Reflecting on the Second Year of Business
I can't believe it has already been 2 years since I launched my little online shop! I am so proud to have survived 2 years in business and so much has happened in the last year since I wrote Reflecting on the First Year in Business so I would really like to write an update on what has happened since then.
Since last year, I moved to the U.K. (from Australia where our shop is located) and then to Sweden in May 2017, where I am still currently located until March 2018. I am incredibly thankful that I have found a job that I can do, while we move around so much for my husband's job. I do have help from my incredible mother-in-law, Pam, in Australia, who takes care of the warehouse and sending out parcels for me. Other than the amazing Pam, it is still just me trying to figure out the world of business, marketing, social media, customer service, building the website, inventory, buying in products, bookkeeping, blogging etc. It is definitely a learning curve having so many hats and I enjoy all of it but not the way you want to run your business for a long time.
I have brought in lots of new products in the last year and got to know some amazing new business women that make the most beautiful products. I get so inspired by every single one of them. All I want to do is help every single small business and bring these amazing products to all the mums in Australia and the rest of the world. This was the reason I started this website and what keeps me motivated. However, it is an art trying to figure out what will sell well at certain times and I do have a husband that lets me know that I can't help every small business right now but hopefully I do help some a little bit as I continue to grow. The most popular products this year has to be the Nursing/Breastfeeding Hoodie and Sports Bras from Cadenshae, as well as the pregnancy and postpartum leggings that are so incredibly comfortable. We have also brought in adorable bow tie and suspender sets from Oh Boy Designs for your little baby boy, stylish baby wraps/carriers from Chekoh, beautiful and practical Tableware from Miniware, super handy Placemats from We Might Be Tiny, gorgeous Milestone Cards from Sparetime Co, Newborn Development Books from My Little Booky Wooky, which help baby's eye and brain development and beautiful baby shoes from Anchor & Fox and some new super popular baby bags from Elodie Details and Storksak.
I have come across a few difficult situations in customer service, stock not arriving on time, lost products, my emails going to recipient's junk boxes (like a lot) and so many more situations but I always deal with each problem ASAP so it doesn't linger and become a bigger problem than what it is. This is really important to keep my sanity.
I am super excited to have launched the baby luno app last month. This was a huge goal of mine and when I saw it on the App Store for the first time, I was literally jumping up and down screaming. My husband said "Wow, I didn't realise you were so excited about this" #partypooper. My main reason for creating an app is that it makes the whole shopping experience so much easier for customers. Since my shop is a one-stop shop with so many different products it makes it a lot easier to filter through the products and different brands in the app. Also, 95% of my customers shop from their phone and after doing extensive research, stats show that customers are inclined to shop more often and for bigger amounts when shopping through apps rather than online websites. It is also a new way to reach my audience with push notifications straight to their phones since I feel that the art of email marketing is dying. I am still trying to figure out if the app is a good way to go or not but it is all trial and error and if it fails, then I have at least learned something.
Now to the numbers. Almost every single month since I started, I made record month in sales but only with a few dollars every month and not big total amounts. After 1.5 years, I could not take out a salary yet and I had not earned back my initial investment yet. Every dollar that came in, I re-invested in to the business. However, I was quite satisfied with how it was going anyway since I was still taking care of my youngest son at home full time and my eldest son only went to daycare 3 mornings a week so I had him part-time as well. However, in April 2017, I attended a Tony Robbins seminar called Unleash the Power Within. I have always been a Tony Robbins fan and my sister-in-law was going to this seminar and I told my husband that it is on my bucket list to go to one of his seminars one day so as my 30th birthday present, my husband bought me a ticket to attend the seminar with my sister-in-law. The seminar was amazing! I changed my mindset a lot - both business-wise and privately. My major limiting belief was that I felt that I didn't have enough time to work on the business for it to be successful since I had my two kids (and a husband) to take care of and my second limiting belief was that I didn't have enough money to invest in marketing and other aspects of the business to make it a huge success. These two limiting beliefs disappeared during that weekend of the seminar and I had a new positive outlook on life in general, which is also needed when you are a sleep-deprived mama of two!
In May 2017, we moved to Sweden and both my sons started school/daycare full time (7:30am till 3pm). I am very lucky since, in Sweden, daycare for both boys costs about $200 AUD per month ($160 USD) so I could do this and get to work on my business full time. Time was now on my side and I started to invest more money in marketing. I started with Facebook Ads as I found it easy and simple to just add a little bit more to what I was already doing. Things started to take off and in May 2017, I doubled my turnover from April.
Towards the end of May, I had a meeting with a business coach, Clare Wood, who reinforced that I still had a limiting belief of not having enough money and sent through a few things to listen to and Facebook business groups to join. These ladies in these groups, Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine, Mums & Co and Mums with Hustle kept me super motivated.
June's turnover was similar to May, which was still alright since I doubled April. However, after I started working more on the things Clare had sent through and remembering what she said, I thought "I doubled a month once, why can't I do that again?". So in July 2017, I doubled my turnover from June and in August 2017 I added another third on top of the July sales and took out my first bit of salary! This was a huge milestone for me and I celebrated by going for a professional massage :).
Last month, in September, I was not able to do much work for 3 weeks since we moved from one city to another and had to find new schools for the boys so I had them at home with me for 2 weeks in between. However, I am still proud to say that I had a record month but only by a few extra dollars from August. I still have a long way to go to get to where I want to be but I am incredibly proud of where I have come after two years in business.
The best thing about this business is that I get to spend a lot of time with my boys. Every time an order comes in, my phone makes like a register "Ca-Ching" sound (everyone using Shopify will know what I mean) and my two boys both stop what they're doing jump with their hands in the air and yell "Ca-Ching". That is simply the best!
I am incredibly thankful for every customer, every order, every like, comment and follower on social media, every visitor to our website, all my incredible suppliers making amazing products and a huge special shoutout to my husband and amazing mother-in-law, Pam. Without you two, baby luno would not exist today. I appreciate everyone's support so incredibly much! Thank you for reading and I hope to see you at babyluno.com soon!