As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m a huge proponent of doing something you love for a living. Life is waaaay to short to spend each working day doing something you hate. I’ve definitely had jobs in the past where I dreaded going to work each day, was unhappy the whole time I was there, then unhappy when I came home because the job made me so miserable. I’m glad I got out of that cycle and enjoy what I am doing now. Someone else who has done that is Dana who runs Shoppeclique.
Shoppeclique is a fashion blog, dedicated to clothes, shoes and accessories that can be purchased online. It looks like such a fun way to make a living – blogging about shopping! If I was doing that, I’d struggle to not buy everything I saw. I’ve heard about fashion blogging alot, and was amazed to hear how much some of the top bloggers make. Dana is happy to be making a living out her fashion blogging ventures but she assures me you definitely don’t need to be at the ‘top’ to make money out of it. She found her niche, was creative with finding different ways to monetise the site, tested different things and put in a whole lot of hours to be where she is now.
Her latest venture helps you find hipster/indie/vintage inspired clothes online, apparently there’s a huge market for this indie/retro style. Dana says one of the keys to success online is finding a niche within a niche that hasn’t been covered by every man and his dog. Also, if you have an idea but you’re not sure that it will work, test it out on a small scale first. If it works, scale up, if it doesn’t, then don’t continue.
When getting into the hipster niche, Dana said she wasn’t sure if it would be successful as a lot of people who are into this style of clothing just go to op shops and vintage stores. So she tested on a small scale and when that proved positive, the rest of the work began to grow the site.
In all of the marketing books and blogs I have read lately, one of the biggest themes I have seen repeated is ‘give value’ and you will be rewarded in the long run, whether that be with new customers, sales, sharing of your content etc. A great example I have seen of this is http://landscaping-oz.com/, where they use their home improvement themed site to help local businesses. A great example is the page http://landscaping-oz.com/pool-builders-adelaide-sa/, where they have picked an outstanding local business in the pool industry to feature on their site with the aim of helping that business get more exposure and in turn, new customers.
Can you imagine how much a site like http://www.lifestyle.com.au/landscaping/ could help small businesses if they wrote about them more, rather than just the large businesses.
For a local like a pool construction company , I imagine growing a presence online is far from their field of expertise and it’s certainly not the sort of business where you have someone at a computer all day long who can do these online tasks, or even know how to do them. Why take the focus off the things they specialise in such as meeting with customers, giving quotes on pool construction and design and then acutally building them. From speaking with friends who have small businesses, the cost of paying a company to do online marketing tasks often outweighs the benefits of what they can provide. I hope to see more sites like Landscaping-Oz as they seem to be a great solution to this problem.
Do you have some good examples of giving value and being rewarded for it?
While researching the pool construction topic, I found this time lapse video showing the construction of a pool from start to finish on YouTube that you may find interesting:
I’m such a huge fan of people that make a living doing what they love – and with a point of difference in an industry at the same time. Krista Hochwallner is an Australian fashion designer with a range of to die for formal, cocktail and evening dresses available in the kristahochwallner.com.au online store. Now what I love most about this label is that each and every piece is handmade in Australia and you get real quality.
The fashion industry is getting so overrun with cheap, low quality pieces made from polyester that is mass produced in China, Bangladesh etc. So much of this fast fashion can be worn for one season and then it ends up in landfill – it is so unsustainable. A lot of people in the industry say it is not possible to produce in Australia anymore and remain competitive – for a large business this may be the case. But there are niche, artisan businesses that manage to make it work – Krista is just one example of this. Head on over to Etsy.com and you’ll see thousands of small businesses producing all manner of hand made goods right at home in the US, Australia, UK, Canada and every other corner of the globe. The sellers range from making a few things here and there as a hobby and little bit of extra income in their spare time, to some who make six figures a year selling designer fashion accessories and all sorts of other wonderful things.
While fast fashion may seem like the bargain of the century in the short term, think about how long that item will acutally last, how well it actually fits and feels and then compare that to spending a little more up front to have a quality item that will last a lot longer and look 100 times better. I sincerely hope we see a reversal of the way fashion is being produced, however do not at all expect this to happen as the majority of consumers are so stuck on the fast, cheap fashion mindset that will keep funding the cheap goods that come out of these overseas factories. Until that mindset can be changed, I think we are fighting a losing battle.