CHANGE OVER CHALLENGE- HOW I STARTED MY SECOND E-COMMERCE BUSINESS DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC

This blog is a resource for information on Amazon, the ups and downs, and the little tidbits that I've learned along the way. I want the blog to be an honest expression of who I am and how I got here. I'm a six-figure Amazon seller, I'm a freelance copywriter, and I flew for a major Canadian airline- Westjet until recently.


If you don't know anything about Canadian aviation, I should fill you in on Canada's best-kept secret. Westjet is a grassroots start-up airline that quite literally landed itself center stage for its culture. I applied in 2007, online, among thousands of applicants. At the time, the best way to get a call back was to know someone.


I didn't have a referral though, and I knew applying was a giant leap as I had no aviation experience. Westjet was looking for a culture of connection, a culture that cared for its guests and its people. I used creative copywriting in my application because that’s what I was good at. In my application, when asked why I wanted to work for Westjet, I told them in big capital letters: WHY NOT. I used my humor and creativity and outlined how I could bring to the aircraft their culture. Amongst thousands of applicants, I landed an interview, and I got the job.


That was circa 2008, and here I am now, writing my audience on my copywriting blog, which I own, and which I created during one of the most challenging periods of my life. Pre COVID-19 I scaled my beauty brand to six figures in a short time. It wasn't without challenge and what I had to learn far exceeded what I thought I was capable of.



TIPS & TOOLS TO HELP YOUR E-COMMERCE JOURNEY IN AMAZON

  • Helium10 – The only software I purchased when I started. It’s a powerful resource from product sourcing, to listing optimization, profit calculator, market tracking, and more. (H10 includes Freedom Ticket which is a great one-stop Amazon course to get you started.)

  • Accounting software - I use QuickBooks & Receipt bank.

  • Basic laptop – Believe it or not, I started on a Chromebook, and worked on it for an entire year.

  • 99 Designs – We commonly hear about Fiverr on Amazon for design, but I used 99 Designs for my initial packaging. The platform offers freelancing contests or one-on-one projects.

  • External Hard Drive – Always back your important data.

  • Networking – Join a few Amazon groups. Don’t limit yourself to just one group, but at the same time don’t join too many. Remember that much of the information on Amazon is learned, by even the most experienced of sellers and coaches through trial and error.

To put things in perspective, I didn't know how to make contact with suppliers, source products, nor did I use workflows, or templates for expanding a writing business. I had zero experience in both of my online companies, and it was not a picture of perfection you may be crafting in your head. None the less, my beauty brand was taking off, literally, but with COVID here, I knew it could sink just as fast as it started to fly.



TIPS & TOOLS FOR NEW FREELANCE WRITERS

  • Be sure to optimize your Fiverr and Upwork gigs. SEO will help your gig get noticed.

  • Invest in a great editing tool. Hemingway or Grammarly are both reliable options.

  • Get acquainted with business management software. I use 17Hats as I find it covers my needs and is user friendly. This is important as you expand and build a client list. Sending deliveries, leads, and invoices should be consistent and have structure.

  • Read & Write! The only way to fix bad copy is to write more copy! Reading will help enhance your vocabulary, discover blog formatting options, and find new tones and writing styles.

Unlike many successful Amazon sellers, I didn't have a business partner, and I didn't have an investor. When you scale a business to 6 figures quickly, what becomes apparent more than your excitement is that you need money to make money. How would I scale a beauty brand and live my life while surviving off of less than minimum wage while on a subsidy during a global pandemic?


I wrote blogs years prior, and I helped small businesses write content on various platforms. I did not own a writing business, however, nor did I think it possible. I assumed the writing community wouldn't view me as credible, and I undervalued my experience. In the meantime, freight fees doubled, as did my sales velocity in Amazon; I couldn't keep in stock. I needed to rethink secondary income streams. I listed myself on Fiverr, knowing that native English writers were an asset. I gained a blogging contract through an affiliate, and I started to write for money. Within 4 weeks, I created a website, and I started promoting my services. I was fortunate to be trained in Amazon listing creation, and I learned how to write successful Amazon listings.

"Without hustle, your talent will only get you so far". - Gary Vaynerchuk

The journey in Amazon and E-commerce is about resilience. You don't need all the answers; you can learn, and it is possible no matter your background, age, or experience to build an online business from the ground up. Many people start their Amazon journey in different stages of life. People in their early 20’s, men and women who are retired, single Moms, couples, all walks of life. In the E-commerce journey, the quest for knowledge doesn’t end, nor does the requirement to keep going. I'm a great example of both.


Wishing you the best for 2021. No matter how challenging things get, keep taking small steps of action.


Connect with me on my Social Channels. Tell me about your Amazon journey!

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