How to handle the low selling blues – Stage 1

by guest author hannah jones

We all reach a point occasionally when we’re fed up of working hard. For me as an online seller, some days I think forget all of the perks and benefits, I wish I could pass all of the responsibility, worry and stress onto a boss or manager. When all of the little stresses in life have built up and are about to overpower us, that’s our chance to prove we really are capable of running our own business – through good times and bad. And of course, all of us are! 

So what can you do on these days, when you feel like you’ve worked yourself to the bone to find good products, you’ve been listing for hours and hours, and nobody is buying anything? Wallowing in the pits of your depression might sound appealing, but you’re likely to wake up tomorrow in exactly the same situation. So today is the first of a three part series giving you the action plan you need to turn things around and get your swagger back.

Today’s action is the quickest, simplest of the three. It’s about realising that our perception of reality at those dark, frazzled times is at the very least a little distorted – and often completely ruined by whatever the opposite of “rose tinted spectacles” is. 

Stage 1: check your facts

Any manager worth their salt knows that miserable employees are unproductive workers. As an entrepreneur, you’re both manager and employee, (not to mention Human Resources Manager, Marketing Manager, Personal Assistant, Chef, Cleaner…etc etc). So before you start turning things around, you need to cheer yourself up.

Think back to when your business was a baby; do you remember your first order? How did you feel on the first day that you got not just dribs and drabs of orders, but floods? I have an eBay app on my phone, and I remember the glee I felt each time I received a notification that we had sold something – an excitement which has now ebbed away because it’s become such a regular occurrence. 

Now count up how many things you have sold so far this month. 

Are you surprised? Each order might not excite you so much now, but when you actually stop and take it in, you’re probably selling more than you realise. Much more than you did when you first started out, that’s for sure. Look how far you’ve come; can you really say you shouldn’t be proud of yourself? If course you should! 

You’re not a failure

So you’ve come a long way from where you first began, and you should be thankful for that. Unfortunately, selling online is the same as most businesses – the first leg of growth is slow and painful. You can probably draw a line between your first sales and the effort you put in to making them – and work you’ve done that’s never even led to a sale.

All I can say is that this is all a part of the journey; building up a successful business takes a lot of time, patience, and experimenting with all of the different variables which will eventually form a distinct, well known business. For now, all you can do is try, experiment, hope, and be open to learn – the more you look for lessons in everything you do (both success and failure) the more quickly and drastically you will improve.

You’re not alone

You read blogs like this one to get advice and support from people who know what you’re going through; and these blogs run because there are plenty of other people like you, who need that information. Everyone who’s started or starting their own business will have stories for you about these dark days when everything simply feels too big and impossible – I like to call it the “low selling blues”. And those who started their journey before you will be able to tell you the end of that story, when they persevered, and slowly improved and grew their knowledge and abilities. 

Whether you’re selling online or have some other business, there will be times when there is more demand for you than others. For us online sellers, summer tends to see a drastic drop in sales, and we even see huge differences in our sales numbers during different weeks of the month. A bit of research will help you to find out if this is what you’re experiencing, which might help you to breathe a sigh of relief – it’s not me, it’s the darn customers!

If you’re still feeling rotten, invest some time in yourself, and do whatever it is that you do to relax. Our brains don’t compartmentalise our emotions, meaning that if you cheer yourself up by forgetting about work, you’ll feel more positive when you return to it. Working in a foul mood will make you impatient, irritable and inefficient. Walk away from everything and don’t return until you’ve got a more positive head on. Don’t worry, your to-do list will still be right there when you return.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the next in this series of posts – stage 2: get more from your customers. Afterwards, we will move on to the third and final stage: planning your growth.

Want step-by-step guidance on how to break down your online business, and rebuild it stronger, healthier and more successful? That’s what Hannah’s new guide, 31Days2…Breathe Life into your Online Business is all about. Check out the best ebook for improving your online business, and follow Hannah on Twitter @31days2.