I will start by saying that I thought that it would be an easy and simple process, boy was I wrong. I purchased a domain name, got set-up with a hosting plan and started setting up the new website. I went as far as looking for products online and started adding them to my new site. Little did I realise that I was not the only person doing this, it took me some time to realise this.
I found that these sites that I was getting the products from was also supplying others just like me. Now do not get me wrong, I did have customers viewing my site but very few purchasing from me and some were even leaving messages letting me know that they found the product for a cheaper price else where.
Well after a long and stressful first year I decided that I had to make a change and look for some help with the business. Up to this point I had tried to do it all myself, of course I really had no idea what I was doing. I looked around on the web to try and get some help and I even started paying for the help, which was a mistake considering that I wanted to pay as little as I had to.
At this point I was ready to throw in the towel and just give up the dream of running my own business, but when I was just about do it I got some good advice from a man that I looked up to-My Grandfather. He sat me down and asked me one simple question - is this really what I wanted to do or did I want to work for someone else.
He told me that if I wanted to make it in the online business then I needed to buckle up and fight for what I wanted. He made one thing clear. He said he had been watching me and also after listening to me over the first year of my new endeavor, he h ad noticed that even though I had started out I had been treating this as a hobby and not as a real business. And boy was he right. Well long story short, he got me pointed in the right direction and I want to share some of his wisdom.
1. Take a step back and make sure that this something that you really want to do and you are willing to put in the effort it takes to run your own business and not just do it as a hobby.
2. Do your homework Before you even start thinking of a name for your business do your research. This is something that I had done. Look at your competition Hit google or any search engine and look for the products that you are interested in to add to your site. Look at how they market their products, how they display them on their site, how they use keywords and what is their shipping procedure and how does the FAQs section work. Now I am not saying to copy them down to the smallest detail but study them, get some ideas that might work.
3.Talk to family and friends and ask them what type of products would they be interested in purchasing, even talk with people at the grocery store, just let them know that you are starting an online shopping business and what they might be interested in. Believe it or not, I actually got some great results from doing this, got some "leave me alone" results too. I had no problem with this since I have been in sales for over 20 years. One issue that I had with the products that put on my site was placing items that I liked and not what others would buy.
4. Look for a good and reliable hosting site, one that not only will host your site but will also help you set it up and continue to give advise. There are a lot of them out there so check them all out, you can find some that do all the work but those can be a little pricey . Godaddy, webplusshop and web.com are some that are great .
A good rule of thumb is not to go with the first one you see, check them all out. I had to change from my first site just for this very reason! Some host sites will offer to help with SEO and adding backlinks and meta tags, if it is cost effective let them help with this. I found that this was a great help for me. You can even go to Fiverr.com and find some great help with SEO, backlinks and website set up. I can not speak for all the people out there but I have been using a few of the sites and have had great response for it. You can have a project done for as little as $5.00 up to $100, again look at their past work and comments left on their post.
5. Looking for products to sale on your site. This can be one of your biggest step or at least it was for me. Again going back to studying your competition, look at what they are selling and what they are charging for them, then go over to google and find the same product and what others are charging for said item. I found out that they were being sold on other sites for a low price and that too many were being sold buy a lot of sites. I did start out with trying to sell items off a well know site, it is a great site for starting out but if you check the web everyone is using them. Look for some good wholesale and drop-shippers for products, Some of the sites have a minimum order or a drop ship fee but most do not. I have found some real great ones and if any one is interested in a list drop me a line and I will send them to you.
Final-Do not give up!!! I know how frustrating it can be but don't give up, it is worth the struggle or at least it was for me. Remember this is a business not a hobby, treat it like you would any other job.
One thing I have done and I stand by it is that I have a Quote from Paul "Bear" Bryant , Yes I know an Alabama Fan but it works for any one.
It reads: "If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride-and you never quit, you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high-but so are the rewards."
Mickey Wilkins CEO Judah Creek Home Decor & Gifts email@example.com