student-run marketing firm at Stephens College, Columbia, MO


Stop Dreaming & Start Doing

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Just about everyone has a great idea for a small business or money-making hobby. However, instead of going for it, they just dream about it. There are several reasons for this. Some people fear failure, others don’t want people to make fun of them, some have no idea where to start. I say go for it. It doesn’t matter if you fail, at least you tried and have a base to build from. Don’t worry about people making fun of you. They most likely aren’t trying to start their own business from the ground up. Although, I guarantee you will find so much support within your community. I think a good starting place for a small business is deciding what you want to sell, where you want to sell it (in store, personal website, social media), and figuring out who your target audience is.
I have always dreamed of being able to sell my fine artwork. In summer 2017 I decided that I had been dreaming for too long and it was time to make it a reality. I created my own Etsy shop called MegReneeDesigns. I uploaded around 5 or 6 pieces. Within the first week, I had sold a canvas. A person from a town 15 minutes away from me had purchased it. From there, I decided that I would probably have more success creating a business page on Facebook instead of selling on Etsy. Within the first day, I had 15 orders and so many people supporting me. It has only gone up from there.

Here are some reasons and motivation to make you go for your dream:

1. There is a chance it could be successful. Don’t be afraid of failure because there is a huge chance that this business could be successful. Always remember that everyone starts off small. It is okay to start selling on social media and get your name out there. From there you can grow into selling on a personal website or maybe even your own store. When thinking about quitting, instead tell yourself that this could be the beginning of your own business and brand.

2. You’ll find support from people you didn’t know were there. When I started, I was a little scared that people might make fun of me. Especially people my age, when they are actually the people that support me the most. I can’t even begin to tell you how many compliments I have received from my peers. I also have found a lot of support within my community. Most people that purchase my artwork are locals. I now have repeat customers that come to me for gifts for each wedding and bridal shower they attend.

3. You’ll grow as an entrepreneur. You will learn more about what is like owning your own business. You’ll meet deadlines and keep track of revenue. You’ll constantly be coming up with ideas on how to advertise your work to gain more customers. You will most likely see yourself as a successful entrepreneur and owning your own business with employees one day.

4. You’ll make money! Who doesn’t like making money? This goes back to reason number 1: this could be successful. So again, whenever in doubt, just remember there is a chance that you will make money and be successful. I honestly find nothing more rewarding than earning my own money from something I created.
Here are the steps and my process for MegReneeDesigns:

1. Create products. The first step is to decide what you want to sell. I chose to sell fine artwork, so my next step was to create enough products to start a business. This helps so you won’t be overwhelmed when people start ordering and you have nothing new to show them.

2. Find what platform to sell from. I started on Etsy. I had some success but found that it worked better for me to use a business page on Facebook. After figuring out which platform to use, the next step will be to create a name. I recommend something that is catchy and flows together nicely. You want a name that is easy to spell and easy for people to search. I mainly use Facebook, so I made sure to have all my contact information on my page. Another good aspect to put is the time length you will take to respond. If you’re only going to be able to check for orders once a week then you need to let people know that. Mine says that I usually reply within a few hours.

3. Post on the platform. Now you have chosen a platform and created a page. After creating my Facebook page, I invited people to like it and shared it on my personal page. It could help to have an initial post that welcomes your viewers and gives a brief description of what you’re selling. This helps because people who view the invitation might click on your page and hope to see something. After you have a few followers, I would start posting your products. Make sure to let people know how to reach you if they are interested in purchasing a product.

4. Advertise your business/products. One way to advertise a Facebook post is to pay to boost it. A lot of bigger businesses use this method. However, if you’re like me and starting a small business while in college, you’re probably not wanting to spend that much money. Therefore, I like to post my products and newest artwork on Instagram. I have an Instagram page that is called MegReneeDesigns to keep it consistent. This platform works well for me because many of my peers have Instagram and will see my posts. Every now and then I will share a post on my personal Facebook page as well.

5. Grow as a small business owner from here. I promise you you’re only going to go up from here. Nothing is a failure, you can always fix your mistakes and try again. The whole experience of starting a business was very rewarding to me because I realized that people want to buy my work. They are excited to see what I do next and enjoy keeping up with the business.

Graphic Created by Megan Spencer

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