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Any Business Owners Here? I Just Need To Vent About My Mine.

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posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 05:33 PM
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This is my first thread beyond my intro, so not sure if this is the right forum, perhaps its more of a rant, but here goes...

I am struggling with keeping the faith so to speak. I have a great business idea but now I've just had it, and I'm having a hard time separating failure from defeat, what is my fault and what is circumstance. This is why I am looking for other peoples objective opinion. I am also hugely struggling with social media and if anyone has any advice I would love it.

I started an online business about four years ago. I make plug and tunnel earrings (for stretched out piercings) and while the jewellery market is over saturated, I am making something entirely different. Generic products of this type, if not plain, have sayings like "!@#$ You" printed on them and as a woman with stretched ear piercings I wanted some elegant bling like you can find anywhere for normal pierced ears. That's why I started the business and why I get fabulous reviews on Etsy where I do sell a small amount. While my product is very much a niche market I am convinced my product is well crafted, classy and unique. Women on Etsy have purchased them for weddings and proms. Etsy, however, is a closed loop and I don't make enough sales, so I decided to set up a website.

The first website was my mistake for picking hosting that was archaic and a year later I hired a marketing/website guy (recommended by an SEO guy) to build me a new website. The nuances of how this went wrong are endless, but safe to say after six months I still had no website despite it being a Wordpress site and he wasn't responding to my emails. I spent an entire summer feeling I'd been ripped off the $3000 I paid him then suddenly a landing page appeared. He started communicating again but he never really listened to what my business needed and blamed some mysterious "developer" that I never met. Likewise the logo I drew got sent to a "graphic artist" to the tune of $300 bucks to reformat and change the color to a color they never even used in the website. I have since become friends with a graphic designer who finds this very funny so I know I got ripped off.

Anyhow, I ended up in tears at one point and he agreed to finish the project. Keep in mind this was a whole year later and after I started a mock Wordpress site myself and was horrified how easy it was. To his credit he did spend a fair amount of time with me but it was never efficient... what we talked about rarely got implemented. At one point I mentioned this and he looked aghast and said I was rude and pushy. Anyhow, I then moved the site to a new host and severed contact with the guy.

I've done a lot with my website but can't get into social media on a psychological level which is killing any chance I have of success. I really love creating and am not a computer oriented person so its an unpleasant task. In the last year though my enthusiasm has completely drained. I've spent a small fortune on stupid websites never mind materials. Bottom line though is that the actual profit turned per order is good so I hate that am I ready to throw in the towel.

Thanks for listening and if anyone has any advice on how to kick oneself into gear... I'd love to hear.




posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 05:49 PM
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Why can you not use social media?

I know that facebook is something of a dirty word here on ATS but I have a false name account that I use to manage my facebook page for my small business.

It is by far the most usefull free way to build a customer base easily.

I do not use other social media but i can get enough business without it just on facebook alone.



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 05:55 PM
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Have you tried advertising with tattoo shops? A lot of them do piercings. One of them might buy some.



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 06:02 PM
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a reply to: igloo

I took my small jewelry craft business to the wholesale markets and avoided on line sales.
It worked very well until the metal market prices kicked all the profit out of my unique pieces. I have sense retired from the jewelry biz and moved into ceramics.

Here are the markets I attended....

americanmadeshow.com...

shows.craftcouncil.org...

www.marketsquareshows.com...

Good Luck...the marketing of fine crafts is very competitive and cutthroat.


edit on 11-4-2015 by olaru12 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 06:06 PM
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a reply to: Skid Mark

I was thinking tattoo shops too. If you choose to go with tattoo shops best and most risk free for tattoo shop is payment of your goods by sales done, then tattoo shop is not married with the products which do not sell. Buy an nice display ( or ask carpenter to make one ) with great product logo in it. Manage the display yourself by visiting and adding new items and keep it alive. Have business cards ( with your company website ) available in display.

You have good potential when you go where the markets are, especially when its niche product.



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 06:17 PM
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Hi and thanks for answering.

I do use facebook but I don't want to harass my friends with my products as the style doesn't apply to them. Perhaps I am doing it wrong. My page just sits with my friends and families "likes" and no new views until I pay for advertising. I would love to use pinterest but can't figure out how to verify my website as it doesn't work directly with Wordpress. (Scared to hire another "professional" but might have to)

Had thought of tattoo shops but not wholesale markets (never knew they existed) but it might be a way to introduce my stuff. I'll be honest and admit that the thought of going into tattoo shops freaks me out because I am almost fifty and am selling something that will probably appeal to much younger people. Actually my self esteem when it comes to selling is none existent. This is why I wanted to hide online and doesn't help. I've also had two tattoo artists draw up large tattoos for me and then disappear so I feel a bit of a jinx, lol



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 06:19 PM
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originally posted by: dollukka
a reply to: Skid Mark

I was thinking tattoo shops too. If you choose to go with tattoo shops best and most risk free for tattoo shop is payment of your goods by sales done, then tattoo shop is not married with the products which do not sell. Buy an nice display ( or ask carpenter to make one ) with great product logo in it. Manage the display yourself by visiting and adding new items and keep it alive. Have business cards ( with your company website ) available in display.

You have good potential when you go where the markets are, especially when its niche product.


Yes, this makes sense so I wouldn't be asking them to burden themselves should they not sell.



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 06:36 PM
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Facebook is full of special interests groups and forums. There are also a lot of selling pages.

I would list your product on as many selling pages as possible with a link to your page and join any pages you feel may suit your product and offer them there.

There are competition sites that you can advertise on for free, offer a prize to a random facebook follwer when you hit a certain number of likes and you will get loads of hits and likes giving you even more exposure.

I ran a competion for a friend and he got over 1000 likes and potential customers in less than 2 days.



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 06:41 PM
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You might also look for piercing/ tattoo conventions. You might be able to set up a stand there to show your stuff. You might have to pay a fee to set up but it might also be worth it. Maybe also advertise in tattoo/ piercing magazines.



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 06:48 PM
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I have many businesses under my belt. Some grat...some not so much.

I can address your main issue it seems. Your online presence.

ALWAYS control it!

Start here: www.wix.com

Easy to design, promote and control.

Good Luck!

Jude11



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 06:56 PM
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a reply to: nonspecific
This is great insight regarding joining special interest groups on FB. I was always under the impression that promoting on those would be a no-no. I'll check it out for sure. And had never heard of selling or competition sites. Thanks!



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 07:00 PM
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a reply to: Skid Mark

I had tried both conventions and mags but promoted the prior website so lost anything I had gained... my fault. I should revisit the idea. Might need to dress up for a change and get off the farm to do it
I do sense my resistance to promoting in person is partly due to being a long way from town and being out of the loop with that lifestyle.

Thanks



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 07:02 PM
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originally posted by: jude11
I have many businesses under my belt. Some grat...some not so much.

I can address your main issue it seems. Your online presence.

ALWAYS control it!

Start here: www.wix.com

Easy to design, promote and control.

Good Luck!

Will check this, thanks.


Jude11



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 07:02 PM
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originally posted by: igloo

Had thought of tattoo shops but not wholesale markets (never knew they existed) but it might be a way to introduce my stuff. I'll be honest and admit that the thought of going into tattoo shops freaks me out because I am almost fifty and am selling something that will probably appeal to much younger people. Actually my self esteem when it comes to selling is none existent. This is why I wanted to hide online and doesn't help. I've also had two tattoo artists draw up large tattoos for me and then disappear so I feel a bit of a jinx, lol


I don't think you should worry about going into tattoo shops. The ones I've been in have always been very relaxed and friendly.

People with tattoos and piercings always come across as very laid-back and non-judgemental to me.

I had 6mm holes in my ear-lobes some years ago but ear-rings were very plain and not very varied. I had steel hoops with a ball-bearing but needed special pliers to open and close them when putting them in / taking them out of my ears. And fitting in the ball-bearings was so incredibly difficult and frustrating.

If you're making beautiful ear-rings that are easy to get in and out of one's ears I should imagine you'd be inundated with interest / orders once you're up and running properly


Sorry if this question sounds ignorant - but is e-bay the sort of place where you could at least make a few sales?


edit on 11-4-2015 by berenike because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 07:15 PM
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originally posted by: berenike
[


I had 6mm holes in my ear-lobes some years ago but ear-rings were very plain and not very varied. I had steel hoops with a ball-bearing but needed special pliers to open and close them when putting them in / taking them out of my ears. And fitting in the ball-bearings was so incredibly difficult and frustrating.




Haha, I remember those.... I had them too... pain in the behind


I realize people in tattoo shops are open minded and creative so it shouldn't be a problem... its just my age but then my boyfriend got his first tattoo this year at 59 years old and a full sleeve including the elbow at that.

Hadn't thought of ebay
will try.



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 07:33 PM
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a reply to: igloo

I did all the E-commerce for the last company I worked for.. my boss was a cheap skate so I worked with what he was willing to spend, which was next to nothing... ( lol ) I also increased the companies online sales from approximately 5-10% of sales, to 50% of all the sales consistently - money coming in every single day without fail...

You need an online presence, at as many places as possible - even if you don't sell much - until you have a reputation you wont; people want to know they wont get ripped off - once you get one or two sales, more will come, slowly at first then more and more... so get your name out there and throw in some ads. E-bay, Amazon, Etsy are musts.. also try for your local area, craigslist is great for local business.

On a website it doesn't have to be cooler than cool, just easy for people to use.. you can even go with a yahoo e-commerce site - they are 35 dollars a month, and have templates to make life easy for you.. you have to accept credit cards, and your bank will set it up as an e-commerce site that will accept credit cards - my bosses bank charged us 99.00 to set it up for e-commerce, plus charged 2.5% of each credit card transaction...

this is typical of any company you accept credit cards through, so get used to it... making the sale easy for your customer will cost you a little, so take this into consideration in your prices, while still keeping your prices low.. 2% isn't much to be able to expand your business..ebay takes their cut, paypal takes theirs.. but you need them for income, so just figure it in...

Once you are doing a good business then you can upgrade your website and such, but in the beginning just start small.. and advertise your site... make sure in your eBay store to link your website, show yourself as established and trustworthy..

Also, you may be too specialized if you are only making earrings for one kind of piercing? (Sorry I don't know much about that sort of thing) But if possible, make a few nice things also that might have a bit of a wider market - might help to get your name out ... word of mouth does wonders and the more good words you can get the better.. keep making your specialty, always noting your specialty to new customers and be sure to cross advertise..

Run an ad for your basic piercing earrings.. and at the bottom make sure to tell people what other special and wonderful things you have available also!

Sell yourself in each and every ad.. tell people about all the products you make, not just that one..etc..make up some kind of repeatable thing about your business that you can simply copy into every ad... this is a time saver, and you only have to worry about grammar and wording once for that part of it... rather than every time you do an ad. You want something that people can remember to associate with you.

That is all I can think of advice wise to give you...

edit on 11-4-2015 by OpinionatedB because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 07:52 PM
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a reply to: OpinionatedB

Good info and I never thought of ebay, Amazon or craigslist for that matter.

All in all asking for input has given me a little hope because I make a hundred or so a month on Etsy so expanding into different venues might make all the difference in the world.

The thing about reputation is huge because I noticed it took me about a year to get sales on Etsy before a sense of trust sink in.

I just went on facebook and signed up for special interest groups (suggested by nonspecific) that sell second hand body jewellery and will try selling some of my seconds there.



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 08:15 PM
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a reply to: igloo

Its a numbers game really, if it takes 50 views to sell 1 pair of earrings, and you want to sell 5 pair a day, then you know how many views you would like to get.. start with a small goal in mind so as not to overwhelm yourself, and expand your goals as you go.

Reputation is everything everything everything. Sell yourself as an established business - most small businesses fold in their first two years, and you are still going, so that is confidence building right there.. you haven't hit any major milestone yet (which is counted in 5's, 5 years 10 years 15 years etc) but you can use what you have to your benefit..

Doing business locally for over 4 years!

Add that, it lets people know that while still new, you have been around long enough not to fold before they get their pair of earrings..

are you a member of the better business bureau? If not see about becoming accredited if you like. This is something you can also add to your advertisements that is confidence building to new or prospective customers..

Also, offer returns.. people want to feel safe that if what they get was not what they thought they saw in the picture that they wont get stuck and just loose money, offer a 7 day money back thing.. it is helpful.. 14 is better but no more than that is actually necessary..

You want to do all YOU can to make new customers feel safe about handing over their money.. also, lots and lots of pictures, different angles of the product etc - including something that sizes the product, even use a ruler next to the earring if it is a bit larger so they see how big it really is..

just things you can do...
Good luck!
edit on 11-4-2015 by OpinionatedB because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 08:38 PM
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When investing time into the social media aspect be careful as it is easy to spend lots of time getting lots of likes but very little income.

Having a simple website that works for your sales is a great target to get. Making sure that it does stay well maintained and up to date helps your good will and brand. A large organization can die if its IT department does shut down for a week.



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 10:53 PM
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Sorry I bailed for a bit... my son broke up with his girlfriend and I've been trying to console her... ah the joys of youth, not.

Anyhow with all the great suggestions I am starting to feel less hopeless and more that I was missing some important avenues to take.

It sure is hard having to diversify to the point of being good at manufacturing, photography, web building, social media networking over many platforms, and promoting but I am resigned to the fact it is necessary.

edit on 11-4-2015 by igloo because: words



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