How to play the entrepreneurial game

It’s been awhile since I last wrote, so here’s a quick update:

The online store my wife and I started is doing well. We’ve grown to be the largest online-only dress shop in Canada using the tools / techniques I described throughout the course of this blog.  There’s a ton of information here for you to sift through to help get you started on your entrepreneurial journey.

Aside from that – I’ve learned so much in the past year, and below is quick summary on how to play the game.

Put in the work

Sorry kids, there’s no such thing as sitting on a beach and watching the money roll in. You have to put in the work. You have to grind, hustle, struggle, believe, beat yourself up, and then figure out how to succeed. There’s no such thing as ‘passive’ income in this life.

Do whatever the hell you want – even if you change your mind

What I’ve wanted to do with my life has changed about 12 times over the past couple years. I wanted to be a radio star, a sales star, a magazine publisher, a golfer, a restaurant owner, a marketing consultant, an entrepreneurial coach, a video game player and more. I’ve tried it all, and only a few have stuck.

I found by trying to do all the things that pop into my head, I finally figured out what I really wanted. Right now, I’m playing video games online (check it out here), helping my wife with the biz, golfing and working a 9-5.

If you can work a 9-5 to generate some more income…do it

The money was tight for a couple years after starting a business and trying to get a magazine off the ground. My wife and I did both within the same year, and the finances were tough to navigate. We persevered and did what we had to do to make a dime. I took up working retail, and finding odd jobs to pay off our living expenses. That’s right – no venture capital here.

Then I finally decided to grab a cushy 9-5 to ensure our finances were stable. It’s a job where I make good enough money (for now) to live comfortably, and I don’t have to take my work home with me. When I leave – I leave. So many people get caught up with work consuming their life. STOP IT! Leave work at work. No one will care, trust me.

Play the game

When you have established yourself as a hard worker (or at least you look like you’re working hard) it’s soooo easy to find a job. Use existing contacts, friend, family whoever to get your foot in the door. From there – coast. Do whatever you can to ensure your finances are stable, so you can play / start a business in the evenings and weekends.

I busted my ass for 5 or 6 years to make a name for myself, now I’m trying to coast and focus on the things I really enjoy outside my 9-5.

Get a gimmick

There’s no other way to put it. I slapped on a bow tie, and instantly distanced myself from the competition. Whether it’s hunting for a job or writing this blog. Find something you can do to separate yourself. Unfortunately, being YOU isn’t enough anymore. You need a gimmick. Wear bright red shoes, place a flower in your hair, wear bright shirts…whatever it is find something to make you literally stand out in a crowd.

The above is a quick run through of what I’ve learned in the past couple years. It was a tough grind, but there is a light on the other side. I’ve seen it, I’m living it. If you need some help – feel free to drop me a line at effumarketing@gmail.com. To always stay connected make sure you’re signed up to get every updated by dropping your email below.

Love you,

Jordan ‘The Guy with the Bow Tie’ Rycroft

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Why Your Online Store Isn’t Making Sales

This is a common question I see on message boards and through the grapevine of entrepreneurs. It also is a cause for concern in the bricks-and-mortar world, but let’s stick with online.

Anyone, anywhere can have a store. No longer do you need vast sums of money for a lease, employees and stock. You can do everything behind a screen. With that – the amount of online stores hawking goods from dresses (EverRose.com – plug, plug) to backpacks to cheeses is endless. The world is flat in this regard. However, just because it’s relatively easy to set up. It doesn’t mean it’s profitable.

no sale, no sale sign

Here’s why you’re not making any sales

1) Your online store is too cumbersome. You’ve read too many blogs about what you should have on your store, and instead of creating a simple process for those who buy – you’ve confused your would be buyer with link after link after link. Your product(s) should be the first thing people see when they visit your store. You should also have some info on shipping and returns, and a page that reflects who you and your business are (if you want to add a personal touch).

2) Your product photography looks like crap. You can’t sell a shitty looking product online, just as you can’t sell a shitty product. Here are some quick DIY photo tips.

3) No one knows you exist. I hope you’ve read this far as this is probably the most important item on the list. You can’t expect sales without people knowing about you. You need to market yourself. Hook up with bloggers or influencers in your line of work. My wife and I hook up with fashion bloggers to promote our product to their masses. We also buy advertising (funny thought), and it works.

4) If you have traffic to your site, and you’re still not making sales – check the options above. If you’ve done all of the above then you probably didn’t research your product upfront. If you haven’t tested to see if your idea works through family friends, then your idea is probably not going to work to others. Just because you think it would be cool to run an online t-shirt store, it doesn’t mean people are going to buy from you. Ask your friends and family first – see if they would buy. My wife and I’s online dress shop did this, and our first few customers were family and friends. From there the word spreads.

The above should point you on the correct path. I could write an endless post on why you aren’t getting sales, but the points above are the most common reason. You can always ask me to take a look too. I’m always free to give open and honest feedback.

Love you,

Jordan ‘The Guy with the Bow Tie’ Rycroft

Is Customer Service Dead?

You can get your groceries delivered to your door with the click of a button. You can shop hundreds of styles of clothes in less than a minute. You can connect with your friend visiting a town on the other side of the globe in an instant. All of this is possible behind a screen. With that, actual physical interaction with someone is slipping away. With the limited physical touches and conversations going on – has customer service taken a hit? When’s the last time a company went above and beyond for you?

The art of customer service

“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”
– Walt Disney

Funny how one of the most valued commodities – if not the most – nowadays is time. You do whatever you can to save nanoseconds. You’d think businesses would see this and increase employees or response times to potential customers. However, it’s increasingly difficult to find someone with enough knowledge to actually answer the questions you need to be answered – whether it’s in-store or online.

In order to make your business stand out – try doing one step more. If you can answer one question – see if you can elaborate and suggest something more. My dad is amazing at this. He’s an upholsterer and every time he’s on a sales call – he always gets asked about the type / colour of the fabric his potential client should use. He answers the question by giving a few options and then BANG! He mentions pillows, and how a contrasting colour will make everything pop. It’s the classic up-sell, but it’s so much more than that. It’s providing value, suggesting something the potential client didn’t even think about, and increasing his profits at the same time.

Customer service quote

What can you do to add that extra touch?

My wife and I’s online shop – EverRose.com is similar. We try to add personal touches everywhere to ensure our fans know we care about them. After all, without them we wouldn’t be in business. My wife writes personal notes to each and every fan who orders. We also take it one step further than most online clothing stores by measuring each piece of clothing. This gives a comprehensive outline on whether or not it’s going to fit you. It’s all about taking it one-step further. It’s a pain in the ass on our end, but the end result is SALES. Plus, our fans love it. How do we know – they tell us in reviews and in personal emails they send us.

This is what makes your business a brand. It makes the person on the other end (customer) feel something for you, and your product / service.

“Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking ad.”
– James C. Penney, Founder, J.C. Penney

You want to know how to limit your advertising spend? Make your experience so memorable to a customer they’ll have no choice, but to recommend you to their friends and family. If that’s not enough – encourage them to do so by following up with requests for reviews (my wife and I do this for every sale by sending a personalized email to each fan). Word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising, and nothing creates more word-of-mouth than outstanding customer service.

It’s not that hard

With the majority of corporations pulling back on their customer service channels, and personnel it’s very easy to stand out. Even being present and engaging in conversation with your potential customer can put you over the top. At the very least give the customer what you’d expect to receive from a company. Then try and out do yourself. Make a suggestion above and beyond the question asked of you. Personalize everything. Respond as quickly as you can, and as honestly as you can.

A few of these will go along way in your customers mind, and will ensure success down the road.

Love you,

Jordan ‘The Guy with the Bow Tie’ Rycroft