By Mona Ismaeil
I started my online business with my husband in 2010. I can’t believe it’s been that long! Elhamdulillah it has been a success and although it took a long time to get off the ground, it was worth the effort. When I chose to stay home with Manessa in 2013, knowing I had Modern Hejab to occupy my time as well as provide financial support for my family made that decision easier.
It was not easy at first and I would be lying if I said that an online business is easy – it is not! Although you aren’t opening up a store with long working hours, it is equally difficult but in a totally different way. Online selling gives flexibility and you can reach customers from all over the world, but there is far more competition for you which means you really have to know what you’re doing. Here are some tips to help make your endeavour a bit easier.
Know Your Product
When you decide what you want to sell, it must be something you really understand. You must be a product expert in order to be able to successfully sell it to others. Potential customers feel more comfortable buying when they feel like the seller knows everything about that item. For example, I sell hijabs. That means I must know everything and anything about hijab. That means fabrics, what’s good for each face shape, styling, washing, drying, EVERYTHING!
Know Your Selling Platform
There are so many places you can sell your product, you need to choose which one is best for your type of business, your commitment and your budget.
Great platform which can help you to move a great deal of product. Requires a big commitment as they have strict rules for images, postings, communication with customers. Also it is a great deal of effort to set up. You have to know how to play by the rules! Also, they have Amazon fees which takes a chunk out of your profit.
Fantastic site especially for handmade items . There is a certain culture that goes along with Etsy which lends well to more expensive handmade items. The only thing to consider is you have to pay $0.20 per listing per month. You’ll be investing into keeping the listing up whether or not you’re selling.
Ebay: www.ebay.com / www.ebay.ca
This site is easy to set up and can be great for selling but there is very high competition as you can have sellers from all over the world. Your prices needed to be very low in order to compete.
Your own website
It is always great to have your own site as long as you know how to drive traffic to it. Your website will not just show up on google on its own. You will need to put some effort into marketing and SEO. Also, the design and set up will take time.
This is probably your easiest option for setting up a selling space. It has the least amount of effort when it comes to set up. Be sure to make a PAGE, not a GROUP. You will have to set up some sort of payment system which you can do through PayPal. You will have to do some work in getting followers and engaging them to keep them not only interested but so that you continue to show up on their feed.
Know Your Competition
If you sell jewellery, you must be knowledgeable of all the other jewellery sellers as well in your style, price range and location (city and country). In the online world, you are not only competing with the store across the street, you are competing with every online store across the WWW. This means you need to step up your game when it comes to products, promotions and marketing.
Know your Customer
This takes time but you must understand your customer base. The way you market to moms is different than you would teenage girls. If your product is good for different ages, genders, etc. you must really work hard to cater to all of those and market to their liking.
Remember You Are Still a Mom
I’m not a stranger to getting frustrated with Manessa because I’m trying to work and she’s nagging at me. We must remember that you and your business but work around your child’s needs not the other way around. We are first and foremost moms and developing a balanced schedule and life is tricky but you can do it! Your passion for your business and your family will be your greatest asset.
About the Author:
Mona Ismaeil is the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.
Are you an entrepreneur, or thinking of going that route? How do you manage your time to make sure that your business is as successful as your family life?