a blog about creative side hustles, etsy-entrepreneurship, and disabled freelancing

a blog about creative side hustles, etsy-entrepreneurship, and disabled freelancing

Back to the blog

September 24, 2020

The Reality of Selling Services and Products Online. Are You Ready for these Truths about Online Business?

Hard Truth #1: Unique May Not Sell

You will hear it said over and over again that to have a successful craft business (or any business), you must have something “unique.”

Make something unique” is not helpful advice. It is incredibly vague, and its also not necessarily true.

What is unique? I don’t know. Sometimes, you see something and think, “that’s unique.” And we often say we want something unique for a friend’s birthday gift or your next piece of jewelry. It doesn’t say much anything. It is total guesswork to create something unique.

You will never find a graphic designer who doesn’t get repulsed when asked to create a “unique” logo. They are essentially asking you to guess. As a website developer, guessing what a client wants can be a dangerous (and expensive) business. It’s a red flag for every creative professional.

You should not build a business off guessing. You may guess right, but how likely is that?

Hard Truth #2: Proven May Not Sell

So I heard recently a guru-type say she only wants to sell products that are “proven.”

“Selling proven products” sounds like it makes all the sense in the world. It does in many ways. If you want to sell commodities, this is advice to follow. Starting a business selling sugar or cardboard boxes is not terrible thinking for a business plan. They’re both always going to sell.

Jewelry and t-shirts are proven products too. You’ll see that a lot of people struggle to sell these.

Just hop over to any Facebook entrepreneur group or Etsy’s forums to hear sellers lament how it is impossible to sell in a saturated market.

You’ll even hear people actively discourage others from selling in what they call saturated markets. It’s not the worst advice, but again, there’s some missed nuance.

When a market is saturated, it can indicate demand. You have to analyze this for yourself and weigh the risks of high demand, saturated market.

Do you think you’ll stop seeing new makeup brands break out and thrive as a new trending brand? Saturation does not exclusively prevent newcomers.

But there’s no denying the giant graveyard of print on demand t-shirt brands, jewelry maker’s dreams, and “quality” purse companies.

Proven does not necessarily sell. That’s a tough truth about online business to understand.

Hard Truth #3: You’re Not Only Competing with Other Sellers in Your Marketplace

If you are on Shopify, Etsy, eBay, Amazon, Fiverr, Youtube, or anywhere online, it is easy to focus on your direct competitors sharing the same platform.

But here’s a nasty truth.

They aren’t your only competitor.

If you’re on Etsy, you’re competing with Amazon, Walmart, and maybe their local grocery store’s checkout line.

If you’re on Fiverr, you’re competing with Upwork, app services, or even a college student looking to make some summer money.

If you’re on Youtube, you’re competing with Netflix, movie theaters, and even a book.

And so on.

Everyone becoming your competitor is a devastating, crushing truth. You may be thinking to yourself, how on earth do I compete with Amazon too?

That is the million-dollar question!

Bonus Truths about Online Business

People do figure out the answer to the million-dollar question. It doesn’t require an MBA, consultant, or a lucky guess to figure this all out. Dreams don’t have to be dreams.

Watch a Shia Labeouf video and rally with me, my friend.

Whether you’re an artist trying to have a profitable side-hustle, a freelancer trying to sell your services, or you’re a Youtuber trying to break out of the no-name slump; you need to know these truths.

But more importantly, you need to know how to overcome them.

That’s why I made this course for you!

Join my email list for my free mini-course.

In each email in my three-part email series, I discuss the truths I wrote about here and what you can do about it.

My totally free mini-course that will give you back some of the optimism I may have dashed here.

Can’t wait to see you there.

(Or, if you really want to up your business’ brand in ONE day, then check out my amazing “One Day Branding” workbook. I wrote about why you want to do your business’ branding in one day in this post. There’s even a free branding roadmap too you can grab while checking out the guidebook by following the link.)

Share and Enjoy !