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Updated by Debra Orellana on Oct 20, 2014
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How to Create Your Own Online Shop

Please feel free to add helpful resources to this list


What's the Idea?

What's the Idea?

Do you like to make things? If so, maybe this can be the inspiration for the kinds of items you might want to sell in your new online shop. Start small, that way you can gain a sense of what potentially sells and what doesn't, avoiding the need to mass produce from the onset!

Brainstorming Tips
Another helpful link


Who will buy your creations?

Who will buy your creations?

If you intend sell your handmade "French-Poodle" berets for poodles, go ahead and try it! There are probably many over zealous poodle owners hoping to buy their pets a special birthday gift like one of your spectacular handmade "French-Poodle" berets! The point is, there's a niche out there for almost anything, and you won't make many poodles happy, but there's potential for the pet owners to be returning customers!

Finding Your Market Niche

2-Step Method for Finding Your Market

Finding Your Dream Job Niche

The Method Method: Seven Obsessions That Helped Our Scrappy Start-up Turn an Industry Upside Down Hardcover by Eric Ryan.

Know your competition!

Google-check your main business key phrase, for example: "hats for dogs". This will help to give you an idea of the companies ranking highest in search results. Also check the product search results.

To learn more about using Google to market your creations, check out the following links:

Google Adwords

About Google Adwords

[Mashable: Launching Your Product!(


Ask your new customers what works, what doesn't, what they want, what they don't, you get the picture!

Ask your new customers what works, what doesn't, what they want, what they don't, you get the picture!

Use an online customer survey service such as SURVEYMONKEY. Sign up for free, test it out.

Smartsheet; try for free



Naming your baby--oops--your online business!

Naming your baby--oops--your online business!

You should use your name if you know you'll by saturating the market as in media market, think Oprah, Lady Gaga, Calvin Klein, and Chanel, for starters. But if Ann and Bill Smith love to design and make dollhouses, Ann and Bill Smith is too boring. They need something exciting like Annie and Billie's Dollhouse Village or Annie loves Dollhouses (sorry Bill).

Check to see if the business name exists:
United States Patent & Trademark Office

If the name is cleared, register with your local state.
Illinois Dept. of Revenue

Even if your business name already exists, you might be able to still use it if it's you're providing a different product/service or are located in a different region. Register as "Doing Business As" (not same as receiving TM protection).


What type of business entity are you forming?

What type of business entity are you forming?

Will it be a limited liability company? Sole-proprietor? Corporation?
To learn more about the different forms of U.S. businesses visit the following links:
U.S. Small Business Admin.


SCORE business mentoring, workshops, learning


Create a simple list of materials and supplies you will need to start your business.

Create a simple list of materials and supplies you will need to start your business.

Start with the minimum. Build up as your business takes off. Remember grasshopper, if you will be asking your Uncle Pestor to invest money, please don't. Save your own money or take out a small personal loan. You do not need annoying calls at odd hours from good ol' Uncle Pestor kindly asking for some pay back before you even sell one "French-Poodle" beret!

If you must do business with family and friends, or anyone for that matter, learn about creating contracts.

Book: Small Business Handbook

Research law contracts at law university libraries, government agencies, and remember to take a proactive approach in protecting you business and yourself. This is the start of being professional.



Create a Business Plan.

Create a Business Plan.

Start professionally. Creating a business plan helps to bring your business concept into reality. It also helps in launching your business and to invest
in its growth potential. In order to request a small business loan or to seek investors or employees, a business plan outlines the purpose for your
business and the effort that is invested.

Tip: Research Universities for business information provided to students.

Small Business Administration Business Plan Template

University of Chicago Entrepreneurship Info.

The Chicago Public Library Small Business Resources

A business plan explains your business vision, mission, goals, objectives, competition, target market, budget outline summary and plans for growth during an certain time frame, generally five years.


Learn to use a digital camera to photograph your products and create a website.

Learn to use a digital camera to photograph your products and create a website.

There are many free online tools and resources to help you decide which website provider to use for your business with reasonable monthly fees depending on the type of business venture. Visit your local library for business books.

Chicago Public Library--Business

For questions about product photography
Better Business Bureau




Good Luck!

Good Luck!

For inspiration and good business sense:

Example of Human Resources Goals and Objectives


There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.--Colin Powell

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