Inspirational Online stories 04 Rachel Dubber Design

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.



Why did you start an online business?

First of all, I am an Artist and my passion is for drawing animals. My website started as a way of testing out people’s reactions to my artwork, so my hobby gradually developed into a business. I began around 5 years ago and put some pictures online, and gradually as more people liked my work, I wanted to attract a broader audience so I kept going.

What platform is your website?

I started with Wordpress, then Weebly and recently have changed to Squarespace.

My first experience with a Wordpress site was a nightmare, I found it was far too technical for me and was very unhappy with the relationship I had with the developer. I would find myself sitting in front of the computer in tears of frustration just trying to get it to do what I needed, I just didn’t feel it was my site at all and felt that I had no support. My second site was created for me on Weebly, and I did find this was a better match for my ability, I understood how to get into the back and could make more changes, but I still was not comfortable with the results and still felt that adequate support to grow the site was missing.

Fortunately the Trading Online Voucher scheme arrived at the same time I was introduced to a new developer who works exclusively on squarespace and I am now excited to have a much improved new site , a great relationship with my web developer and most importantly I know that the SEO ( the technical aspect that helps customers find my site) is working much better.

How do think or know how your customers find you?

I know they are finding me through my use of Social Media, I concentrate on Facebook am gradually beginning to use Instagram, and I LOVE TWITTER!! I have not spent any money on advertising all my business has developed organically.

The Trading Online voucher was a complete lifesaver for me because my business was dependent on retailers and I realised I need to concentrate on selling directly to my customers to survive.

What is the best bit about your business?

The rewards of selling online are amazing, when you hear people’s feedback, I see myself as an Artist first not a sales person and love sharing my passion and joy in animals, and the planet. I find it empowering to be able to take a commission to capture some one’s pet and give them so much pleasure.

Being able to express my passion and share it with a wider audience has enabled me to develop my business without feeling I have to be “a salesperson” which I definitely am not!

What is the worst bit of the business?

When I started and did not know the right people to work with, I tended to trust the people I worked with and ended up going down a few unnecessary and expensive rabbit holes.

I am also a very visual person and found that the web developers would send me everything in writing instead of showing me images which would have suited me much better.

What has been the biggest surprise?

The fact that taking my business online actually works!!!

I often wonder how on earth people have found me online, but they are doing, and not only in Ireland but in other countries too. My absolute biggest YIPPEE and WOW moment was when the difference between my Weebly site and my new Squarespace site was explained, basically now far more people will be able to find my site because it is set up much better from the technical side ( the SEO)


What can you learn from Rachel Dubber Design


Love your Social Media: Rachel LOVES TWITTER, this is a great advantage as she will find it natural and easy to meet more people, spread her message and attract more customers. If you genuinely love using social media it will be obvious and infectious, so this is a great way of developing interest in what you do. It is also completely free.( Don’t worry if you HATE social media its not for everyone )

Understanding the Tech side: most small business owners haven’t a clue about the more technical aspects of website development when they begin, and it honestly shouldn’t put you off. If you are fortunate to find your perfect web developer in the beginning ,all of the tech side should be in place, however sadly it quite often takes a few goes to get every aspect of your website right and it absolutely should not stop you from keeping going. Rachel was on her third developer before she began to learn about the more technical aspects of a website, but the best thing was she didn’t let her lack of knowledge hold her progress back.

You do not need to be able to understand everything when you start out, the important thing is to start, the rest will come.

Genuine Passion vs sales patter: Rachels passion for animals and her creativity are the driving force of her business and her brand, she does not need to be “salesy” because her natural ability to enthuse and engage her clients with what is important to her is far more impactful. She showcases her strength and leads with her authentic interests and her clients love this and respond by buying from her and coming back for more.

You can visit Rachels website here

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