I’m all for side hustles, putting your wares up for sale & giving market stalls a go, but you need to be careful where you’re selling.
As an e-commerce seller of more than 5 years, I wanted to make sure you do your research before you jump in feet first.
There are some fantastic places to sell your things, but such is life, there are some places that will promise you the earth and then disappoint.
If you are a creative business, your products might be perfect for Etsy or Folksy. These seem to be the best places to sell these types of items. It is free to join and then you simply pay each time you list something. You are in charge of what you do and the customers seem to realise that they are buying from you, the small business seller who is simply using the platform of Esty, not Etsy themselves. You have to pay to join somewhere like NOTHS and they also, on top of that, take a % of each sale. More often than not if I’ve heard a horror story from a seller, it’s to do with that shopping platform. The company seems to side with its customers rather than the people who actually sell through NOTHS and give the company and purpose. If there were no sellers, the business wouldn’t exist.
The benefits of the Etsys & NOTHSs of the world is that they advertise on your behalf and they already have a customer base. Whilst it’s awesome to buy your own domain and set up your own website, possibly through the likes of Shopify or something, does anyone know you exist?
Christmas markets can be good, I’ve done some in the past but they have been hit and miss. Again, you usually have to pay for your table and when I attended one with a book that I had written, self-published and paid for copies of, a Grandmother told me £5 was too expensive for a kids book. She’s just bought her grandchild a cupcake for £2.50. Whilst I love cake, even at £5 I would have made about 60p. People don’t always realise that it’s YOU who have put the hours in, YOU who has designed, YOU who has paid for things to be made or published or created. They so often see a smaller business and think it should be cheaper, yet are prepared to pay to line the pockets of on Amazon.
Stand your ground as well. Stick to your prices. I find it hilarious how customers seem to think that they can ask for discounts, especially if they’re buying more. Would you go to Asda and ask for a discount because you want to buy 10 packets of pasta? As a seller, if you get charged a percentage per sale by the likes of NOTHS, that percentage is still the same, the cost you’ve worked out per product is still the same. You cant always pass on a discount to people, however much ‘exposure’ the plan to give you through their ‘oh-so-popular’ Instagram account.
Make sure you cover yourself. Some people won’t get insurance, but depending on what you sell and where you sell, you’ll need it. I’d much rather shell out for some insurance and make sure that I am covered than something happens and I lose our house.
Be prepared to shell out more than you bring in at first. Like any business, you probably need to invest some money before getting some money, but I would never want to put anybody off starting a business or side hustle, infact, I think it’s something that everyone should do!
Let me know your top tips & horror stories over on Twitter.