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.
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!