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 do right in order to get sales, build a brand and grow an audience. 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.
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?
What do I charge?
How do I get more sales?
Have you been asking these questions? I know what that overwhelm feels like. That’s the reason I started a Mastermind for product shop owners and why I create content and services to help product shop owners succeed. Disclaimer: these 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 start fall into place over time and you will learn and grow as you go.
Make sure you have the legal things in place: 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.
Pick a platform: do you want to open your shop on Etsy? Or do you want to start with your own e-commerce plan and use a platform like Shopify or Squarespace? My personal thoughts and opinions about this, can be found in my Product Shop Guide!
Create a Instagram account for your business (if you haven’t already): You can either turn your current, personal Instagram account into your business one, or create a new one. Make sure you have a place where people know you are a BUSINESS. Not just an artist who creates products as a hobby. I suggest creating a strategic marketing plan and goal for your Instagram. You want to have a plan for what type of content you share and what your mission of the app is. You want to be consistent and have a plan for your Instagram. PRO TIP: pick 5 “content themes” to focus on and rotate between them. Your audience will soon learn what to expect from you and that builds trust.
Write a mission statement for your business: 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.
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? You want to have a description of who your ideal client is so you can tailor your marketing, products, and content to her. Always think about serving and creating for one person.
If you’re reading this and you don’t have a product shop or you have one but it isn’t growing, I suggest starting here. These tips and tricks build a foundation for your business that will propel you to running a successful and profitable product shop!