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How to Start an Online Boutique (and Why It’s Okay to Be Bad at Something New)

I get a lot of questions geared around how to start an online boutique or similar online businesses. I totally love to share my own experience, but what really makes me all sorts of happy is to have the people I’ve helped to share their own journeys. 

That’s why I was pretty much jumping up and down when Darlene Turner said she’d be on my podcast. 

I’ve been following her since 2017. She was one of the first people to sign up for my class, and I’d see her posts pop up in our Facebook group. I visited her site, Crush On This once she launched it, and it’s just been so much fun to watch her business grow. But I wanted to know what she believes has been key to her online business journey. 

Grab a notebook and pen, because you’re going to want to capture what she has to say. Online Boutique

A Slow Starter

Darlene graduated from business school, and she’d even owned a successful health-related business franchise before. But neither of those things had EVER taught her all of the things you need to do to start a business—including an online business. 

So like a lot of people, she wanted someone who could kind of go through things with her step by step. She saw ads for my 0-$100K program and decided to see what it was all about.  

Boom! She found what she was looking for: opening an online boutique of her own. She dove in…but kind of got a little stumped about what to sell. 

She tried a few products (laundry baskets) and did okay selling on deal sites. But she didn’t really gravitate towards anything…until she saw another person’s online boutique and that the lightbulb really went off for her. She loved clothing, she had ideas of how she could make her store 

Then she saw another member in the Facebook group start an online boutique and she loved the idea. She loved fashion, and she had ideas that would really make people fall in love with what she’d offer (hence the name of her business, Crush on This.) 

Figuring Out How to Start an Online Boutique

Darlene now knew what she wanted her business to be about, and she was EXCITED. She ordered merchandise (a little too much) and wanted to get it listed asap. 

But…she admits that she forgot something: what she was going to do about photos. Her husband works pretty long hours, and her friends all worked as well. 

She didn’t let it stop her. Even though she has the same insecurities so many of us do, Darlene decided to model the clothing herself and take selfies in the mirror. She’s kind of made it an art form now—you’ve got to visit Crush On This to see it for yourself!

Being Bad at Something New

One of the great things about Darlene is just how open she is about some of her struggles in opening an online boutique. And I loved, loved, LOVED it when she shared that it was okay to be bad at something new. 

Isn’t that so true? When we’re grown-ups we pretty much think we need to know everything or do things right the very first time.  How crazy is that?  We all have to go through a learning curve, and we’re probably going to be REALLY awful at a few things the first time we give it a go. 

Through her process of starting an online boutique, Darlene has learned (yay!) the same lesson all of us need to learn (seriously): we need to give ourselves permission to be new at something. And we need to give ourselves the same grace that we give others. 

Give me a thumbs up if you agree! Because I sure as heck do!

Consistency and Fun for the Win

Darlene is now crushing it (no pun intended) with her online store. She does live sales on social media (yep—she had to get over beating herself up about everything!) and her customers adore her.  

And one of the biggest things that she attributes success to is consistency. She practically moves heaven and earth to make sure she does her shows. And again, her customers love her for it. They know they can count on her to be online when she says she’s going to be, and she’s going to have products they like. To put it super simply, they can depend on her. 

The other key to her success? Darlene says it’s having fun. She and her husband agree that if you’re not having fun in your work, it’s not worth it. And man, I love how she brings that spirit in everything she does. 

Don’t believe me? Catch one of her #pardonmypositivity posts Mondays on social media or order a little something from her online store and see if you get one of her Crush Notes.  You’re gonna love it!

Top 10 Takeaways

  1. Your first product doesn’t have to be your forever product.
  2. Use deal sites to learn the process of selling.
  3. Take inspiration from others (but remember you need to be YOU.)
  4. Start small.
  5. If you’re going to do something, be “all in.”
  6. Be your imperfect self—people will love you for it and relate to you more because of it.
  7. Accept that you'll be bad at something and may struggle a bit as you learn.
  8. Don’t attach an outcome to your efforts; recognize that more can come from your efforts than just one thing. 
  9. Consistency leads to results.
  10. It’s not worth it if you’re not having fun.

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My 13 & 10-year-old did it—and made $100k!!!

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