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Have you ever thought of opening an online shop? starting a blog? Being an entrepreneur? Being your own boss? Earn passive income? Well, I have.
It was something that I had in mind for quite a long time and about a year ago I decided to open an ecommerce shop, a stationery shop of notebooks, printables and other home office accessories. I must say I didn’t fully think through it but determined to give it a try.
I started by looking for an ecommerce platform to begin with and found Shopify.
Shopify is an ecommerce platform that allows you to set up an online store to sell your goods. It lets you organize your products, customize your storefront, accept credit card payments, track and respond to orders. Sounds great isn’t it? So I signed in and received free 14 days trial. I chose a nice free theme template (Shopify cost 29$ a month, so I settled for one of their free themes that I liked) and was good to go.
Step by step with building my shop, I realized that I wanted to create products with my own designs. To to do so, I had to have some kind of graphic design software or app that I could use for my designs. First, I started with Canva – a free online app that has lots of templates, beautiful fonts and graphics. (Learn how to create beautiful Pinterest graphic templates here). After a while, I wanted to expand my graphic design skills, so I started to learn Illustrator. It’s more advanced program, but since I’m pretty a tech savvy girl, I knew I can learn it by myself.
Sidenote: As an interior designer (my daily job) I work with Autocad (design program), and sometimes I use pixlr (free app similar to photoshop), so I knew few basics features.
So, I began to design my own notebooks both in canva and illustrator and added them to my shop. But that was only the beginning…. (more of how to manufacture your own products here)
I must say that I had no idea or clue what I was doing… how to manage a shop, what to do next…. I guess I thought I would learn along the way, which is exactly what happened.
I started to read and watch all these tips and tutorials which really opened my eyes to this HUGE online world.
I realized that I’m a tiny fish in this big blue ocean, and although I have my own shop/website… no one really “see” me… how frustrating.
What next? – I guess marketing
Having a website is one step in this long journey, and since you want to make some sales, well… you have to start marketing your shop.
If you don’t want to spend lots of money on advertising, social media is the solution.
My first step was to open a facebook business page. I connected my shopify store to it, so whoever visited my page could have bought from my facebook catalog.
I used and still use organic posts. I also target my audience so I can reach the relevant people, yet it is REALLY slow growth.
If you do have budget, you can promote your facebook posts with paid ads and reach lots of people, but I try to avoid it due to my tight budget.
Except for posting on my page, I joined some facebook groups that are relevant to my niche and referred them to my page. The important thing in joining groups is to participate in them…meaning you have to build relationship with other group members and not just market your products – you have to serve serve serve and than sell – build a trust, participate in discussions, give advices etc., and then sell them.
My second step was to open an instagram business account. Instagram is more visual platform (more pretty pictures and less talking :-)) than facebook, and maybe that’s why I like it better. I find it more lighter and fun.
Moving on to Etsy
After a few months, with only 1 sale 🙁 and lots of expenses, (as I wrote shopify monthly fee is 29$) I closed my shopify store and moved to Etsy. Less expenses and more targeted audience, so chances that someone will find your shop are much bigger. (you can read how to open an etsy shop here).
It’s been few months since I’ve opened my shop, I have only made a very few sales, but I’m not giving up. As I’ve heard so many times before, consistency is the word. I have to keep showing up on social media, build my brand, build trust and this way build my own community.
I’ve started this blog as I wanted to share with you my journey and in between give you some tips and tutorials, that I’m learning along the way.
I’ve got lots of work to do and it’s not going to be easy, but hey I love what I’m doing and I love to learn, so come and join me on this journey.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear your story – did you start a new business or shop lately? if so please share with me your story/journey in the comments below.