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First, a bit of a backstory. I own a service-based business in the wedding industry. I went from completely booked this year to having almost no weddings due to covid-19 and it can still last for quite some time. I need to figure out as fast as possible a way to pivot my business from selling my services locally to hopefully selling a product globally. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, and I work for a tech company that is literally built for this. If I don’t know what I’m doing, I figured there’s a big chance other people feel lost as well. So, you know what, let’s feel lost and learn together.
Where to start?
I asked A LOT of people who have all started their own business what the very first thing you have to do is. And I got A LOT of different answers- everything from naming your business first, to draw up a five year business plan! And we’ll get to all those things, and they’re all important. But for me, I figured the first thing I needed to do was figure out what I was going to sell and how I was going to sell it.
Will you be making the product yourself? Will you be having a manufacturer produce it? Or will you be dropshipping, like we do here at SaleSource. I’m going to go through the pros and cons of all these methods so that you can determine what works for you.
Option 1: Making the product yourself
This is a great option if you’re pivoting a restaurant or perhaps are an arts and craft person. The pros are that you can make to order, so you can keep your inventories low and your initial investment pretty much depends on how much it costs to make your item. The cons are that as you grow and scale your business, you’ll need to be cognizant of the time it takes you to make each product as it could potentially limit your ability to grow.
Option 2: If you can’t make a product yourself or want a custom product, you’ll need to source a manufacturer.
The pros of this is that the world is pretty much your oyster when it comes to finding something to sell. The cons is that you may have to put a lot of research into finding the right manufacturer and more of an initial investment into buying samples of your product. A lot of manufacturers also have minimum order quantities so you may have to pay for a large amount of your product up front without really knowing how much you’re going to sell.
Option 3: The last option I’m covering is Dropshipping
Now I work for a commerce company but I’ve never really understood what dropshipping was. The pros is that it is typically the least amount of money to get started. You will take the brunt of the blame should any of those things affect a customer.
For me, I wanted to find a product that complimented my already existing service based business. I’m a makeup artist, and doing hair and makeup for brides is the biggest part of my ecommerce business. A huge amount of time has been invested for me to figure out if I could make/sell that would pair well with my current business. I thought about making my own cosmetics line, but the investment and not to mention all the health regulations surrounding that is way out of my budget and timeline.
I also am not a salesperson, I can’t sell things I’m not passionate about, I would just lose motivation and get nowhere. So I needed to find something that I loved and cared about. After spending some serious time brainstorming about what I love- it hit me. Now don’t laugh, but I love fake eyelashes. I wear them every single day of my life. The bigger the lash the better! And I use them on all of my clients when I’m doing makeup for brides so it’d be easy for me to up sell my own false lashes to my clients instead of purchasing them from a different company.
Additionally, since I already use false lashes on the daily- it’s a low cost of failure for me. Even if I never sold a single pair (which won’t happen, because we’re going to learn to build an Empire over here) I would just have a lifetime supply of lashes for my own personal collection
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