What is it?
This was my first entrepreneurial endeavor into the world of online business. I created One Sketch with the goal to help people with storytelling in presentations. Buyers can buy sketches in a digital format and download as a ZIP file immediately.
All sketches where done by hand in Paper App. At the time, there was no iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, but I had to sketch everything with a cheap rubber stylus from Amazon that was pretty imprecise.
To grow the product catalogue fast, I had to keep all the sketches simple so I could sketch a few every day.
My goal was to reach 100 sketches in 30 days to test the concept.
Since Paper doesn’t support vector, all graphics were raster images with a limited solution. It was still enough to use in presentations.
For the distribution, I decided to use Shopify. Shopify in 2015 was really beginning to grow big and I wanted to be part of it and learn how it works.
1. No clear vision of the customer base
When I started, I didn’t have a clear understanding of what customers I wanted to serve. I just wanted to provide unique sketches that people could use. This would later turn out to be challenging as people liked my drawings but no one wanted to buy.
2. Driving traffic
Along with the first point, I built my shop on Shopify. With no experience in online business, it was hard for me to get converting traffic. I initially shared my shop on my personal facebook page, but that wouldn’t lead to any sales. Over time, my traffic went to Zero because there was no organic traffic coming from anywhere.
After a month, I found myself losing interest in the project. I didn’t get a lot of traction and also sketching every day became exhausting. I realized that this business model is not highly scalable if I do everything myself. I could have hired people on Fiverr, but since there was no traction, I didn’t see the necessity to invest money.
What I would do differently
When I started this project, I had no experience in online business. If I would start this project again, I would…
1) Do market research
One of the most important things if you want to build an online business is to do market research. If you are not building a Startup, then you are not trying to create a new market but serve to an existing one. Doing keyword research is key to know if there is a market with buyers.
2) Use existing Platforms
I would also not build my own shop just yet, but leverage platforms like Etsy or Creative Market that already have traffic to test out concepts. After sales are growing, I would then funnel the traffic from there to my own shop.
3) Learn SEO early
SEO is a very important aspect if you want to be found. Whether it is for your own shop or on a platform. Not understanding SEO and not optimizing product pages means that no one will ever find your products.