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Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit shares with you her experience, and, hopefully, the know-how.
What you are about to see is something that started back in 2006. The original stroy was first told at the end of 2008.
To all Website newbies out in the big world wide web, I share my experiences with you: From when the beginning of the idea of owning a site manifested itself inside my head, through many research hours- plus being bombarded with too much information- to slowly, but maturely finding my way through many trials and errors, and a lot of frustration. Hopefully, this story will help to make your Website- building journey a good learning experience and a pleasurable one.
It was sixteen months ago when I set up on the Internet my small voice teaching studio, 'CoffeeMelodie,' which also does school outreach programs and hires us (my husband and me) out for singing gigs. Later that summer, my sister visited and brought to me several gifts of handmade Thai crafts - mostly accessories - each of which is very cleverly designed and unique. She brought so many, though, that I would never get to use them all. So, we thought it would be good that I should sell them, and I opened up a page on my singing website www.pradichaya.com.
The website already contained a page for CoffeeMelodie Studio, and our students found it convenient to book lessons and pre-pay right on the site. I also went to great lengths to open a page dedicated to outreach programs, which soon branched out into a career consulting service page, as well as a piano accompaniment apprenticeship award page. I took a look at my (soprano) website and felt very proud of myself: There I was, a soprano who could mix singing and other money- making businesses together. Then, it hit me: My studio and outreach program worked because of their natures of being 'local businesses.' People learned about a new voice studio in town, asked around, and then called us up and connected. The beautiful webpages are just 'there' and, aside from serving the purpose of easy-pay convenience (which could also be done in person!), it was not anything beyond wall-papering decor. But darn, it did look great!!!!
Next, I turned my attention to my gift shop page: After all, I could sell these products 'online', right? I put more effort into making the page look fabulous - and it did. Now, my soprano website host provider has all kinds of funky tools with which I could play, and a few days after finishing building the gift shop I received from it an email inviting me to upgrade from the free website to a premium e-store. Hmmm..I hadn't even turned a profit yet, so I didn't upgrade.
I started doing research on eBay and Amazon and realized that the Internet and hard books were over-flowing with information, most of which was a mixed bag and not directly applicable to my small gift shop containing less than twenty-five items (!!!!!). BUT I DID WANT TO SELL, so I decided to jump into eBay.
Piggy bank alert!!! I needed great photos to feature my items, not just the blurry ones that I had for my humble soprano website. I wouldn't want to invest on a brand new camera, though, unless I wanted to make selling a serious business. Okay, I could be serious. As I got into building my eBay selling place, I winced as I came to see that I'd get charged for every tiny little thing. It is a huge company, and they've got to be making money in order to maintain their greatness. I, like most people selling a few items on eBay, was merely a tiny firefly willing to fly into a big beautiful fire - 'brightlight, brightlight.' I linked my eBay page to the gift shop on my website; and while I did get a few browsers, none made any purchase, nor did they become my music fans. I came out of eBay having sold two items – earning a net of about fifty dollars (after Paypal fees - eBay built Paypal, right?), and from my 'experiment' I paid eBay around two hundred dollars. And I'm sure that it was because I didn't really know how to sell on eBay.
While I was making an attempt to run a sideline business, as well as being a singer, I kept my awareness of the singer's etiquette. It came to my attention that my singing colleagues often frowned upon other singers who appear so eager to sell their products, whether the products are their singing packages or actual hard goods of any kind- CDs, for example. Some of the regular gurus in the singing world (of internet forums) have mentioned, here and there, every now and then, that it's so tasteless when a singer sells her CD on her website. What would they think of me when they found out that not only did I sell my CD, but I also sold other non-singing related items - with an occasional online auction - all to raise the $$$ to feed the hungry mouths, all the while giving the career 'one more try'!!!! Not that what I believe is good for me is anyone else's business, but I didn't want to make my fellow singers look or feel bad.
I am a singer, and nothing will change that; and, I am also a singer who knows what's real. With the supply far exceeding the demand in the singing market, and the 'late coming back-into-the-scene' factor, I have to operate from a higher business point of view. The family has to be fed. I abandoned my high-paying job for the reason of coming back to singing. I have to pull out my lifetime knowledge and experiences in everything I've done, combine them all together, and make them work for me.
Time to look for better ways to have it all.
The goal of La CoffeeMelodie Suite is to provide its audience with useful information, for both general education and on specific topics of interest. It has every intention of keeping learning entertaining, yet real, through the use of real life, day-to-day scenarios of what goes on in this family of six. At the same time, it also wants to increase within everyone the awareness of raising a family responsibly, in the hope that this will develop into the production of better quality, and therefore better citizens in society.
The team at this site is working continuously to fulfill its goal, in the hope that La CoffeeMelodie Suite will soon be a one-stop hub for all.