Monday, 21 September 2009

One Small Step For Man

When I made my last post I had expected my next post to come a week later; I hadn't expected anything significant to occur between then and now but I have been pleasantly surprised!

I am supposed to be back at university right now but unfortunately I fell ill over the weekend and so am still at home. Still, there was a silver lining to that cloud as I logged into the computer for a few minutes Sunday afternoon to be greeted with a pleasant surprise. I had received my first order via my website! Up until now all orders have either come offline or via eBay. It's hard to get people to even visit a new website, let alone have them trust the website with their money so this is a momentous occasion. Orders via my website are preferable than Amazon or eBay since I don't need to worry about listing fees which means cheaper prices for both myself and the customer. That and I would like to recoup the money invested in getting the website up and running, not to mention the amount of time spent working on it. 

On another issue related to the website I'm still having trouble drawing traffic to it. I'm running a Google Adsense campaign and I've given the address out to everyone I know, a few of which have passed it on to people they know etc... Still, according to Google Analytics with the exceptions of a few spikes every now and then I'm only averaging ~10 unique hits so far. The site has been up about 4 weeks so far so I'm not exactly sure if that's good or bad relative to the newness of the site. Still, I suppose getting 10 unique visitors that buy products is better than getting 100 unique visitors that don't. Nevertheless increasing the amount of visitors increases the chances of a sale so I'm working at trying to boost the traffic to the website. 

I'm working on the idea of putting up some posters around town advertising my business and allowing people to pick up the products directly from me when I get back to university. It's a small student town and the only other video game shop is GAME which is overpriced so I hope it can help boost sales, especially in the run up to Christmas.

Going back to university tomorrow to a house that doesn't have an Internet connection yet so I can't be sure when my next post will be exactly, but as soon as I get Internet again I'll post an update.

Friday, 18 September 2009

The Beginning

On the 13 August 2009 I officially registered my business with the Companies House and became Director of my own company. Two weeks ago I managed to get my company's website up and running and I thought I'd set up this blog to document my journey into the world of business. I'm also a University student so I've got to somehow juggle studying and managing my business, along with whatever else life throws at me. This is my story.

I don't want this whole blog to be a plug for my business so for the meantime I won't be identifying my business, although if this ever does get popular and enough people are curious about it I might reconsider. I've always thought it a bit sad to come across random blogs that were updated diligently and suddenly stop. It makes me wonder why they stopped and what happened to that person. Did they give up? Have they moved on? It's like reading a story without an ending. So regardless of whether this blog becomes popular or not I'm going to try to keep this going as long as my business. It is informative for anybody interested in starting their own business, particularly university students, but moreover it's a way for me to record the day to day happenings of my business. After all, it is a learning experience for me. The business I have started might not be the one I'm still working on in 20 or even 10 years time but the experience I gain from it will be invaluable in the future. I also like writing so this is a good outlet.

So to give some background information I am running an online retail website. It has been officially open about 2 weeks now and I've had 10 sales so far. These have mostly come from the eBay section of my business; unfortunately my own website has not registered any sales so far. Since launch I've been trying to get the word out about my website, posting it wherever I can and I've had some help with my family members spreading it to friends and colleagues but it's hard to get people to trust a new website. After all, why shop at an unknown Internet site when you can go to a brand name like Amazon or a high street shop? This is a big obstacle for me and definitely something I have to overcome if the business is ever going to truly take off.

University starts again at the end of September which is on the other side of the country from my parents' house but luckily due to the nature of my business it's quite flexible in that I can simply take stock with me and post it from my term time house instead. I'm starting as a fresher although I'm 20 years old because I took a gap year and am restarting my first year due to changing the course I'm on. I was doing a joint honours degree last year but decided to major in Psychology since that is what I am best at and is where I will find my preferred career.

Starting first year again is inconvenient in the sense that all the friends I made the first time round and am due to live with this year will graduate a year before me but it does allow me a slightly easier first year as I've already done half the work that will be set last year which gives me more time to focus on my business.

I don't want to set myself an update schedule for this blog as I don't want to force posts out in the event nothing significant transpires between one post and the next but I will try to update at least once a week plus any time anything significant occurs.