Updated: Nov 17
Would you like to find out how other people just like you, with a passion for what they are doing, make the transition and turn their idea into an online business?
I have been interviewing small businesses who have already done it, to find out how they managed, and show you what is (and isn’t) really required to take the plunge and develop a successful presence online.
A Natural Life by Dr Suraya Diaz Online Organic Health Food store .
Dr Suraya Diaz specializes in the development and manufacturing of the first and largest Irish range of natural organic certified products in eco-packaging to promote good health and reduce the risks of disease while contributing to a sustainable planet
Why did you start an online business?
Since I was little, I always wanted to have a business where I make my own products. My background training is in biochemistry, but I developed my studies to include Nutrition, Naturopathy, Biology, Microbiology, Homeopathy and Herbal Medicine which eventually led me to consultancy work for a naturally healthy diet and lifestyle..
My belief in the benefits of organic produce and the fact I could not find anything in Ireland to help my clients led me to start creating my own product range. People commented on my skin and kept asking me what products I was using, so I continued to develop my range of nutritional and cosmetic all natural certified organic, toxic-free, products on naturallifebydrdiaz.com and purebydrdiaz.com respectively.
What platform is your website?
I started trading online in June 2019 but my journey to go online started much further back. My journey online was painful and fraught with expensive setbacks.
The first web development company I invested in took my payment ( of several thousand pounds ) upfront and proceeded to go into bankruptcy. I lost all my money and did not even get a site. I thought would choose more carefully the next time and gave the work to a friend’s husband on the basis they lived nearby and it was someone I knew. Once again, I was let down as it turned out the husband was suffering from ill health and I only ended up with half the work I commissioned. The logo he created was suitable, and I still had no website. This cost me more time wasted and more money without the result I required.
On my third attempt I engaged a company that had been established for 10 years, and have an international team. Although they claim to work with smaller businesses I felt their expertise was with larger brands, so although I did get a website this time, I decided to move on and am in the process of working with a new agency once more with a wordpress site.
How do your customers find you?
My business has grown by word of mouth recommendation, starting with my clients and consultation work. As they see the results and benefits of using my products word has spread via social media and gradually onto my website.
I get excellent feedback on the results and benefits of using my products and have a higher than average repeat business. I am already exporting to the UK, Portugal, Germany, Spain and USA.
What is the best bit about your business?
The best bit for me is hearing back from my customers how much they have benefitted from taking and using my products. I also love to create the products in the first place, and I am very proud to say that all of my products are sustainable, created in Ireland, use compostable or recyclable packaging, are organic certified and help you to become the best and healthiest version of you while contributing to a sustainable planet.
What is the worst bit of the business?
The length of time the full product development cycle takes from conception to certification. The paperwork for each item is unbelievable but I refuse to give up and continue to create and add to the product range of small-batch produce here in my micro-factory in Galway.
What has been the biggest surprise?
The quick uptake of my food products and pro-biotic drinks, kombucha and kefir, that I started for my consultation clients. They sell so well online, which was a complete surprise.
What can you learn from naturallifebydrdiaz.com/:
Niche Market: Driven by her passion, beliefs and expertise Dr Suraya has created her product range to fill a gap in the market, what started as a product created for her clients grew into an entire business
DETERMINATION: It is no exaggeration to say that most people would have given up after the shockingly expensive and unprofessional experiences Dr Suraya had with her first web developers. No amount of setbacks, mountains of administration and pure hard work has stopped her from pursuing her ambition.
Trusting the web developer: This is such a common mistake for entrepreneurs going online for the first time. Finding the right web developer for your business is a critical decision, sadly the profession is currently uncharted and unregulated. Anyone can set up as a web designer with no qualifications or experience. Very few web developers take the time to understand your business goals and requirements before they create your site, often resulting in expensive mistakes.
There are, of course, some excellent web developers, but sadly it is easy if you do not prepare in advance to have a bad experience.
You can see Dr Suraya Diaz Organic Health Store here