Questions

I am an online high school student, but can't bare the thought of studying anymore. I love learning, but just the thought of being sat down in front of a book drives me nuts nowadays. I want to start working, and learn more as I go. I live to learn and not the other way around. I would like to start an online business, selling my hand-made articles, such as knitting, carfts, etc. I have found some videos and sites that give advice on how to become an entrepreneur however I'd like to start with a strong foundation, so I figured it was best to try contact somebody. Thanks for your help! Camille

Etsy is a platform for selling craft items like what you're describing.

But let's step back. You say you're bored with school. OK: we all were. The question is, how can you inject some excitement into your life so that school becomes interesting?

Any business is a challenge. First you have to find out whether people actually want what you have to offer. If they don't, go pick something else.

There's the example of a woman who so badly wanted a storefront bakery. But she just couldn't cover the costs of having a storefront. So she rented space at a commercial bakery and did her business that way instead--making the goods and delivering them to her customers but not having the expense of a storefront.

Life often gives you what you want, but not necessarily in the exact form you demanded it in. So if your first idea doesn't work out, move on and pick another. That's the spirit of entrepreneurship.

Now, as you're researching and putting into action your business ideas, do you think you could look at how what you're learning in school is relevant or could be useful to what you're doing? Sometimes, I know, it can be a stretch (it's 20 years later and I still have not used the 3 years of statistical analysis I learned in college...or the algebra I learned in high school.)

Here's an article I wrote--it was a Clarity answer, originally--about what a young person can do with their life:
http://www.salestactics.org/what-should-i-do-with-my-life/

It might help you.

Running a business is not a cakewalk. It's hard work and requires persistence. Things don't turn out the way you want, and there are a lot of emotional grinding of gears. There are great highs and terrible lows. If you do well, some friends and family are going to resent it and talk behind your back...or in front of you about it.

Be ready for all that, if this is the path you choose.

No matter what business you're in, you need two things:

Traffic

and

Conversion.

Physical stores get traffic from walk-ins (that's why "location location location" is so important) and advertising. Then they convert by presentation, pricing, sales, and a number of other factors within their control.

An online store gets traffic from paid advertising, social media clicks (look up "Red Dress Boutique" for a success in this area), and possibly hooking onto someone else's platform eg. Etsy, eBay, Amazon for their traffic & search engine power.

Building your business on someone else's platform is ultimately a bad idea, because it can be taken away from you at any time and for no reason. So be wary. It's OK to start there, but as soon as you can, get buyers out of that platform and onto your own.

The more you get into business, the more you'll find MATH is necessary. You need to understand your numbers. That's like a doctor checking your pulse and blood pressure. Is the patient doing well, dead, having a heart attack? It would be nice to know, wouldn't it.

I was terrible at math in high school. In the course of a few months, when I was 19, I switched around and started becoming very good at math. 99% of it was my attitude. I had *believed* I was bad at math...and so I was. Until I ran into a teacher of a math course I absolutely had to do well in to get into the college I wanted to be in.

He taught me that as long as I learned and practiced the method, I would do well. I would get the right answer every time. And I did! Then all through college, math was no big deal.

In a business, you need to measure Cost of Customer Acquisition, Cost of Goods Sold, Gross Margin, Net Profit, and so on. These are the heart beat and blood pressure of the business.

The alternative is you can not take it seriously, throw a few goods at the market and hope something happens.

Who would you rather be?

Start watching shows like Shark Tank and The Profit to get an idea of how serious entrepreneurs really work.

From Shark Tank, you'll quickly see how important a distribution system is to a business. That's what the Sharks often bring: the ability connect someone's product to a big distribution network, so that many sales can be made.

From The Profit, you'll learn how the numbers matter inside the business. Marcus gets in there and finds out the truth--and often, the owners are really flaky and have no idea what's truly going on. Numbers = control.

Best of luck to you...and my best advice, which is that sticking with it, or persistence, is more important than any technical skill. You can learn the skill. But if you aren't around to learn it because you got distracted or gave up, well, then it doesn't have any value, does it.


Answered 4 years ago

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