Oh man—those first months…okay, YEARS…of owning an online business were crazy. When I think about them I admit to getting just a smidge nostalgic remembering the thrill of getting my first sales and watching this tiny little business start to take off faster than I ever could have expected. But oh my heck…I really made some GINORMOUS mistakes my first year in e-commerce. HUGE. MASSIVE.
A lot of the mistakes I made my first year in e-commerce were because I just didn’t know any better.
I mean, there wasn’t anybody holding my hand or showing me what I needed to do, right? There weren’t tons of other e-commerce businesses out there that I could kind of follow along and watch.
I do admit there were a few mistakes, though, that really happened because I didn’t want to let go of something.
I truly don’t regret making mistakes my first year as an entrepreneur because that’s how we learn. If we aren’t messing up, we’re not trying hard enough.
But at the same time, I’d do just about anything to help others from making those mistakes. Don’t get me wrong—they’ll make plenty on their own. I just want them to avoid making the same ones I did.
One of the first mistakes I made my first year in e-commerce was not getting help soon enough.
I mean, my business was kind of like one of my babies. I grew it from just an idea to getting it launched and watching sales come in. Picked out every product, worked with the manufacturers, came up with my own designs, took my own pictures, added my daily posts, handled my own shipping…it was MINE. The idea of asking for help—and certainly HIRING anybody to help—just didn’t seem right.
Let’s face it—I worked really hard for the money I was earning.
I didn’t want to pay it to someone else.
And I mean, what if the person I hired (gasp!) made an error?!
Would my business survive?
The answer was, of course, yes.
And eventually, I was able to let go a little bit.
I looked at the things that were both time-consuming and that I didn’t necessarily like to do. Then I found people who did enjoy doing those kinds of tasks.
Like the shipping, for example. My hubby and kids made one heck of a shipping department. And then we brought in a few other family members and neighbors. Seeing that I was helping them by paying them to help me seemed to make it a little easier.
Eventually, I realized that when I let the basic tasks go, I could focus on the important aspects of my company that truly needed my attention. I could look at the trends, continue to research and find products, expand my business, and find new opportunities.
Take a minute to watch the video above and learn the mistakes I made that you can easily avoid. You can also download the .pdf version of the things you must know your first year in e-commerce.
Here they are in a nutshell:
Yep—that one I’ve already talked about. But I truly don’t think I can emphasize it enough.
Take care of YOU.
During those first years I can honestly say that I abused my body because I was so focused on my business. I didn’t eat right or get enough sleep and it showed. You’ve got to make yourself a priority
When income begins to come in, pay yourself a salary. It doesn’t have to be a lot, and it shouldn’t be so much that it puts your business in jeopardy. But you are working hard, and you have earned that paycheck.
BONUS TIP: Yep—I’m giving you a fourth tip for FREE. But it’s really important…and it’s something I’ve learned the hard way.
Trust your gut.
If you feel like something’s off in your business, if you aren’t comfortable with a decision, or if someone is saying something that just doesn’t seem right…LISTEN. Believe in your inner voice or intuition.
You guys, I promise you that you will make a lot of mistakes along your entrepreneurial journey and as you grow your e-commerce business. And yay if you do! Because that means you’re learning and growing and trying–so keep on going.