Many future entrepreneurs think their biggest challenges will be related to building their online store. You know, like getting the first sale, figuring out Facebook ads, and learning how to design your website.
The hardest part of entrepreneurship is that moment you realize you’re ready to take the plunge but then suddenly something stops you in your tracks.
In this article, I’ll break down some of the challenges you might not know to prepare for, and share some advice on how to solve them.
- 10 Challenges Every Store Owner Will Face (And How to Solve Them)
- 1. So, You Told Your Loved Ones
- 2. Store Build Exhaustion
- 3. Fear of Failure
- 4. Disappointment After Your First Ad
- 5. You Chose the Wrong Products
- 6. You Freeze Up
- 7. You Don’t Actually Know Where to Start
- 8. You Get Sucked Into a Negativity Vortex
- 9. You Don’t Know How to Write Product Descriptions
- 10. You Run Out of Money
10 Challenges Every Store Owner Will Face (And How to Solve Them)
1. So, You Told Your Loved Ones
When I first told my friends and family I was becoming an entrepreneur. I didn’t get the level of excitement I was hoping for. Instead, conversations unfolded like this:
“Why are you throwing your life away?”
“Don’t you appreciate that your job gives you benefits and a steady income?”
I tried to explain what I was doing in a million ways. But there was no getting through to them.
All I could do was hide out at the library every day, with my phone off, to avoid conflict as much as possible.
If I could go back in time, I just wouldn’t tell them until I had something to show for it.
The second you tell anyone you love about wanting to be an entrepreneur – parents, friends, family, spouse, coworkers – there’s a pretty good chance someone will try to change your mind.
At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself who you’re living for. Your parents, your partner, yourself, or a greater purpose. And if you focus on yourself or a greater purpose, well, at least it was your decision.
And for the record, my loved ones have become more supportive of my entrepreneurial projects as I started to succeed. You just need to prove yourself before you tell anyone.
2. Store Build Exhaustion
You made the common mistake of importing hundreds of products to your dropshipping store. And who wouldn’t when it only takes a couple of clicks? But you stayed committed and wrote product descriptions for them all.
Trust me, I know how common this mistake is. Take a look at my current Oberlo dashboard – as you can see, I’m sitting on 92 different products. You don’t need to add all 92 products on your store that first day.
But by the time you finally get around to launching your store, you’re as burnt out as toast lit on fire.
So you create a Facebook ad or maybe create an Instagram post, but you don’t really put any thoughtful effort into it. You just want to get your first sale over with. But the ka-ching sound that the Shopify app makes for each sale – yeah, it never comes.
How do you solve this? If you import hundreds of products into your dropshipping store out of excitement, pick 25 or fewer products to write copy for. And launch that same day.
You’ll drastically reduce the burnout. Plus, your time is sacred. You’ve got that full-time job going, family to care for, and a million other responsibilities.
While it’s important to commit to your new business, you don’t need to overwhelm yourself with a high workload. You can slowly build your store. Get a few early sales and keep adding products to your store as you continue to grow.
3. Fear of Failure
For most, fear of failure can stop you from succeeding, even when you’re so freaking close to achieving your dreams.
Heck, I’ve failed so many times I could probably end up with a Guinness World Record.
But the biggest failure is not pushing forward. Don’t listen to that nasty voice in your head. She’s wrong about you anyway.
You need to look at failure like a game. Like you’re trying to solve a puzzle where you need to guess all the wrong combinations before you finally figure out the right combination.
If you don’t get it right the first time, no problem.
But you still need to dig deeper to crack the code.
There are famous failures who’ve failed so much worse than you ever could. And the reason why they ended up becoming leaders, millionaires, billionaires, and got a place in the history books is because they refused to let some obstacle prevent them from achieving greatness.
Treat obstacles the same way an Olympic hurdler does. Jump over them. And if you trip over one, pretend like it didn’t happen and keep jumping over the next ones. This guy knows what I’m talkin’ about:
You’re allowed to feel sad when you hit a roadblock. But then you need to turn that sadness into a raging fire to push you to greater heights. Ignite that spark in you, you know you’ve got what it takes.
4. Disappointment After Your First Ad
The feeling that you’re on the right track usually disappears after you create your first ad and end up with zero sales. It’s always such a bummer.
Trust me when I say this, most first ads fail.
Don’t lose hope because you didn’t hit jackpot on your first try. My first Facebook ad got zero sales. However, with time I ended up creating a six-figure store with the help of Facebook ads.
People tend to make Facebook ads look easy with their copy and paste templates. But truth is, it all boils down to experimentation. Testing out different products, experimenting with different copy, and mixing up pictures.
So if your first ad fails, don’t dive into your second one right away.
Take the time to evaluate what mistakes you made. And make a mindful effort to improve on that first ad.
When my first Facebook ad failed, I literally spent the next couple days reading every article on Facebook ads that I could find. My second Facebook ad converted at about 4-5 cents a click. Remember: you’re still learning.
5. You Chose the Wrong Products
You found a product you liked and decided to start promoting it.
But the “No sales yet” on your Shopify dashboard isn’t doing you any favors.
The success of your store boils down to winning products.
All you need to do is find one.
And that one product will carry the weight of your store’s sales.
So how do you find them and how will you know?
Search-based products are products people search for, like tools or equipment. Impulse buy products are products people don’t really need – but buy anyway when they pop up in their Facebook feeds. Don’t make the mistake of selling the right product the wrong way. If you’re selling search-based products, running a Facebook ad isn’t going to skyrocket sales.
You need to keep experimenting to find the right products. Create several ads for different products. Which product outperforms the rest? Use that product and scale ads on that one. Don’t try to force a losing product into becoming a winning one. If it doesn’t convert well, test a different product instead.
6. You Freeze Up
You spent months daydreaming about starting your online store.
And you start to make some pretty good progress on it.
All of a sudden, you’re second-guessing yourself.
I can do this.
No, I can’t.
OMG. Freaking out.
Executing is harder than daydreaming.
Imagining all the money you can make, all the fame you can have, and all the power in the universe takes no work.
Choosing products, designing your store, and marketing takes an endless amount of energy. I mean, doesn’t Elon Musk work 80-90 hours a week? You’re not gonna get into the big leagues by doing the 40-hour work week.
Most people freeze up because there’s just so much stuff to learn and do. There just aren’t enough hours in the day or resources to do them.
But in the beginning, you’ve just gotta suck it up and get it done.
Break it down into smaller chunks. Set a timer. Create a schedule with different tasks you need to do. Work on the easy-to-execute projects first to gain momentum. Give yourself a hard deadline. Ask your partner for some help. Hire an intern. There’s always a solution waiting to be discovered.
7. You Don’t Actually Know Where to Start
So much information.
Too many dropshipping courses online.
How do I know what’s credible?
Who can I trust?
Like you, when I first started I thought I needed to sign up for all courses.
Read every article on every blog.
And buy every book.
But you don’t.
The easiest way to succeed isn’t by absorbing information but by practicing.
Say you dream of being a baseball player.
Do you really think you’re gonna become an all-star from reading books?
Or will you get closer to your dream by simply playing baseball.
Same works with ecommerce.
The best ideas come from making mistakes, trying things out, and sometimes talking to other people who are a bit better than you.
So no, you don’t need to sign up and finish a course before you build your first store.
Deep down you know you’re just procrastinating.
Sit yourself down, design your store, and focus on getting your first sale. Experiment. Try new things. Put yourself out there.
You don’t need to be an overnight success to become successful.
8. You Get Sucked Into a Negativity Vortex
It’s easy to second guess yourself.
You question whether you have the skills to succeed.
And delay your business’ launch.
You let someone else’s opinion of you get in your head.
And you decide to do something completely different.
You can hit a home run every time you go to bat, but there’ll always be that one guy in the stands yelling “You suck!”
And sometimes the person yelling that to you… is you.
One small easy-to-fix problem can get escalated to feelings of hopelessness pretty easily.
There’s this really great book I recently read by Marilee G. Adams, Ph.D., called Change Your Questions, Change Your Life.
In it, she shares questions to ask yourself to transition from a Judger mindset into a Learner one. Judger is basically that negative, defeatist mindset, and Learner is the positive, open-minded one.
So when all your problems start piling up and everything feels hopeless you can ask yourself questions like:
What assumptions am I making?
What’s best to do now?
What am I responsible for?
What can I learn?
What do I want?
Feel free to check out the Choice Map PDF to find more questions that’ll help you get back on the right track when the negativity vortex starts swirling.
9. You Don’t Know How to Write Product Descriptions
You might be the world’s greatest marketer. But sometimes the thing holding us back isn’t our mindset – its our lack of skills. For some people, writing product descriptions can be a bit overwhelming.
Maybe you’re afraid that the words you add don’t sound good. Or you’re not sure how to structure your sentences.
Try not to overcomplicate it.
While having a great product description is important, your product photos are going to do the heavy lifting when it comes to sales.
When I write product descriptions for my store, I tend to use this template most:
- Compliment the customer and connect it to the product
- Mention the product benefit and relate it to the feature
- Provide a simple recommendation
Let’s apply this template to an actual product on Oberlo Verified suppliers.
You deserve something as purrfect as this cat towel. This soft towel will soak up water with ease. And it’s antibacterial too – making it a perfect towel for kids or babies. Feel free to snatch up these towels in different colors so children know which one is theirs.
Here’s a look at what it looks like on an online store:
A little trick I do, as you can see in the example, is make use of puns. Whenever I write a product description, I’ll Google a keyword like “cat puns” so I can make silly jokes to make the copy more playful and easier to read.
10. You Run Out of Money
Maybe you spent $1,000 on your first Facebook ad thinking you’d get the same results as a friend.
Or maybe you didn’t have a lot of money to start with.
Having money to pay for food and shelter is important, so if you’re shot down to zero, you need to rework your plan.
You don’t need to give up, but you need to hit that pause button.
Take the time to work on some side hustles where you trade time for money. Like a freelance gig or a part-time job. This is only temporary so you can recharge your finances.
And then once your finances are back on track you need to look at your store differently.
In the meantime, create content – blog posts, social media posts using hashtags, and videos on YouTube.
It’s time to play the slow and steady race.
No, you won’t be getting sales off the bat. But you’ll grow your audience so you can grow your sales long-term. It’s budget-friendly. And it’ll also help you build a more sustainable business.
Feel free to scan through the Free Traffic ebook for other ideas on how to get traffic you can monetize without spending a time.
We all experience obstacles at some point. Fortunately, all those mental barriers and roadblocks usually come from our own doing, meaning the power to change it ultimately lies within yourself. Sometimes the easiest way to get those negative thoughts out of your head is by asking a different set of questions. Other times all you need is a little more practice to bring you closer to achieving your dreams. But if it counts for anything, you really can change the world. And I hope you do!
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve experienced as an entrepreneur so far? Comment below!