Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Business 101: You and Your New "Garden"


I've been reading through the topics on the forum for a few weeks now and notice there are a lot of people who just need some reassurance that what they are doing will be successful.  (Yikes...that clearly is a run-on sentence...my apologies...I've barely had any coffee this morning).

I am a "newbie" on TpT (started in March 2013) but not a newbie with online selling.

Background:
Teacher: 12 years
Online antique dealer:17 years (Etsy,Ebay, and my own website)
Blog writer: 3 years (www.latenight-coffee.com)

When I first started online selling, it was just for some extra cash. Then I stopped teaching when I had my son and I needed to "ramp up" my business to make up for the lost income.  I had to learn business skills really quickly, but found my teaching skills came in VERY handy.

Why am I boring you with this?

Because I want you to know that if you are a teacher, you are already halfway there to being a successful business owner....

Skills you have that will help tremendously in business:
Communication
Writing
Patience
Creativity
Thinking "Outside the Box"
Empathy
People Skills......VERY important as you know in this day of "poor" customer service.
Math
Frugality/thriftiness
Multi-tasking

I could go on.....but those are important.

So here are the things that might bring some peace of mind as you continue on with your venture....

1) If your store is brand new, don't even think about the money yet.  Just don't.  It will drive you crazy.  Treat it like a 6 month (at the minimum) garden.  Care for it, add new things, grow it.  Just don't count on eating it for 6 months. Seriously.  It will drive you crazy.  The people who are successful at any online business didn't do it overnight.  My online stores took at the very least 6 months to a year before I could say..."Whew, now we are making some dough".  But that was also 6 months of listing, and promoting, and creating,etc,etc.

2)PROMOTE!!!!  We are so lucky to have Pinterest right now. Seriously.  If you don't know how to do it....find someone to teach you FAST!  Join linky parties...don't know how to do it? Ask!  Seriously...there is competition everywhere...and you may have the BEST teaching materials...but if only a handful of people know about it....it won't matter.  Treat promoting like "fertilizer" for your garden!  My businesses took off ten fold the moment I started pinning.....and pinning correctly.  The internet is truly a web....the more your name keeps appearing by your efforts...the more likely it will appear without you doing anything.

3)Research. Research.Research. Find a niche that isn't saturated.  It may be fun to make items in a certain grade or skill...but if there are already a TON of them....you could still be successful...but it is going to take a lot longer. 

4) Add products as frequently as you can. You don't certainly have to do something everyday...just keep your store (garden) fresh and watered and weeded all the time.  Gardeners plant things all growing season....you should too.

And lastly....

Want to stand out from the crowd?

Give AWESOMELY, TERRIFIC customer service. People don't expect it in this day and age. Go over and beyond.  Use your empathy skills and put yourself in their place. What would you want to have happen as a customer? Prompt emails. Polite responses. Awesome answers.

I hope this helps a little.  And it's okay and perfectly normal to check your stats a hundred times a day....it's fun.  It's exciting.  Just don't let it get you down.  Use the info to figure out what you are going to do next in your garden.  Six months from now...you could be very proud of yourself!

TpT is a REALLY a great place to start a business! You've already done the hard part....signing up and starting a business.  So hang in there!
Rebecca :)



4 comments:

  1. I loved your advice on TPT. I have weekly Linky Ups that your followers are welcome to join.
    Monday's Quick and Easy Art Projects...TPT Product Links are WELCOME!
    Monday's Quick and Easy Art Projects
    Thursday's Tech Tips for Teachers and Bloggers...TPT Product Links are WELCOME!
    Thursday's Tech Tips for Teachers and Bloggers
    AND I write TBA's Freebie Friday Link Up, which needs to go to a blog post, that can then link up to a TPT product.
    TBA's Freebie Friday
    Hopefully that will help a few of your followers that are new and wanting to gain some exposure!
    Thanks,
    Fern

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  2. Thanks! That's a lot of opportunities for sellers!

    Rebecca

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  3. Thanks Rebecca, I am in exactly that spot and hope to make an income, but have only been going a short time. I'm having to remind myself not to compare to others, but to just rely on my experience and teaching style. Also that I am an Australian teaching in Australia provides its own challenges, but I hope to appeal to a variety of audiences.

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  4. Welcome to TpT! Always nice see people from around the world! I completely understand that there are different standards all over...but there are universal themes too! I bet you'll find a great niche that you enjoy...and the rest will follow! I wish you much success in your new venture! Visit the forums...ask a lot of questions...don't be afraid to to try new things! That's the wonderful thing about being an entrepreneur!

    Rebecca

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