Some of the best entrepreneurs have their fingers in many pies. Some of these pies might be more valuable than others, but people with a good business head will remain active in every single one of their ventures. An e-commerce business is something which can be run quite easily and could be a venture which produces more than a decent second income for you. Find out how to do it here.
Summary: 5 Minutes read, Level: Expert
The gig economy is something that many of you will have heard about. In a nutshell it’s work which can be quite sporadic on an ad hoc basis. It’s a bit like being self employed or a freelancer, but with little security. Many people are part of the gig economy through choice and use it to make a little extra on the side. You might also have heard of this kind of situation being referred to as a ‘side hustle’. There are an estimated 44 million Americans which have a side hustle of some sort going on and an e-commerce business could become your side hustle if you follow our tips.
In order to establish your own e-commerce business you first need to understand what it is. Put quite simply an e-commerce business is a company which provides goods or services via online payment. You could literally be selling anything, whether it’s cleaning supplies or parts for classic cars. You could even be dreaming of starting the next eBay! They’re all e-commerce businesses. In fact eBay will actually allow you to use your e-commerce business through their site if you set up a shop on there.
Literally anyone can run an e-commerce business, but not everyone can run one well and to its full potential. If you follow our five points you will be well on the road to e-commerce riches.
Firstly you will need an idea, a great idea. These don’t come to everyone, but if you’re already thinking of dipping your toes into the waters of e-commerce then you probably already have this covered. If not, don’t worry. Your idea doesn’t have to be new and as long as you aren’t blatantly plagiarising somebody’s business model it’s perfectly fine to run a similar business to someone else. Online business makes you worldwide and the market place is immense. There’s always a little room for some healthy competition.
If you thought hard work and long hours were the keys to success then you’re wrong. We’re not saying that you can sit back and let the money roll in with minimal effort, but you will definitely be able to do it on under 20 hours a week.
You will need a business plan and everything include website, email address and of course any products will need to be all in place before you launch. This might seem like actual hard work, but it will save you masses of time later on.
One easier way to start is with dropshipping. This is basically acting as a middleman between a customer and vendor and requires no stock inventory. A customer orders from you, you contact the vendor and the vendor ships the item. This can all be done in an automated way if it’s set up properly. Selling your own products will require a little more work, but it’s still achievable as a side hustle.
Set goals for your e-commerce business in the same way you would with any other business. Stick to your plan and everything should fall into place.
Social media is king for marketing. You can run your own ads there or post links to blog posts which will help you engage with customers. Another and better way is to enlist the help of a social media influencer. An influencer will promote your products or services to a wider audience, often for little reward. You might need to slip them some freebies or a decent discount voucher, but they could be telling thousands upon thousands of their followers about your e-commerce business and the products or services you offer. This kind of promotion is invaluable. Make sure you know which social media platforms work best for engaging with your customer base too.
As much stuff as possible needs to be automated and you can schedule all posts on social media quite easily. The one main problem is customers. They will contact you at all times of the day or night with queries and you won’t always be around to answer them. This is where a chatbot comes in. A chatbot can reply to customer questions and queries using data you have given it. It might not always be the smoothest customer service experience ever, but everyone will receive a prompt reply. The chatbot will alert you if it gets into a situation where it doesn’t know what to say.
You can’t always do it all and sometimes you’ll need help. This can be helped by hiring an assistant – as long as their wages doesn’t negatively impact your bottom line – or you can use third parties to outsource aspects of your operation to. In order to be a success you don’t want to take on too much which can lead to letting down your customers or clients. Don’t ever be too proud to admit that you can’t pull it off alone.
So that’s it, that’s how to start and run your own e-commerce business. Follow our handy guide and you could be joining millions of people with a successful side hustle. Just remember to plan and don’t expect immediate, overnight success. And who knows? If it grows you might be able to pack in your day job and be a full time e-commerce business owner.