Lessons learned in online selling after 2 and a half years

Several days ago i read a very compelling article on Cristina’s blog about lessons learned after several years of freelancing (a lot more than my 2 and a half years of online selling!). I thought it would be interesting to write down my own most important lessons learned in online selling as an answer to Cristina’s post.

lessons learned in online selling

At the beginning of 2013 we bought our first piece of machinery: our die cutting machine! She looked like one of those ancient buried treasures; she needed a whole lot of love to get back to a functional state… A whole lot! Now we pretty much have our own fully equipped printing house: letterpress printing machines, paper guillotine, polymer plate making machine, paper drilling machine, paper folding machine… Am i forgetting anything? Well, the point is, we’ve managed to grow. I honestly have no idea if growing this much is enough, not enough or a lot. However, the journey so far did teach us a lot.

1. Success will never happen overnight

Cristina’s first lesson also deals with time frames. I believe this is by far the most important lesson i’ve learned about online selling, but i think it basically applies to any new business. It will not get successful and profitable overnight. When we opened FBS i kept reading forums where people shared their selling experiences; a lot of them stated that it took an average of at least 3 months to get their first sale. So from that point on it’s just a constantly increasing battle to sell more.

In our case it’s an even bigger struggle since we both have day jobs as well. So growing our studio while keeping full time jobs is a lot of work. But we’re slowly and steadily getting there.

2. Communication is the most important detail of online selling

Good communication is the key to online selling. Saying “thank you” and “sorry” is extremely important. Explaining each detail as well as possible is also just as important. People can only see photos of what they’re going to buy, so naturally there could be a bunch of questions. Communication could help close a lot of deals with potential clients, but it can also be your downfall if not done right.

3. Photography skills are needed

As mentioned above, people can only see photos of what they’re buying from you. That means your photography skills will have to be constantly polished so that the quality of your item’s photos will keep on increasing. For me, this is my all time nemesis. You can always call in a professional product photographer if you can. Good photos are bound to increase sales. The lessons learned in online selling will always include a whole chapter for photography.

4. Promote constantly

As the saying goes: “Seldom seen, soon forgotten.” You will need to promote your shop / business / items as often as you can, and yet not so much that it gets aggressive. There’s a limit to everything and it might actually backfire! Use social media well. Figure out which ones work best for your niche and promote there constantly.

5. Remember to breathe!

I agree with Cristina on this one also. Overworking yourself is not ok in any way. It affects your mental and physical health, your family and your family life. Take breaks, go on vacations, one day trips, take a walk in the park, walk barefoot on grass, get a drink with friends, play some badminton, cook with your kids, breathe! Take a chance to unwind from time to time.

Well this is it; these are my most valuable lessons learned in online selling.

The Funky Studio team wishes you, as always, a colorful day!

an2

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18 comments on Lessons learned in online selling after 2 and a half years

  1. Noa Ambar Regev
    July 20, 2015 at 15:15 (2 years ago)

    I agree – communication is so important, especially when working online. I think it is not only important to be as clear as you can, so that your customers know what they are buying, but also to create a more personal feeling with your communication, so that the person on the other side of the email knows you’re a real person who actually cares and want them to be happy.

    Reply
    • Andreea
      July 22, 2015 at 07:59 (2 years ago)

      Oh yes, that’s a good point! Creating a connection with the client is not only ideal for both parties, but it can also lead to a long term commercial relationship. Repeat customers are always the best!

      Reply
  2. duniwp
    July 20, 2015 at 17:52 (2 years ago)

    Wonderful post, Andrea! I fully agree that communication is very important, especially for a small business. Measuring growth is important too. I started my business in 2011 and the biggest growth spurt came two years later. Now I pace my growth so it moves slowly but steadily upwards :) These days, online promoting takes up almost 50% of my time…

    Reply
    • Andreea
      July 22, 2015 at 08:06 (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked it! I think your business’ path is the ideal one: steadily going upwards. :) In my case, there are ups and downs, but the actual growth is ultimately reflected in longer term analysis. Like this month, for example, it’s almost completely dead! :)) But then again, i am well aware of the reasons as i’ve already been through it once before last year. Summer months are slower for us, but we make up for them later on. :)

      Reply
  3. Cristina
    July 21, 2015 at 11:58 (2 years ago)

    I’m so glad I inspired you to write this post. These are all excellent points. And they remind me that I must work more on promoting my products. I worry so much about over-promoting them that I always end up doing the opposite.

    Reply
    • Andreea
      July 22, 2015 at 08:11 (2 years ago)

      Thank YOU for the inspiration! :D I think promoting is extremely important. Like Duni said above that promoting takes up almost 50% of her time, this is also my case and i actually think i could do so much more! But with my day job getting in the way it’s not that easy. :))

      Reply
  4. dushonok
    July 22, 2015 at 03:14 (2 years ago)

    Love your post, Andreea
    Thanks for sharing your experiences, it was useful for me to read them :)

    I was surprised to find out that you guys have day jobs! And on top of that you manage to maintain a blog. Huge respect :)
    Do you plan to eventually quit your day job?

    Why Buy? DIY!
    http://dushonok.com/

    Reply
    • Andreea
      July 22, 2015 at 08:23 (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much! I’m glad it was useful! :)
      Oh yes, both my husband and i have day jobs as well and on top of it all, my day job has absolutely nothing to do with what we do on our shops! :)) I would want to do so much more for the blog, but i just don’t have the necessary time anymore. Basically, the blog is just additional promotion for the shops, so the shops are still the main thing. Oh i miss blogging just for blogging! I used to keep a personal blog and did that for many years, but had to give it up when the shops began… Oh well, maybe someday, when i quit my day job. :)) Yes, we started this activity hoping that one day we would turn it into a full time job. If i didn’t have the day job, i could do more for the shops, but then again, the shops can’t replace the day job just yet, so i’m kinda stuck in the middle. Have to do both for now. :D

      Reply
      • dushonok
        July 22, 2015 at 12:25 (2 years ago)

        What do you do at your day job? It’s Ok if you don’t want to talk about :)
        I am just curious :)

        Reply
        • Andreea
          July 22, 2015 at 12:52 (2 years ago)

          Oh there’s no problem whatsoever! I’m a HR Manager for a transports company. :D How did i get from that to letterpress printing? Hmm…. :)))

          Reply
          • dushonok
            July 23, 2015 at 11:34 (2 years ago)

            haha, true :)
            Maybe your husband is in design?

          • Andreea
            July 23, 2015 at 13:38 (2 years ago)

            Yep! I got it from him! :)

  5. Jicsi
    July 22, 2015 at 10:08 (2 years ago)

    These are really great and really useful! I love that your last lesson is remember to breathe! I am constantly being told by the people around me that I need to allow myself time to take a break etc but sometimes you just forget or you’re too busy or everything seems equally as important and pressing and you “just can’t take a break right now” but it really is so important to make sure you schedule yourself breaks regularly and take the occasional bit of time off just to relax and enjoy your life outside of online selling!

    Reply
    • Andreea
      July 22, 2015 at 13:03 (2 years ago)

      I’m so glad you find them useful! :) Yes, it is indeed very easy to just get so immersed in work that you lose track of time and there’s never a bit of room for a break. However, it is very very important to take breaks from time to time. Work will still be there even after taking some time off. Moreover, you’ll feel even more excited to start working again after a break. Breaks are refreshing! :D

      Reply
  6. Natalia Khon (@nataliakhon)
    July 22, 2015 at 21:58 (2 years ago)

    Thank you for the fifth tip! I am so used to promoting every day, that I do need breath :)

    Reply
    • Andreea
      July 23, 2015 at 08:04 (2 years ago)

      Oh that’s definitely something that should be high on our priorities list and yet it doesn’t seem to stick with us. :)) We should really give it more credit! :)

      Reply
  7. Linda
    July 25, 2015 at 19:24 (2 years ago)

    All this advice is good, but I think the best advice, after selling online since 2008, is to take breaks! It has kept me sane! :)

    Reply
    • Andreea
      July 27, 2015 at 09:24 (2 years ago)

      Amen to that! :)) Breaks are so important and we should really give them more credit!

      Reply

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