In seeking to augment her family’s finances, a young woman earns her stripes as a successful home-based entrepreneur through online sales.
Sometimes, challenging moments in our lives push us into doing something we would never imagine – such as setting up an online home décor and party accessories business. Sometimes, adversities in our lives sometimes open a whole new window to the world of business opportunities.
Earlier, as a homemaker, I used to be occupied throughout the day. Meanwhile, my husband worked as an accountant in a real estate company – and was our family’s sole source of income. Everything was hunky-dory until 2015-16, when the slowdown in realty affected his company. As a result, our finances were badly impacted, too.
Given our growing children and mounting expenses, we had to find an alternative source of income. That is when I decided to step in and start my own business, despite the preconception of not being privy to the nuances of running any business. The business journey began when my nephew suggested starting an online business, since it entailed minimal investments. While familiar with online shopping, I never thought I could be on the other side of the fence.
Besides, business would be a wholly new world for me since I couldn’t continue my studies after Class 2. Nevertheless, I was clear about what I needed to do. With my husband’s support, I took the plunge. My neighbourhood friends who were already selling online recommended us to start the business on e-commerce portals, since it requires low investment. There has been a surge in online purchases by consumers, and so, it enables our business to have easy access to consumers nationwide.
Before taking the plunge, we had our apprehensions about the lack of skillset to start a business, but we were fortunate to have good and reliable resources to help us shape our dream. Their sound guidance was indeed very helpful to build a business that’s successfully running today.
We applied for a TIN and registered on Snapdeal in October 2016. That was the turning point in our lives.
The seamless, speedy listing process boosted my confidence that I was on the right path. Whenever we had any doubts or questions, the sellers help team would guide us, teaching us the basics of doing business online.
As I kept trying many different kinds of products, I learnt what sold well and at what price points. Gradually, I understood the importance of right assortment and quality to grow our business. To date, I personally select every item uploaded online and look at every functioning. The best part of online business is the positive effect of customer ratings on the growth of our business. Customers seek genuine, value-for-money products.
While I began with a limited range of 7-8 products, today I have more than 700 items live on the site and they keep on increasing. The entire business runs on an extremely smooth backend process. New products are taken live within 30 minutes of uploading and orders begin trickling in the same day.
Another major benefit of dealing with e-commerce platforms concerns payments, for example checking if payments are received quickly and accurately. This can help in managing capital and investments better. When I started out, we had little money to invest and making long-term plans was difficult due to limited cash flow. But prompt payments and the transparent process allowed us to know what and when to expect.
Although I started small, the right choice and assortment of products have started reflecting in my growth numbers. From a single platform, I have been shipping 450 orders on an average every month. Thanks to this, my business has grown by 300% in the first year itself.
Initially, it felt unreal to be able to do so much business while sitting inside my room. I enjoy the flexibility of the time and pace of my work, which is important for me as a homemaker-cum-entrepreneur. As the business settled down, my husband quit his job and joined me grow it.
Having begun from a small room, the business is now catering to customers across the country, especially South and North-east India. It is exciting when I pack and ship products to Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim and other places. The strong delivery network in e-commerce has taken our brand to regions we could have never imagined reaching.
I also received the Snapdeal Seller Excellence Gold Award as an acknowledgement of my success as a businessperson. This is the first certificate or accolade I have ever received. With no academic or business background, a business career was not on the cards and I had never looked beyond my household responsibilities earlier.
But e-commerce opened doors to a new world for me. My business has taken off and is doing well as a brand that resonates strongly with people. At the age of 40, online sales reinforced my belief that if you have the right mindset and commitment to chase your dreams, nothing can limit your success. Undoubtedly, e-commerce has empowered me to become a successful entrepreneur.