Setting Up an Online Store

Start My Own Company Online? Should I Take That Plunge?

“Should I start my own company online?” Millions of people worldwide have asked themselves this question in the past few years. As the internet grows and traditional businesses are on the decline, “should I start my own company online?” is a very logical question and one that deserves to be answered by a qualified individual. So, before you read any further, let me tell you why I am qualified to answer that question…

As a former mortgage professional, I watched as my industry and my employer got squeezed into oblivion. While this was happening, I began to ask myself, “Should I start my own company?” Well, long story short, I did start my own company online and thank goodness I did. My online company has enabled me to weather the storm of the recession. Literally, my life was changed by my decision to start my own company. Ok, enough about me… you can read my profile if you want to know more. My only reason for telling you this is to emphasize that I am qualified to answer the question “Should I start my own company online?” So now let’s move on.

If you are debating on starting your own company online, here is what you first need to ask yourself. These questions are absolutely critical to determining your chances for success. Remember, most new businesses fail within the first year. Let’s try to keep you from becoming a statistic.

Would it bother you to put in hundreds of hours of work BEFORE you make any money?

Any new business will require a huge effort. Whether the business is online or traditional, if you are to succeed, you better be ok with doing a great deal of work before you ever see a profit.

Have you always been a “paycheck” type employee?

If you have the mindset of getting paid every two weeks or every month, then you need to be able to change that mindset before you start your own company. You could go months before getting a paycheck.

Have you ever worked on a commission basis?

If you have, then you probably are a step ahead. You are used to getting paid for your production rather than getting paid for your time.

Are you willing and able to invest time and money into your own education?

This is a VERY important question. Starting your own company online means that you may need to learn some skills that you have not yet learned. Not only will you need to learn some website and web design skills (even if you have a site designer it will be in your best interest to learn a few things so you are not always dependent on someone else), but it will be imperative for you to learn some online marketing skills. These are things that only the very top marketers really know well and you will not be able to get this information free. Think of it as tuition, you are going to need to learn how to market online and you will probably need to pay tuition in order to do it. If you are not willing and able to learn and invest both time and money, then you may be in trouble.

Do you have a deep rooted desire to succeed?

Starting ANY business requires a gigantic commitment. You CAN be successful with an online business if you are persistent, consistent, motivated, and driven. The problem with most people is that they think it is going to be easy and their expectations are not realistic. Having an online business is nothing close to “get rich quick”. Anyone who tells you differently is lying to you. However, you can get rich with an online business if you have the right work ethic. And best of all, you can do it from home and without a boss!

I am a huge proponent of starting an online business. With franchises and traditional businesses requiring $50,000+ to establish, an internet based business in the neighborhood of $5000 is a relative bargain. Low overhead, no employees, and flexibility of schedule are just a few of the wonderful benefits. But, one really must learn the proper skills and have the proper work ethic in order to achieve success. If you have the right ingredients, then the answer to “Should I start my own company online?” is a most definite “YES”! The rewards can be fantastic.

Online Dog Boutiques- How to Successfully Get Started!

Online dog boutiques have become somewhat of a trend in the past few years. Perhaps this is because of the wide-spread (although somewhat inaccurate) belief that the pet industry is “recession proof”. I consider myself to be an expert on this topic not only due to the fact that I own and operate a successful online dog boutique, but also because I supply product for hundreds of other online dog stores worldwide. On a daily basis, I talk with experienced boutique owners as well as those who are just getting started. In the past few years, specifically, I have noticed a difference between those that survive and those that vanish. In this article, I would like to share some of that experience with you.

In 2009, my company had nearly 2000 people register with us as either brick and mortar stores or online dog boutiques. Sadly, only one year later, I find that roughly 70% are already out of business. So much for “recession proof”, right? Well maybe… Here’s the thing… Most of the “newbies” entering into the online shopping realm for the first time will believe that the way to get started is to build a site and find a number of good suppliers and invest a bunch of time, energy, and money into launching your online boutique. After all, this sounds perfectly logical and 5-6 years ago, I would have thought the same thing. The problem is that the internet is so vast that it is nearly impossible for anyone to find a new website. So, these unsuspecting souls spend thousands on their site only to see a small smattering of sales and the monthly maintenance ends up costing more than the generated profits. Discouraging to say the least.

There is a solution to this problem, however, and those who discover it can survive their freshman and sophomore years. It is so simple, yet so overlooked- proper marketing strategy. Sounds too easy, but it’s true. Most people that start online dog boutiques do so because they love dogs, not because they love their computer! They are usually complete novices to online marketing. But alas, all is not lost. After all, there are hundreds of companies out there that, for a fee of $300 to $2000 per month will “get you to the top of Google”! Boy, I wish I had $5 for every one of those phone calls I’ve received in the past 2 years. What they really should say is, “For about $500 per month, we’ll do some stuff that might get you to page one if we do it for a year or so, but it might not. Oh, and most of the stuff that we’ll do is stuff that you could do for free”!

Ok Greg, so now you’re saying that we need to market but what do we do?

Here’s my advice, and since my site ranks #1 or #2 in many keyword searches, I would say that it is sound advice.

If you want to start an online dog boutique, the first thing you should do is bone up on your internet marketing. You can take a class, maybe a few weekend seminars, or you could do what I did and join a mentoring program that allows you to work with top people in the industry on a daily basis. Most likely, none of these options will be free, but if you have an aversion to spending money on education, then you should stick to things that you already know how to do. Plus, educating yourself is far cheaper than paying other companies thousands of dollars for their promises. Now, once you successfully learn effective marketing strategies, then you go and set up your site. You will be able to build and market yourself at the same time and you should plan on putting MORE time into marketing than you put into developing your site.

Following this plan will give your online dog boutique a fighting chance of survival. I hate to see anyone fail or lose money. There’s enough of that going on in the world today, don’t become another statistic.

As always, I wish you the best of success!

How to Start a Web Based Retail Business

So you are tired of the rat race of a traditional job. Or maybe the job market has turned its cruel head and you have found yourself as one of the millions of Americans who are now unemployed. What do you do? Where do you turn? There is confusion, panic, fear, stress, resentment, and more… You have decided, as thousands have done before you, that you will turn to the internet and start a web based retail business. Yep, that’s it! That’s what you are going to do! You have made the decision and you are ready to go. Full steam ahead… But what direction is that?

Conventional thinking probably has you focusing on a product line- finding a product or a service that you are passionate about and researching it. You spend hours, if not days or weeks, figuring out where you can get the best price and how many suppliers you will need. You contact wholesale companies, review their policies and procedures, find out which ones will dropship and which ones have minimum orders. You make “to do” list after “to do” list, register for a resale permit, design logos, get a dba, possibly even incorporate. Maybe you have a partner and you invest countless hours hashing out the details and the fine print. Then you select a hosting company and this decision alone can require an excruciating amount of research. Once that’s done you need to figure out who will design your website. Can you do it yourself or do you need to hire someone? How much will that cost? How do you know if you are getting a good deal? You start to make decisions and it all begins to come together. After months of preparation, research, money, phone calls, emails, and memos, you’re finally there! But then you stop and look around and you see that you are once again alone. Emotions creep in like confusion, panic, fear, stress… sound familiar? You accomplished your goal of starting a web based retail business but now the reality hits you that you have no customers coming to your store and you are quickly in trouble.

This may sound far fetched, but unfortunately it is not too far from the truth in many cases. One of my businesses is a wholesale dog clothing business. We sell to retail stores (brick and mortar as well as web based) all over the world. We have been in business for six years now and we have achieved top search engine rankings for numerous key word searches in our niche. Recently, I reviewed our statistics from 2009. This may startle you, but we had nearly two-thousand people register for wholesale accounts with us in 2009 and by April of 2010, nearly 70% of them were out of business! After talking with many of the previous owners, the fact is clear that they began their business with an idea and with good intentions, but they never took the time nor made the investment in themselves to learn how to market their web based retail business. Here’s the simple truth- having a fancy web site is nothing more than an expensive brochure unless you have an effective way to drive traffic to your site.

So, my friends, I offer you this advice. As someone who currently owns a successful web based retail business, I can tell you that you should NOT start your venture by first focusing on your product line and web site. Quite to the contrary, the first step in how to start a web based retail business MUST be in the direction of online marketing. You need to learn critical strategies that will help you to get customers to your site. DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT IS TOO LATE TO FIGURE THIS OUT. Trust me on this one folks, I just watched nearly 1400 people/businesses shut down in the past year. Don’t become a statistic.

Ok, so now what do you do? My suggestion is to do what I did- find a reputable mentoring program and start learning. You probably won’t learn enough by just surfing the net and picking up bits and pieces here and there. If you really want to be profitable and have freedom in your life, then you need a solid educational background. I’m not talking about a weekend seminar or a night course once a week for the next 8 weeks. Rather, you will probably need day-to-day coaching and help from experts in the industry. That’s what I needed and that’s what I was able to find. Now I’m here to show you how to follow in my footsteps and create a web based retail business that will stand the test of time. I’ve created links below to my online business as well as to the mentoring program I trust. You can even view a video of me relaying my personal story and contact me directly if you have questions. Hey, if you are in to designer dog accessories, we can even help you build your website!

I wish you the best that life has to offer as you begin your journey.


2 Responses to Setting Up an Online Store

  1. Rainy says:

    I would like to set up a wholesale account; however, it’s unclear how to do this. Please advise. Thank you!

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