The above image reflects my feelings when the first customer bought an item from the newly established online retailer My Bamboo Story. After so much hard work in setting up the online shop, selecting the products, the brand, the suppliers and then all happens, I receive “1 order to fulfill” coming into my inbox, and here I am, petrified. As if all of a sudden, whatever I have been talking about for the last four months in my life is materializing; it is happening; it is not a fantasy; I am running an online business with real customers who like what I have done, my brand, the concept, the products, the prices, they are buying, and I am selling. I am frozen in front of my mobile, looking at the inbox, looking at the order, and I start looking at the request…..and then the curiosity kicks in. I want to know which product it is. We have been running bets at home with my husband and the children about which will be the first item that will sell and where because we are an international reseller and the location is essential to know. Now I need to start segmenting the customers. A lot of different sets of challenges ahead of me.
I feel as if I have turned the tide, an actual customer to take care of, talk to, provide delivery for, and make sure the product works.
Of course, whatever could go wrong went wrong! The payment did not go smoothly; I had forgotten to activate the “PayPal” option, then I had to reorder with the supplier….and then I checked daily the delivery phase. I wondered where the package was and at which stage. I would count the days to ensure we were still at the agreed service level. I sweated a lot until the package was delivered! When the confirmation came back from the carrier that the parcel was successfully delivered, it was the moment of truth that I could do it! I could be an online entrepreneur.
That single sale marked my new business life, my new prospects and the challenges ahead of me. Until the deal did not happen, all seemed very theoretical. Not real. But now, every morning, I feel the excitement to start the computer and check the supplier’s email, the carriers, and the new orders. When business gets tricky, I always go back to that moment of truth, when I turned the tide and became an entrepreneur.
Surely that single customer will never be aware of how much the order has been instrumental to a carrier change of someone working on the other side of the ocean; the confidence that built inside me eventually took away many of my doubts. Sometimes I would like to contact that first customer and explain how instrumental the order has been to my professional well being.
And also, ask how the engagement with My Bamboo Story happened and what was the element that convinced them to press the buy button.
Since that day, many more deals have come through the virtual online doors, and I have a growing customer base. I have also adapted my marketing strategy, made some suppliers changes, grown several collections to simplify the user experience on the website so that the customer can flow through our rich offer. And many more changes I will need to make if I want to keep on growing in a very competitive marketplace.
Selling online is an immense opportunity, but it comes with many challenges and many spread out competitors. When I feel overwhelmed with the workload, to charge up my energy, I mentally go back to the positive vibes that I felt running through my body when the inbox received the message “ 1 order to fulfill.” I am ready for my next entrepreneur challenge of the day. The learning that I want to share is not to give up too early in the process; find your ground and hold on to the moment of truth. In the end, all will go well.
Reach out if you want to share your entrepreneurship story. I would love to listen and coach.