Having been given an opportunity at Nexcess a while back, I’ve been able to work with Magento since it was in beta. That experience has given me the opportunity to connect with many ecommerce pioneers, and I’ve often found myself on calls discussing a technical matter with a client, but then found myself engaged in discussions regarding which payment processor or shipping method the client should use. At that point, I would advise the client to do a cost-benefit analysis and evaluate each vendor based on ROI, but I would still find clients insisting I offer an opinion. I would politely explain I’m not an ecommerce store owner, I can run the servers that run the software, but I am not qualified to offer an opinion on such matters. It’s true – we know infrastructure, we don’t know shipping vendors, payment processors, SEO vendors, and so on.
For me (personally), this has changed in the recent months.
If you’ve talked to me at Imagine or IRCE, I might have mentioned I am a passionate duck hunter and outdoorsman. I find it very difficult to find durable American-made duck calls and accessories. There are hundreds of small duck call makers who only sell their products on their local markets, yet many duck hunters would buy these products if they were more available. So, I made the decision to cross a line, to go from an infrastructure focused professional during the day to aspiring e-commerce pioneer at night.
A perk of working for Nexcess is we each receive a free hosting account. One Sunday afternoon, I set up a SIP account and installed Magento. The entire process took less than 10 minutes. I was ready to go.
So, I was ready to start selling… wait, no… ready to find a developer, hire a logo designer, talk to suppliers, yada, yada, yada. I quickly realised the reality of what I was getting myself into. Installing Magento was the easy part. This is where the real work started.
On my drive home a few days later, it dawned on me. I now, and only now, understand what it means to operate a Magento store. I had 99 decisions to make and you know what? Web hosting wasn’t one. There is just absolutely no way anyone can understand what it means to run a Magento store, unless they have actually done it. And for that, I tip my hat to all the ecommerce pioneers, trailblazers, and entrepreneurs in the making – those amazing Nexcess clients who navigated the initial hurdles and stayed the course!
This experience has made me reassess a few things. I now plan on conducting internal roundtables to discuss issues clients face on a day-to-day basis – the issues that go beyond just infrastructure – and pass this new perspective to my staff and colleagues. My store (FowlGear.com) is still in its infant stages, so there is a long way to go. Just like many of our clients, I look forward to seeing it through and learning much more about Magento in the process!
So, instead of you calling to pick my brain, you might just get a call from me asking to pick your brain! I would love to hear from you about things to avoid, or things to do, or things you might have done differently. Feel free to drop me a line at Jay@Nexcess.net.