Are You Taking Any Steps?
These days we have access to so much information, sometimes too much. We can see who is successful as well as all the people who have failed. We also have access to so many conflicting opinions. It can be really difficult to decide which direction to take steps in and to see how little steps can eventually turn into larger successes. If you are overwhelmed, here are some things to consider.
See the big picture but break it down – Focusing too much on the end result can be daunting and detrimental. Hearing that you need a certain number of items for sale or a certain number of visitors to your site each day can really overshadow and take your focus away from the small steps that you have to take in order to actually get to that point.
Process versus events – Having a huge online store with a lot of traffic is not an event, it is a process. So much of the time we focus only on the event or end result. An event would be like winning the lottery. It just happens. Having a successful online business is not an event, it is the result of a process.
The only way to have a shop full of items is to put forth a certain amount of effort on a daily basis to come up with and make new pieces. Those small daily accomplishments are part of the process that ultimately turns into having those 40 or 100 items.
The same goes for traffic. Everyone wants a lot of views and thinks everything would be perfect if they only had a lot of traffic to their store. Just like building your items is a process, so is building traffic. It grows over time. There will never be that one ad or marketing trick you can find that will flip a switch and turn on the traffic. Realize that having an online shop that gets a lot of views is not an event.
Processes are not exciting – It may be exciting to ultimately achieve a certain level of success, but more than likely the process of getting there was pretty boring. Very seldom do we hear or read about the day to day drudgery that went on for years and ultimately resulted in the successes we see.
Analysis Paralysis – This prevents you from even getting started. Too many options usually leads to not choosing any of them. At some point you just have to pick something to do and do it. Sure, there are a lot of different marketplaces to sell your handmade items. At a certain point you have to make an educated guess as to which is the best fit for your certain items and you just have to try one. All the research in the world is not as valuable as actually trying something. It will be obvious very quickly whether something will work when you actually do it. Up until that point of taking an action, it is just an educated guess.
The same goes for deciding what to make or what products to expand into. You can see the data of what is selling and you can take a look at what others are doing and notice trends, but you will not know how successful your specific designs will be until you put them out there. Everything looks good on paper but there are too many variables in reality to accurately predict results.
You do not need to have everything figured out – The reality is you can never have everything figured out perfectly before taking some sort of action. It is not necessary to plan too far ahead. Know basically where you want to get to, but do not be too specific with your plan. As you reach that next step, do your research and ask your questions, then proceed. Here are just a couple examples.
You will not truly understand how to upload your photos to your site if you are still in the phase of coming up with your domain name for example. There is no need to worry about that until you get to that point. If you learned how to do it now you would probably forget the steps by the time you needed them anyway.
The same can be said for shipping. Do not let not knowing how to handle international shipping prevent you from even opening up your store. When you get to that point you can start researching your options and learn how to handle it.
Thinking versus doing – In order to make real progress, actual tasks need to get done. A lot of people think about doing things, sometimes for years, without taking any steps of actually doing something. It is not enough to have the knowledge or ideas, they have to be implemented. Thinking and learning can make you very knowledgeable but most of the successful people you read about had very little background in what they were doing. They just jumped right in and started doing.
You probably already know enough to get started – It is easy to be overwhelmed by being aware of everything we do not know, but you have to realize that you probably know enough right now to do something. You probably already know what you can make, what you like to do, and where you can get the materials to get started.
Maybe you have been making handmade items for years and have always been told you should be selling them. You probably even have an idea of where you could sell them. You just have to take that step.
Do not worry about choosing the wrong direction or path – The hands on education you receive from actually doing something transfers over. Very seldom will you ever learn something that you cannot put to use somewhere else. In most cases when selling handmade items online, when something does not work out you are primarily out time, not money. There is very little downside to taking action.
That first step leads to another – It is really difficult to plan that next move when you have not taken that first step. Often times you will not even know what questions or issues you will have until you have actually done something. It gets easier when you can build on what is already there. Expanding your site is possible only because you took the steps to set one up in the first place. Improving your photos can only be done after you take the initiative to take those initial crappy ones. Improving your marketing and driving more traffic to your store obviously comes after creating all your items and getting them online.
Learn and then apply – What are you struggling with right now? After each small step there are going to be more questions. Decide what that step needs to be, do a little research, then take some action. Applying knowledge immediately after learning is one of the best ways to retain that information.
Accomplishments build confidence – The simple act of completing something can build up enough confidence for you to take that next step. I am talking small successes. A success can simply be accomplishing a small task that you know you need to do. This can be actually purchasing a domain name. That $9.95 purchase solidifies a certain direction and makes an idea a reality. Another success would be to actually put one of your creations online for others to see. These are tangible accomplishments that you can build on. You will have hundreds of these small accomplishments along the way and each will give you more confidence to proceed to the next step.
Consistent action – The simple act of doing something on a daily basis can be the most important factor in your business. As mentioned, action is not reading. You can be very busy reading and learning and not making any actual progress. True action is tangible and means getting something done.
What small steps have you taken that led to your success?