I remember when eBay first started getting popular. It was back in the days of 26kb telephone line connections, and it was always so exciting to win a bid because so many things could go wrong. You’d have to wait until the last 30 seconds before clicking “Bid”. Then you’d have to wait another minute or so for the page to update so you’d know whether or not your bid had been the highest (or even whether or not it had gone through before the time ran out). Not only was this a race against other bidders, but it was a race against the internet, your telephone connection, and even time itself.
In 2014, used and handmade things are a lot easier to buy and sell. Besides the popular summer-time yard sale, there’s eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, Etsy, and Berrien Springs even has its own, quite active, Facebook wall sale group. And recently, another option has been developing: starting your own, unique, online store.
In large part, I owe my awareness of this option to my brother and online money-making expert Robert Erich. Although Rob, as far as I know, hasn’t built an online retail store, he introduced me to domain names, hosting, and the simple joys of WordPress web design.
Two Reasons for Starting an Online Store
With an upcoming move to Cambodia, I know I need to get rid of a lot of my stuff before the moving day comes. I also know that, as part of my new job, I’ll possibly be involved in setting up some sort of online store. But still, why would I try to create an online store instead of just using Amazon or Craigslist? I have two reasons to go this route:
- Web design is fun
- Web design is useful
Web design is fun
Like I said, web design is full of simple joys. It has a really fun work-reward ratio which makes you, as a designer, feel really productive. WordPress, specifically, makes the ratio even better because plugins and themes let you change the entire look and feel of the site in just a few clicks. Whenever you want to see what your changes look like, simply refresh the browser and you’ll see your changes, live, on your site.
Web design is useful
One of the projects I’m currently preparing for relates to vocational training. Our students in Cambodia often don’t have the resources to continue their education after they graduate from our schools in the 6th or 7th grade. They don’t, at that point, have the skills to earn a good living for their family either, so they run the risk of being sent to a factory or someplace worse. We want to stop this cycle by introducing a third option: a work-study program.
In a program that combines academic study with some sort of skill-based work, we can simultaneously develop our students mentally and spiritually while enabling them at least to support themselves, and to gain the skills to find a well-paying job or to start their own business once they’re older.
Thanks in part to this experience with an online store, you might find some kind of store popping up on another website over the next year. And who knows, maybe a student with some newly acquired web design skills will be the one who makes it.
Please pray for the students who need something like this right now–as the idea develops, we don’t want to lose any of the students that have just graduated.
Now, go ahead and buy a few of my favorite things from the store! I’ll be adding a lot more, so keep checking back.
As always, contact me if you have any ideas.