At the start of the 2021 year, I decided to try to and put together a business for the family. Maybe something that could generate a little bit of side income that was solely centered around the 911 field. Trying to create a business by yourself is a daunting task. However, it was very educational because I was able to learn from start to finish all of the internal processes that were needed to create a business.
The idea of the business came from Telecommunicator Week that happens in the 911 field every year. Every year, during Telecommunicator Week, my wife would struggle trying to find gifts for her dispatchers. That’s when I realized there wasn’t a huge number of businesses out there that specifically targeted gifts or merchandise for dispatchers.
I decided to set some money aside and get some professional artwork done that centered around dispatchers and the job that they do. The easy part was getting a library of images and mock-ups created to be able to use on products. Guru, Fiverr, and online sites like that will help an individual work through that process.
Once I had my library created is when things got a little more difficult. I didn’t want to maintain an inventory or make these items myself, because let’s face it, I would suck at that. I started looking at on demand sites like Printful, which was the one I ultimately went with.
The trade-off is that when using an on-demand service like Printful, is that a vast portion of any revenue made from a product that was sold goes to Printful. You have to remember that Printful is printing it and mailing it, so that’s understandable why they take a huge chunk. I was okay with it.
The great thing about a lot of these on-demand sites isthat they have come so far with design tools for the average person. Printful has a robust interface that would allow me to upload my photographs and manipulate them onto my products and actually view them.
I had to create what is called store on Printful. It’s not an actual store per se, but it is an interface where you can see your products. However, you can sell those products on a different site like Etsy. I chose my own custom WordPress site.
Now, I had to create a WordPress site which was called Ibleedgold.com and I had to design it. I used a product called divi from elegant themes. It comes with some canned pages for online sales. This made my job a little easier.
This is where the fun truly began because the heart of any business that you start is the e-commerce. This integration is behind all online sites. I had to get a business credit card. I also had to provide a way for users to use their own credit cards for payment, so I went with Stripe. I had to have another piece of software that would allow me to connect products purchased on my site back to Stripe and have payments sent to Printful. Printful requires money up front to do the actual creation of a product when it is ordered. On top of that you need something that helps facilitate all of these types of integrations and that is where Woocommerce comes into play.
Woocommerce is a fantastic piece of software. It would pull my inventory from Printful over to my website and then if you purchased something, Woocommerce is the one that facilitated the payments going to Stripe and then notifying Printful.
It was a very humbling experience. I plan on posting more about this process Indepth just in case someone wants to follow in these footsteps and create their own online eCommerce site.
Go check out the site! https://www.ibleedgold.com