My eCommerce Journey l Part 2 l Starting a Business for £5.38
Just do it.
Welcome to the Real Beginning of my eCommerce Journey. I say real because this is Part 2 of this series. Part 1 is really a background story about certain things and events that have led me to where I am now, and if you missed it, you can find it on my profile or here.
We're at that point now where we have to start our business. Hours upon hours of watching eCommerce guru's talk about strategies, different stores, various niche's and advertising campaigns has led me to this point. Each and every video, each guru, saying the same thing. Whatever it is you plan, just go for it. Dive in. Do the research, and get it going. Don't wait. This resonated with me, and I want it to resonate with you too, Reader. If you're reading this article, and hopefully this series, you're new to the eCommerce game. You want to become a successful Business owner, just like me. First, we both have to answer one question.
What sort of business do we want to open?
Business's make money. We could be offering a service, or perhaps some products. In my ideal world, I'm doing everything. I can't help but accumulate different ideas for different businesses. It's something I do. In fact, right now, on my mobile, I've got a Note of about ten different business ideas. The question is though, where do we start?
Back when I was running a Theatre Company with my best friend, we had a bad habit of planning ahead. I kept asking him about making merch, and he, rightfully, said we should build an audience first. I couldn't wait. I transitioned from making merch to making a clothing line. That was where I wanted to go. I planned to start a clothing line.
Quickly, I realised I wasn't going to be able to do this easily. To be fair, I didn't think it was going to be a walk in the park. I needed T-shirts to print on, and I needed graphics. I have no experience, and no talent in drawing graphics. Nevertheless I pressed on, I bought a subscription to an Adobe package that included Illustrator and Photoshop, and I was ready.
If, coincidentally, you are planning to open your own clothing company, or just a T-shirt business, you can find various DTG companies. DTG, meaning Direct To Garment, are companies that stock canvas T-shirts (and other clothing items), print your design on the T-shirt, and then ship it to your customer. It's more complicated than that, but that's essentially it, in a nut shell.
Months passed, and I, however, was no closer to my Clothing Line dream. So, I scaled down, and thought a little smaller.
One form of eCommerce that comes up a lot when you're researching is Dropshipping. If you don't already know, Dropshipping is essentially when you sell products that are stocked by another company, usually someone in China, to customers online, and make profit. Basically, you act as an advanced store front for these products, meaning the manufacturer makes their money without having to fork out for a website and advertising, you make more money than selling price on the product by selling it for slightly more, and the customer gets the product they wanted. It's a win, win, win scenario. Since you yourself don't have to stock any actual inventory, it's a popular method for start up entrepreneurs.
So, I went for it. I thought, "Why not?" and I've decided to start a Dropshipping Business.
Now that I had chose what sort of approach I was going to take, I had to pick a niche. Dropshipping and eCommerce guru's highly suggest that you pick a niche, or specific market, to sell in. Something like jewellery, or sport clothing, for example. I'm not going to reveal what niche I had chosen, but I will say I jumped around between a few different choices. I eventually settled on one for pretty much no real reason. I just chose that niche, thought I could sell in a decent way within, and thought it was worth a go.
The next step is to start our store front. If you read the last article, you'll know I'm now working in a bar and club. While it's great, I don't have a ton of money. I started searching for ways to start this off with little to no funds. Eventually, I found a four hour long video that goes into incredible detail about how to start a business with no money. Of course, you actually needed about six dollars to actually do it, but that's close enough.
So I watched the entire four hour video, the whole thing. It went into extreme detail about hosting your website, getting a domain name and building the website using tools that are provided to you by the hosting website. The app I have been using is called WooCommerce. I'll link the video at the bottom of the article.
First, I bought a domain name from GoDaddy.com for cheap. They were doing a deal on domain names, and after a bit of juggling, I managed to snag a .com domain. It's recommended that you get a .com name rather than .store or .domain, something like that. People and customers are more likely to trust a .com domain, so it seemed like the best choice.
After that, I used Sluhosting.com, recommended by the video, for hosting my website. I linked the domain to the hosting (all explained in the video), and that was that. I had my own website. Reader, this was exhilarating. Finally having something that was my own, even though I have made literally no progress or even effort into it, was great. I felt like I had made that first, crucial step in my eCommerce journey.
I followed on with the video, having watched it the full way through and now following it through a second time, updating and building my website piece by piece along with the tutorial.
I chose a good few products to start selling on my website. I haven't sorted them all yet, and though the website is live there's nothing that can be done on it. I still have to finish building the pages, plan an approach, list and sort products, and sort out checkout and email listings.
The domain name cost me £1.19, including taxes, and the hosting was a package on their website for $5, which for me was £4.19. That's £5.38. The hosting lasts an entire year, and the domain name also lasts a year, but the price goes up to something like £16. That was my goal. Can I make at least £21 in a year to pay for this website? I've decided to really low ball my goals, and build on them as they are achieved, so that I don't get too ahead of myself. In a years time, I might give up on this website. I hope it succeeds, but it's mostly a test. Time will tell.
What to consider from this article is the first step in your own journey. I spent six months sitting on an idea I continued to mentally build on, before settling on a lesser, more manageable approach. Pick your niche out. Decide what sort of product market you want to sell in. Do the research on that industry, to see if it's far too saturated, or if you have a new, inspiring and original idea that hasn't been executed in that industry before.
My number one piece of advice though, if you watch all the tutorial and guru videos on YouTube like I did, take them with a pinch of salt. These people are selling the same way you are, and there's the chance they could be selling in the same market you want to sell in. So it would make sense for them to filter out bad and wrong information to budding entrepreneurs, like you and I, to set us off on an unsuccessful path. Take on board everything you find out, and then plan your journey accordingly. It's very clear that I'll be doing a lot of experimenting around. Together, you and I, Reader, will learn on my eCommerce Journey.
Thank you for taking the time to read, and you'll find me in the next article.