What’s in a name

After deciding what platform to sell the physical products. The next challenge is giving the business a name.

Giving your business a name is a big challenge. It would start off fun and loose for the first couple of names, but I would quickly become trapped in a mind numbing list of gibberish.

It also depends on how you deep of a niche that you would like to go into. For example, if you are planning to sell coffee. You can call it bossleecoffee.com like what I did for a coldbrew project. However, that could limit what you can be selling in the future, say you intent to move into tea. The brand Bosslee Coffee might not resonate so well with selling Tea.

 

Here’s another example:

In the case of Bosslee Canvas, the business is selling photo canvas so it was relatively quick to have a name for it. We wanted something close to the personal brand of “Bosslee” and a name to leverage on for SEO, hoping that if someone is searching for “photo canvas” then Bosslee Canvas will show up.

However, mid way we decided to sell notebooks and stationery. Are we going to change the name? We have already purchased the domain name and also secured the Facebook username. Plus there are some traffic towards Bosslee Canvas.

Initially, we did think of changing the name. Either to Bosslee WoodCraft or Bosslee Notes but after thinking it through, we decided to keep the name Bosslee Canvas.

 

Do not be too caught up with the name because if you keep thinking about the name, you will not end up getting any work done. Because you need to remember that ->

We can change the name, when we are ready.

 

Yes, like Grab used to be Grab Taxi as the business moved toward private hires, they changed to Grab.

Apple used to be known as Apple Computer. Now it is Apple Inc.

Starbucks used to be “Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spice”

 

Of course, it would be best that you do not have to change your business name but what I’m trying to put across is that sometimes people tend to get caught up in “getting a good name for the business” and end up not doing any work.

 

If you are in the midst of naming your business. Here is my personal guide.

  1. At the first glance, the user / customer needs to know what you are selling. For example: LemonSays Consultancy, even if you do not understand the reason behind LemonSays, you at least understand that this business provide consultancy services
  2. It might be something closely related to you, have a story behind it. For example: Bosslee Coffee, Bosslee Canvas. We are going to sell notebooks and stationery for Bosslee Canvas and the story behind is simple; Canvas is an extremely durable plain-woven fabric used for making items for which sturdiness is required, we aimed to do the same for your stationery.
  3. If you are having a hard time getting a word, tech startups love do this. They take a random word and make use of it. The benefits are many you can get your desired Facebook, Twitter, Instagram handler. For example: Intraix is one of the example. It does not means anything. The name came from a random name generator. We put in the keywords of “tracking”, “energy” and “insights”. “Google” is another example of this.

If you are running your business, I love to know how do you get your name?

What was your naming process like?

Which selling platforms to sell on

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The last email, I talked about all the research I have done but no particular action. We discuss and decided to take the simplest and free approach.

Update: 9 Feb 2017

There are the platforms we are going to focus on and start building up the brand name.

  1.  Facebook page with Shopify Iite integration
  2.  Carousell
  3. Shopee
  4. Instagram

Facebook Page with Shopify

We are taking a bet on Facebook page because we believe that in the future, people will get used to going over to Facebook page to do reviews and perhaps buy stuff. Currently, the search is on Google but personally I’m starting to go over to Facebook for search. To find the company that is providing the service and to message them there. Although there are risk to “renting” the platform but it’s free and a good validation group. Furthermore, with a Facebook page, we cannot do any Facebook ads.

As for shopify lite, we need it for the payment. It’s the cheapest shopify plan and gives us an opportunity that is one day the business grow, we are able to shift it to a full working e-commerce site.

Facebook page with Shopify lite is shit. The integration is an issue. Sometimes when you change the price for your Shopify products, the price changed does not reflect on Facebook. I have changed the a basic Shopify shop. The running cost is $29USD per month.

Carousell

It’s free. It’s a good validation ground for a product idea. It’s easy to start. Although the search feature is so-so, it helps if you can have some “keywords” in the name of your product in a proper manner. Check out my carousell account.

Traffic is good and as long as you write clearly the item description. You will get less of Carouhellers.

Shopee

It’s free too. Much more features with payment integrated, which I love. But they have less traffic than Carousell ( I Guess). We love the systematic way of upload products and the features to choose shipping options. It feels more like selling up a e-commerce store as compared to Carousell, which is more of personal selling.

This is bad too. No traffic and if you are not logging in, it will keep prompting that your account will be remove. The question here is, if you have no traffic why do I have to login? As a small time seller, we are busy with other stuff.

Instagram

In this day and age, we are selling physical products, how can we be not Instagram. The challenge here is what account to use? Personal or Business? I started a business account but I’m having issues with naming.

Naming

What should I call this new business?

Initially, I started off with bossleecanvas but is it too niche? Then I move to bosslee woodcraft, does not sounds right still 🙁
Naming is driving us nuts.
What do you think? How did you get your business name?

Other stories here

Getting Started is hard

In the last letter, I shared that we (my wife and I) decided to sleep over the idea of starting an online store.

During this period of time, I’ve spent all my time researching and dreaming. You might think that I’m researching if it is actually viable to start selling on Facebook and if there are actual customers that wants the canvas.

Well it is wrong 😩

I was spending time researching on tools.

  • What email service provider? Mailchimp or Drip
  • Is it alright use to use Facebook Page without Shopify
  • If yes, what about SEO? There are reviews that shared that Facebook page have poor SEO. Moreover, you run a risk when you are selling on a platform that you do not own. Having a Facebook page is like renting a store online. Facebook can bring down your page if they do not like what you are doing.
  • What about payments? How do I collect payments? Internet Banking? Paypal or Stripe? or even COD? In the US, you can collect payment straight from Facebook, but not in Singapore.
  • What about shipping? Singpost, Ninja Van or 3rd party logistic?

Leon shared with me that using Shopify is easy, plus you have control of your own brand. ie you own the domain name and it is your property, no one can take it away.

Personally, I also have been exploring Carousell and Shopee. Both apps look pretty much the same and getting started to sell on both platform is easy. The interesting part about Shopee if the ability to take payment on the platform which I think it makes it easier for us sellers and it also have a more defined logistic integration.

shopee-logistic

Needless to say, the thought in my mind was to list my products on every platform but that would also mean that there are lots more things to manage and take care of.

As you can see, up till now most of my discussions are still on “what platform to use” which the exact reason on why starting is hard. Simply there are too many things to consider.

In fact, we should be spending more time on doing user research to see if people are actually interested in our stuff. No point setting up all products on these platform but no one is buying. If no one is buying, this is not a business at all.

Or should I fall back to Woo-commerce?

What! Another service? How many services are there?

Yeap. There are tons of services are there, the ones mentioned here are the common ones.

I use woocommerce for Bikeroger in the past. It is build on top of WordPress and most importantly it is free. But if you need other services or plugin, you need to pay. The good thing here is that it is free to start but as you grow bigger, you might it a pain just to pay for every other thing. Which is also why it leads to my thought of just using Shopify at the start. You pay monthly and you have everything. You just focus on selling.

Up till now I still have not make the decision on what platform to use. I have to do something other than conceptualize forever and ever, endlessly.

What should it be? Hmmm…

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First, there was a problem

A story of our experience setting up an online store and selling physcial products in Singapore
If you wonder if you can ever be making a living by selling online? These series of story will be helpful.

If I could remember correctly, the problem occured when one of my friend was getting married. He wanted to get some of his pre-wedding photos printed on canvas.

He placed an order online but towards as delivery draws near, he got an email that the printing was unable to deliver. I think it was two days before the actual wedding. I used to work event company and they have those large format printing machine. So I called in and ask for help and these prints were born.

bossleecanvas

So I thought maybe there could be an opportunity for me to sell these canvas printing online. Plus my wife was into digital marketing. She can do the marketing, I can do the production, we can run the business together.

not sure if a husband and wife team is a good fit for business, I will keep you updated

The next thing I did was to buy a domain name, set up a Facebook page and we are ready to sell.

But is it really that simple? What if we don’t sell anything? We don’t know anything about what it’s like to be an e-commerce business! What if we mess it up?!?

So we wait…

Get this letter in your inbox. Launchbyte Letters #01

Resources: These are some of the questions we have in our mind during that period of time. 

Where can you get domain names?

You can either used Namecheap or Godaddy. These are the common domain name providers. I’m a big fan of Namecheap because I’m used to the interface. It is up to you to choose.

What should you go for? .Com or .SG?

For us, it is .Com

A .Com domain is much cheaper and although there are lots of debates, I personally thinks that .Com offer SEO impact. Plus if you are planning to sell overseas, people might not be used to .sg too.

Should I set up a Facebook page to sell or a real e-commerce store?

We were not sure if we really wanted to do it but since we have gotten the domain name. We might as well set up a Facebook page to test out the idea. Setting up a Facebook page is much easier than setting up an e-commerce store, for sure.

How do you come up with a good name?

This question calls for a blog post itself but here is a short summary. We anyhow come up with the name. I have a similar idea for bossleecoffee.com; which I used to sell cold brew with a group of friends so I think bossleecanvas.com will be quite cool, plus no one is taking that domain.

 

Welcome to Wash Wash!

This is my “dunno how many donkey times” trying to start a vlog. Finally I discover that there is no better time than doing it while washing dishes / laundry! 

This is the article I share about in episode. Survive

While doing this episode, I realised that I cannot multitask because usually I wash my dishes quite fast but if I need to talk, it seems to pull my attention away.
Take away for this episode:

  • You hate your job and you envy people who are starting their own thing and are able to make a living

  • You are concern about making a living if you are starting your own thing

  • Stability is like a drug -> dunno who told me but I believe it is true. 

  • In life, there is always trade off. You are using your time as the bet for trade off.

  • How are you managing your time?

Obsessed with work-life balance

What it takes to truly bring harmony between personal and professional lives.

There’s a lot of talk about the notion of work-life balance in the news recently. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s so elusive, or perhaps that it’s actually a misplace notion of wanting to “have it all”.

For us here at LaunchByte who talk about startups and startup life, it’s a conversation that we have and never really come to a straight answer.

Let’s get one thing clear: you won’t get “work-life balance” copying someone else’s formula. Our lives are unique, intertwined with the equally unique lives of the people around us; together we bring an emotional and practical complexity that defies any notion of a standard equation for work-life balance. (Remember: Darth Vader’s version of “balance” was a mass slaughter of light-side Jedis.)

So yes, general principles, top-ten tips, best practices are probably nice suggestions, at best.

See, when it comes to harmonising your career aspirations with a deeper sense of purpose/fulfilment, you’re better off figuring it out on your own through trial and error. There are lessons – often painful – that you’ll have to experience and pay for in sweat and tears until you find the answer. This doesn’t preclude you sitting a friend down or reading a good book on the matter. It just means you shouldn’t be looking to apply a template.

So instead of advice, Here are three things I have personally learnt to do, that I think might help you make that process of finding your way through work and life more sweet than sour:

(1) Figure out who the most important people are in your life and make sure you’re building relationships with them. These are the keepers and stayers who won’t quit on you just because you decide to crank up the time on your career. Which means it’s even more vital that you know what they think and feel about you new venture/adventure.

(2) Think about your values. Or at least, think about what you are unwilling to compromise. When you’re out there making a difference, or saving the world, you’ll be faced with stuff that will compete for your time, your attention, and most of all, your integrity. Don’t knowingly do something that you’ll hate yourself for. Trust me on this: it isn’t worth it.

(3) Over time, consider if you’re actually getting happier. I’ll be first to say that happiness isn’t the most important thing all the time, but it’s a good indicator to whether you’re getting #1 and #2 right. If you find yourself feeling unsatisfied and unhappy overall, it’s time to go back to the first two things.

All said and done, I’d like to say that work-life harmony is definitely within reach; you’ll just need to be willing to experiment and trudge on.

Happy trailblazing!

Image Credit

Insights from a 10-Year Productivity Journey

productivity

(image credit: Sean MacEntee)

This post is a guest post from Launchbyte fan and recovering productivity geek Adrian Koh. Here, he shares what a productive life means to him like after 10 years of GTD-ing, and how he found the answer in an unexpected place.

The Productive Me Ten Years Ago
Like most people, I blame David Allen.

His book, Getting Things Done (GTD), changed my perspective to work when I first read it in 2004. The promise was — in a sense — that it was possible to install the GTD brainware directly into my mind and become this productivity superman at work.

Ten years on, this much I know. It’s not that simple.

Go ahead. Ask the best people in personal productivity circles. If they’re honest, they’ll tell you how easy it is to fall off the bandwagon. This is spite of their best efforts to get the best apps, the best devices, and their best efforts to do/delegate/defer.

On falling off the bandwagon:
Sometimes, it’s not even your fault: I have some @waitingfor tasks that feel more like @waitingforever.

Personally, there have been times that I’ve struggled with maintaining consistent peak level performance. Some days, getting into the state of flow is impossible, no matter how much you brain dump and put everything into contextual lists. Sometimes, it’s not even your fault: I have some @waitingfor tasks that feel more like @waitingforever.

I decided last year that I would change the way I approached stuff.

My Post-GTD Realizations: The Real Crisis of Work
I realised last year that the real issue to work isn’t just that there’s a lot of it. That’s not the primary source of stress. The real issue to the crisis of work is that people have an ongoing antagonistic relationship to their jobs.

Simply put, people hate their jobs. No productivity system is going to solve that.

Let me clarify. There will inevitably be things at your jobs that you’ll hate doing, that you’ll need to do anyway. I, for example, hated the long monthly excel reports that I used to have to do. Yet, I liked my work at my company and recognized reporting as an acceptable part of the largely engaging whole.

Hating your work means you detest the essence of what you’re doing at your job, and that you are dissatisfied with what your company hopes to achieve (or sometimes, doesn’t achieve). Doing work that lacks meaning puts you in a negative state of mind. So that was my realization: I’ve found in my life that I’m the least productive when I start feeling bad about work.

On finding the root cause of a lack of productivity:
So that was my realization: I’ve found in my life that I’m the least productive when I start feeling bad about work.

And I think this negative association to work starts with saying “yes” to too many things that don’t fit with your personal value system.

So that I’m clear, I want to say that I didn’t drop GTD. On the contrary, I’ve come to rely on it a lot more. What changed, though, is that I’ve overlaid it with my personal values. This means I’m thinking over the things I do a lot more before I decide to do them. This means when I’m doing stuff, it’s stuff that I know is meaningful.

Much makes now a good time to ask: what’s stopping you from doing something with meaning? (Hint: it might just be that start up idea that you’ve been keeping in the back burner all this time…)

The result? I’m doing less stuff, but doing them better. Productivity then, is almost by accident.

TL;DR
Find meaning first, and productivity will follow.

Free SSL To Improve Your SEO

CloudFlare a San Francisco-based Internet security provider is implementing Universal SSL for all customers, including those in the free tiers. If you are running a site and is looking to improve your SEO, this free service might just help you.

So what is SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. When you are surfing around on the Internet, data packets are transmitted between the browser to the sites. If the site has a SSL certificate available, this means that transmission is encrypted. For sites without SSL, it runs a risk for the data to be intercepted. For example, DBS has a SSL cert too.

How it help SEO?

Beside the benefit of having a security layer, It is now also important to the site’s SEO. Months ago, Google Webmaster shared that they will be using SSL as a form of ranking signal. This means that if you have SSL on your blog or your site you will be rank higher.

We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web. via Link

Unless you were running a e-commerce site or a site that requires important and sensitive information, it is highly unlikely that you would get an SSL cert. Depending on the type of the SSL cert you are looking for, it cost from $9 a year to $248 a year. For a personal blog, I don’t think there is a need for a paid SSL. The best is to get it free.

Free SSL from CloudFlare

The team at CloudFlare is excited to announce the release of Universal SSL™. Beginning today, we will support SSL connections to every CloudFlare customer, including the 2 million sites that have signed up for the free version of our service. via link

CloudFlare protect sites from abusive bots and crawlers from wasting your bandwidth and server resources.

If you sign up for the service, it will act like a middle layer to get rid of unwanted traffic.

According to Ars Technica, there are some limitation to SSL.

The complexity of SSL has been a major impediment to its adoption by many website operators, but it isn’t the only one. Sites that rely on advertising for revenue, for example (such as Ars), are hindered by the lack of adoption of SSL by those operations and their resulting requirement for both the presentation of unencrypted content and referral data. In the past, SSL has also been an issue for sites that use content caching, though this would not be an issue for sites front-ended by CloudFlare. via Link

Also you have to take note that since CloudFlare act as the middle layer, it will intercept your data. If your site is dealing with sensitive information, it is still better to get a paid SSL.

However Launchbyte has signed up with Cloudflare, we believe there is nothing to lose and everything to gain with SSL and maybe a plus in ranking signal.