How to Start an Online Store
I have wanted to be an entrepreneur for some time now. There are a lot of things to consider when making this choice. Location, product, services, and a multitude of others are just the start of a laundry list of concerns you may have when you are just starting out. I would like to suggest to you another way of doing things though. I just started a store (called Rogue Nerd Lifestyle, on Shopify), and I found that it was relatively easy, though it took some dedication, and creative problem solving.
Up until I actually brought my store online, I was using free services as much as humanly possible.
Have you ever wanted to start your own business?
How Social Media Can Support Your Online Store
Use social media to your advantage. More exposure is never a bad thing, and even if ninety nine percent of people who view your ad don’t engage with it, that’s OK, it’s about getting your brand out there. I used all the social media I wanted to, and they provided me a platform for free.
I suggest starting on Instagram well in advance, building up a decent following, and going from there. I like Instagram because it is actually much easier to use than I anticipated. Take a cool picture, slap some relevant hashtags on it, and even with as rudimentary knowledge as that, you are off and running. The only catch is that you will have to keep up on it, and interact with our audience.
Facebook is another great way to market. It allows you to do much more detailed ads and reaches people you actually know. It never hurts to ask for a like, comment or share from people that you know are interested in whatever you are doing. Again, I would suggest growing a base long in advance of your launch.
YouTube is another site you can use for marketing and social media interaction, but I don’t have quite as much experience with that.
The point is to cast as wide a net as possible, and then, with as many people as you can reach, start targeting your ads. This way, you won’t be advertising, say for example, car insurance to people who don’t own cars.
Building My Site
The site I use to host my store, as I said above, is Shopify. That site and app are very easy to use. I am not trying to tell you who you should use, but it is certainly worth taking a look. I had never had any experience with it up until I dove in and got busy.
I got my shop up and running in 14 days, and could probably do another store in about three days now that I have a sense of what I need to do. I used only free pictures and themes.
We will see how it goes, but I ended up with a shop that makes it at least look like I know what I am doing. The user interface is pretty basic, but for a person in my position, that works just fine, because I’m sure I could get myself lost in a hurry trying to manually import the products I want to sell. Originally, I was copying and pasting the items, hand typing in descriptions, and struggling to get pictures to actually import properly, but I broke down and watched the tutorials, and suddenly things got much easier from there. Go figure.
Ultimately, I would rate the whole experience an 8 out of 10. I had a blast building my site, going crazy trying to get set up You Tube, email, Facebook, and Instagram, and ultimately linking everything together so it works together as best you can get it to. There is always room for improvement, but you take projects on to learn more, and get better all the time. I just got a crash course in social media marketing, and let me tell you, it was, and still is, a steep learning curve. I enjoy doing challenging things and learning more than I did yesterday. I think any problems that I had were ultimately self-inflicted, and could be remedied with a bit of practice and understanding of the platforms.
I would encourage someone thinking about starting their own project to look into doing it online, even if just partially. It allows you to reach a huge audience, for nothing more than some time and effort on your part. Even if you can't get it to take off, you are still learning basic marketing, which is a valuable skill these days. I view it as a win-win scenario.
From Nothing To Products On Site!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.