So you have spent hours upon hours ⏰ thinking of the right product to make, you have researched 👩🏻💻 your ideal customers, and you have found just the right prices on materials to make this so called product come to life.
Now the fun part is done, now itʼs time to decide, where are you going to sell your items 🤷🏻♀️? Should you use PayPal or Stripe, or Venmo or whatever else is possibly out there. Do you have a bank account? If not should you get one?
And those arenʼt the only questions running through your mind right now, you want to know where your business will be more profitable, should you build your own website, or have someone do it for you? Should you do like your girlfriends do and join Etsy? I totally get it, opening up your own business is one of the most stressful🤦🏻♀️ times in your life.
Yet, that is why you have me! Think of me as your one stop shop to success! Just kidding 😂, but I can definitely point you in the proper direction to get things going 👉🏻 !
When I first started, It felt like my head was going to explode 🤯 with all the ideas, and possibilities that I had sitting right in front of me.
Granted I have reopened my shop several times since I opened; the first time was on Etsy, shortly after that I shut it down 🙅🏻♀️, and didnʼt try to open my shop again for just about a year.
At that point in time I had joined Storenvy, which a friend of mine had recommended since she liked that you didnʼt have to pay to list items; I personally chose it because I liked that I could customize my website to my liking, because this girl LOVES COLOR 🌈!
Touch Of A Feather stayed on Storenvy for a while, but eventually I realized I needed to make a change because I was having too many issues, but more on that here soon.
After Storenvy I built my own website 💻, yep, I am one of those nuts 🙃 that took it upon herself to build a website from scratch. I am thankful for the opportunity 🙏🏻, and the learning experiences that It gave me, but this past year I had decided, my shop was growing too much, and I couldnʼt handle taking care of it on my own 🙈. So I had to make a decision, and thatʼs how I ended up here, on Shopify!
So I want to give you all my experiences and proʼs and cons on the whole where to sell your items bit:
1. Etsy - Oh Etsy, you have been there for so many people in their beginning phases, the amount of shops that have found their success 💪🏻 on this website is huge! However, I am convinced they were grandfathered in before big changes, or they pay a ton of money for advertising to get themselves onto Etsyʼs front page.
This website is extremely difficult to be found on 😿, Itʼs a good place to keep your items to sell, so you have somewhere for people to purchase from you, but it has a lot of bells and whistles you may not know about.
For instance, you have to pay $0.20 cents per listing. I know it doesnʼt seem like a lot, but it is when you started adding a bunch of products up. Think of it this way, for every 5 products you pay $1, I like to keep at least 100 items on the website at a time. that would easily be $20.00. Not including their 3.5% that they take from your order, which is now going to be upped to a whopping 5% as of July 16, 2018! That is a nice chunk coming out of your hard earned profit, and I personally donʼt feel like sharing. So for you Etsy users, you better raise ☝🏻 them prices or get to looking for some new options!
2. Storenvy - After I left Etsy, and decided paying money 💰 to list items that may or may not sell was not exactly my cup of tea, I decided to join Storenvy. I knew it wasnʼt very well known, and their Market system wasnʼt as great as Etsyʼs but I was able to put my own Domain name up (for $5 a month) and put up a nice layout for my homepage. Customization is so important to me, If I canʼt easily change a color or font I will literally have a melt down 😫. I like to change up the colors on my website constantly! That is the life of a creative, so Iʼm sure you probably agree with me in someway.
However, I had a lot of problems on Storenvy, I would get a lot of messages from people saying they couldnʼt see my site, or they couldnʼt check out, blah blah, there were a hundred reasons why It wasnʼt working for so many different people. Maybe the browsers didnʼt support my layout? I donʼt know, so I bought a new layout, and it helped somewhat, but after a year of barely any sales, and lots of technical complaints, I couldnʼt take it anymore 🙅🏻♀️.
Shortly after, I took my website down; I found out that they changed something, turns out the customers now have to pay a Fee to purchase off of someones website if they are hosted under storenvy 🤦🏻♀️. Uhm yeah no thank you, Iʼm not going to lose customers because someone is getting greedy. We should pay it, not them. Or once again maybe a monthly fee can be negotiated? I get it, it takes money to run websites, but I donʼt like change, especially negative change. So on to my new adventure I was....
3. Self Hosted Website - To be honest this one ended up being an accident, I was trying to start a blog, and got a cheap website the year before, forgot to cancel the membership 🤦🏻♀️ and was charged their yearly fee.
So instead of letting it go to waste, I moved Touch Of A Feather to itʼs new home 🏡 . I used Dreamhost.com for the website hosting, and I already had my domain name which I acquired on Godaddy.com. They host a wordpress system, that works with woocommerce; this is a shop 🛍 platform, it makes it possible to sell items through a blog 📱.
I spent a good month or more doing research 👩🏻💻 and began building this website up from nothing. I had to learn all the different apps to make it work, I had to connect PayPal, install the theme, oh man the list 📋 seemed endless. Not to mention SEO?! What the heck is that?! Well now I know its Search Engine Optimization, and I have to brag 💁🏻♀️ that I got myself to #2 on google when you searched my shop name, It was super exciting 🤗, but very hard to figure out. Once I opened up, the sales flooded 🌊 in, this is where I really found my success 💪🏻, I never received any emails about things not working, maybe an occasional person who just couldnʼt figure it out, but that seemed more personal for them.
I stayed with Dreamhost for 2 years, I unfortunately had to upgrade a couple of times because of Memory issues and the website kept crashing, which was basically the reason I left. I couldnʼt deal with the heavy traffic to my website, and the upgrade prices were going to break 😱 me and my little shop. So I did some research, I literally couldnʼt make up my mind for months.... and about two weeks before my website expired I decided to go with Shopify!
Now before I get into how much I love 💗 me some Shopify, I want you to know that it is ok 👌🏻 to constantly re-evaluate what it is that you want for your business. I call this version of my shop, Touch Of A Feather 3.0.
My fiancé giggled 😹 at me for that, but itʼs true! I have upgraded my baby 👶🏻like a little pokemon, Iʼve gained a lot of experience and knowledge 🧠 over the years, so Level 3 here we come 💃🏻!
It is healthy to know what you want, and what you need to make your business as successful as possible.
Now breathe, I can feel your stress, Itʼs ok to not know right now what you want to do. I didnʼt, but I now know the steps to take to figure it out.
4. Shopify - Oh man do I love my Shopify ❤️. Now keep in mind, this was not a decision I took lightly. I could have just as easily chosen Big Cartel, but I made sure to do some research. I made sure to look 👀 all over google for reviews, I checked out Pinterest, made sure it was something I could handle.
Because honestly, the $30.00/month fee was feeling pretty hefty 😰 and freaked me out. So I also had to take a look at my finances, is this something I can take care of and not screw up? Well I donʼt know where I found my confidence but I jumped in and said yes I can do it 💪🏻! So I did!
I decided to start out with a free theme, and save up for a more extravagant one later, and just customized it to my liking. I was really impressed with how easy it was for me to set up, especially considering, I donʼt have WiFi! Yes, can you believe it 🙈? Someone doesnʼt have wifi, I live out in the middle of nowhere, and so I rely on phone service alone. So I built this beautiful website before you on MY PHONE 📲! Yes, on my phone. That is how easy it is.
Granted I did eventually upgrade to an iPad because well phones get to be small when big jobs are put on them If you know what I mean. There are a couple things I canʼt seem to set up without a computer, so they are on hold ✋🏻until further notice (such as the reviews option.) Other than that I am perfectly satisfied ✅!
Yet, there were a couple hidden 🤭 things I didnʼt know about; so lets say you donʼt use Shopify payments and you want to take payments through PayPal, you get charged a percentage of the sale, plus your usual PayPal fees.
It wasnʼt exactly my favorite thing 😑 to find out, but I love PayPal, I do not like stripe but thats a story for another day.
However my biggest problem with it, is that they donʼt automatically take the charges out, they wait until they charge you your monthly membership fee. Ugh. Yeah that was a little tid bit they didnʼt put anywhere unless itʼs in some microscopic fine print 🙄.
One other thing that irks me, Is I canʼt offer my shop on Pinterest because I donʼt use Shopify payments, uhm what a bummer am I right 😤? Maybe one day, but like I said, not a huge fan of stripe, and I personally donʼt have a bank account for myself or Touch Of A Feather.
So remember, Make a list ✍🏻 of all the features that you think you want or need for your shop, and then get to doing some research 👩🏻💻. the internet is huge and has so much information just waiting for you to reach out for it. This isnʼt a decision that should be made in a spur of the moment, because you could end up putting all this work into your new website to find out you hate the host 🙅🏻♀️.
So I hope some of my knowledge and experience can point you in the right direction, next week I will try to write about something a little less serious because there are so many fun 💅🏻 aspects to being the star 👑 of your own show! So stay tuned for next week!