Top brands at amazingly low prices
Lena is a hairdresser by profession and after having a baby wanted to think of a way to earn an income without being away from home.
Q. Describe your business and products/services you offer
We are an online store TipTopShop.com.au selling a variety of goods eg Casio Watches, Leatherman Tools, Camelbak Hydration Packs. We only stock original, well known, brands that are already established in the market place and that come with a full warranty.
Q. How long have you been in business?
I started this business in 2010 after having my second baby.
Q. How many hours a week do you work in your business?
Currently I spend approx 30 hours per week on the business with the rest of my time being spread between family and house duties. Some of the hours are spread accross weekends and late nights which enables me to spend more time with my family.
Q. What kind of online and offline marketing do you do and which is working for you?
I wanted to try as many things as possible to see what works best for the business ie Google Adwords, Comparison Shopping Sites, Ads on Blogs, and just about anything else you can think of. The problem with this approach is that my budget was very limited so I had to be very creative with the spending. For example with Google Adwords I often tried to target specific key words to ensure that we only get quality traffic. I found that this is an effective method of fighting with the big players as they may not have the attention to detail that we have. This is a method we still use today.
Q. What mistakes have you made in running your business and what lessons have you learnt from those?
Where do I start? I guess the biggest mistake I made was trying to do too much on my own without delegating. This is a common theme across many small businesses and I think business owners understand that they either have to learn to offload work or suffer the consequences. It’s relatively easy to find help online through sites such as Freelancer, Odesk etc and the extra funds spent on hiring an employee can often give you back your life and allow you to spend more time with your family and friends.
Having two kids and a husband who also works full time, life balance has always been a priority and this continues to this day. It’s the old cliche “Live to work” or “Work to Live”. This is a choice everyone has to make for themselves.
Q. How has your website helped you run your business?
As many online businesses, I started from our garage at home and thanks to strong growth we’ve now been able to expand into a warehouse. I think Australian Shoppers have embraced the online selling experience and can often differentiate quite quickly between trusted stores and those just our to make a quick buck. Customer Service has always been one of our top priorities and an area we were happy to invest in right from the beginning.
Q. What obstacles or challenges are you facing at the moment?
In the last 12 months we’ve seen a surge in new online stores popping up and this has obviously made it harder for everyone to capture market share. This has been something that we’ve been expecting and were largely prepared for the challenge. Starting a completely new business while juggling two small children, a husband and domestic duties I think I have been used to overcoming obstacles and have often embraced the opportunities they create.
Q. Any other comments / points you would like to share about running your business?
For anybody out there thinking of going out on their own – my advice is, do your research – make sure that the field you’re getting into is worthwhile, ask for help – trying to do every single thing on your own will only lead to disaster sooner or later, and have fun – it’s often said as a cliche but the reason why we wake up in the morning is to enjoy our life and if you are not enjoying your work (at least most if the time) then maybe it’s time for Plan B.
For more information visit Tip Top Shop website.