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.
Jenny Dempsey: Pretty Interesting History:
Why did you start an online business?
My existing business is as a Graphic Designer and I am comfortable with my experience in this field, however I became increasingly aware that I was creatively unfulfilled completing other people’s briefs and wanted to develop something that truly reflected me and my own creativity.
I had created and self-published my own book that is based on my fascination of the role of women’s everyday life and how it is represented in History, I thought, perhaps a little naïvely, that it would be nice to sell my book directly to book shops.
As Covid tipped the world upside down, my early venture into book selling was halted in its tracks and I was forced “kicking and screaming” into developing a website – something I was loathed to do!!
When the Irish Trading Online Voucher opportunity to fund 90% of a website was introduced it allowed me the luxury of making the leaf of faith and entering the online world, despite my concerns and reservations.
What platform is your website?
In her own words this is Jenny’s experience.
“As a creative I had previously used Wix, a web platform I absolutely love, and am completely comfortable with but when I started to work with a web developer I thought I should change to a Wordpress platform which I absolutely hate.
I was under the impression that Wordpress is more "professional” and that you “cannot sell online” with a Wix site.
The result is that having made the change I am really struggling to learn the new platform as it is far less intuitive for me to pick up compared to a Wix site. My web developer offered me 30 days of support but it's taking me far longer than that to figure out what I can't do. My poor developer is still on the other end of an email but it is frustrating to be emailing her for every tiny thing. It takes a while for her to come back to me and I feel uncomfortable bothering her. I just wish Wordpress was easier to work with.”
How do your customers find you?
My biggest breakthrough was from sending out my book to the RTE Joe Duffy Radio Show, for his annual feature on self-published books. As a result of the feature my books started to be purchased directly from my website, and I have been able to begin to develop my own business without relying on bookshops. In fact without the online presence, I wouldn’t have a new business at all.
Following my success with RTE, The BBC in Ulster also featured my book, resulting in further sales.
My initial ambition was to sell beyond my friends and family, giving me the confidence that it is a concept of real interest to a wider public.
The public reaction from the exposure via Radio has boosted my confidence to continue, however I realise that I still have a great deal to learn about online marketing and the other tools required to develop a successful online business.
I have taken a few courses in SEO (Search engine Optimisation) and think I understand the principles of key words and page content, but I realise there is far more to learn, and that the same applied to understanding Facebook advertising.
What is the best bit about your business?
I’m so glad you asked me that! It’s a great question” I now have a great sense of pride and excitement in my work that I realise has been missing for a long time.
I realise that I am learning to become a businesswoman on a completely different level to my Graphic design business, by taking on new skills and forcing myself to adopt new ways of working and equally importantly my mindset and how I think about my business.
What is the worst bit of the business?
I am terrified a lot of the time!
Mainly because I am used to being in the background and I feel acutely uncomfortable in the spotlight. However, I am discovering most of the time my sense of pride and achievement wins out just enough to push me through the areas where I feel truly exposed.
I am having to get used to putting myself first and change my mindset about a lot of things.
What has been the biggest surprise?
I have no idea where all my time goes- It simply disappears there is so much to be done and I feel as though I am barely getting anywhere. There are so very many jobs to do and only me to do them all!
Also, I now realise that if I hadn’t taken up the Trading online voucher opportunity when I did I simply wouldn’t have a business at all now.
What can you learn from:
The Value of the Irish Trading Online Voucher Scheme.
I love this story, Jenny is the first to admit she was dragged reluctantly into the online world and would perhaps never, (or certainly much later) have taken her business online without the availability of the 90% funding. As it has transpired in less than a year, she acknowledges it has created an entire new business opportunity and an exciting future.
Her original plan to sell to bookshops was obliterated by Covid and created a far more profitable option by selling directly to the public and collecting her own fan base.
The Ongoing debate of Wix Vs Wordpress:
Jenny was already comfortable with a Wix site and was, in my opinion,misinformed to be told that it is both unprofessional and not suitable for e-commerce, as a Wix site can quite adequately do both.
It might well have been a better option for her to have found a developer who would have helped her develop a Wix site rather than be left struggling with a site that she finds difficult to manage on her own.
I would also recommend you find a web developer who offers an ongoing after service to maintain and support your web development. You will have to pay for this but consider it as part of your maintenance charge for keeping your website in tip top condition.
Changing your Mindset:
Taking on the digital world can be a challenge and one of the things Jenny has recognised is that as well as learning the tools of the trade, changing her mindset about what she can do and how much opportunity there is if you are open to thinking differently.
Bravery Guts determination and hard work!
If you look at Jennys books, and I highly recommend that you do, they are absolutely beautiful, you will see her passion enthusiasm and character pour off every page.
Despite the hard work which inevitably goes with becoming an entrepreneur Jenny is facing her fears and Rocking it in her unique style.
You can see Jenny's Pretty Interesting History here
If you have found this story inspiring and would like to find out more about how to get your business set up online, why not contact me for a Free Trading Online Voucher consultation. Book your here.