In a Nutshell: Many great ideas for new businesses never get off the ground. Why? Because we find all sorts of reasons (or excuses) not to pursue them. Luckily, the digital age has provided faster and easier routes to new ventures. Drag-and-drop website-building platform Weebly is an example of just how simple and cost-effective it can be to build a site, start a blog, or create an online store without the need for coding knowledge. In just a few hours you can have a professional-looking website with e-commerce capabilities and be ready to start earning extra income from your new side business.
You’re at a barbecue, or maybe out to lunch with a group of friends, and someone says, “I’ve got a great idea for a business.” You listen, and sure enough, it sounds like it could be turned into a successful venture with the right effort.
The next time you see this person, you ask, “How’s the business going?” Of course, we know the answer, “Oh, it was going to cost too much.” Or, “I just don’t have the time to put into something like that.” Maybe you’ve even uttered those words yourself.
Seth Godin has been quoted as saying, “The only thing worse than starting something and failing … is not starting something.” As an early dot-com millionaire and highly successful author and businessman, he would know. Having a great idea for a business and never taking the steps needed to get it off the ground is the same as never having the idea at all.
Now, let’s take a look at someone who had a great idea and followed through. Vanessa Kenon-Hunt lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a wife and mother to two boys. She began working on a natural skin lotion at home to help her boys and husband treat their dry skin. Vanessa chose only natural and organic ingredients and created a really special product that she decided to try selling to others with sensitive skin.
Vanessa discovered Weebly, an online platform for building websites and creating online stores and was soon up and running with her new business. She used Weebly’s drag-and-drop website builder to design her Olive and Aloe website and keeps it updated with new products and images using her mobile phone.
If it was really this easy for Vanessa to start an online business using Weebly and become her own boss, we wanted to know more about how this powerful website builder can help others.
Kim Chappell is Head of Communications at Weebly, and we recently spoke with her about using the platform to start an online side business and earn extra cash.
“Our goal as a company is really to simplify technology and make it accessible and easy for anyone to use, but also to empower users to really feel like they can launch their idea into the world,” Chappell said. “For a lot of people, that means selling and making money. We’re really proud to help people do that in a really simple way.”
Even Busy Full-Timers Can Start a Side Business to Bolster Their Income with Weebly
One of the things that most intrigued us in learning about Weebly was that anyone can build a website without knowing a bit about programming or coding. The process really is simple, and even a novice can have a website up and running in just a few hours. This means that someone with a full-time job can build a website during their off hours. But, what about the e-commerce part of things?
“If you have your product and images ready, and if you know what you want to say on your site, you can get an e-commerce store going in a couple of hours,” Chappell said.
Weebly’s design tools allow users to customize the appearance of their website as much as they’d like. Templates in a variety of pre-designed layouts give you a start, but the ultimate design to your website and online store is completely yours. Along the way, step-by-step guidance is available for each design feature, and Weebly’s award-winning Success Team is accessible by phone or online chat.
All of this is designed to make it simple for budding entrepreneurs to start selling online and earn extra income. It’s about removing the obstacles we tend to put in our own way. Chappell had a great way of putting it.
“We ask, ‘how can we take the fear factor out of the process?’ We start by helping people understand what they need to do now and then what they need to do next — trying to make it all as simple as possible,” she said.
Democratizing Entrepreneurship Through a Professional Look and Robust Tools
It wasn’t that long ago that designing and building a professional website meant paying an expert hundreds or even thousands of dollars. And that wasn’t the end of it — updates and changes to your site would also cost a chunk of change. But with Weebly’s user-friendly tools, anyone can create an attractive and professional website by themselves. It’s what Chappell calls “democratizing entrepreneurship.”
“We have some very powerful tools that are often used by very big retailers and corporations, and we’re allowing someone who is running a business from their home to take advantage of these same tools and techniques for a really affordable price,” she said. “Making these tools available to anybody so they can build, grow, and run a business and make it successful, that’s the mission of Weebly, and what we’re proud to do.”
Some of the tools she is referring to include integrated marketing features in the online store that helps bring in new customers, retain existing customers, and grow brand awareness. Meanwhile, with integrated email marketing, there’s no need for an outside or third-party email marketing source. This allows for email marketing that lets you drag and drop products from your store and click to send to a targeted email list.
Other tools include tracking customer visits, how many people purchased during a marketing campaign, and what parts of the campaign were successful. Again, very powerful tools. Chappell elaborated a bit on just how much can be done through the platform and its integrated features.
“Weebly’s powerful e-commerce platform lets you sell products globally, manage taxes, do shipping, do coupon codes, send abandoned cart emails, and more — all of the really complicated parts of the process, we’ve simplified for you,” she said. “This makes it easy to get a product out there in the world and start making money.”
Start Small and Scale Up Your Venture
For anyone concerned that all of these features and tools are going to eat into their profits, let’s clear that up. Building a website and starting to sell on Weebly is not expensive. Of course, higher pricing tiers get you more advanced features and marketing tools. But, by removing cost as an obstacle to getting started, Weebly has taken another excuse off the table.
As a business grows and begins attracting more customers, you’ll probably want to scale up to a paid plan. Pricing packages include Starter, Pro, and Business plans, ranging in cost from $8 to $25 a month. This includes the cost of your domain and gets you things like advanced site statistics, video and audio on your website, and those powerful marketing features we talked about.
“As a Weebly entrepreneur, your success is our success,” Chappell said. “Everything we build and every feature we offer is to make sure you are selling more, growing your brand, and making a meaningful connection with your customer. As you start to scale up, we offer unique features for each stage of your business. And if you get stuck, you can chat (with a real human, not a bot) from our Customer Success Team. We want to be there for you from idea to success.”
If all of this doesn’t remove the obstacles standing in the way of you finally starting that business or side hustle you’ve been thinking about, maybe this will. I’m reminded of a quote by Wayne Gretzky, one of the greatest hockey players to ever strap on skates. Gretzky famously said, “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Is it time to take your shot?