Some of our biggest wins come from doing what others aren’t.
Because these things are new, it’s easy to think they are impossible, or that they are out of our reach. But often times, it is just something we tell ourselves that ends up holding us back.
In this episode of the eCommerce Lifestyle Podcast, Anton shares how to overcome this, and how to bring something new to your market.
As always, if you have any questions and suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below. Don’t forget to share this with someone who needs to hear it.
What's Covered in This Episode:
How to make your ideas into a reality
Links From This Episode:
What's up, everybody? Anton Kraly here from ecommercelifestyle.com, and welcome back to the podcast. This show comes out twice a week, every single Monday and Thursday morning with a brand new episode and they are all designed to help e-commerce store owners to increase their revenue, automate their operations and become the authority in their niche. So if you are in e-commerce and you're not subscribed yet, be sure to go to your phone or whatever podcast player you use, search for eCommerce Lifestyle, click subscribe, and you'll get notified every time a brand new episode goes live.
So, today we are going to be talking about something that I have learned pretty much the hard way, and it's something I still struggle with. In fact, it's something I struggled with as recent as last week at the time recording this, which is why I thought, "You know what? Let me share this message with everybody because this can't just be me."
I think this is a problem that different business owners, especially online business owners, that aren't technical, again, like me, experience and deal with. And when I say not technical, I mean, I can run a business, I can run ads, I can do all that, but I can't code. I don't know what it takes in terms of coding to make different things work. I don't understand why certain things work and it's just out of my wheelhouse.
So a lot of times what happens is I'll have an idea. And I'll think, if we made this change on our store, or if we made this change for one of our opt-in pages, I bet that would just have these amazing results. Because I'd have this idea for something new that other people, at least in maybe our industry is, or anyone I'm familiar with wasn't doing yet.
So have an idea for something unique, something again, that I don't see out there in the world. And then instead of thinking, "Oh, I'm a coder or I'm technical. Yeah. I see how that could work;" I just think, "Well, I've never seen it before. Maybe I do a quick Google search," don't see a simple solution for it and then just throw my hands up and literally just blank out, totally forget about this idea because in my mind, again, I don't know how to make it myself and I don't see anyone online doing it. So it must not be possible. That's the thought in my head.
And what I want to share in this episode is if you've experienced that, you're probably wrong just like I am, I think, a hundred percent of the time wrong. It doesn't mean every idea I have can be done easily or simply, or for a low cost, but actually a lot of the times these ideas that I have that I think originally just aren't possible can be done fast and extremely affordably.
So I want to give you a couple examples. One, taking you way back in the day to... This was probably in 2008, so as I was first building and getting into e-commerce. So back then, one of the stores that I had, we sold a product that came in, I think it was... I don't know, there was all different color options. There was two parts to the products and one of the parts had three color variations and the other part had something like 20 color variations, so all these different combos and mixes. And I was selling a lot of this product online, but the way it would work is we would have images of all the different colors and then people will be able to choose from dropdowns, "I want this color for that part. And I want this color for that part." And they placed their order.
And okay, great, fine. Got tons of orders that way. But then I had the thought, "Well, what if we can actually put an image of this product on the page that they can choose their color by clicking what color they wanted and the actual image of the product would change to that?" And you might be thinking now, you're listening to this, "Yeah, Anton. There's apps that do that." Well, yeah, there are now, but again, I'm taking you back to 2008 where I didn't see anybody else doing that.
Not only this, but back then, I was not a hundred percent on the drop ship model. In fact, back then, most of my business was importing products straight from China, warehousing them in the States and then selling them online. And a lot of these color variations, we did not even have images of because maybe we had never sold a certain combination before, or maybe we sold it and we just never got a high quality image.
So what I was trying to do is basically find a way to not only make this color picker, but make these images change to images that we never had before. We never had photos of these products. Not only that, again, but I wanted them to look consistent, I wanted every image to look the same with only the colors changed. And as people clicked on their color combination, I wanted it to change the product on the page so that when they click the add-to-cart, it would have that specific product. So again, my first thought for that was, "Wow, that would be awesome. But we don't have images of any of these products or we have a very small sample out of all the possible solutions of colors. There is no color picker like that online, so it's just not possible."
And I remember, again, back, what is that now? 12 years ago, almost 13 years ago, having a conversation with our team back then. And they were like, "I'm sure somebody could do this." And I was like, "I don't know, fine. Let's check." And again, in my head, I already had written it off. But I thought, "Okay, let's check in."
Back then, maybe it was on freelancer.com or one of the old job boards that probably was bought and sold five times since then. But I remember I just decided, "You know what? Let me make a document." I think it was a word document. And I just typed out basically what I just explained to you in this podcast, what we wanted to have done.
Back then, we were on Yahoo stores. That was our platform. So we needed somebody that can code in RTML, so, whole nother story. But put that in the document and posted it on this job board. And very, very quickly got a bunch of people saying, "Yeah, I can do that. No problem."
Now, I really don't remember how many of them back then I had to speak to. And I don't remember what the price ranges were, but I do remember the person that we hired to make this for us; not only did they have the graphic design experience where we can give them all of our color different options... And basically we gave them the different color swatches and they were able to make the images... Maybe they did it in Photoshop, I don't know. But they were able to make the images in every color combination. And they were able to design this tool that was on our landing page, that when people clicked, it changed the colors, again, to even photos we've never had before. And when people clicked add to cart, it added that exact product combination.
And the grand total for this project to the person we hired for, it was either 300 or $350. It was somewhere right in that range. And that blew my mind because for me... Again, this was something that I could only dream of being possible. And in my head, I basically wrote off because, again, I don't know how to code and I'd never seen it before back then so I thought nobody could do this. And then for under 350 bucks, we had this thing built in a couple of days. It looked awesome, our sales skyrocketed and we were one of the first people to do it. Again, at least in our industry. Not because I was some coding genius, not because I had this grand vision and invested $20,000 for somebody to build this thing, just because somebody on my team back then was like, "You might as well post a job." And guess what? There were plenty of people that were qualified to do it.
It didn't cost much money, didn't take much time. And instead of me sitting around for years back then, and then eventually seeing a competitor do it and being like, "Oh, I had that idea back in the day," I just got it done. I was wrong thinking it couldn't be done at least for a manageable price and got it done super fast. So you'd think after that, I would learn my lesson. This is a product, sold millions of dollars of on its own. You would think that I wouldn't keep experiencing this. But it happens to me literally, probably every week something comes up.
So last week we were talking about how we use one software for lead generation. So this software basically controls what happens, the page that people see after they become a lead. So after they enter their name and their email, it is this basically static page that they see. And I was thinking it'd be really cool if on that page, we can have it set up so that there was a space where they can easily enter their phone number to receive something else that we can then text to them right away. Then we can have their phone numbers stored in our database. And also it would be really cool if on that page, we could have these other elements built in and things like exit intent, but also things like setting reminders for different promotions.
I'm not going to get into the technical stuff because we're still working on it right now, but basically it was something that I've wanted to do, but haven't seen anybody doing before, haven't seen any software for, and because in my head it was just something that I don't know how to do and I haven't seen a software for, it must be something just crazy expensive or next to impossible.
But what happened, decided that, "You know what...?" Again, on a team call, let's put together a meeting doc, describe what we want to have done. And now, instead of even having to post on a job board about this, we actually have a developer on our team. But again, I didn't think he'd be able to do this. Shared the document and guess what? He can. And it's going to take him a few days and we're going to have something, again, that as far as I know, nobody else has in our market. And it's just another way to be leading rather than having these ideas float through our head and disappear as soon as they come in, because we think, "It can't be done. I haven't seen it before."
So if you are running a business, which you probably are, if you're listening to this, specifically an online business, and if you are primarily working on your own and running it as a one-man or one-woman show, what I challenge you to do is as these ideas come into your head, don't just let them disappear because you think it's not possible. I challenge you to think, "You know what? I'm probably wrong." Write that idea down, create a meeting doc. And my advice for now in 2020 is go to upwork.com and post that job that you want to have done.
And again, because I'm assuming you're not technical, don't be alarmed if you get 50 different people applying for this job at all different price points. What you want to do is ask people to send work examples, project examples, that are similar to what you want to have done. And when they do that, you want to look at them and ask them how they would do whatever it is. So what language would they use to code it, if it's a coding example? How long and do they think it would take them? Try to get the same answers out of everybody applying. And what that can allow you to do is better understand the project. And then if you have a quote for, let's just say $2,000 and another quote for $300, you'll be able to know. So is the $300 person actually going to be doing the same thing as the $2,000 person? Did you just find somebody that provides better value or is the $2,000 person just well ahead with the technology they're using?
But by interacting with the people that are applying, you'll get not a full understanding of what's going on, but a better understanding and it'll allow you to get the best hire at the best price.
And the other thing I'll say is there are times where I've had ideas where I, again, didn't know if they were possible. I've asked our developer, he said, "No." I've posted online. And I found ways to get things done, but the prices just didn't make sense for us to invest in. So that's pretty much the worst-case scenario I've encountered in this whole process of not just thinking my initial thought is right. So don't be afraid to post jobs. Don't be afraid to talk to people. Don't be afraid to do something that hasn't been done before, at least that you haven't seen done before. It's a good way to stay ahead of the curve. And it's a good way to, honestly, bring something unique to the table.
So I would highly encourage everybody do this sooner rather than later. And as you do it, as you get results, definitely go to ecommercelifestyle.com, click on contact and share your stories with me. I love reading your emails and seeing how this podcast is helping e-commerce store owners all around the world.
Also, quick note, before we sign off. If you are new and you don't have a store yet, my advice is go to dropshipwebinar.com. I have a free training there that can help you to build your very own, highly profitable semi-automated store. Again, that's dropshipwebinar.com and I will link that in the description.
And finally, if you're listening and you get value and you haven't subscribed or left a review yet, again, go to your favorite podcast player, search for eCommerce Lifestyle, click subscribe, and if you're getting value and you think it's worth five stars, please do leave a five-star review.
So, thank you. I appreciate you. And I will talk to you on Thursday in the next episode of the eCommerce Lifestyle Podcast. See ya.