Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Business 101: Six Month Observations and Thoughts




When I started TpT back in March, I had no idea what kind of business journey would unfold, but here are a few of my personal observations:

1) It's true. Six months is definitely a marker when things start "popping". And while that is usually the case for a lot of online businesses, the fact that a lot of "6 month anniversaries" can happen around a big sale helps make it even more possible.  It definitely pays to be patient for the first six months.

2) Pinterest is really a good way(if not the best way) for the new seller to get some upfront,start-up exposure.  It really helps the marketing momentum for your store in those first few months and then it's a great way to build business after that.  Joining collaborative boards also ensures that your product is being seen by many different consumers in your market.

3) The forums are an excellent way to gather information to help run your store better.  Chances are the question or problem you have has been answered on the board.  And if not, there's a REALLY good chance someone can help you if you ask.  Even if you just lurk, it's a wonderful resource.  And the more you hang around the forums, the more you'll feel like you know the people behind the avatars.

4) Feedback. Ahhhhh.....the wonderful and sometimes dreaded feedback.  I'll be flat out honest and say that the feedback from an "educational product consumer" is a wee bit more tough than what I've seen on other sites.  BUT....they can also leave some of the nicest comments too.  What is amazing is the fact that you have someone in customer service that will at LEAST listen if you feel a comment/rating has been given unfairly.  That is UNHEARD of in the online community.  Actually, having a real life human in customer service is almost unheard of these days.  So while feedback can sometimes sting, don't take it personally.  It's part of the online business. And if you are going to get it, at least you are here getting it.

5) The things you create first may make you cringe 6 months down the line.  It's a learning curve.  And while you are creating, you are also branding.  Sometimes those first things don't always fit with your brand once you've "found your groove". Perfectly normal.  Thank goodness for the "edit" button.

6)There are times when you just can't create. Writer's block, exhaustion...or whatever.  Don't beat yourself up.  There will be a day when an idea will pop in your head and you'll be off and running again.

7)There is absolutely no quick and easy way to do this.  It's work. Plain and simple. You'll see the success stories and wonder why you aren't able to share one.  Slow and steady wins the race.  There are dues that have been paid behind those success stories. Just keep plugging away....and eventually you'll have one to share.  It truly won't happen right away, so don't get discouraged.

8) If you think you are going to be here in the next six months, upgrade to the "Premium Seller".  Just do it.  You'll thank yourself later when you see what you earned. Also, I would HIGHLY recommend subscribing to Charity Preston's "Teaching Blog Traffic School".  Don't let the name fool you.  It's not only for people with blogs.  I've been selling online for 17 years and I still learned quite a few things.  It's a good investment. And no, I'm not leaving my "affiliate number" lest anyone think I'm earning a few bucks for recommending it.  It seriously is a good business investment for anyone who is serious about selling on this site.  Okay...I think I've spent enough of your money.

9) Speaking of money. The question I see a LOT on these boards is how to price products.  If you can look at it as not really selling the products, but selling the time and energy that it would take to make the SAME product, it can make that part easier. Time and energy are huge commodities these days and people are willing to spend money to save on both. There are, of course, other factors people use to buy our products....but I believe time and energy are huge driving forces. So give that product the VALUE it deserves with a PRICE that it deserves. 

10) This is the most important.  This site, it's ideology, and it's management.....for lack of a better word....ROCK!  I have never worked for a site with nicer people who care.....AND LISTEN!!!  It seriously is one-of-a-kind.  And I'm not getting kick-backs for saying that either.  It's a tough world out there with online businesses.  This place makes it easy to succeed.

Okay...those are my major observations.  I've really enjoyed the last six months and look forward to the coming months.  I hope you all have a GREAT start to this coming holiday season! 



Rebecca