I started my first ecommerce “venture” when I was 11 – selling counterfeit k-pop bookmarks on Soompi forums (do not recommend doing this today), using free internet hours from the AOL discs that I gathered from my friends/family. I tied up the phone line a lot and my parents weren’t super happy. Entrepreneurship was not recognized as such back then and I wasn’t praised by people… in fact, that kind of behavior probably came off really off putting, hermit-y and uncool. So different from the pedestal that we place entrepreneurship on today.
I’ve also imported Asian beauty/skincare products in my mid teens, and had a jewelry company that managed to pay for most of my college expenses. I’ve also dabbled in making natural beauty products, dog treats, origami products, cross stitch accessories, and a few other small ventures that went nowhere. (Read: I “failed”… A LOT)
So much has changed since 1999. We have more opportunities than ever, and also more challenges/distractions. Everyone wants to try running their own business, and we have a huge number of business gurus trying to help others run their business.
As someone who has stumbled her way through business and managed some level of success with zero formal business training/schooling- I do try to apply the things I’ve learned previously to all my new projects. In this blog post, I’m sharing the 5 things I wish I’d done differently when I started my business:
- Start and grow an email list. It will forever haunt me that I didn’t do this until years into my business and I still think about the lost potential today. Marketers have ruined email lists in many ways but it still remains a practical option for directly interacting with an audience. If you have a the budget, text marketing is wonderful as well. Check out FLODESK for email marketing. I don’t have a great text messaging platform to recommend at this time yet, but if I find one, I’ll post it here.
- Local Marketing. Connect with the people that you’re serving in your area (if you do local business). This can be in the forms of flyers and sample product.
- Networking w/ Industry Peers. This applies to internet friends you chat with AND people in your area that you meet in IRL! Having people who you trust and can understand your struggles is invaluable. You can also potentially make connections that turn into referrals- so if you’re booked or a request isn’t right for you, there are people you can send your clients to.
- Pricing Appropriately from the Get-Go: I have an old post on pricing HERE, and the concepts still apply. Inflation along with other factors resulted in huge price increases over the last 2 years and that should also affect your pricing.
- Continuous Education: invest in yourself! Check out The Painted Box, Sweet Cheeks By Renee, Kirkie Kookies, and of course Borderlands Bakery.
I talk more in depth about each of these topics in my video here:
Let me know in the comments below what YOU have learned from your business and if any additional things resonate with you.