Creating your own home goods is a wonderful achievement—especially if you’re a stay at home mom with a fairly busy schedule. It allows you to hone in on your craft, sharpen your entrepreneurial skills, keep occupied when the children aren’t around, and of course, bring in a little extra money.
If you aren’t already making homemade goods, there’s still plenty of time to get going. And there’s an endless amount of things you can make, spanning the gauntlet for everything from homemade wax candles to homemade flavored shisha. The key is to create around your hobby, so that it rarely ever feels like work. Once you’ve decided what you want to focus on, you’ve taken the first step towards making it happen. Here’s a few tips for starting an e-commerce business:
Set Up Your Website
Of course, as an e-commerce business, one of the most important aspects you need to focus on is your website. You’ll need to choose a platform, and should explore each (and watch introductory videos). Two of the most popular platforms are Shopify and WordPress. Shopify offers a free trial with full features, which you should take advantage of. While WooCommerce doesn’t necessarily have a free trial, they do have more options for themes and customizable stores. And because your design creates the first impression, it’s crucial that you start thinking about what your digital aesthetic will look like beforehand. Although Shopify and WooCommerce make it easy for newcomers to jump in, if you aren’t web-savvy, consider hiring a freelancer on a site like Upwork or working with a web design agency.
Consider Listing on Dropshipping Platforms
Dropshipping makes it possible for entrepreneurs to sell products without ever holding any inventory. For example, as a dropshipper, you would list products on your website that you don’t actually have. You’d market them well so that they appeal to your target audience, and when an order is placed, it ships directly from the manufacturer.
As the creator of a product, you can opt to allow other entrepreneurs to dropship as well. However, keep in mind that you do lose some of your profit in the process, as it’s shared with the person who sells it. On the plus side, you can leverage the marketing expertise of many individuals who have the skills and know-how to get your product out there.
Don’t Forget About Your Marketing
Your marketing efforts set you apart from the competition, and get you ready for success. Think about your marketing as the story you create around your brand. As a homemade goods company, you don’t want your product labeling or website design to look mass-produced. All marketing efforts should be cohesive. Furthermore, your marketing language should emphasize your “homemade” tag, and poise your company as a lifestyle brand if applicable. You’ll also want to post plenty of high-res, high-quality photos. Make an effort to showcase products that your customers have purchased, and refrain from copying strategies that mass-produced companies employ.
Start a Blog
Once you’ve started your homemade business, a blog is necessary. A blog builds search engine optimization (SEO) around your brand, which makes it easier for people to discover your business. You can use your blog to not only post product announcements, but to detail your experience starting your own company. You never know what will attract readers and buyers until you test the waters and create a variety of content. By writing about your journey, you’ll also be humanizing your brand, which makes it easier to establish trust with potential customers. Furthermore, you’ll be helping other moms who hope to be in your shoes one day, too.
Take Advantage of Etsy
There are pros and cons to using Etsy as a platform, but when you’re selling homemade goods, it’s one of the easiest to put your work out there. Etsy makes it easy for homemade goods stores—no matter how new or established—to put their products in front of relevant audiences who are looking for products like yours.
The drawbacks of using Etsy can be balanced by having your own website as well. For example, Etsy doesn’t offer much creative control over how your online store appears, and they always show related products that make it easy for shoppers to stray away from your page. Furthermore, it may be difficult to capitalize on marketing potential, like creating an email list, but with a website, you can tip the scale in your favor.