There hasn’t been a new blog post since the end of February, but there is a reason! During March I gave it all for building up my very own online store, which opened last Friday, yey!! I’m so happy and excited, but I have to say that it hasn’t been a smooth, easy-peasy ride, but wow how much I have learned on the way. And still will learn. This time I was thinking to open up a bit my journey, how I decided to become an entrepreneur and what it took to get here, running my very own webshop.
I have had this dream to become an entrepreneur already for several years. Before moving to Stockholm my other alternative, if I wouldn’t get into the Master’s program at Stockholm University, was to start a physical store in my home town. I already had a shop location checked. However, I’m happy I get to start my university studies in Stockholm and postpone entrepreneurship a bit.
Last summer, I was working as a design and production assistant in a Swedish clothing brand. Unfortunately, after a half-year, it wasn’t possible to continue there. Then I decided, now or never, I’m going to start my own company. I called to my previous boss, got my half time job back as a sales assistant and started to, not only to plan but act towards my dream as an entrepreneur.
Less thinking, more doing
Less thinking, more doing. I spotted that phrase once from the screen at the university’s hall, and it has been my motto since. I believe that too much thinking, which I am really good at, by the way, can block you to do something amazing. Taking chances and rather regretting something that is done than something that you didn’t even try. If you don’t play, you won’t win. You get my point.
At this point, I didn’t have a clear picture in my mind of what I would do, what I would sell. I started to write down things in my notebook. In the end, I had three different ideas or concepts. One of those was prints: postcards and posters. I had fallen for drawing in spring 2019 and now wanted to bring joy to people with my prints.
Eyes and ears open – listen and make notes
I took part in local tax office’s free lectures, both physical and online, and StartUp Sthlm’s workshops, also for free. Amazingly, there is this kind of help available, and I highly recommend to take part in those. There you can meet others in the same situation, ask even the dummy questions, talk about your idea and get good tips and ideas from other entrepreneurs.
After one of the meetings, that was the first workshop I think, I had decided my first focus: postcards. It’s best to start with one idea, make it work and then expand, instead of, trying to do everything at once. I decided to start with postcards since I was still excited about drawing and felt postcards as a low-risk, easy to start with, idea. I just wanted to get started. Then I decided a deadline: first cards for Valentine’s day.
I started to draw my first cards. You can read more about those two here. Then I searched for a printing house and found a good one in Stockholm. I want all my cards to be printed locally and in a sustainable way. I’m happy that the first printing house I tested, Botkyrka Offset, turned out great, both in customer service way, which for me is super important and I appreciate a lot, and quality ways. We also share the same values.
I will always remember the moment when I got the first cards. There was a bit hassle with the post, but when the cards finally arrived, I couldn’t have been excited. When I opened the box, tears just started to run on my cheeks. And I can tell you those were happy tears. I felt joy, happiness, that was one dream come true, and I was so proud of myself. I made it! Then it was time to start selling and to set the next deadline.
I wanted to build my webshop and get it open as soon as possible. First, I needed a few more products, so I started to design. At the same time, I started to build an online store from scratch. I’m a bit that person who wants to do everything by herself and have full control. Partly also because I like designing webshop and learning new skills.
However, that was not so piece-of-cake. It’s been a lot of googling, many many YouTube videos, a lot of try and error, many chat moments with support, several calls to make sure, for example, VAT and accounting things, a few breakdowns, but also “I made it”, “now I get it”, “I can this” moments. The latter ones are the best, but the others are also super important. Otherwise, there would not be moments of success, or at least those wouldn’t feel so good. I wanted to get my online store open at the end of March so that I would have at least a little time to sell some Easter cards.
I made it, and now my online store is open and running and just waiting for more orders. At the moment my job is to tell about my cards and online store as much as I can and to as many as I can. If you like my cards and want to support a beginner entrepreneur, make an order, share my posts, leave a comment, tell your friend on the phone, etc. Join me to spread joy!
But this is just the beginning. We will see where my business grows! Join the journey and follow on Instagram @viivilaakkonenofficial to be the first to know about news and new designs!