Ginny’s Question about Getting Started Online

by Lyndi

Ginny of www.thepennyfriends.com sent in a question recently and here’s my answer:

Question Mark

Question Mark

“I am thinking of starting to sell items on the internet- kind of like a mini, mini esty and was wondering if you had any tips you could give me to get started.
Thanks and Blessings,
Ginny”

Ginny,

I’m so glad you’ve asked and thank you for sending in your question. Without knowing exactly what you’re selling here’s my advice:

I think to give yourself a head start with selling your items online it would be a great idea to test your products and make sure there is a market/audience for what you are selling. To ensure your success there is nothing like hungry consumers for whatever product you are selling.

Some questions to ask yourself:

Are my friends and family that I’ve made this for asking for more without being prompted? Are they offering to pay me to make it for their friends as gifts?

Are people already looking for products like these? If yes, is your design better? If they’re not then, why not?

What is the typical price point of these products? Is it really worth your time?

You mentioned Etsy so I wonder if you’re doing something more artistic that will appeal to a specific client. Think about who that would be and where they hang out. If you’re doing something that is not main stream then be where your client would be. Hotrod guys read hotrod magazines. Knitters are on knitting forums. Photographers have conventions they attend. You get the idea.

You may even consider doing some keyword research. What you are calling the items your making may have another name. Soda Pop, on the eastern coast of the United States folks have a tendency to call it pop meanwhile the west coast refers to a fizzy drink as soda. (and my momma would tell you in the southern states it’s all Coke)

Make a couple, take photos and then do a pre-launch or simply selling in advance. Many school fundraising programs pre-sell from a catalog. The kids collect the orders from a brochure they’re sent home with and then turn them into the school. The school turns it over to the company and then they deliver the goods. It’s a great way for you to get started too. You should also have a way for consumers to sign up to get more info even before you have released any product. People love being the VIPs and the first to find out about interesting things. It would make sense to put a coming soon image and a way to sign up for notification of when you officially release your products. (A side note: Any time you can make it an event, you should! People love parties! – Have a website unveiling party and a launch the product party and any other party you can think of!)

Suggestions on ways to test would be to put an ad in the your local classified ads (both online and paper) and see what kind of response you get. Many local businesses have bulletin boards you can post a flyer on too. You can always put people on a waiting list if you get more than the amount of actual product you already have. Which of course is fantastic, it’s your own list of hungry customers! You can also gauge for pricing with a test on eBay, Amazon, Etsy or even at local craft fairs and events. On Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution he was recently shown hitting the streets with a food cart and asking people to pay what they thought his burger was worth. If that’s something that would work for you, I’d highly suggest asking strangers what they would expect to pay for your item.

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Price Check.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Gauging the Price of the Burgers.

Be serious about tracking your time and the cost of materials, because the purpose of a business is to make money. If you’re doing it for the love of doing it, and you’re not making any money. It’s a hobby. There is nothing wrong with having a hobby. It’s even a bonus when your hobby can pay for itself! Keeping clear about the distinction and being honest with yourself about what you’re doing is always a good thing and will keep you out of trouble with the local tax man and you’ll know when you should obtain a business license.

Ginny keep us updated and let us know how you’re new project is coming along!

Much Success!
Lyndi

 

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