Five Steps to Starting a Product Shop

If you’ve started an online product shop or you want to, you have probably realized that there isn’t a lot of education or material out there to help you. And guess what? There are a lot of things you need to get your shop started. It takes a lot of work and if you want to do it right (which I’m sure you do, ‘cause you’re reading this!), then you might need a little direction.

I remember when I was first starting out, I just wish I had someone to talk to so I could ask simple questions.

Questions like:

How do I write a shop listing?

Where do I buy shipping materials?

What’s the first legal step?

What’s the Board of Equalization and why does it matter?

Have you been asking these questions? I know what that overwhelm feels like. That’s exactly why I want to share my first five steps for starting a product shop. Disclaimer: there are not the ONLY things you need to do, but these are my top five tips for the beginning. As things progress, there’s always more to do! But, don’t let that overwhelm you. Start here. And the rest will fall into place.

  1. Get legit: register for a business license. This can be done at your city department and is a lot easier than people say it is. Also: you’ll need a resale license. In California, all of this is done through The Board of Equalization. All states are different, so I can’t speak to your exact location, but that’s an easy Google search. If you’re a sole proprietor, then your Social Security Number will be your identification number for all tax purposes.  

  2. Decide on a platform: are you going to start on Etsy? Or do you want to start with Shopify or Squarespace? My thoughts about this can be found in my PSG Guide!

  3. Create a Instagram account for your business (if you haven’t already): but don’t make it a business account. In my experience, it kills your engagement. I suggest creating a strategic marketing plan and goal for your Instagram. Maybe this doesn’t involve pictures of your kids. That’s okay! You want to be consistent and have a plan for your Instagram. If you haven’t, I suggest going through my FREE e-course on running a heartfelt business with Instagram.

  4. Write a mission statement: you need to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Every product you make, every marketing effort you create, every Instagram caption you write should showcase a piece of your mission. So, start here: “I create ______  for ______ in order to _______.” Example: I create hand-lettered goods for the creative, joyful, and inspired dreamer in order to empower and encourage! What’s your mission? Let that mission infuse and inspire EVERYTHING you do in your shop.

  5. Know your target market: who are you selling to? Do you know who it is? This step is important and ties into tip #4. You are NOT selling to everyone. And if you are, you shouldn’t be. You want to attract AND repel people. So, who are you attracting? Read more about finding your ideal client here.