We know firsthand that starting an online business isn鈥檛 all roses and photo shoots鈥 but that doesn鈥檛 mean it鈥檚 not worth doing! Whether you鈥檙e a new entrepreneur yourself or just business-curious, a little guidance from those who鈥檝e been running the game for awhile is key to getting your plans off the ground. We rounded up 10 pieces of valuable advice, sponsored by FedEx, on getting started, staying motivated, moments of weakness, and how to stay personal in e-commerce, from some of our favorite makers and entrepreneurs.

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MELANIE ABRANTES

Melanie

As a designer, woodworker, and business owner, Melanie has made a name for herself making and selling handcrafted wood and cork goods out of her beautiful online shop, Melanie Abrantes Designs. Here are two tips from her experience starting up a home goods business.

TAKE A LEAP

鈥淎fter graduating college, I wanted to continue to develop the skills that I learned in the woodshop at school. I joined a local spot and started making different pieces to give to people for gifts and to make my own projects for my home. Friends began encouraging me to sell my goods, and I ended up signing up for West Coast Craft in San Francisco to see if people would buy it. I didn鈥檛 know if people would be interested, but I was pleasantly surprised to see my pieces selling! My business soon began after that.鈥

TELL A VISUAL STORY

鈥淭he most important thing about selling your product online is to make sure that the images of your product are able to tell the full story. Since people won鈥檛 be able to see it in person, they have to imagine what the product is going to look like in that setting. When you have professional photography involved, you are able to create a life for that product.鈥

MEGHAN KANODIA

Meghan

Meghan started her jewelry company, Svelte Metals, out of a need for well-made pieces that actually fit, and saw that she was not alone in that need. Here鈥檚 her advice on killing it in your online store.

BUILD TRUST THROUGH GOOD COMMUNICATION

鈥淪uccessfully selling a product online is about building trust with your customer, because they can鈥檛 meet you in person or try on your product. I鈥檝e found the best way to do this is to be authentic, responsive, and consistent with your communication and messaging.鈥

REMEMBER THE BIG PICTURE

鈥淚t鈥檚 easy to get discouraged if you have a lull in sales, but remember that selling online means you have countless potential sales at your fingertips. Your ecommerce site can be working for you 24/7 if you think big.鈥

CHARLOTTE CHO

Charlotte

As cofounder of Korean beauty site Soko Glam and editor-in-chief of The Klog, Charlotte knows a thing or three about creating a beauty brand that not only answers the 鈥渨hat鈥 but the 鈥渨hy鈥 and 鈥渉ow鈥 behind her curated products. Here鈥檚 how she got her start and kept it personal online.

FIND OUTSIDE INSPIRATION

鈥淲ithin a few months of living in skincare-obsessed Korea, it turned my beauty world upside down! I quickly adopted their skin-first philosophy, which was refreshingly seen as not a chore but a part of the lifestyle that they took delight in鈥 this motivated me to share the world of Korean beauty to the West, so my cofounder Dave and I created Soko Glam, a curated selection of the best Korean beauty products. And because education is key to understanding the world of Korean beauty, I launched The Klog, a place to learn about these techniques and read about the latest innovations from Korea.鈥

GET PERSONALIZED

鈥淪kincare is very personal and needs to be tailored to your needs, so we offer one-on-one skin consultations, where trained skin experts will call you directly to discuss your skin concerns and offer recommendations. Education is our key focus, so that鈥檚 why we pour our energy into articles about skincare techniques and information on The Klog, and why I wrote The Little Book of Skin Care, which has been translated to over four languages now!鈥

PRISCILLA TSAI

Priscilla

As founder of organic skincare brand Cocokind, Priscilla puts her heart and soul into getting clean and affordable skin products to the masses. Here鈥檚 how she found inspo and what she鈥檚 learned in the biz.

FIND A GAP IN THE MARKET

鈥淚 was an analyst on Wall Street and working 12+ hour days. I didn鈥檛 always have time to make my own skincare 鈥渃oncoctions,鈥 as I would call them. When I went to the grocery store, I would get so frustrated because most skincare products either contained too many unnecessary ingredients or they would be (what I believed) unfairly expensive. My skin is extremely sensitive; more ingredients means that there is a greater chance that I will have a negative reaction. That鈥檚 where my business idea started! It was founded out of my own need 鈥 I realized that there was nothing out there to serve my needs as a consumer.鈥

DON鈥橳 LET PERFECTION HOLD YOU BACK

鈥淚 believe it鈥檚 extremely important to collect customer feedback as soon as you can鈥 your product may launch without being 鈥減erfect,鈥 and that鈥檚 ok. Your product will never (and should never) stop changing. Show the world what product values you have created, and don鈥檛 wait until 鈥榩erfection鈥 to launch. Perfection can鈥檛 be achieved without feedback from your consumer, anyways!鈥

MAIA MCDONALD

Maia

Maia started her children鈥檚 clothing and toy brand, Bitte, after having a daughter of her own. She teamed up with her mother (an entrepreneur herself with toy industry chops), and together they launched their own sustainable, adorable, and well designed brand! Here are her tips on keeping a business going online.

SETTING YOURSELF APART TAKES WORK

鈥淸E-Commerce] is a lot of work! That might seem obvious, but sometimes people have the impression that because it鈥檚 online and we don鈥檛 have to deal with the overhead or other obstacles of having a brick and mortar, that we just get to sit back and let the sales roll in. That鈥檚 of course not the case, especially now, since the online marketplace is pretty oversaturated. We constantly have to be setting ourselves apart and sharing our story and what makes us special.鈥

REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED

鈥淭here have been a couple of those moments where I feel so tired and overworked and I think to myself, 鈥業t would probably be much easier if I just went and got a nine-to-five corporate job that had a salary and benefits and weekends!鈥 But for the most part, I feel so lucky to be doing what I鈥檓 doing, and being able to work with my mom and create my own schedule so I get to spend more time with my daughter. It鈥檚 really a dream come true.鈥

Sponsored by FedEx.

Author: Lee Schellenberger