Starting an Online Product Shop 101
This is a guest blog post by Rachel Heckmann
Let’s be honest. Starting a business of any sort is scary, challenging, and confusing. When you’re starting out, you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row. But at the same time, you have no idea what those ducks are supposed to be. You don’t know what you need to do, what you shouldn’t do, or how to invest your money. At the same time, since you are just getting started you probably don’t have the financial resources to invest in a coach or all the online courses under the sun.
If you’re like me, you probably just wish you could have someone tell you exactly what you’re supposed to do. You want to ask questions, but you don’t want to sound stupid. You don’t know where to start or what to focus on first. I get it. I was there.
It’s extremely overwhelming. And you’re probably wanting to open up the online shop because of you actually like your craft. I’m sure I can bet that you’re not starting this because you’re dying to be a business owner. You’re doing this because you’re creatively talented and skilled and it’s time you share it with the world.
When it comes to opening up an online product shop, there seems to be an endless list of things to do. You need to think about what type of shop you want to open, who you’re selling your product to, how to market it, how you will package your orders, and SO much more.
I believe there are four major categories to consider when you make a list of what needs to be done in order to successfully launch an online product shop. These categories are: your shop checklist, your equipment and supplies checklist, your business/policy checklist, and your systems checklist. Now, before you start having a panic attack, let me help you. Let’s take a look at the different categories.
- Shop Checklist: this list includes items like choosing a platform to sell on, creating a template for your shop listings, curating consistent imagery for your products, creating a way to keep track of inventory, etc. This is important because it makes you organized which will free up your time to focus on creating new products for your shop and customers.
- Equipment/Supplies Checklist: this list includes items like having a printer, shipping labels, computer ink, shipping materials, and branding collateral for your packages. You want to make sure you’re never in a place without these items because it delays shipping, which could result in negative reviews.
- Business/Policy Checklist: this list includes items like having your shipping, return, exchange and other business policies in writing on your site. This keeps you accountable, but also protects you from customers who might try to take advantage of you. There are a lot more items to add to this list, but this is a great place to start!
- Systems Checklist: this list includes items like creating a marketing plan, a social media strategy, and creating your ideal client profiles.
These checklists will vary depending on the type of shop that you want to open, and the most important tasks will also vary from business to business. However, setting up clear business systems is vital for all of us. Above all, you need to get legit. You need to get a business and resale license, you need to open a business bank account, and you need to start setting money aside for paying sales tax.
As you read this, you might be getting overwhelmed. Don’t go there yet, friend! If I can do this, you can too. It’s work, but it’s totally doable and I have FULL faith in you. You have an incredible product and/or service to offer the world and we need you to share it!
Don’t get discouraged. Don’t let the potential stress of opening a shop take over and overwhelm you. You got this, and I am forever in your corner cheering you on!
I also want to help you get organized. So, if you are ready to get your shop started or more organized, I have created the perfect resource for you. You can download my complete checklist for starting or organizing your online product shop. This list will help keep you on track and help you brainstorm all the areas you need to focus on.
Download the guide here.
And don’t forget: you can totally do this, you product shop goddess.
Rachel Heckmann is an educator, product shop owner, encourager, and the creative stylist, and the director at Rachel Allene, an online shop that offers products and services for the creative, joyful, and inspired dreamer. She creates business resources in order to encourage and empower women to run heartfelt businesses on all social platforms. Rachel is a grateful wife, founder of #lesshustlemoregrace, and believer of real talk.