How I Started My Successful Online Clothe Business

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My name is Mercy Amenyi I’m an entrepreneur by profession and a successful businesswoman by experience.

In this article, I will give you an overview of my business journey, how I became a successful owner of an online clothing business, the challenges I have faced, and how I handled them.

And lastly, the advice I would give you as an aspiring entrepreneur.

So first, let’s dig into my experience as a new individual in the business world.

My History as an Entrepreneur

1st Business Venture: Poultry Farming

If poultry doesn't work, fishing doesn't work, and begging lands you in Kanjo cells; change your approach of trying to make money in Kenya without capital.

I started venturing into business right after completing my secondary education (KCSE). My first business was poultry farming, which I started with my five thousand Kenyan shillings (5K) savings.

With this, I was able to repair an old shed at home and get the first 50-kg bag of chick mash. I also purchased twenty chicks (20) each at Ksh 50 back then.

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I set the remaining capital aside for later use for emergencies or even vaccination and medicine.

The project was doing well, and with time and as the chicks grew, I noticed everything was smooth until one morning I found one bird dead, and the next day the number increased.

The worst part was that the capital I had was already used up, and I didn’t know what to do. I tried herbs, which didn’t work well, and I lost most of the chicks. Well, what did I learn from this?

I learned that business is not like employment; it is unpredictable, and that’s why you need to always think of the worst that can happen and come up with a plan on how to handle that situation.

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In simpler terms, always stay ahead, think about not only future opportunities but also problems, and have a strategy. STAY ALERT.

2nd Business Idea: Smokie And Egg business

Despite what happened, I didn’t give up as a business enthusiast. When the time came to join college, I was enrolled at Moi University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in strategic management. After my 2.1, the lecturers went on strike, and I saw an opportunity to test my entrepreneurial skills again.

This time around, and considering the environment, I went for the smokie and egg business.

I’m good at being economical, so I saved some cash from my pocket money. I bought a trolley, a meko, and my very first stock.

Everything was running smoothly, and I had managed to save around ten thousand Kenyan shillings (10K) since I never used the money for my bills. However, the strike was over, and I had to get back to class.

I didn’t want to give up on my business, so I hired someone to help me out.

I used to prepare everything in the morning and record how many eggs and smokies I made before I went to class.

Later in the evening, I would ensure the money I receive matches what I send out. Then it came to a point where it was time for the holidays and I had to go home, but I still wanted my business to continue running.

That’s where things went south. Well, the lesson here is that close supervision of a business is very important for it to succeed. DON’T DEPEND ON EMPLOYEES.

My Successful Online Clothe Business

This is a business I started after my college studies. Knowing all the mistakes I had made before, I could sit down and analyze what affected me in my previous ventures and how I could prevent them from happening again.

The first thing I realized was that I need to plan for what is best for the business but ensure I’m well equipped for the worst, and in that way, my business will be strong enough to get through the storms.

Secondly, I realized that personally, as an individual, and as an entrepreneur, I needed a business that was going to allow me to be flexible. What I mean by this is that I can be in total control of my business without having to be in one place, since I love traveling.

Well, those are the main lessons I took with me, and I kept them in mind as I tried to look for the right business venture for me. After looking into the five business ideas I had in mind, I decided to start an online clothing business.

The next step was to find a niche, and that is how I decided to go for ladies’ clothes since ladies are known to shop more than men. I choose to be intentional and treat the planning process as if I’m pinching for a job.

I realized treating my own business as a client’s work pushed me to give my best at anything I was doing.

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So I came up with a strong business plan that helped me get the business started.

Being an online business, my biggest platform is Instagram, where I run a business account that I promote from time to time to grow my audience. I also have a website that I redirect my customers to once they are on my Instagram page.

The second platform that makes me good money is TikTok, which is a platform that is growing at a very high rate right now. One thing entrepreneurs need to know is the power of TikTok when it comes to their business. It can either grow it to very high levels or destroy it.

For example, if a client ever complains about your business and the content goes viral, then you will have to work extra hard to convince people otherwise. So as an entrepreneur, I’m always keen and careful about how I handle my customers.

Facebook is also one of the main platforms that I use to market and sell my products. If you are an entrepreneur operating an online business, then Facebook is one of your main platforms.

I have found this platform very helpful, to the point that I have not yet seen the need to have a physical location.

Why Do I See My Self As A Successful Entrepreneur?

If you could have asked me five (5) years ago who is a successful entrepreneur, my answer would have been different from my definition of the same today. Back then, I would say that people who could pay their bills with their business or afford an employee could still make money for their own needs.

But what’s the difference between that person and someone who is employed and lives paycheck-to-paycheck? The other person is better since they get some days off.

I see myself as a successful entrepreneur since, despite having employees and taking care of my bills, I have also been able to start other investments from my online clothing business.

For me, a successful business should meet the goals you set for it and give you room to draft new plans. Take a good example like Naivas supermarket, a substantial and well-known business in Kenya.

If we were to talk to the pioneers of the business, yes, they had certain goals in mind, but they didn’t know they could grow to the current state of the business.

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So that is my definition of being a successful entrepreneur. GROWTH AND OPENING NEW DOORS FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES.

How Have My Previous Issues Helped My Business?

person holding white plastic clothes hanger

In my very first business venture, I got to a point where I started focusing on the best and how much money I would make from that, and I forgot about planning for the worst.

Even with my successful clothing business, I have made it a must to always stay ahead of the trends to protect my business and prepare it for any challenge that might come up in the future.

My second experience taught me the importance of close supervision and made me realize that, as much as I love being an entrepreneur I don’t want to be a slave to my own business.

That’s how I came up with a business that I operate purely online, and that gave me better control because I can approve orders from anywhere.

What Are The Challenges I Have Faced So Far And How Am I Handling Them?

1. Lack of Trust From Customers

With so many scams online, people have developed a fear of buying online.

It is so challenging to try and convince a client that your business is legit and that the quality being displayed on your social media accounts is the exact quality that you are going to deliver.

Sometimes we might lose 3 to 6 potential customers just because they don’t trust us enough.

2. Problems with payment methods

Sometimes a customer can make a payment, but the money fails to reach our end, which forces us to put the customer on hold until we can sort that out with the bank.

This has made most customers view us as scammers due to such challenges.

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3. Problems with delivery methods

Since we operate online, we get customers from all over the country. The big challenge is that some customers don’t know the means they prefer, while others live far from the town centers locally, which makes it costly for them to go pick up the parcel. This makes most of them cancel the order after knowing the costs involved.

4. Pressure from Waiting Customers

A better way of explaining this is by giving you an example of bank queues. When in the bank, you can see how long the queue is, which makes you develop patience since you can see the situation.

But when it comes to online communication, where the customers are all behind a keyboard, they tend to feel ignored. Maybe some are waiting to place orders after inquiries, which makes them leave before making the purchase.

Customers waiting for their parcels to be sent may feel scammed if they wait for an hour to get a notification on the same.

5. Issues with network and electricity Stability

Sometimes the internet can get slow or the website can be completely down, which makes it hard to carry out our business as normal, leading to so many losses.

What Advice Can I Pass Down To Upcoming Entrepreneurs?

1. Do Research

Don’t pick a business idea just because someone else is proving to be successful. It is very important to do your research to avoid losing your money on the wrong investment.

Research will help you gain useful information on the businesses around you and how profitable they are.

2. Plan First

Anything that does not involve the planning process most of the time fails. With business, you need to plan and know what your next step is even before you get started.

It is therefore important to come up with a business plan before starting the business.

3. Just Get Started and Learn as you Grow

Most entrepreneurs fail even before they get started due to procrastination and overthinking. Of course, it’s scary but the worst is letting fear consume you and letting your dream die.

It’s better to know you failed than to know you never tried. Give it a try, put all you have in it, and if it fails, take the lessons with you and use them in your next strategy.

4. Know The Power of Marketing

One big determinant in the success of a business is how well you market your business especially if you are running an online business. You need to understand the right channels and the right way to do it.

You might have quality products but if customers don’t know about it then you are stuck with your products.

5. Management Smartly

From my story, you can tell that one of the biggest lessons I have learned is the importance of management and how it can help you grow or lose your business.

One thing you should know as an entrepreneur is that an employee can never manage your business the way you can as the owner.

6. Know When it is time to quit

As much as you are passionate about something, it’s always good to know when to quit. If you give a business your best and it still doesn’t work, then it is time to leave and find something else to do.

Go back to the drawing board, evaluate yourself and the business, and learn what you did wrong or where you need to improve.

7. Don’t Become a Slave to Your Business

You need to ask yourself why you opted to start a business and not go for employment. If, like me, you want to be in control of your life more, then choose wisely the kind of business you venture into.

Make sure the goals you had in mind when moving into business are achieved. This is because a business can be demanding and can make you a slave.

Let me know what you think about my experience in the business world and tell me the challenges you have faced or what you fear the most when it comes to starting a business. But remember, it’s better to fail than to try.

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