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  • #1000583
    • Total posts: 1

    Hi Everyone,
    I found this forum whilst doing research for the new business I am starting up. I cannot believe how much useful information is on here and I am so grateful for it.

    I, perhaps stupidly, decided to think about starting a chandlery business (not soy in glass jars!!) but I was woefully unprepared for how difficult it would be to maintain any sense of profit in the calculations. I just feel like at the end of a sale I will have $2.00 left which is going to be very hard to build anything from.

    I am currently trying to solve two issues before I go live:

    1. Which ecommerce platform to use – places like Etsy charge so for a transaction to the point of being prohibitive on low margin items like my candles, but others like Shopify charge a monthly which is likely going to be way more than I will ever sell. I had settled on “Square” as they charge a very small transaction fee – but they don’t have many payment options unless you upgrade. Hosting a site is also expensive but I have already bought a domain and am paying for a teeny tiny amount of hosting to have emails so maybe I should just go down that track with WordPress & Woocommerce.
    2. Shipping/packaging; boxes, tissue paper, stickers, labels, postage etc etc all add up to stupid levels and I cannot see how people offer such cheap postage when Austpost is so expensive. I don’t want to have to “cover” any of the shipping costs because then I lose out through something I have no control over so am leaning towards a slightly higher flat rate shipping fee to help cover all ends of the order spectrum. I honestly had no idea austpost charged so much and I have a greater appreciation for small business now; I won’t baulk at their shipping costs as much anymore.

    Anyway, I wasn’t asking any sort of questions I know, but I just feel so stupid for having such issues with these choices. But they can make or break a tiny business like mine and I just felt like venting to people who might understand :) It just makes me wonder if I am cut out for this after all, if I can’t make 2 decisions.

    Thanks for listening and any suggestions you provide. I am going to be reading everything i can on here in the mean time.


    • Total posts: 712

    I know it is difficult to get started in a new business, especially if you don’t have the profit margins to do it properly. And that is the point. In business you do have to make enough profits, not only to run your business but also to live on.

    My only advice is to find a way to change your business to increase your margins to cover your postage costs as well as business costs- different sorts of candles or products. I really love water candles and would pay more for those, but of course, water candles are too fragile to post.

    Doing what everyone else does always puts you behind the 8 ball so you have to strategize. And maybe start with the many ‘hand made in Australia’ groups on Facebook to market until you can afford to pay for a website. With sooooo many soap makers and sellers out there it is incredibly hard to stand out, compete, and get customers.

    • Total posts: 568

    G’day & welcome,

    Have you considered doing a small business course at TAFE? Creating a business plan will educate you in the costs associated with starting a new business.


    • Total posts: 4,485

    Reconsider having your own website/ ecommerce setup. Like you say you pay a certain amount per month even if you don’t sell anything, and add on top of that the fact that you don’t have any passing trade. Consider it like a small shopping strip where only 10 people pass per day unless you market it in some way. Whereas Etsy, or even Ebay (alothough I whisper Ebay as I will be yelled at), are like Westfield shopping centres, which have millions of visitors a day. Sure you may pay per transaction, but at least you know it’s a fixed 11% per sale, whereas an ecommerce site you pay mega dollars even if you don’t sell a single iitem. Not saying dont go that way, but wait and see if anyone actually wants what you are offering.

    The number one thing with starting any business, is a business plan, you obviously havent done that and that is why things like postage, wrapping, etc are becoming a shock to you. They are a reallity for all business’s. And your pricing should reflect the full cost, plus a profit, if it doesnt, close up shop now, and don’t waste your money.

    You say you will only have $2.00 left after a sale, then it comes down to volume, if you sell 1000 items a day, thats a nice profit, if you only sell one a month, well need I say more. There are many business’s which make mega dollars on teeny weeny margins, but they are based on volume.

    Number one thing to do now, is a proper evaluation of costs (full costs), what profits you want, estimated sales volume and see what price you need to charge. Oh that sounds like it is a part of a business plan.

    Mandy Barker
    • Total posts: 11

    Hey there! I admire anyone that has the belief in themselves to start a business, so good on you. I did it 6 years ago now and am eternally grateful that I did.

    In regard to your specific questions:

    1) when you start out the small % charged by the Etsy’s of the world are often a better investment than the time and cost in building your own site. Remember you are paying for access to their pre-existing audience, you will not have access to this on your own site without time, SEO and site authority.

    2) I don’t sell physical products but I have heard others rave about Sendle. They might be worth a look for your shipping query.

    Furthermore, is there any chance you are under-pricing your products?

    Sometimes it can feel scary to charge a ‘premium’ price for your products, especially if they are hand-made.

    Not only do you need to make money, in order to have a successful business, but charging a higher price will attract a different type of clientele.

    Just food for thought, I wish you all the best and would love to hear whichever way you go and I’ll be happy to follow you.


    • Total posts: 1

    change your business to increase your margins to cover your postage costs as well as business costs, I know it is difficult to get started in a new business.

    • Total posts: 6

    Have you considered doing a small business course at TAFE? Creating a business plan will educate you in the costs associated with starting a new business

    • Total posts: 3

    I agree with the earlier post about creating a business plan. I believe that is always step one before putting in any time and/or money.

    The next step in my mind is to clarify what type of business you want to have. I think in your case you have two basic options from a planning perspective:

    1 – high margin low volume
    2 – low margin high volume

    If you plan to offer basic candles you are going to need to find a way to increase your volume so the low margins are still worth while…..or you will want to create a unique product that you can charge more for so the overhead you’ve mentioned is not an issue.

    It sounds to me like you should start with planning and getting specific on the identity of your business — once you’ve done that the rest should become self evident.

    • Total posts: 8

    As it help you earn low profit margin, try to increase the volume sold to earn more profit

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