E-commerce gives anyone with grit and a good idea the opportunity to be their own boss and make a healthy living.
But it doesn’t happen overnight.
Many e-commerce entrepreneurs have to work full-time jobs until they reach a sustainable level of success.
It’s a true labour of love when you’re stuck in a (soul-sucking) nine-to-five grind with only so much brain power, energy and free time to put into your business. However, passion, a dream, and a little know-how can yield impressive results.
Let’s look at how to start an e-commerce business with a full-time job to build an extra income that allows us to ditch that 9-5 job.
Find the Balance Between Ease and Effectiveness
The idea of being your own boss is enticing.
You’re the decision maker; no one will prevent you from putting your ideas into action.
On the other hand, leading an infant e-commerce operation comes with a starting salary of zero, which isn’t going to help you support your family or pay your bills.
This is why you need to find a balance between ease and effectiveness.
Do some research to see what some of the top-selling products are across the e-commerce market.
These are going to be the easiest for which to find suppliers, and they’ll come with customer demand.
Getting started with hot-selling items doesn’t mean your e-business has to focus on these specific products forever.
However, this strategy can bring you sales and generate cash-flow quicker than selling a niche product would.
Make the Time You Put into Your E-business Count
If you have a full-time job and a family at home, you know time is precious.
This is why starting slowly with a new e-commerce business is a good thing.
You will not have eight hours per day to put into growing your e-business, but the one or two hours per night plus the time you have on the weekends need to be used as efficiently as possible.
Your time organization skills will be put to the test early on.
Schedule everything and keep your commitments.How to Start an E-Commerce Business with a Full-Time Job - Checkout our handy getting started tips Click To Tweet
Outsource and Automate Where You Can
Once you’ve found the products you want to start out selling, you have two options to proceed.
You can order enough to keep a small inventory, which will allow you to handle all of the packaging and shipping yourself.
Or you can outsource your fulfilment to a third-party.
Outsourcing is a good option early on because it frees up time for you to put back into your business.
But yes, outsourcing costs money, it also takes your supply chain, one of the most frustrating parts of your e-business, and puts it into someone else’s hands.
Hiring a third-party to handle fulfilment will also increase order accuracy, order processing, and inventory visibility.
Then comes your physical storefront.
Your e-commerce website will be one of the most critical aspects of your business.
Customers want a personalized but straightforward shopping experience.
This is a big reason why the e-commerce industry is booming.
If you’re not a website builder, don’t pretend to be one.
Plenty of e-commerce website builders exist to save time and money on coding an e-commerce store from scratch.
Early on in your e-commerce life cycle, automation may end up being one of your best friends.
Instead of worrying about time-consuming tasks like email marketing and social media, wouldn’t it be nice to have these tasks taken care of?
Thankfully, technology allows e-retailers to automate these chores, leaving you with — you guessed it — more time!
For email marketing, MailChimp allows you to set up a sequence of email templates that go out automatically when a customer opts into your email list.
Don’t Be Cheap, But Watch Your Finances
When you’re starting out, your e-business budget will be tight because you have very few to no sales coming in and ongoing running costs
You have plenty of investment areas to maintain to become a successful e-business.
It is a must to have a budget when starting a new e-commerce business.
You can use part of your salary as an investment for your e-commerce business, but you have to be diligent.
You need to consider other financial needs and not put everything you have into your venture as this can be a huge risk.
A good investment is something that will help grow your business and lead to more sales.
Bad investments are unnecessary expenses that have very little return on investment.
According to StartupBros, some good investments include a basic URL that is branded to your store, a website be that a store builder or WordPress or something else, surveys, interviews and prototypes that help you undertand your market.
These details make it easier to understand whether the market wants your product or service.
Experimenting with affordable, testable marketing like Facebook, Google display ads, Pinterest and Twitter are worthwhile as well.
Poor investments that don’t initially help grow your business or lead to more sales are things like accountants, a thorough branding strategy, expensive logos and overhead like an office or unnecessary travel.
Find and Exploit A Competitive Advantage
Whether you’re going to start your e-commerce business with some of the top-selling items on the web or focus on a niche area of the market, find a way to be better than the top sellers.
According to RyRob, your strongest competitive advantage may be your own personal skill set, strategic relationships or your personal brand that you’ve built.
The strength of your competitive advantage will greatly affect your early results in learning to sell your product or service.
Launch, Market and Sell!
Once you’ve been able to put in work to get your e-business to the launch point, it’s time to hit the ground running.
If your budget allows for it, up your email and social media marketing efforts to generate more website traffic and sales.
Make sure your suppliers and third-party vendors are reliable, fast and efficient at what they do.
When sales start to come in more consistently, get customer feedback to gauge their shopping experience.
They will have the first-hand knowledge that can help improve your website, checkout process or shipping method.
Once you have a stable operating procedure in place, focus on customer service to build customer loyalty and repeat customers.
It is worth learning the basics of SEO to give yourself a competitive advantage for sales in the search engines.
SEO involves optimizing your site and how it is seen outside within search.
Very quick basic tips include implementing SEO friendly URL’s where possible to allow you to add your keywords.
Writing good healthy page and product descriptions, that are informative and keyword rich.
And a good use of product images that are named and tagged to your products so that they are visible in Google Images.
Another big SEO consideration is the mobile version of your online store
Is it mobile responsive, does it look good on mobile devices and tablets as well as laptops and desktops.
A bad UX will drive potential customers away.
Your mobile User Experience has never been more important.
Our friends over at Big Commerce have a great 9000-word guide to Ecommerce SEO
Once you are up and running it is a really good idea to add a blog to your online store.
Blogging about new products, reviewing products are great ways to build click-through traffic but only when done correctly.
Articles should be long-form and keyword rich. Again learning some very basic SEO skills can really help your blog’s visibility and ultimately your store’s visibility.
How to Start an E-Commerce Business with a Full-Time Job – Takeaways
It’s not easy starting an e-commerce business with a full-time job.
The typical 9-to-5 comes with the comfort of stability for the price of a mind-numbing, inflexible working existence.
But if you can effectively incorporate the above strategies in your free time, you’ll be your own boss before you know it.
Be prepared to spend some money to get your online store launched.
Learn how to effectively juggle home life and the time available.
Stay committed to making it work and consistent and you are sure to make a great success of your home business.
That’s all for now!
Do you own a home business?
Do you have experience of Shopify, WooCommerce or another platform?
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