Today, on Facebook, someone shared that they were leaving their corporate job to start their own business. They had two weeks to go, and very excited, but they didn’t have anything in place to make an income yet…
“I simply trust that all is well.”
Now this person has a big heart, and big ideas about what they want out of life, but this Law of Attraction mentality can be harmful if not backed up by action.
We all have big ideas about what we want from our work. We want to be featured in a popular gallery, or we want to be found by Martha Stewart, or selling massive amounts on Etsy, but none of that happens unless you put the work in. Thinking positive about your plans is a must. You definitely want to have a positive mindset when going about your business, but business doesn’t happen on mindset alone.
The scariest part about my friend’s post were the notes of encouragement from others. People were cheering, saying, “you rock,” and “I’m inspired,” and I believe the friends only mean to be encouraging, but I think they are creating a false sense of security in our mutual friend. Happy thoughts and good intentions may help get a project off the ground, but when someone makes a bold, almost outlandish remark about wanting to jump into self-employment without any plan for making money, the last thing they need right then is a push. You might as well jump from a plane with a rock instead of a parachute.
This is not Field of Dreams. Just because you tried to build something, or in this case, thought about building something, that does not mean people will show up. You may get some initial fans and friends who come to support you in the beginning, which is great, but this also builds a false sense of security. Those people are supporting you to get you started, but they are not long lasting customers or clients. They will not be the ones buying your products or services over and over again. To find those people, you need to put your boots on the ground and make tracks.
One Hand Feeds the Other
One thing I keep hearing from creative people lately is that they haven’t started their own website with their own shop because they are waiting to get a foothold in another marketplace first. They want to see success in Etsy before they move onto their own website. This makes sense to a degree because you can test your market in Etsy a lot easier than you can a new self-hosted website that has little to no traffic.
However, some people say they don’t want to start a self-hosted shop until they know they can make money from it. The cost of doing business each month on that self-hosted site is “too much” compared to the cost of doing business on Etsy. This may be true at the start of your business, but this could quickly turn around, depending on your online efforts.
No matter what you do, if you’re starting an self-hosted shop of your own, there is going to be this gap between when you start and when you begin to make enough money to make the shop sustainable. Any successful business owner knows that you need to make small leaps of faith in order to bring in bigger gains later on. No, that new website may not sustain itself right from the start, but it will over time, and in the meantime, your Etsy shop can help lift the load for awhile.
If you’re on Etsy and thinking about starting your own web store, don’t think of them as This versus That. Instead, think of them as This and That. Yes, it will take more time to focus on both, but if you start slow and steady, you will eventually grow accustomed to operating both shops at once.
It cost $14 a month (right now) to start a Shopify site, or $30 if you want more functionality. How many sales do you need to make on Etsy a month to afford your time on both shops? Etsy may foot the bills for awhile, but eventually, the other shop will catch up, and maybe surpass your Etsy shop.
Should you stop your Etsy shop if you’re own shop is doing well? Only you can decide that, but I know a few people, namely John and Angie, who are doing well having both open, and do so for very specific reasons.
Now some will assume I’m saying that everyone should operate their own hosted store above Etsy, and for the most part, that is true, but I also acknowledge that not everyone works in the same way, and not everyone has the capability to manage their own shop. Do I recommend having your own storefront? Yes, but it’s not the only option.
I stand by my statement that anyone can grow a business with nothing more than a web store, an email list and a couple of social media accounts. Is it ideal for everyone? No, but it is a proven business model. If that’s what you want out of your business, then the only way to get it is to Go Get It!
Waiting for things to happen is not a business model. Waiting for attention, waiting for traffic, waiting for sales is no way to run a business. Waiting might as well be called failing, because that is what you are setting yourself up for if you wait for things to happen.
What you do from here is your choice, and everyone has their own right answer, but it all starts with taking action. Action is where business is made, where business grows. Taking action toward your goals is how you become successful. Sometimes those actions require you to leap, but make sure you take a parachute.