My goal for writing this is to provide instruction
and inform others of exactly what's involved in starting an online store, how to market that store online and how to start blog posting. It's true I am at the beginning of my journey, well maybe not at the very beginning, I do have a published website/store online spellwicks.com , but am yet to be inundated with orders.
I want to start at the beginning and hopefully turn this blog into a helpful series for other Generation X'ers out there who want to jump on the online side hustle band wagon but don't know how or just think it's too overwhelming and intimidating to actually pursue. In this blog series, you can expect to see me log every week, the things I had to do to take the first step, then the next step.....and so on. Since I am just navigating this new frontier myself it will be in real time. That's right! you will be able to follow me along as I flip, trip and fumble my way through the process hopefully triumphant when it's all said and done.
I am a Generation X'er. I sometimes think a better name for this cohort would be the bridge building generation. I say this because Gen X remembers what the world was like before the internet and we find ourselves right smack in the middle of all things online, work, shopping, streaming, banking and as we have found out from this pandemic, even school is taking place online. We are held to the boomers ideal of success, in a modern online world. Desperately clinging to a model that will be obsolete in 20 years. We are already seeing the writing on the wall. 4 day work weeks are starting to appear. People fleeing larger cities for a more stable, stress free small town life. And the biggest change of all....working from home, and we have the pandemic to thank for speeding that up. But I could go on for an entire other blog about that subject and maybe I will at a later date.
It's a unique circumstance because on one hand we were raised old school with almost no technology (unless you consider the Atari with the ping pong and tanks games in black and white technology lol) and on the other hand it was our generation who saw the first apple computers, or perhaps i should say that in the singular tense "computer" because there was one for an entire school of a few hundred kids and they rolled it from class to class for an hour at a time and let us type on the key board one at a time while our classmates watched over our shoulders in absolute amazement. Then came the internet, in the 90's and it sure wasn't what is now. In fact, thinking back it kind of reminds me of the original ping pong and tanks games of the Atari. The old school chat rooms that were awful and now would be considered the grass roots of todays dating apps were a particular treat and left me with mixed feelings. For the first time you could have a conversation with someone anywhere in the world and you really had no idea who was really on the other side of that screen #creepy. Keep in mind too, Windows software had yet to be released, I can't even imagine that now!
That's right! DOS reigned supreme before windows and it was as basic as it gets. My point is that even though our generation can use technology, we aren't dependant on it. When the work day is done, many Gen X'ers unplug and get on with life, except face book..... we can't get enough of face book. Even though we are familiar with most types of social media; You tube, Instagram, Snapchat etc. We weren't raised ".com" and knowing how to use these medias doesn't mean we are able or even willing to entertain becoming part of these platforms to generate income or achieve life goals, I know, there are Gen Xer's that can and do, but I'm talking about the majority of everyday working Gen Xer's that taking that next step into using this technology, is just slightly out of the comfort zone. It takes more than knowing how to watch a video on You tube, to make and post a video on You tube.
I won't lead you on by blowing sunshine, you know where. There is a bit more than a passive effort needed for you to go from using a platform, to becoming a part of a platform. But it is doable. It requires some time on your part, to do research, lots of it! The good news is that we are in the information age, so getting access to the information you will need to become a part of the ecommerce world is easy to find. My absolute 2 favorite go to for researching are You tube and google. You tube has grown soo big that if you want to learn to do something, you can learn it there with a video tutorial. From learning to cook to building a house, it's all there, and you can take your pick of who you think is the most credible and subscribe to their channel. Do you want to pull out that old sewing machine you have in the back of the closet? Do it, there are literally thousands of sewing tutorials to get you sewing. Want to fix that drippy tap? You tube it! I fixed my own air conditioner by watching a video about it. Keep in mind there are still some things that could be dangerous and should be left to the professionals, but you don't have to pay someone else for everything anymore that's for sure. This is where I got started. I have always known i am creative. I also know I am great at customer service and presentation. And let's face it, most people have at one time or another dreamed of being their own boss. I certainly have, many many times. Working in a corporate setting is not only high stress, it is unrewarding unless you are the CEO and are nailing down six or seven figures. Even then, is it rewarding? I have read quite a few articles as of late that talk about even the most successful people packing it in and moving to a house in the country to live a more stress free and rewarding life. That is where i'm at. I just don't want to work at a job I'm not at all passionate about. I have had my fill of bad bosses, gossipy coworkers and fear. And there it is! Fear. The Gen X cohort has been brought up with the understanding that the only way to "make it" Is to work at a mundane job for 30 years because it has a pension plan and some benefits. Not only have we been told to do this, we are also expected to stay in that job no matter how unhappy we are or how badly it's caused our health to decline. I have recently experienced a shift in thinking. I am finally accepting that there are other ways to support myself. Other ways to go about my daily life and that not continuing with the "daily grind" does not automatically mean I have failed. So here I am, stepping out of the box I painted myself into. You can too. You just need to do it in steps, one at a time until your ideal life begins to take shape. However, if you have a vast saving account and can afford to support yourself for a couple of years without work, by all means you can do it a bit quicker. If you are like me though, it's a building process and that's Ok because you have some learning to do. The younger generations were raised inside of technology, the learning curve is not as big for them, nor does it seem out of reach from their view. Generation X still has time to step out of the pre stamped mold we have put ourselves in and change direction and in some cases do an about face. This is exactly what I am about to do. Am I worried? Yes, a little, and that's good because it is motivating me to stay on track with what I hope to accomplish. Now that's not to say that you have to do what I am doing as a full time, side hustle business. You may just want a part time side hustle to line your retirement coffers or boost your monthly income. Whatever you needs or wants are, it is going to involve generating that cash flow with some sort of web involvement. Even if you are just posting driveway snow removal services, you still need to post and market yourself on the internet to generate business. It's just the way the world works these days.
I am going to end this first in the series with an assignment for you. Using a note pad, write your idea down. Next do google searches on the subject and see who else is doing things related to your idea. Search many web sites, never just one. Next go on You tube and search your idea there. Watch as many content creators as you can. You will quickly be able to distinguish ones you can relate to, so subscribe to their channel! Usually you will find they have other helpful videos that will be useful to you and when you hear something you want to explore further, write down whos channel it's on and the name of the video so you can watch it again in the near future. This is the research phase, and it is super important. The more research you do the better, keeping in mind that at some point you will need to take steps past research to gain forward momentum. In # 2 of this series we will discuss what you may have found during your research and the next step to take toward becoming an online entrepreneur.