Why, How and What's Next.
I think everyone assumes they know the answer and so don't feel the need to ask. Now we all know what they say about assumptions and for the most part, it is true.
If you assume I am doing this to get rich, you're wrong. The Beatles taught us that "Money can't buy me love."
If you assume that it's because I recently went through some personal life drama/trauma, well you'd be a little bit right.
Take that and add a little of "OMG I'm 46 and haven't done anything worth mentioning", plus a helping of "I don't see why I can't do that."
Mainly though, the foundation that all the other reasons are stacked upon is that I really, really, really, and I mean really don't like to be told what to do. It's most definitely a character flaw that has come and gone throughout my life and now it's back with a vengeance. I deal with it as best I can.
So to finally answer the question, Why am I doing this?
- I have no boss, or I have many, depends on how you look at it.
- I'm not breaking my body every day so someone else can spend more time with their family or friends or be golfing or whatever.
- Now I get to exercise my brain and hope it can figure out a way to stop having to work for someone else.
So here I am, fed-up, tore-up and broke-up, hoping to make some new contacts, learn as much as I can, have a little fun and maybe, along the way, some people like something they see on my site, they order and just like that I get to eat and keep the lights on!
You ask Why? I say Why Not.
I actually plan on writing this up separately because it could get very long and technical. Essentially I am using the Shopify store system to host and organize my products and a lot more.
Excuse my language here, but Shopify is the shit! They bring it all together with tutorials and live chat help and they cover just about everything. So far they have been a dream!
It's not like the early days when anybody could throw up a site, toss the URL around and get a stream of visitors. So much of it has changed. Just trying to advertise without getting banned from certain social networks is a hassle. I couldn't do any of it in a timely manner without Shopify and their supporting apps.
For suppliers, I am using a young company with big aspirations by the name of GearBubble. They do all of my custom printed t-shirts, mugs etc. In addition, I use a Shopify app named Oberlo for sourcing from China and Asia drop-shippers.
Again, couldn't do it alone, it would simply eat up too much time trying to figure out which companies were real, real bad or just straight scams. They have already taken care of that.
For advertising, I have started with Google's Ad Words and Facebook's Ad Manager. Kind of a no-brainer there.
Well, I'll be totally honest ... haven't got a clue.
There are lots of things I would like to work on, but one thing at a time. I am a notorious starter. Not much of a follow-through guy. This time I am really trying to stay focused on the task at hand and follow through. I guess time will tell.
But generally speaking, if I can get the store to start turning a profit, some of the things I would like to pursue are:
- learning enough coding to write some of my own apps
- become a better writer in general, but specifically, I want to learn how to write proper ad copy because frankly, I suck. I almost think you could just put up a blank image with just a random price and more people would respond than click on my ads. But you're here, so maybe I'm getting better!
So, for now, this site is my focus. I will continue to look for interesting, useful and just plain cool stuff to list here and hopefully, some nice internet shoppers will decide to buy it.
I have a feeling that my product listings will swell and shrink over time, so if you don't see something you especially like, come back in a month or so, or better yet sign up for my newsletter and I will let you know when new items are being listed. I have absolutely no interest in selling anybody's email and I hate spam as much as the next person so you will only hear from me once a month.
... and finally,
Pricing and Shipping
As you look through the site you might say to yourself, "He doesn't have the lowest prices" and/or "I can find these items on other sites."
Both of these things are true.
I have given up trying to be the lowest price, simply not enough volume. Also, unless you yourself come up with, manufacture and distribute your own branded product, there will always be some other site with an identical item, often from the same manufacturer.
So I can't compete on pricing and nothing is "unique" on the internet. Within weeks there are always knock-off sites. It's just the way it is. So what can I do to generate sales and get people to come back to buy again?
Service. It's the only area in which I can compete.
As I am just starting out and sourcing mostly from China I can't guarantee super top quality as I am not yet to the point where I can personally order and inspect each and every item I list.
That is, however, a goal for later on.
For now, I will be offering a no questions asked, full refund on any product purchased for 30 days from the time the customer receives it.
If I don't do a good job researching the products and start getting many, many returns it could all end before it even begins. So part of the price is going to reflect how much time and energy I put into researching the item.
Oh yeah, and I pay the shipping, but if you return an item for a refund, you gotta pay the shipping back to me.
If you think the prices are too high in general, let me know what you think. I value any constructive feedback.