Have you ever thought about turning your hobby or passion in to a full-time or part-time job? Selling online gets easier and easier every year, and even those of us with limited or no HTML experience now have the tools we need to get set up on the world wide web.
In the last month, I have turned my hobby of the last 10 years or so in to a working, functional website. Called The Rose Lanai, it is a fine jewelry website that has received over 200 different visitors in only it’s first two weeks of operation. From start to finish, it was surprisingly easy.
Certainly, if you’re feeling brave and have some HTML knowledge, buy a URL and set up your own website. Otherwise, follow the steps below and you’ll be up and running in no time.
1. One of the hardest things I’ve struggled with is inventory. Figure out how you’re going to carry your inventory. Will you have your inventory drop-shipped? Will you keep stock?
2. Do some research on retail websites. Don’t lose faith if you can’t build your own website; use a site like Shopify for easy set-up. Costs vary depending on the plan you choose, and it can be expensive (but the first month is free). A big plus about this website is that all you have to do is enter your inventory and upload pictures, knowledge of HTML is not at all required. Another viable option is to get set up on a site like eBay and make your own store. If you handmake your own products, be sure to look in to etsy.
3. Take some high-quality pictures of your inventory. If you don’t have a digital SLR, see if you can rent one from a camera or electronics store in your city. Use natural light when possible and make a set that it simple, straightforward and not confusing to look at. Solid fabrics like velvet work well, as do natural elements like a wooden board or sand.
4. Set up your website! If you’re using Shopify, all you have to do is upload your pictures and add your descriptions and add your inventory details. For eBay, be sure to set up your shop correctly and keep it up to date. One of the most important aspects of setting up your website is being sure that it’s integrated with a payment website or service. Paypal and Google Checkout are the most common (and are easy to set up), but other options are available. Be sure to do research to see which service meets your needs. Have a trial purchase to be sure that everything works correctly.
5. You’re all set up! Now it’s time to promote and advertise your website. If you have the option to do so, consider setting up a coupon code that gives your customers an introductory discount. Order business cards to give to your friends, family and associates (moo.com is a great resource, especially for creative businesses. You have the option to order 1/2 size cards with photos on the back). Consider using a site like GoogleAdWords to get some reasonably priced online advertising. Don’t forget to be socially networked! Use and maintain sites like Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon and anything else that is industry appropriate (see “Successfully Using Social Media for Your Service Business”).
6. Continue to optimize your website. Be sure that your inventory descriptions are what your customers would do an internet search for. In order to bump your website up in the search engine results, use industry specific keywords. For example, for a jewelry business, continuously use words like “necklace, bracelet, silver, gold” or whatever else is appropriate.
Successfully Using Social Media for Your Service Business: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2944682/successfully_using_social_media_for.html?cat=3