I’ve always had the notion that there is nothing magical about running an online business. No secret weapon or magic formula or genius idea moment. Take PlayBlue for example we are an online sex shop. Nothing hugely original in that. Neither myself or Richie had ever run an online store when we started over 11 years ago and to be honest we massively under-estimated the effort and time involved but again still no genius move.
The key is simple and anyone can do it, you can go to 1,000 business gurus and get 10 business degrees but I can let you in on a little secret all it takes is two things - Persistence and Consistency. It is that simple and every single business that succeeded ever had those two things. If you truly believe you have a good business and have passion for it then keep striving to improve every single day. Then it might only take 6 months or 10 years but you will succeed. It might sound a bit too simplistic and “Sure anyone could do that”. Well anyone could, you're right but just because it’s simple it doesn’t make it easy.
When you start out you will have a ton of energy and enthusiasm, you will blog every day and spend hours designing beautiful social posts and fuss over the minutia of every newsletter and hardly anyone will ever see them. You’ll push on for a few months with no customers and no one even reading the blogs posts you spent hours working on. Then as always the crucial point comes. You are 5 months in, have worked 80 hours a week and have a total of €892 in revenue which after costs means you’ve lost about two grand. You still love your business and are sure it could succeed but you could earn a good wage with no stress working for someone else. So at this point 95% of people lose heart and they struggle to pour energy into social posts they know no one will read and they slowly dwindle the effort until it’s gone. But the few who double down and push forward start to gain traction and it slowly builds and builds until you have multiple stores, hundreds of thousands of orders and a thriving business that you still love and are proud of.
Really that is our secret weapon, we started 11+ years ago and treated every single customer coming online to us as the most important thing. We spent the first few years living off savings and debt, but we were consistent and persisted. Everyday we ask ourselves how can we make the customer experience better be it packaging, prices, shipping whatever. What can we do today that will make our customers more satisfied? Then we repeated that every single day. Don’t get me wrong of course we have days where it’s a struggle and days of serious stress but we have created a wonderful business, we both love and have great fun running, that helps thousands of people every month in Ireland to have better sex lives.
We only sell in Ireland by choice because we believe we can offer Irish customers the best PlayBlue experience. If we tried to sell into England for instance our shipping would never be next day. Our customers could never pop in-store and they would never understand our Irish support staff saying “Sure grand no worries hun, we’ll get that sorted for ya”. Every customer who buys off us we treat as if they might be the last and anyone who is willing to entrust us with their cash and time is worthy of our best. Our promise to our customers is that at PlayBlue you are the VIP. Of course sometimes things go wrong, a courier makes a balls up, the sex toy you receive has a fault, but these are the times that we believe we can shine and prove we’ll do right by our customers. We will always be honest brokers and will always try to do what is fair and right. Sure why break an 11 year habit?