Estimated reading time: 7 minutes, 1 second. Contains 1451 words.
If you’re planning to start your small business or already running one then, this post may be helpful for you.
P.S. This is probably a long post so, please read if you have time to skimp on. Also, not an expert opinion. Please read the disclaimer carefully before reading the post.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional or any business person so take what resonates and leave the rest. I am sharing my experience and what I have learnt all through these years. I believe I have done my best to describe every point. *Your opinions or criticisms are welcome*
I don’t know whether I should call it a small business or a side-hustle. That was my first question!
I am a doctoral (PhD) student so this weighs more on the side-hustle part. And I won’t say earning is not important but yes, the creative side will always be given an upper hand (if you ask me).
Point 1: For any order that I receive through my art store Vrinstorio (by the way check out all the reviews for my art store here), I try my best to serve the buyer(s). My thought is- “No matter what amount of products they buy, give them an experience that is priceless”. And if I can’t do it- Just refund the amount with no arduous feelings.
I vaguely remember when I was in school, there was this special hairpin that I used to wear. Slowly, all girls in my class started noticing it. They loved it and asked me, where I brought it from? Naturally, everyone asked me to buy it for them and paid me extra (yes that’s true). I simply loved getting all the materials together and packing them.
Of course, I didn’t continue doing it because I never gave any thought to execute it further even with the help of my parents back then. Maybe I could have though!
But… cut to several years later, around some five years back I started a small online jewellery store in one of the apps. It happened because I started writing reviews for beauty products then eventually I got interested in jewellery and used to get various styles of them to write a review or like OOTD posts. So, I began writing my blogs on jewellery and so on but unfortunately because of my extensive experience in blogging back then (just kidding) that blog didn’t work out.
That’s when I decided to start an online shop but again having a website and selling them was daunting. Then came this app where I could open an online store, upload pictures of the products and start selling them. They charged a small commission for every sale and also picked up the courier from your doorstep. It was fun though. Getting a message on every sale, packing the order etc.
Eventually, I did sell many pieces of jewellery, some clothing items and other miscellaneous items.
Point 2: It is at this stage, I started learning about consumer psychology and how it works. I am speaking as if I am some experienced business person… Hahaha.
Anyways, coming to the point: Why do you think DMart or Target or Walmart is a huge success? Because they target the masses (plus they are also trustworthy). A consumer will buy a product if they find a cheaper version of any product (when in comparison). We all love discounts and freebies and that’s because we think, we are paying less and getting more. Right? There is more to talk about consumer psychology but let’s do that later.
Now, moving to my next stage – The Garage Sale. I used to host garage sales in a cafe and by this time I started travelling a bit more so I used to get various products (only single pieces because I wanted to sell unique and charming items) from different places and those items were my “Travel series products”.
Anyways, people loved it mainly because:
A) All the items were economically priced,
B) It was hosted in a cafe and so everyone loved the vibe of food-drink and shopping around,
C) I gave 2-3 surprise gifts with every order,
D) Also, I hosted my garage sale with a theme and that was- “Say no to plastic” and tried giving tote bags.
Now, to be honest, people still felt certain things to be expensive even when all my products were priced below 500 (INR) except for one painting.
Talking about the big businesses, they procure products in bulk and hence they can sell them with a profitable margin.
But what about small businesses?
Point 3: Someone who is getting started, buying everything in bulk will always leave them with some uncertainties. Like, whether they can sell everything, whether the invested money will be worth it, finding consumers for their products etc.
For certain items like art prints or printed poetry postcards, I generally have the print-on-demand option open. Also, handmade products are naturally sold when there is a requirement but I do buy materials in small batches. So that there is no loss at the end. Imagine, you brought or made many things and nobody turns up to buy them. It’s painful.
So, planning and making a checklist becomes very important in the long run.
Point 4: How do you define success for a small business?
It’s subjective, right? Yes, it is.
For someone, getting one sale per day is a win-win situation and for some 10 or 100. If you ask me, then getting one order in a day feels like a dream because I think, your buyer could have chosen some other small business but they choose you. So gradually, it’s a blessing for me.
Of course, it’s not like I get hundreds of orders but that one order makes my day. Imagine, when I don’t have Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or even Whatsapp for my store. I only have my website, LinkedIn and email. Don’t you think it’s like a miracle in this world?
But wait, am I eligible to write this post without having social media accounts? It’s up to you!
That’s true I can get a bit more orders if my store is on all the social media but I like it this way at least for now. Also, I will eventually come to this century… Hahaha.. and open some social media accounts for my store if it decides to grow (then I have to water it).
And that’s why I won’t be writing about small businesses and social media impact because of my vast knowledge! But trust me (if you can), I worked with an organisation as a volunteer for their social media posts and guess what- Their followers count increased. I promise I am not kidding!
Point 5: Decide your niche! Honestly, I tried my hands-on doing small business or side-hustle in different ways and arenas. I started my store by calling it QueenBee (main product: jewellery) then and now as Vrinstorio (Short of Vrinda’s Store Studio) but I also sold some products under Letters@Work (my content writing venture) before fully taking up Vrinstorio and what all products I wanted to make.
Also, don’t forget to read: Who and What is Solopreneur? May be of your interest.
So… not gonna take much of your time. Just remember, if “Rome wasn’t built in a day” so is any business. It takes time, patience, and genuine devotion to build up that trust and your small or big business.
To add something: I didn’t give any “numbers” as in how much I make via this side-hustle because A) There is no grandiloquent number (truthfully), B) It also depends on what products you’re selling because finding consumers for essentials is kind of easy when compared to art-related items.
Wishing you all the best for your business and let’s see how I take on my small business in the future.
If you think my points were worth reading and felt good about them. Then, thank you very much. Giving your time to read my post itself is a big reward but you’re also welcome to buy me a coffee (Hehe). Link down below (such a unique way). Hahhaha!
But… If you felt it was not worth your time. Then, I am extremely sorry.
Till then, lots of blessings…
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