Six Lessons Learned From Building My Own Shop
I mentioned a few blog posts ago that I have been remiss at creating my own shop. I can insert a number of reasons here and there but the bottomline is that my shop for Randiss & Co. just launched. Three years into shopify virtual assistance and with multiple clients served, I finally rolled up my sleeves to create my “dream shop” to complement what I have accomplished thus far in this business. Today, let me breakdown the lessons I have learned so that you can gather some insights and prepare for a few things when you decide that it’s finally time to create your dream business.
This was particularly tricky for me. I live in the Philippines but I wanted to ship and fulfill orders internationally. With my resources, I had to be careful who to partner with to ensure that the brand I’ve built gets taken care of, the product quality is not compromised, the shipping days is not 100 days (hello, Aliexpress!) Putting time and energy in to research, I believe I found the right partners that will allow me to fulfill orders in the Philippines, and around the world. This is particularly important because with everything being available at the tip of our fingers, customers have grown impatient and I cannot build a business and be globally competitive at the same time if my shipping times are extraordinarily long. That’s a key thing to remember when setting up, you need to make sure that your shipping time helps your business grow (not hurt it with overseas suppliers and other third party partners who don’t give a rats tushy about it).
I reviewed my automations several times to make sure that they’re working perfectly. From point of contact to check-out, I drove myself crazy (It felt almost like self punishment) just to make sure that the automations are correct and that nothing will slip through the cracks. I’ve done this several times with multiple clients without over thinking it but this time, because I was doing it particularly for my business (and to help build my authority in my niche), I just had to make sure (and used extra eyes) that my flows are seamless. This way, I can maximize my time and not spend it answering Faqs, doing follow-ups, and other repetitive tasks. Because I outlined my processes and have created my workflows, I have extra time which I can use to strategize for my business (or get extra hours of sleep!) It would be nice to have that in any business.
If there are tasks that I would be asked to do with my eyes closed, I’d be confident to say that I can do the end to end setup and admin of eCommerce. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past several years! But I learned from building my shop or from building a business, there are things that I just cannot do and that the best course of action is to seek help. I’m glad that I did because graphic design just isn't my strong suit and I am glad that Canva exists. If I didn’t ask for help, who knows how my workbooks, journals, and other design heavy products would look. They probably wouldn’t sell, no one would likely opt-in to my email list and my shop would fail. Admittedly, asking for help can be hard but if you think about the bigger picture, asking a pro to help you out in areas you’re not good at can go a long way! Doing it yourself can be a good thing too but sometimes, it comes with an opportunity cost. Ex. High bounce off rates, Low recovery for abandoned carts.. who wants that?
As things started to come together, I started to feel all kinds of emotions. I can remember going into Fullybooked, Muji, Papemelroti, Notebook, and all those stationery shops (even SM department stores) and I would go crazy buying notebooks, stationeries, pens, and other things my mom would call clutter in the house. Sometimes, I’d buy them as a pick-me-upper after a long hard day. Sometimes, I just want to buy them (and not use them) because they look pretty. But now, with ecommerce, I can say that I have a mini shop for journals and business tools. And it puts a smile on my face because I only dreamed about a shop like this before but now, I turned a dream into a reality.
This is my personal experience in building my own shop and though I was surprised with what I felt, the ‘turning dreams into reality’ speech is something I’ve become familiar with. When my clients decide to invest in their shop or even when they decide to jump in on a discovery call with me, they would say things like;
- This is a passion project for me, I am determined to make this happen!
- I have dreamed of this since I was a teenager!
- I would like to work with someone who can be as invested in my business as I am.
To me, that's something special. And that the lesson here is to not take it lightly when our clients entrust us with their business.
The shop took longer to build than I had originally planned. I wasn’t able to stick with my own timelines in site/shop building. Why? Because I was focused on perfection which wasted a lot of time. Nothing will ever be perfect! Digital marketing requires us to adjust different elements every now and then and I knew that so I should have just adjusted things along the way. Lesson learned: Done is better than perfect.
How much should I actually invest in building my own shopify website? Aside from the monthly subscription, there are other elements to consider when it comes to building your ecommerce business. Here are a few costs I’ve outlined but take note; I made a lot of savings in this project simply because I know how to build a website or build a shop myself. If you are looking into starting your store, you have to prepare and consider these things beforehand:
- Shopify Monthly Subscription - $29
- Shopify Website Theme - $250 - $350
- Web Designer Fee - Jump in on a call with me for a customized proposal.
- Brand Photos - $100
- Apps - $50
Going into business requires careful planning. Sit down and create a budget so that you’re not jumping into ecommerce chasing trends and made up numbers. Take note, these costs are just for the initial set-up, we haven’t even tackled the monthly cost for ads and other marketing needs.
Now that the website is up and is complete with all my updates (fine birthday gift to myself, btw) one would think - what’s next? Phase 2! Marketing my business. I talk about it with my clients as well but for now, let me end this blog post and prep my next blog entry for you!