How I Sold 986 Bird Houses

How I Sold 986 Bird Houses

Once upon a time, nestled between the thrilling world of debit and credit, I, an accountant by trade but adventurer by night, embarked on a quest far removed from the land of spreadsheets.

This is the tale of how I, armed with nothing (along with a surprising ignorance of marketing), ventured into the wilds of e-commerce and emerged with £31,000 worth of birdhouse sales to show for it.

Yes, birdhouses. Stick with me, it gets better.

The Prelude: A Fashion Faux Pas

My first foray into the business world was akin to wearing socks with sandals — a print-on-demand venture that focused on t-shirts and sweatshirts. Despite my enthusiasm, sales were as rare as a compliment on my fashion sense. It was a humbling start, but as they say, you have to start somewhere, and I chose the bottom.

The Beat Drops: From T-shirts to Drum and Bass

Not one to be deterred by a rocky start, I pivoted faster than a DJ switches tracks, diving into the world of music events. Specifically, drum and bass, because nothing says "accountant gone rogue" quite like it.

To my surprise, people actually showed up — about 150 of them! Twice!

It was a success, but the realization that organizing events was as exhausting as a January tax season on steroids led me to seek new ventures.

Retail Rhapsody: The Dropship Chronicles

With the echoes of bass still ringing in my ears, I ventured into retail, armed with Shopify and a dream. I began with lampshades (because who doesn't love a good lampshade?), and things were looking up — until Christmas came along and my supplier's stocking issues became my "bah humbug" moment.

They were sold out. My petty sales of lampshades sold all the stock they had - I didn't even sell that many!

It was then that I discovered the double-edged sword of drop shipping and decided to take matters into my own hands, literally, by stocking products in my very own side bedroom. Glamorous, I know.

Here's a picture of when I eventually moved stock into my summer house.

My Summerhouse / mini Warehouse

The eBay Escapade and the Google Ads Adventure

As my entrepreneurial saga continued, I found myself on eBay, selling branded products and discovering the joys of actually making a profit.

Yet, I yearned for more — a brand, a website, a legacy beyond the faceless confines of eBay.

Enter Google Ads, my knight in shining armour, rescuing my sales with the grace of a well-placed shopping ad.

I started off with Google shopping campaigns, and later transitioned to the Google Performance Max Campaign, which worked pretty well for me.

My Return on ad spend from google ads performance max campaign

But the double edged sword with PPC ads as a retailer, is that you don't really make any money on the first sale (at least I didn't), you tend to break even.

So almost all the profit is on the repeat sales. Therefore I needed retention.

Enter, email marketing. With Klaviyo as my squire, I embarked on a quest to conquer inboxes and hearts, proving once and for all that the pen (or the email) is mightier than the sword (or the ad).

I used Klaviyo, as the Shopify emails didn't provide enough data for me to optimize the email flows, and didn't at the time really support good A/B tests.

Wisdom Gained and the SEO Sage

Reflecting upon my journey, I realized that while I had become a maestro of marketing and a savant of sales (not to brag), I had neglected the ancient art of SEO.

Search Engine Optimization. Something that I thought (incorrectly) was simply making your website easy for search engines to read.

But oh no, it's much more than that. It's simple in nature, but time consuming in practice. In fact, it's what I'm doing right now with this article...

But that's a lesson for a another day, or another article.

From Numbers to Narratives

And so dear reader, as my tale concludes, I find myself not much richer in coin, but in knowledge.

The world of e-commerce, with its trials and triumphs, has taught me much, transforming me from a humble bean counter to a digital daredevil.

If my story has tickled your fancy or sparked a flame of entrepreneurial spirit within you, I invite you to join our newsletter, where tales of business and adventure await.

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