When I started selling online five years ago, all that I needed was a mentor to help guide me.
Sadly, my measly $30k annual salary and average mentors’ five-figure rates were too much for me to afford one.
So I had to learn how super slow to succeed. I had no other choice than to learn from my mistakes.
If I had the chance to go back in time, this is what I would tell my bright-eyed 25-year-old self.
Sixteen of My Online Stores Fail. One didn’t. Here’s what I learned.
It’s not easy to ignore the headlines
You just quit your job to launch a new business. That’s exciting. Maybe you shouldn’t jump ship from the 9-5 yet. There are many passive income blogs that show how to make six figures. But this stuff doesn’t happen overnight. You are about to start your first business. Your chances of success on your first attempt are slim.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t achieve your goals. You’re strong and will not give up, because you have the heart to do it. You haven’t yet gained any real experience. You might have underestimated the amount of work that is required to do this. Many people will tell that you should hustle. It’s not enough to hustle. This business requires you to be obsessed. You should be even more obsessed with this business than you were when Ryan Gosling’s book The Notebook was published.
Over the next few decades, you’ll be building many businesses. Some businesses will fail while others will succeed. Entrepreneurship is a patience sport. Do not expect to be successful in your first store. Don’t lose heart if the first store fails. Your experience is the key to success. Keep building. To build something, you don’t have to quit your job. It is much easier to build it on your own.
Do not pay for something you can get for free
You just spent $2,500 on online classes, books, as well as conferences. This is a lot of money to spend on education. You’ll still learn valuable information from everything you read or watch. There are many great online resources you can access for free.
Shopify Academy teaches you how to build a dropshipping company for free. Have you seen one of Shopify’s webinars that was short and powerful?
There are millions of excellent blogs. You’ll be able to distinguish the good content from the bad if you read enough. YouTube is a great resource for information about opening an online store . It’s not a bad education to have free education. Although it may be more work, it is worth it. It will save you some money that can be reinvested back into your business.
Do not create more than one store at a time
You launched four stores this week, hey? Is that a sign your first store took off immediately? No? No.
It’s easy to get too excited about the building process. But that’s not what makes you money. You should focus your efforts on one store.
You don’t always know which store will be the most successful. However, by building multiple stores simultaneously, I can predict which store will fail. The answer is all of them, so you won’t like it.
You must be focused if you want to win. It is a lot of work to build a store. It takes more than adding products to your website. More than creating a facebook ad and more than posting on social media. To keep your acquisition costs low, you need to be obsessed with building your store’s website. Post on social multiple times per day and try out ads/emails/products. These three tasks alone will consume a lot of your time. These are not the only tasks you should do.
Do not overlook the most important thing
You’ve been in the marketing field for some time now. But I noticed something that you have been doing wrong. The key to ecommerce success is choosing the right product, and then marketing it. If you don’t get your product to the right people, you won’t make any money.
Why are you so scared of marketing your store suddenly? If your first few ads fail, it’s OK. Mine failed too. It just takes more practice. You just need to practice. Have you ever sent your first email to your list? It seems to be growing steadily. Kinda like the plant you finally remember to water.
You could reach out to influencers and fan pages and ask for a shoutout. It’s worth at least a try. Keep trying ads in the meantime. It can seem overwhelming at first. But practice makes perfect!
You have to get your finances in order
Heard you say that you are losing money on all the shout-outs you get from this one influencer. Why do you continue to work with them?
You don’t have to be able to sell products or services just because you are getting sales. Profitability is also important. To make sure that you are actually making money, take a look at your expenses and the amount of money you are bringing in. It sounds like you are in serious financial trouble right now.
Is your product price high enough to cover your expenses? You might consider charging at least 3-5x the product’s cost.
Are you trying to lower your marketing costs. This could also be a great way to save money on marketing. It might be time to look at long-term, affordable strategies such as SEO, instead of short-term, expensive wins like influencer marketing and advertising, especially if your products are in a stable niche. Spend money that you don’t have. When you have enough cash flow, invest that money in your business.
Select a niche with a high search volume
You are the reason I created my first store. Did you notice how the narrow niche that you were in led to so few sales. I did the opposite and had success. Woo-hoo!
My strategy was to find a niche that had the most popular products in it. This allowed me to benefit from a niche that could withstand the test of time. It also has trendy products so I can benefit from the quick sales surge from selling something new.
Choose a niche with high search volumes when choosing a niche. Yoga was chosen because it had 1.83million monthly searches. It doesn’t mean you have to pick the same thing. You just need to find something that is getting hundreds of thousands, if not millions of searches per month. You can then experiment with other products to discover your home-run best-seller. Even if your bestseller is no longer popular, there will still be a niche with other top-sellers. All you have to do is be open to finding them.
Get Impulse Products You Can’t Buy in Stores
Remember when fidget spinners were in fashion? What did you do to stop online sales? You could purchase them from anywhere.
How do you sell a product that is a winner? You must first make it an impulse-buy product. You must also ensure that it isn’t so mainstream that it could be bought locally.
My most popular product was a beach blanket. And they sold like hot cakes. The problem is that they were not available in a local store so they bought them from my website immediately after seeing my advertisement.
Yes, sometimes people will mention that Amazon is cheaper. I still managed to get almost 11,000 orders, and we were just one step away from that number.
What does an impulse purchase product look like? Imagine that you are scrolling through your Instagram feed, and suddenly, you stop. What do you see then? The colors you see are vibrant and grab your attention immediately. You are reminded of the person in this photo. It’s unlike anything you have ever seen. You’d never have thought you would ever need or want it. It’s something you will see and feel immediately.
You won’t realize you’re on the right track until you’re deeply within it.
You know the bestseller in your store? It’s not there yet, I promise. But that product will bring in thousands of dollars. It’s not a lot, but the $2k in sales so far is impressive. You need to continue to experiment with your marketing. You should continue to test different ad options with Facebook ads. Retarget your blog traffic. Continue to post pictures on social media. Invite influencers to help you take photos that you can use for a product.
Sometimes you might be on the right path and not know it. It is possible that you are too early in this process. You will soon see your $2k monthly turn into a $70k+ monthly. To get to this level, you must continue to execute, market, and get your products in front customers. You’ll see the results in a few months. For now, you can just focus on getting your product in front more people.
Start with one channel and expand
It’s me, again. You remember how you tried a little of everything to find what worked? With this new store, I tried the opposite strategy, and it has been a game-changer.
Marketing is not about trying to master all social platforms and every marketing tactic. Instead, you should focus on the one that works best. You’re not alone, and you have plenty to do. While you will eventually expand your reach into other channels, for now, focus on one channel.
Instagram is a great option for boosting engagement and click-through rates. Facebook is the best platform to create ads for impulse-buy products. Market search-based products require you to play the long game. Optimize your website and create tons of content for your niche.
While choosing a strategy is a great way to find success, it will take you a while to make an impact. Pick a channel and study the strategies of your competitors. Post often to improve. Although you’ll probably fail in the beginning, we all make mistakes.
Retargeting blog traffic is possible
Remember those days? When you struggled to make your first sale? This new technique worked for me!
Content marketing is a powerful tool for driving traffic to a website. Start building your blog with a long-term plan in mind. Write several times per week about certain keywords.
If you want to see immediate results, however, consider writing an article that features quotes from influential people in your field. If you sell yoga products, an example article would be “25 Inspirational Yoga Quotes From B.K.S.” Iyengar” You can’t contact him because Iyengar created a form of yoga, but he is no longer alive. You can contact Iyengar yoga’s social media followers. Set up a Facebook Pixel on the website before you contact them. Next, create a Facebook advertising campaign for $5. Next, create a Facebook retargeting ad for $5. People are more inclined to share your article if it is fun, relevant, and doesn’t mention your products. Because you are retargeting content, rather than products, your retargeting ads will have a high ROI. You can also be sure that your site is receiving the right kind of traffic by reaching out to niche influencers. This strategy will allow you to make your first sales.
Optimize your Product Page
You know how much you love designing stores? You can design stores, but I have a way to do it in a way that helps you make more sales.
Even if you have the most effective ad, if your product page is a disaster (considering it’s your landing page), you’ll get $0.00 in your sales reports. I have been trying different optimizations for your product page. Do you know about countdown timers. They work. It was unprofessional so I accidentally took it out of my store yesterday. This resulted in me having my lowest month-end sales! Sales soared immediately after I added it again.
Also, we added Spin a Sale to our exit intent. It’s helped us skyrocket the email list. People using discount codes started to see sales increase. These two factors helped us optimize our store for conversions. The sales have increased astronomically.
After the sale, email customers
After mastering Facebook ads, I tried email. Because we’re still in bootstrapping mode, we decided to not email our huge list. We decided to email only those who have already purchased from us. These email messages were sent to them and they received $6504.82. They were all repeat customers, which is quite impressive.
Our list was small so we could afford the most affordable email plan, keeping our costs down. They were also less likely to purchase from us again after they had purchased from us previously. It was cool that we often showed them different styles of the same product. They were purchasing duplicates of the same product they had purchased previously. We knew that they had purchased our beach blankets so we gave them more. They also bought more! Don’t be afraid to show your customers more of the things they love, rather than trying to sell them something completely different.
How to make your first hire
You are a great person! I have just hired my first two freelancers. My sales are skyrocketing, and it’s hard to keep up with the work. My first hire was to post on social media, and my second hire will be helping with the processing of orders for our store. It’s so cool!
It was a minor issue. My new social media employee shared some body-shaming content on my page. We had a very important conversation about inclusion and his content has been improving since then.
His efforts helped us reach over 50k facebook followers. Remember that new hires start just like you did when you hired them. Do you remember all the mistakes you made as you started out? They make mistakes because they are just starting out. Be patient and be a mentor to others.
Get products from different suppliers
You should remember order product samples before you sell products. It doesn’t matter if your store sells 30k products. It is not a good idea to sell any product to customers without understanding what they are getting. You might view your store today as a way of making money online. Once you make six figures, however, you will regret not investing more in your store’s reputation and branding. Ordering a sample of each product will help you reduce dropshipping returns as well as negative feedback. These questions are important: Does the product look exactly like the image? Do I feel guilty about selling this product? Is this product possible? Is this product suitable for my target audience? To optimize your product pages, you can take your product photos .
Never Give up
You see, I share these lessons because I know that you will feel discouraged at times. Entrepreneurship can be difficult. Even my greatest wins were often followed by a disappointing loss. You will feel proud at times of accomplishment. Sometimes you will feel proud of what you have accomplished. Other times, you might be embarrassed to answer the question “So how is your business doing?”
All those failures add up to make you a better person. Don’t be afraid of failing. Don’t be embarrassed by your failures. These are all moments in the great entrepreneurial journey. You’ll one day look back and say, “I was so crazy for trying this.” It was a great ride.
While you won’t regret it, you will regret not trying. Take risks. Have fun, but don’t be afraid to take risks.
To build a successful online shop, you must keep building. There will be some huge failures along the way. You will make big, costly mistakes. You will lose money. All the lessons and skills that you acquire along the way will make you a better entrepreneur. You eventually learn what makes you money and what doesn’t. No matter if you are currently working in a 9-5 job or if you are working on a side-hustle , you shouldn’t discount the skills you have built up. The skills you acquire from every job and experimentation you do will make you a successful person in the future.