In looking to start your own business from home, most, if not all, wannabe entrepreneurs will need to plan their schedule and finances carefully.
In this previous post, considerations, like making work a priority, finding support, and learning how to strike the right work/life balance, will also factor into your planning.
Realistically, there may be a period where you will need to work alongside your 9-5 job to get your ideas off the ground and get some starting capital in your pockets.
Opening an e-commerce store can help you generate a steady stream of income for not all that much in the way of work.
Here are six e-commerce truths for the wannabe side hustler.
Opening an e-commerce store is easy. There are many Subscription as a Service (SaaS) e-commerce hosts that can get you up-and-running in hours. But first, you need to do some research and planning.
Think about your passions and interests in choosing your store type. It will be a lot easier for you to plan your inventory needs, web design, and social media content if you’re enthusiastic about the industry you’re pursuing.
Next, you will need to research competing stores online and take note of their stock, advertising, blog content and product categorization. Create a spreadsheet filled with notes in this task, as you will want to do all you can to make your shop original.
Think about your audience and your ideal customer. Social media analysis sites like Buzzsumo offer detailed insights on a range of consumer data points. Take a look at the content they share, shared interests, publications they like, etc. The idea is to align your store’s brand with your ideal customer and to make your business memorable.
No business owner starts off making thousands of pounds’ worth of sales on their first day. It takes time to build up a reputation online, and it all starts with creating a stable ‘base’ in the form of unique store branding.
This can be a chance for you to let your imagination run wild. Come up with a color scheme, font families, style of photography and illustrations and make sure that your website looks the part. It is true, people do judge books by their covers, so make an effort with your branding and you will be rewarded. If you’re not a design expert, consider hiring one to improve the aesthetics of your site. Services like Fiverr have graphic designers who can whip you up a store logo for a low price.
As far as building your site’s pages goes, many e-commerce hosts offer templates you can upload and modify to suit. Online store building tools and support make the job of putting your site together easy, so don’t worry about hiring web designers for this task, believe in yourself. You can do it.
Drop shipping is transforming e-commerce by presenting an easy option for those looking to start an online business on a small income. Under dropship agreements, you pay for the inventory you have already sold through your store. You then place a second order with the supplier, and they handle the stock and the shipment of your goods to your customers on your behalf. With drop shipping, you can also set your prices. Make sure you allow yourself a profit margin and account for the cost of advertising and shipping.
Once you have selected your product range, download a store plugin that connects to your dropship supplier and starts uploading the new items to your store. Keep an eye on your bestsellers and losers and consider switching products through the dropshipping plugin, until you find the range that brings in significant sales consistently.
Don’t worry so much about selling a vast variety of goods, you can sell less than 20 items across your whole site. Some leading brands sell only two or three products.
In standing out against the massive online sellers, you will need to invest in some paid social media advertising. This is easy to set up once you have made a business profile on your audience’s preferred social networking sites.
In general terms, Facebook and Instagram see a lot of activity. Facebook ads can reach hundreds of thousands of people across a wide range of ages and demographics. Regarding targeting, aim to target around 100,000 people with your sponsored posts. Add common interests to the targeting criteria so you don’t waste budget targeting ads to people who wouldn’t be interested. The process of finding the right ad formula will take time. Test reactions to different types of headlines, images, calls to action and language until you get the right fit.
Instagram works slightly differently to the Facebook advertising model. Theoretically, every follower you gain could see 100% of your posts in their feed. The lack of feed filtration can be advantageous because you can get by with posting less sponsored content overall through this network.
With more opportunity to ‘sell’ on your conventional feed, post often, make your posts varied and imaginative and do all you can to involve people with user-generated content and branded hashtags.
There are many automated tools you should take advantage of in building your online store. For instance, you can set up bookkeeping tools to track your records with ease for the taxman. Use referral tools to remind your customers via email to come back to you again in the future.
You can also track audience data and provide personalized product recommendations, discounts and so on.
Social media plugins can also post automatically when you upload a new product to your store. The list of apps and plugins is endless. These can help shorten the time spent processing orders for your new side hustle business. If you find you’re making hundreds of orders a day, consider hiring help in the form of a virtual assistant.
Once you have started to generate a healthy profit, consider the next move for your side hustle business. If you’re doing well, consider opening up another store, or a bunch — check out some e-commerce websites for sale to get a feel for the current market. The exchange allows anyone to buy a fully-functioning and profit-generating e-commerce store made by someone else. It’s the perfect way to grow your e-commerce empire fast.
Search to find a specific niche, examine the sales and traffic figures. Alos, access support to get yourself up and running once you’ve had an offer accepted. Consider your new e-commerce brand a secure money-making asset and you can start to see how exciting the process of making and ‘flipping’ e-commerce brands can be.
For the wannabe side hustler setting up your own e-commerce store can make a lot of sense. You don’t need much more than the price of a monthly subscription package to get started. Start viewing your side hustle brand as a sustainable business asset. You could provide yourself with a source of constant income to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true.
Victoria Greene is a brand consultant and freelance writer who runs a blog called Victoriaecommerce. Online selling is her specialty and she loves to give tips to wannabe entrepreneurs looking to start up their own brands.