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3 mistakes I made in launching an online business

Since last summer, I’ve been learning about the world of online product businesses as I created and launched my jewelry site, Ounce of Salt Jewelry.

While I am still in the trenches, working on moving my business to full throttle mode, I’ve learned several things about the world of online businesses that I want to document and share along the way.

I want to remember these beginning stages of starting the business to look back on one day when I am wildly successful!

I’ve heard from many entrepreneurs who have “made it,” they wish they documented their journey more at the start when they were grinding and pushing through with pure faith as their main driver. Once at the top, how satisfying will it be to look back on the journey?

If you’ve been dreaming of starting a business to sell a product or service, these posts may help you. Follow along and learn from my mistakes!

As a blogger for the past 3 years, one of my main goals is to inspire people to live their best lives. I hope this post pushes you closer to your dreams.

3 mistakes i made in starting an online product business picture of me

Mistakes in launching an online business 

1. Understand Online Marketing

My decision to jump into starting an online jewelry shop was pure passion. My parents and grandfather were jewelers and this is an area I get excited by and am very comfortable. Jewelry is in my blood! 

However, much like blogging, I started this online venture a bit blind regarding the marketing aspect. You know how so many people never launch a project or go for their dreams because they are perfectionists? I am the opposite. I just dive right in, heart first and mind second.

Working as an accountant and financial consultant through my 20s, I used to be the opposite. My career forced me to plan and outline business plans and financial statements, and audit the books to an excruciating level of detail. Not much fun.

But, there is a balance to live by, especially as an entrepreneur. 

While I support the “Progress is better than perfection” mindset, looking back I think I launched my business before I was ready. I was so excited to get the site out there that I rushed through the process of creating it. 

I should have taken a business course like I just finished (a 6 week online B-school course with Marie Forleo) at an earlier point. It would have forced me to sit down and learn more about the world of online product sales and marketing (an area where I had no expertise) before launching.

Coming from a business background, I thought I could figure it out easily since I had the baseline training. Talk about humbling! I underestimated the sophistication of the online world. The technology landscape changes every day. Everything moves so fast and there is a ton to learn! Looking back, I could have used about 4 more months of planning time than I gave myself.

2. Invest in your brain

Take it from someone who spent years trying to learn the world of blogging for free via the internet – If it is your work, you should look at training and education as an investment to your business and pay to get it. It’s like college. While you can learn for free on the web, it will take 5x longer and will be much less efficient. Invest in paid courses or waste your time. That’s the bottom line. 

Luckily, I am taking the training investment route with my jewelry venture. But even with that, it took me months before I invested in education! I believe it’s important to understand each phase of the business before hiring out. I am investing in learning about Facebook/Instagram and retarget marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), sales funnels and more areas of online sales in order to understand the fundamentals before I delegate down. Jewelry photography is another area where I’m continually learning. Did you know that jewelry is one of the hardest things to photograph?

It is a mindset shift to go all-in and put your heart fully into a project with the expectation that you will succeed vs. dabbling and trying to figure it all out on your own, all the while being scared to fail. Without being all in, chances for success are slim.

3. I didn’t have a clear message

What is your “why” in launching your business?

My reason for wanting to sell jewelry is that I found it’s difficult to shop for fine jewelry online and I want to offer an improved experience for the customer.

  • I believe streamlining the cost layers of the business to decrease inflated pricing is the first step.
  • It’s also hard to know who to trust.
  • Finally, it’s hard to feel an emotional connection similar to an in-person look when looking on a screen.

But I believe I can deliver on all these points to make jewelry purchasing efficient and fun for the customer.

However, with respect to offering the lowest price, I was nervous about how to convey this message, so I hid it in my “about me” page on my website. I didn’t want to offend retailers or come across like I am selling purely on price. 

When you’re trying to sell something but your message isn’t absolutely clear within the first 10 seconds someone is on your site or your marketing ad, you’ll lose the customer. Figure out your “why” and own it! 

My key message is that I’m offering wholesale pricing on fine jewelry from the Los Angeles Jewelry District while delivering a retail experience. Took me a while to get that straight, but I’m there now and have made it clear!


Operate from a place of service to others. And behave as if you’ve already made it. Make decisions like you’re already there. What you think you are, you will be. It’s amazing how this clears up a lot of the noise in the mind and makes progress easier and more straightforward!

I live and I learn. I’m moving forward and getting smarter each day. “The Amazon of jewelry,” here I come!

Thinking about how useful this information would have been for me before I started, I get excited that someone will be able to apply these points on their own venture.

If these 3 mistakes I made in launching an online shop are helpful to you, I will continue to share my journey along the way. There are more mistakes I could talk about but I don’t want this post to be too long…and I will continue to make many more mistakes to learn from to discuss in the future. So, this is part 1 of my reflections on starting an online shop. 

It’s fun to see what others are up to. I’d love to hear what you’re dreaming up for your life, so leave a comment below! Share this post! Follow me on social media! Buy Ounce of Salt Jewelry! Ha! Seriously though. I have some beautiful new pieces on the site that have passed all my tests!

You won’t find quality fine jewelry for less. Let me do the shopping for you. And if you’re looking for a diamond or a specific piece, I’m your girl! Just visit the form on the Concierge Service page and I’ll be in touch shortly. See you soon!

Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt. A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.