We often get asked about our e-commerce platform by other business owners. They like the functionality and want to know exactly what we’re using so that they can use it too.
We reply with something to the extent of “our team built the platform in-house for solely our own use”. If I get the question, I also tend to then suggest Shopify and Magento as solutions that might work for them.
I enjoy the question because it really validates the hard work that we all put into it. I often wonder how much more interested people would be if they could see just how effective our back end is at improving our warehouse operations.
However, I’ve noticed that a good portion of people reply with a semi-snotty remark along the lines of “well I’m not as lucky to have a team of expert web developers” or, my personal favorite, “I don’t have the resources that you have so I’d never be able to do that”.
I know that they don’t necessarily know the history of our company, but from my perspective those comments sound ABSURD. We had no resources when we got started. If you go back 5 years, we all had no web experience and were in the process of graduating college. We didn’t have a lot of money. We didn’t have a lot of experience doing much of anything. You know what we did have? Work ethic.
Everything we’ve done is stuff that anyone could have done. Aside from a few hundred dollars on books, I didn’t spend anything to learn how to program. PHP and MySQL are free and open source. So are Linux and Apache. Web hosting and domains are dirt cheap (less than $100/year to get started with a site).
It was just a shear matter of building a site, learning something new, improving the site, and then doing that over and over again for years. While I was finishing school, and while I had a full time job. It wasn’t always the easy choice or the convenient choice, but I made sure I found time to work at it because it was something I truly wanted to be good at.
We have a “team of experts” with a lot of “resources” because we worked hard to achieve that (although I’m not sure either of those things is completely true…). We have advantages that they don’t only because we value those skills enough to have made them a priority and have worked at improving them for years and years.
I made it a priority. I worked hard. People don’t like to hear that. They like to hear the easy solution, the solution that doesn’t require any effort on their part. That’s why the majority of people aren’t very good at much of anything. Putting in hours upon hours of hard work over the course of weeks/months/years is a lost art.