My eCommerce Journey | Part 1 | The Dream

by Jake Dawson about a year ago in how to

It was simple at first, and then it got real complicated.

My eCommerce Journey | Part 1 | The Dream
Photo by rupixen on Unsplash

Hello reader. By clicking on this article, I'm going to go ahead and assume you have some sort of invested interest in the world of eCommerce and Online Business. I know I have, and it's the whole reason I've decided to start this journey. I've decided to share the process with you for two reasons. First, It's a good way for me to stay focused and concentrate. Many times I've drifted away from my ideals and strategies, getting caught up in the stress of real life. With this, I can keep a steady report of everything. The second reason is for you, dear reader, so that you may follow along in my journey, learn where I went wrong and right, and gain the inspiration for starting your own eCommerce business.

First, some back story. Que free stock image photography.

Business Plan

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

Cast your minds back to the early beginnings of 2019. This was going to be our year, we all said. The same thing we say every year. Only this time, I was more determined than ever to actually make sure it was going to be my year. Let me tell you now, reader. It was not going to be my year.

Today is the 27th of August, same year, and in three days time it will be my 23rd birthday. It has been six or so months I've been sitting on a dream of eCommerce business. Back then, I had other plans that were more towards the world of acting. I had already attended a college course for an Acting and Performance course. Anyway, that's all done and dusted. Fast forward two years to 2019, and my best friend and I are in the midst of actually putting on our own theatrical performance.

Together, my friend and I had previously put on a successful performance back in 2017, with a small cast of just three. We sold out a good few seats, and the performance was well met from our friends and families, who, of course, were the aforementioned good few seats. Now, we aimed much higher. We had planned to put on a stylised performance of The Slab Boys, by Scottish author John Byrne, with a cast of eight including us. We, ourselves, are Scottish. It's where we live. So back in November of 2018, we planned our scenes, cast our characters, and booked our venue. My friend worked in a centre that had its own theatre room, complete with audience seats, lighting, the whole package. They even offered us a technician, included in the price. Since my friend worked there, and made good promises of ticket sales, we got a great deal on the venue, with them taking a price cut from overall ticket sales. Everything was in motion for it to be a smooth, and successful show. Reader, it was anything but.

Que more stock images.

Take a Seat

Photo by Vince Gaspar on Unsplash

Role on January, and our attempts to cast our play began its quick and painful descent. Half of our chosen cast dropped out, or were unable to commit. Then began a month of casting options. Thankfully though, by February, we finally cast the whole play after weeks of back and forth. Then began our grueling rehearsals. Everything seemed so well, but behind the scenes, things started to fall apart. My best friend and I started to have creative difference, I started to descend into a darker place mentally, and things between us were going badly. So badly in fact, that to this date, we still don't talk like we used to. I have to admit to you reader, that does still make me sad. Nevertheless, we put on our show, sold pretty much full house for three nights in a row, meaning an audience of just shy of three hundred people enjoyed our show. A good show it was, reader. It went really well.

So why am I telling you this story?

Shortly after this show finished in its entirety, I realised something. I wasted three years of my life.

Okay, so maybe it's not that dramatic. What I'm saying is, I realised I didn't really want to do acting. Sure, it was something I enjoyed and was good at, but it wasn't satisfying me the way I wanted it to. What I did enjoy was the creative element of the entire thing. To take something that you had created, that you were proud of, and present it to the world. To have something you could show to your friends and family and say "That's mine. That's me." That was what I wanted, Reader. I wanted something that was me. That's when I realised I wanted to create more things.

So where does the eCommerce side come into things?

Well reader, buckle up. I'll tell you.

Cheaper prices, at what cost?

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

So, when 2019 started, I was unemployed. I recently quit my job in a big supermarket, because it sucked. They made me feel like more of a number than a name. I eventually got a job in a popular nightclub (which was great and lots of fun), and got a side job in a small cafe (much less fun). Both were minimum wage jobs, which at the time for my age group was £7.38. Not great. On top of this, I quickly started to feel the same as I did at the supermarket. Reader, let me tell you, I was at a really low point.

One day, I had enough. I went home, and I applied for every job I could see. I didn't even read some of them, I just clicked "Apply Now". Well, a few got back to me. I went for an interview at a sales firm, in the city centre.

In the interview, they essentially made me promises of £1000 a week, easily. Weekends off, lots of benefits. Great, I thought. Superb. I took it on the spot.

First day, we drove out to a village in the Southern countryside. We walked up to people's houses, knocked on their doors, and tried to convince them to get cheaper gas and electric prices with our client company. Oh, I thought. this wasn't explained to me in the interview. I thought it was something else entirely. Nevertheless, I pressed forward, thinking I could make the most of this. When it got to my turn to ask, I won't lie, I sucked. I forgot the lines, didn't do the whole presentation thing. It was bad. It was so much to do, though. I learned that most of the stuff they ask you, is completely fabricated and fake. My morality started to creep in here. Eventually though, I got a sale. Great, I thought. This isn't so bad after all.

As time went on, my mentor, who was supposed to support me in this role, got worse and worse. He made me feel really bad about not being good at the whole salesman thing. I remember one time he asked if I was feeling good, to which I, very obviously, lied and said "Yeah", and he said "Why don't you tell your face that?". Reader, I thought about this line for the next two days. I was depressed. Worse than depressed. He said to me "This job, there are people that can do it, and people that can't."

Reader, I can't

I left. I was there for four days. Before I go any further, understand that since then, I've heard stories about this particular company. They seemed more cultist, than sales company, so please don't think I'm here to stomp on the sales industry. Not at all. This company almost ruined me.

It's at this point that I transcended from depression into something much, much worse.

This is where it gets dark.

Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

I chose this image because it really speaks to me. I did feel like I was drowning in everything that was going on. I had no luck with jobs. I needed money, and fast. My dream play was successful, but I couldn't help feel it wasn't. My best friend and I had fell apart. The car that I was driving at the time was falling to pieces day by day, and costing so much money. My relationship was affected by all of this stuff that was happening.

Reader, I was suicidal.

Now, I've never been properly diagnosed by a professional, so I can't say for sure that's how I felt. I assure you though, reader, I felt like I wanted to destroy myself. I continued to feel like this for a further month.

It's now May, at this point. My girlfriend's birthday is this month, and I want it to be nice. I finally got some money in from the play, and used it to get her some nice things. I did okay. I also finally got a job in an ice cream parlour. Hilariously, I hated it. It was minimum wage again, but it was kind of fun, I suppose. It didn't matter though, because I only worked there for two weeks. That's right, two weeks. So what happened now, that I only had a job for two weeks?

I got another, better job.

I got a job working in the airport, at £8.45 an hour, in a bar. It was perfect.

Bar work is a field I've always enjoyed. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but there's something fulfilling and enjoyable about it. This was perfect. It paid well, and it wasn't too far from where I was, which, by the way, was my girlfriends, because we still don't have our own place by this point.

This job was me, pulling pints, vodka cokes and serving food galore. I loved it. The hours were great, the environment was great, and I finally started to feel better about myself. I worked there for about two months. Two glorious months.

That's when it happened.

The worst bar none.

Photo by Moss on Unsplash

It's a Monday, in August. I come into work a little bit late, completely stressed to high heaven. My friends asks me what's up, and I tell him. The night before, as I was driving my car, it slid down a ramp in the rain into a railing, and the wing was cracked. I hated that car so much, and genuinely considered it a death trap, so I scrapped it for basically no money, and didn't have a car. Thankfully, my girlfriend has her own car that she can't drive yet, because she hasn't passed her driver's test, so she very kindly let me borrow it for the time being. On top of that, we were supposed to move into a flat the next week, but still hadn't heard anything about it in weeks. To top it all off, I had one week left to work at the bar. Not because I was fired, but because you need to have a security pass to work there, and I was on a temporary one that was about to run out. I remember saying to my friend "I'm just waiting to see what happened next."

Well, reader. Let me tell you what happened next.

Not thirty minutes passes by before my manager, who, by the way, I'm sure never liked me for no reason, calls me into his office for "a chat".

It's there that he asks me about a few transactions I had from June. Now, Reader, if you work or have worked in a bar, you'll know that remembering transactions is like trying to translate Latin with no prior experience. It's pretty hard. More and more transactions come up, I try to explain them as best as I can, but they aren't having it.

He accused me of stealing money from customers, and subsequently the company.

I have never stolen anything in my life. I have no criminal record, because I'm not a criminal, or a thief.

So then, I'm suspended with pay for a week, to come back in with a secondary meeting with another manager, to explain myself.

"Explain myself".

I come in with a detailed report of each transaction, and what they could possibly be, including a few transactions that I actually do remember and can explain. I also invited them to do a criminal background check, a report from any other members of staff, any references from old jobs, and to check the CCTV footage. All of which would prove my innocence.

Well, reader. They didn't do any of that. No. Instead, they shot down every reasoning I made, made me feel like scum, and sent me away to await a final verdict.

That verdict came four days late. They fired me. They fired me for something I didn't do, with no proof or evidence that I did it, without following up on anything I tried to tell them.

I was back at how I felt earlier in the year, and this time, it was much worse.In good news though, my girlfriend and I got our flat.

Silver Lining

Photo by Hernan Lucio on Unsplash

So there I was. No car. No job. New flat.

I had just enough money to pay for the first month, all bills included, so I had time to figure something out. It took me a few weeks, but I got a new job. I work in another bar and nightclub venue, this time on living wage. Everyone there has been super nice so far, and the job is fun. Things are looking up, but I've got a long way to go. I've applied for a Ambulance Technician course, and I'm waiting back to see if I've been successful or not.

What does all this have to do with eCommerce (finally)?

I've done a lot of research on the subject. Every video I've watched basically says the same thing. Just go for it.

I've been surrounded my entire life by people that have tried new and exciting things, and they've went relatively well. I've also seen people who had dreams and ambitions, but never, ever tried for them. Reader, they are not happy, let me tell you.

I'm at a point in my life where I feel stuck. More stuck than every. Every door of possibility I have is closed, and I'm not getting any younger. I'm getting older, in three days time. I can't sit about and watch life go by, wishing something would just happen. I have to make it happen.

So I will.

I'm sorry for the long article, I promise future articles won't be this long. There was just a lot of backstory that needed to be said. It was quite cathartic for me, so thank you for reading. The next articles will all follow me through my proper eCommerce Journey. I am going to try this, and I'll document it for all to see.

To finalise, I'm still driving my girlfriend's car. Our little flat is nice, and we love it. I still haven't heard anything about the Technician course in months, and I still don't really talk to my friend that much.

Also, though I feel like I'm getting too old, I'm also strangely aware that you're never too old. I know it's not true, but I can't help this feeling that I've wasted a lot of time, so if you're reading this and you're 23, don't feel like you have no time. You have loads of it. If there's a dream you want to chase, go for it.

Join me in the next article,

and thank you again. It really means a lot.

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Jake Dawson
Jake Dawson
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Jake Dawson

All things pop culture, all things political and all things entrepreneurial. Conent from all four corners of the creative globe.

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