use them to catch up on your accounts (or housework...), or prepare for your peak seasons.
Image by Little Nell, Go Get 'em Tiger card by Rifle Paper Co.