Launching an online shop is no easy task. Unfortunately you can’t just do the thing you love. Painting all day and designing new prints would be a dream, wouldn’t it? But with selling platforms becoming more and more densely populated, it’s imperative that shop owners focus on the business side just as equally as the creative side in order to create a profitable business. There’s a learning curve to product photography and marketing mastery!
But where do we start?
3 common mistakes print shop owners make
#1: The product photography SUCKS
Yea, I said sucks.
For me, stellar product photography should be the biggest priority for an online shop. Or at least top 3. Good product photography is the difference between a potential customer scrolling right past vs. stopping and clicking. Photos are the visual representation of your business! They either catch attention or lose interest and can be a huge determining factor of the success of your shop.
But styling, lighting and taking photos of your prints or goods isn’t always easy. That’s why I created my mini course on smartphone photography and styling: Photograph Your Artwork.
#2: Neglecting the marketing and business side
I get it. You’re good at the art and creative stuff and not so hot on the business stuff. However, just because you maybe have the cutest watercolor prints or most unique product in all the land doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be profitable. You gotta sell the work and people have to find out about you first!
If marketing, finances, understanding profit and loss stuff makes your head spin, know that you’re not alone, but it’s all about finding a steady balance in your business. Batch your time, so that you don’t have to constantly be pulled out of your creative flow to do admin or marketing! I recommend scheduling time into your calendar to research, learn, and organize the biz side of things. Organize your file library. Do keyword research. Learn about SEO on the platform(s) you’re using. Keep detailed records of your finances. Maybe you start by doing these things yourself and then someday outsourcing it or hiring help to take some of the load off your plate. But remember, the more you practice something, the better you get at it.
Keep an eye on my shop and courses page. I've got some resources in the works to help in this arena, too. The internet is a beautiful and powerful tool that has an incredible amount of power to help you reach the perfect customers.
#3: Giving up WAY too soon
Just like anything, getting a steady stream of customers and income takes time. If you’re checking all of the boxes and doing the right things to create a profitable shop, remember search engine optimization, customer reviews, return customers, social media presence, all of those strategies build over time to contribute toward growth.
Stay consistent and continue to show up. If something is REALLY not working, make sure to be aware enough to test and rework and know when to quit. BUT overall, most shop owners give up much too soon. We’re used to instant gratification. You know what I’m talking about — ordering something online and having it show up on our door a day later. Be patient and really make sure you’re analyzing, testing and tweaking as needed and over time, you’ll see growth.
Do you have an online shop? What are some lessons you’ve learned?