My Path to Making an Online Business
Trying to expand my horizons
I was very curious about making my own business when I started becoming a writer on Medium in end of May 2019. I thought of using my following on that blog site to expand my possibilities of profiting from the internet. I wanted to create a brand that people can wear casually, exercise in, and wear to social events. The “For The People: Find What Represents You” is what I decided to name the store when in June 2020 I made a Shopify account. I had a free two-week trial, and started researching more about how to set up a store by watching YouTube videos by e-shop experts. After it ended, I took more time to find out the designs that could be in the future something people would like and buy.
Shopify, one of the biggest booming publicly traded companies (their stock went from $100 to over $1000 in almost 4 years) and accounts for a big portion of ecommerce sales. The Statista reported that 14% of the sales last year on retail products took place online. The trend the article showed was since the internet boom started in the 90s, online businesses will the recipient by 2040 for 95% of all purchases of retail.
Knowing that, I decided to immerse myself in the market known as “drop-shipping”. It is where someone designs products for them to be ship or sold for sales. There are many different ways to drop-ship. People can use a third-party company to manufacture the products, design their products, shipping them, and have a on the platform that is their store for customers to buy from. Platforms such as Etsy, Wix, and others do that such as Shopify. The third-party applications can be Printful, Printify, etc. You pay for their services to and then receive profit after the sale is finalized.
Other examples of drop-shipping can be when the process is done solely by one company. Spring (formerly Teespring) for example, which is great for beginners, allows people who just want to design products and sell without the added stress of implementing apps, shipping, and fixing their website to be successful. I’m currently doing both, and I will tell you that the former is better being when you put more money into business there usually a better chance on getting a return than putting less money business. I’ll explain what I did with latter later.
I officially started in October 2020. Designing the products and making the logos were tough. I had a friend make me a drawing and I went to a site to make a logo and purchase them in order to own the logo for commercial use. All these platforms have templates for shirts, long sleeves, shorts, masks, mugs, and more for you to design on.
Also, to be honest, I used Spring as a cheaper option and fallback in case all the money I’ve spent on Shopify isn’t worth keeping the shop open. Which cost $29 a month to have it active. I’ve copied almost everything I can from my Shopify store so I have a very good foundation to go from. I also use Spring as a startup for my Medium publication’s stores.
At first, I really tried. Instead, I was really struggling to have a good point of sale and my initial products were trash. I bought about 20 items that were horrible and didn’t look good on person and my friends said what I did was cool, but wasn’t something they would buy.
This led to me realizing that I need an overhaul if I also wanted to profit not only for my little name on Medium, but to monetize on my publications in the future.
I started thinking it would be smart to initially get visitors from my writing to check out my stores if it was redirected from my actual pub sites rather than just finding it on Google by SEO luck (or a lot of money). Then I can promote my main store and see it grow from there. (which I’m doing now). I even made social media pages of the writing publications to expand the viewership.
Utilizing Tailor Brands to acquire my trademarks and copyrights, buying custom domains for my pub sites so it’ll be easier to get access to the stores, and using Canva to create and edit my logos and artwork, I slowly but surely felt comfortable in promoting my stores. I still needed something big, and this one big service help tremendously.
I ordered business cards through the design app Canva to hand out to people, promoting my products on IG, and even buying my merch to display to the public while having my cards to direct them to my store. Then I remembered that I got to spend even more money on online advertisement. As I stated before, I made an FB/IG page of the Shopify store and pubs to show off their brand. So that means that I had to have a FB business account in order to boost my post. I would pay $40 every month (4 days at a time) for 6 months and I will say that I would get 1K people viewing for each month. For every day of the 4-day duration, about 200–250 people visit the link they are advertised. It didn’t lead to sales, but more looks.
Then I used Fiverr, which is a place where you can buy the services of a seller to help you with whatever you need. I needed to improve my SEO so I can organically get people to view my store without me spending more money. SEO means Search Engine Optimization, where the site gets unpaid traffic through the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. SEO targets unpaid traffic rather than direct traffic or paid traffic. Which is why I bought custom domains.
I’ve spent $1500 on various reasons. Things such as making my store look more professional by updating the keywords, ads, design edits, social media descriptions, fix the html, speed, and coding overall in order to improve SEO. Also, by designing the theme of the store and layout with multiple plug ins to entice the visitor to sign up for newsletters, easier shopping options, so it’s more user friendly. Now I have a smooth operating website people can buy from. I’ve gotten my parents and one friend to buy my stuff, and I was able to help him create his own store. The last issue is to get people to actually buy what they see lol. Now I’m at stage 2 and onward.
I wanted to learn to be more self-made. I want to put myself in a position where I have multiple revenue streams. What is the point of just relying on one job if you’re replaceable or don’t have another job lined up as a back-up? That’s why I’m learning more and more about investing, and not let my savings just stay put. Then to be able to take time and learn how to do this? It’s making me compartmentalize my time into what’s significant in my life and that is success. I rather be thinking like a winner or else I’ve never truly be one if I do gain the success because it’ll go away and never come back.
If you’re curious about the process, I would get on it before the market is saturated. Take care!