I’ve been working for the past week on figuring out how to sell items here on my WordPress site. I upgraded to Premium for the Simple Payments options and started to slog through the process.
It’s been a long week.
You and me both, stock photo man.
Things I’ve realized as I worked:
I didn’t need to upgrade to Premium – Simple Payments doesn’t let me provide automatic emails/links for downloading the digital products.
Inserting my own PayPal buttons on my site was waaaay more complicated than it should be.
iOS doesn’t play nice with anyone.
I do not like coding. I can grasp the basics, but any more than that is just frustrating.
I still need to track buyer’s addresses for sales tax, in case I would go over any given state’s transaction limit for remote sellers.
No wonder people use Etsy, Amazon, Ebay, and the like – it’s sooo much easier.
So, after working diligently for a week and having little to show for it, I need to take a step back and rethink what I’m doing.
I’m going to give myself a mental break this weekend and have a good long think about how best to achieve what I want. What advice would I give someone else in this situation? And am I brave enough to take it?
With the extra time I’ve had in the last few weeks, I’ve been doing research and trying to figure out how to make my business a good fit for me. So much research that my brain is now filled with what-if’s – What if it doesn’t work? What if I can’t figure out the tech pieces? What if I screw up on taxes somehow? What if I’ve missed something vital?
The panic and anxiety my brain can produce is endless.
But I’m not going to let it win. So, I’m going to just take the plunge and hope it works out for the best. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to do everything I can to make it successful, but it does mean that I have to let go of my fears and do SOMETHING.
Anything is better than standing still. A journey starts with a single step. (Feel free to throw in any other cliches that seem to fit here. 😛 )
What I’ve decided to do to start is to upgrade my plan here on WordPress to Premium. I already pay for the Personal plan, so upgrading won’t be that much more. Doing that will allow me to use their Simple Payments for selling digital downloads. I already have PayPal set up, so it’s just a matter of hosting the files and posting them.
I’m still going to be writing posts about other things, but I will be adding more posts about my mandalas and the stickers I make. I haven’t worked out all the details yet, because some of the products I want to sell are physical, not digital. But digital is a good place to start, especially since selling them here on my own site means I don’t have to worry about pesky sales tax! My state doesn’t collect sales tax on digital goods, and since I’m using my own website for sales (instead of a marketplace like Amazon or Etsy), I don’t have to worry about any other states either – I won’t ever hit their revenue/number of sales limits for small sellers.
In the meantime, there may some changes here and there so I can arrange things on the site for selling some of these goods, so bear with me.
Side Note: Did you know that under your media tab here on WP you can access a library of free photos? There’s a menu option called ‘free photo library’ with a ton of pics that you can use (the attribution is attached to the photo, so you don’t have to do anything except add it).
Okay, so they are only self-imposed deadlines, but I think that makes it feel worse when you miss them, because you are disappointing yourself.
Sadly, my goal of opening an Etsy business still hasn’t happened. Part of it is fear, part of it is procrastination, and part of it is just pure avoidance.
I’ve been waffling back and forth about whether I want to sell physical products (which would require me to deal with collecting sales tax) or whether I want to limit my sales (at first, at least) to digital downloads – which would not require me to collect sales tax in my state of residence. (Etsy collects sales tax and handles all of the reporting/payments for states that require it even on digital products; for now, anyway.)
Part of my avoidance is that, in general, sales tax on the internet is becoming a huge pile of red tape. For a long time, internet sales were exempt from sales tax because the internet didn’t exist when most of the laws were written.
Fast forward to the digital age, and everyone wants their cut of internet sales. Instead of only having to worry about the laws in the state you physically reside in, it’s rapidly becoming that you have to worry about the laws in every state, regardless of where you live. Which is a giant headache, and one that will likely drive a lot of people out of business, because the convoluted record-keeping required is just too time-consuming and expensive and eats up their time and/or profit.
For now, digital downloads seem to be the way I should go, if only for my own sanity. Having finally decided that, I have begun working on designs for the coloring pages and stickers I hope to sell. Let’s hope the laws don’t change on me before my procrastinating butt finally kicks into gear!