I subscribe to Mariah Coz from Femtrepreneur’s newsletter and over the weekend, she sent an email that made me think. It was called “Lies & Garbage,” where she goes on to explain all the garbage and lies people tell about building and selling online courses.
Many of you know that Mariah creates info products to help you build a successful online business. But some of what she mentioned could easily be applied to makers and creators who sell tangible products too.
So I used Mariah’s email as inspiration to create my own list.
It’s called, “Five lies people tell themselves which prevent them from launching an online shop”.
How often have you thought of a great idea and then you instantly started to feel anxiety once it’s time to move forward into implementation?
The money, the moving parts, the process — UGH! How can I get this all done with no hook-ups, guidance, capital or important friends?
This is the point in which you’ve already convinced yourself that you can’t do it, before you even begin.
Let me ask you something. If you don’t believe in yourself and your products, why should someone else?
So let’s break down these lies, shall we?
Lie #1 No one will buy my product because someone else is already selling the same thing
This is probably the craziest one I’ve heard. Did Wendy’s go out of business because McDonald’s was already popular? Do Pepsi execs sit around worried about Coke? No. They don’t. Just because someone else already sells a product similar to one that you want to create, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for another.
No one can be you. No one can think like you. No one has your vision.
Your focus shouldn’t be what another company already brings to the marketplace, but instead, what they aren’t. Don’t look at your competition and and give up. Evaluate them and figure out what they are missing, which you can improve on. There are millions of people in the world, that would possibly be interested in your unique perspective.
Lie #2 HELP! I can’t choose a platform to launch my online shop and I’m not tech savvy
This is not only a lie, it’s an excuse. With so many low cost and easy to setup ecommerce options available, there is no reason why you can’t figure this out on your own.
So I’ll make it easy for you. Listed are three options, which are all user-friendly, for the technically challenged.
WooCommerce – for people that love WordPress and have limited funds. It’s a plugin that’s easy to set up and free. Ok, it’s free if you already have hosting and a domain. There are hundreds (and maybe thousands) of themes available, so customizations are limitless. But, you are required to do your own maintenance. So if your site breaks, you’re on your own. Your site is only as good as your host. If your hosting plan cannot handle large amounts of traffic, your online store will crash.
Shopify – Easy to setup and not free, but the cost is low and they do offer a 14 day free trial period. They have a large selection of apps to customize your shop, plus hundred of themes. Maybe even less, which means the selection is limited. However, the available themes are well crafted. Their servers can handle a tons of hits at once, so there is no fear of your site crashing. The Shopify support team is available 24 hours if you need anything and have always been helpful when I’ve had issues. This option also allows you to grow.
SquareSpace – It’s simple and easy to manage. It has attractive templates and one-click customization’s. It’s self-hosted like Shopify, but there is no free trial, so you’d need to start paying on day one. Their servers can handle heavy traffic and support is available. The apps to enhance your user experience are available, but limited. Check the app integrations before you sign up, to ensure it works well with your email host, shipping and payment gateways.
This is the most comprehensive assessment of the top e-commerce platforms to choose from. So, what are you waiting for again? Nothing.
Lie #3 I don’t have an audience and no email subscribers
Ok and? Since when has that stopped anyone?
With Facebook and Instagram ads you have access to more than 1.65 billion people all around the world at your fingertips. Yes, I said B-I-L-L-I-O-N.
Launching an ad campaign online has never been more accessible. The gatekeepers are gone. You have access to the same resources, tools, and people that the big advertisers do – from your home computer.
Previously, the advertising game has been an exclusive club, only reserved for brands with huge budgets. Now you can launch campaigns with as little as $5, while sitting at home while binge watching Netflix and eating ice cream.
Of course it’s overwhelming at first. No one said it would be easy. It will be hard work. But it will also be rewarding once you’ve figured it out. I’m working on a few quick start tutorials for Facebook ads, so stay tuned.
Lie #4 I’m not an expert and have no idea what I’m doing! UGH!
First, let’s take a breath. Usually confusion comes when you’re trying to do too much at once. What helps me is to create a process to get a product to market. Do you remember in school when you had to write an English paper and your teacher wanted the who, what, when, where, why and how of your essay?
Launching an online brand uses the same principles.
Who – Who is your target market? Do you already have access to them? If not, how will you gain access to these potential customers? *cough cough Facebook ads cough cough*
What – What are you going to sell and how will you get it produced? Start by doing a Google search of manufacturers or drop shippers who sell your product.
When – Make a timeline of when you will get stuff done. Have a date for everything. A date to purchase a domain, setup a website, complete research, source a product, launch an ad campaign and the grand opening. This will help you stay focused and mobilized. When you have a schedule with deadlines, you will have less time to find the perfect font for your logo.
Decisions like that should take days, not weeks and never MONTHS.
Where – Where are you going to host your online shop? Thankfully, I’ve already figured this part out for you above, so we can really just scratch this one off the list.
Why – Why are you doing this? Why is your product needed in the marketplace? Why should a customer buy from you?
How – How will you get it all done with no help or guidance? You will take time by planning and breaking down each task item into a small, actionable steps. Each step completed gets you closer to your goal.
Lie #5 I have no money, how will I get a product made?
I’m not going to sell you lies that launching a shop will be free, because it won’t. You can’t expect to launch a profitable online shop with no money. But I’ll be real with you. It doesn’t cost as much as you think. With a starting budget of around $100 you can buy a domain, setup an e-commerce platform, design a logo and add a t-shirt drop shipper for less than it costs you to buy a round a caramel frappes for your homegirls.
But t-shirts aren’t the only thing you can sell. There are drop shippers for phone cases, mugs, home goods, pillows, prints, and leggings. Yes, I said LEGGINGS.
Make sure you stay subscribed to the newsletter because I’ll create a master list of drop shippers for you to browse shortly.
Bonus Lie #6 My family and friends don’t support me
Good! You don’t need them too. Your family and friends aren’t your ideal customers. They won’t understand your vision and purpose. While you’re trying to turn yourself into a superstar entrepreneur, all they’ll ever see and remember is the time you burned grandma’s famous raisin biscuits at Thanksgiving dinner in 2001.
Entrepreneurship is rewarding but lonely. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. But guess what, that’s part of the process. The more you keep pushing forward, the more you’ll gravitate towards people reaching for the same goals.
When your family and friends won’t support you, find new friends. Upgrade your circle and surround your self with people that will share in your accomplishments and offer advice when you need help.
You can also join communities like the one I’ve created for this blog – Brand, Build & Launch. It’s an online Facebook Group of makers and creators. We’re like family. So join us and see what’s popping.
Bonus Bonus #7 What if people hate your products
Ok, and ? That happens. Not everyone will love you. That’s the great thing about choices. They can choose to buy something else from another seller. That’s life. You’ll have to grow a thick skin and not take rejection personally. If today I chose kale greens instead of collards, it does not mean I hate collards. It just means I didn’t want them, TODAY.
The point is simple. Don’t allow these self-imposed fears to prevent you from living the life you deserve. Will it be easy? No. But will it change your life? Yes, indeed.
I built a profitable business from my home, with no help, guidance, VA’s or staff in place. All I had was the passion and drive to succeed. Not only for me but for my family.
Don’t let another day go by being afraid of what could or might happen.
You got this.
*insert Barack and Michelle Obama’s fist bump*