Debunking myths about selling with PayPal
Small business owners and solopreneurs, raise your hand if you’ve ever thought: PayPal doesn't offer the range of products I need. If I offer PayPal as a checkout option, it means my customers can’t pay with credit cards. Or, plain and simple, PayPal isn’t right for my size or type of business.
 
We’ve talked at length with Canadian small business owners across a range of industries. Through our conversations, we unearthed a few common misconceptions about selling with PayPal – like the ones listed above. These myths may be holding business owners back from using PayPal to its fullest capacity and we think it’s time to shine a spotlight on the truth.  
 
What do an interior designer from Vancouver, a children’s clothes retailer based in Toronto, a fashion photographer based in Calgary, and an artisanal mukluk maker from Winnipeg have in common? They all use PayPal to get paid. Below we’ve featured four Canadians small businesses that use PayPal to power their business. These small businesses span a range of industries and use PayPal in a variety of ways. By sharing their success stories, we hope to dispel misconceptions that might be holding you back from selling with PayPal. 
 
Maria Killam is an interior designer and prophet to other designers who want to learn her proprietary system of understanding neutral undertones. Throughout her 20-year career, she has taught thousands of interior designers how to master the nuances of neutrals and has helped many more clients love their homes.
 
Right from day one, when Maria was consulting one-on-one, she used PayPal’s invoicing services. “As soon as you set up an account with PayPal, you’re rolling,” said Maria. “People don’t realize how easy it is to send an invoice through PayPal. It’s such a simple way to make sure you get paid.”
 
Looking for a way to reach clients outside of Vancouver, Maria launched her blog, “Colour Me Happy”, in 2008. Two years later, Maria hosted her first live event teaching her colour theory to interior designers. Clients registered and paid for enrollment using PayPal via her website. Her audiences have now grown to include viewers in over 150 countries and she sells two e-books, large paint colour samples, on-line training, webinars and hosts live events all over North America.
 
 “By using a combination of PayPal products – invoicing and Express Checkout – my clients can pay me in whatever time zone they live in and they can pay in a way that suits them best – MasterCard, American Express or Visa debit, bank account or PayPal balance,” said Maria.
 
After the birth of her daughter, Alyssa Kerbel found it difficult to find quality, basic children’s clothing, especially in neutral colours. Drawing on her decade long experience in the fashion industry, Alyssa set about designing a collection of eco-friendly and ethically-made fashion basics for infants and kids.
 
In the beginning, Mini Mioche’s website was simply a landing page for wholesaler inquires (in 2008, consumer-facing online shops were not abundantly popular). However, after some research, Alyssa found that other clothing brands were starting to open online stores and that she could make a greater profit by selling directly to customers. So, in 2009, one year after their launch, Mini Mioche opened a consumer facing online store and made their first international sale that same year. Two years later, Mini Mioche opened their first store in the hip fashion district of Queen West, Toronto.
 
Mini Mioche’s slick website is powered by Shopfiy, which offers a simple PayPal integration. In the past few years, Mini Mioche has seen their online sales grow at over 100% year-over-year, and their online sales surpass their retail store sales. Alyssa attributes this success to a number of factors and sees PayPal as a major contributor – in the past year close to 50% of Mini Mioche’s online payments were processed by PayPal.
 
“With online shopping, convenience and efficiency is everything. The easier you make it for your customer to complete a purchase, the more likely they are to shop with you,” said Alyssa. “PayPal makes it so easy for the customer – buyers don’t have to enter their shipping or billing information and the customer knows their information is safe and secure.”
 
With the burst of a flashbulb, Manitobah Mukluks’ future changed forever. In 2006, nine years after Metis-entrepreneur Sean McCormick launched Manitobah Mukluks, Hollywood celebrities were photographed wearing their footwear and it set off an international craze. Hot on the heels of this milestone, Manitobah opened an online store to keep pace with customer demand. 
 
Sean founded Manitobah as a way to give back to his community. With this mission in mind, in 2010 Manitobah launched an artisan line of mukluks & moccasins called 'Storyboots’. The Manitobah Storyboot Project features work by Aboriginal artists from across Turtle Island who create one-of-a-kind mukluks and moccasins all made by hand. All of the revenue generated from this project is directed back to the artists. This, along with Manitobah’s Aboriginal hiring policy, are some ways that Manitobah is able to share its success with others and build capacity in Aboriginal communities. Today, Manitobah is a PROFIT 500 company, Canada’s fastest-growing footwear brand and a global leader who translates their business excellence into a positive community impact.
 
“Without the web, and an online payment partner like PayPal, we could easily be a niche, local product. Instead, the Manitobah online store brings together a global network of people who share our vision,” said Sean. “Our online store allows our customers to support an Aboriginal brand and artists which ultimately creates a positive impact in our communities.” 
 
As professional photographer, Nathan Elson built a name for himself by creating photography that stands out and makes people take notice. It’s not all work, though. When I caught up with Nathan in Calgary-based studio, he was sure to add that he likes to have as much fun as possible, too.
Nathan Elson Photography launched with a website in 2007. Nathan used PayPal invoicing to get paid for his work. Within one year Nathan was running his business full-time and by 2012 Nathan Elson Photography became the sole income for his family.  
 
As his business grew, Nathan expanded his use of PayPal. “Today I use PayPal as a payment gateway for when people need to book sessions for head shots, or workshops, or put down retainers for larger projects. It allows clients to make payments easily and quickly while using a platform they know and trust to keep their credit card and personal information safe,” Nathan added.
 
Coming up on his 8-year anniversary, Nathan is currently building an e-commerce section of his website, using PayPal as the payment gateway, to sell more of Fine Art work.
 
At PayPal, we understand that small businesses are the life blood of our business and these small businesses form the backbone of the Canadian economy. That’s why; we offer a full-suite of easy-to-use products and services that allow them to start accepting payments like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, linked bank account and PayPal payments from day one. From sole proprietors who accept payments over the phone or through an invoice or an e-commerce website, we proudly power payments for over 250,000 small businesses in Canada and over 13 million businesses globally.
 

Lizzie Prowse, Head of SMB Marketing, PayPal Canada

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