Millennials are considered the most radical of all generations. Mostly because of their innovative breakthroughs and liberal mindset. The generation which they grew up with is on the internet. Now—thanks to this exposure—the world has amazing innovations such as social media. Which in turn, has led to the growth of other things such as e-commerce.
Shopify.com defines e-commerce as the buying and selling of goods or services and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions through the internet. It is also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce.
Currently, Amazon and Alibaba are considered the largest e-commerce businesses. However, fighting against these two giants didn’t seem to faze twenty-two-year-old Tim Schmidt from setting up his own e-commerce company—dotcomcanvas.
For most people, a twenty-two-year-old founder and managing editor are quite young. So, how did Tim begin?
Tim answers, “I finished university at twenty-two.”
Before eventually establishing his company, Tim tried a lot of things. Aside from being a full-time student, Tim became a trader who dropped shipped products from AliExpress, EBay, and even imported some products from China.
“I tried a lot of things before finding the right niche for me, which is the print on canvas niche.”
Established in January 2018, the online shop sells inspirational wall art that is either personalized or templated. Starting with 5 designs, the shop now has over 250 designs and has sold to over 1,500 satisfied customers.
“I like to make art, but the interesting thing is that I don’t make art. I am just the guy who has the idea for the paintings and the artworks.”
According to Tim, once he thinks of an idea for an image, he lays it on paper and sends it to one of his designers. As the company expanded, Tim turned to hire remote workers as he doesn’t currently live in Germany.
“I have hired guys from like Georgia, or Egypt, or Morocco…like from the whole world, so it’s like remote working, exactly.”
When asked about what he thinks about his current success, Tim doesn’t miss a bit. “Why I’m successful is because I have my own style, my own ideas, my own concepts of the designs.”
Since Tim doesn’t create the designs on canvas, he had to hire designers who could do the job for him.
“When I can’t make the designs, I have to find someone who can make them for me. T his is a hard part because there are a lot of creative designers and graphic guys and a lot of freelancers, but it’s not easy to find a very good one.”
Tim shared how he had to send out a lot of job posts and go through a lot of people—many didn’t even meet basic job requirements. To make his search easier, Tim decided to sort out his priorities.
“First the store, then the right freelancer, and then I started to find out what is the perfect marketing, the perfect advertising and lastly I have to find out what’s best working for me.”
Before finally coming up with his own website, Tim started an online shop with Shopify first.
“You can make a store with Shopify very easily, but the hard part is like to make the shop, to brand it right, and to make it unique.”
However, success is not complete without challenges—and Tim has had his fair share. “I think as an entrepreneur the first challenge is to get enough customers. The second challenge is to build a team around the brand, especially if we are working remotely. It’s a little bit harder to involve people in making your brand.”
Another challenge was how to properly mark his goods. He had to find what best works for him and his products. So, what marketing methods work best? “For me, Facebook and Instagram. It’s not only the organic reach, the daily posts but the advertising aspect of these things and I want to give this tip for you, find your target group.”
Dotcomcanvas although young, has been showing a lot of promise. And for its young founder, the future looks nothing but bright. “This is my journey right now,” Tim says with confidence.
As the interview draws to a close, we ask Tim for some advice he would like to share with fledgling entrepreneurs. “Stick to a project where your heart is. Embrace problems and challenges. Then, you should always remember the importance of hard work, belief in your brand, and don’t forget to improve the product.”
You can never measure success based on someone else’s age. It is measured by someone’s passion, strength, and victories. Tim Schmidt really proves that we can do anything if we put our hearts to it.