Become Your Own Boss: Mastering The Secrets Of Ecommerce
Today I’m excited to bring you guys a guest post from Patrick Foster of ecommercetips.org. Patrick is an awesome writer and has some great ideas for readers looking to learn more about ecommerce and how it can free you from the cubicle. Take it away, Patrick!
Ever fancied working to the beat of your own drum? Working on projects that appeal to you and to your own schedule? More people than ever before have decided to ditch the traditional 9 to 5 and become their own boss. Thanks to the internet there is so much opportunity for people to build their own successful company. Why not delve into the ever expanding world of ecommerce and become your own boss?
Working for yourself means you can actually say no to that extra boring job or pestering client if you want to. You have full control over your working schedule so you can fit it around your own time. Ecommerce stores are taking the world by storm and opening up brand new opportunities to sell products all over the world.
So how can you become your own boss by launching your own ecommerce store?
The initial thought of opening an ecommerce store can be daunting and scary. Just remember that it is relatively low risk and the rewards can be great if you put the time into it. It’s easy to be swept up in the whirlwind of your new store, but financially speaking it may be better to take things a little slow, especially if you are already working a full-time job.
- If you are not in a financial position to quit your normal job, then why not work part time until your ecommerce store becomes financially stable? It takes time to build up a client base that will produce enough income to support you full time. Take the time to build it up while working until you can take it on full time
Deciding on your niche is very important for your online store. It determines who your target audience are, and how you market your brand. Be specific with your niche. If you go too wide with your niche, you will struggle to satisfy your target audience and build up a credible brand.
Opt instead for a specific niche that is targeted at your audience. If you are struggling for ideas then take a look at this list of niche products doing exceptionally well for some inspiration.
- The smaller the niche, the smaller your target audience. Factor this into sales forecasts
- Find a product market that isn’t saturated right now and that is newcomer-friendly
- Be switched on and research your niche – and don’t just stop at products and sales – content is super important too. Keep up-to-date with current news and trends in your area so you can make informed decisions about your content strategy
Once you have decided on your niche, you will need to think about how you are going to store and distribute your products to customers. Once orders start flying in the door, you will want to be prepared.
If you have a small inventory of products, you may be able to manage this from home at first, but be very careful that you don’t set yourself up for bad business habits later on. You could always rent storage or warehouse space to begin with, but don’t ever buy too much stock without a clear picture of sales.
If you don’t have access to a big warehouse and space to store all of your products, then it may be worthwhile looking into alternative methods of order fulfillment like drop shipping.
- Drop shipping means that you do not actually handle any of the goods you sell – leaving fulfillment and shipment to another company
- Take time to investigate reputable drop shipping companies
- If you are going down the drop shipping route, then you must remember that you are still going to be the first point of contact for your customers. You need to be available to handle their calls and questions whatever they may be!
Picking the ecommerce right platform and channel is so important. Really take your time and look at your business from all angles before committing to a custom ecommerce solution or signing on as a seller anywhere.
- One easy way to get started with online sales is to stick to being a seller on marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon, and eBay at first. Though selling on these sites tends to be really competitive, you will get traffic to your products without having to do too much marketing.
- Even if you do decide to use a marketplace, it’s a good idea to buy your own domain and set up your own website for a separate ecommerce store to help you build up a reputation as a brand as well. Even a branded Facebook page is better than nothing!
- Don’t know how to set up an ecommerce store on your new domain? To make setting up your first store as simple as possible, try an easy-to-use online store builder. As you progress and grow, you can add more features to your store, and you can always migrate your store over onto another system at a later date.
You don’t need to pump a whole lot of money into your marketing strategy, you just need to be innovative, strategic, and most importantly, consistent.
- SEO – optimize your ecommerce store using search engine relevant keywords. Enter into the minds of your customers and try to think what they might be typing into search engines to find your product (use keyword tools when you get stuck)
- Social media – Obviously, social media is important to your marketing strategy. Decide which channels will be most useful for you and keep your social media branding consistent. Update regularly and re-post to show that you’re active, and reply to all customers that comment on your social media platforms. Use social media management tools to help you cut down on time spent on social media
- Financial situation – before you begin on your rewarding new business venture, take a look at your financial situation. Assess what money you can afford to spend and go with that. The beauty of starting your own ecommerce business online is that it doesn’t have to break the bank. You can always start working on it part time until you reach a point when your store is financially stable and profitable
- Personal discipline – Becoming your own boss is great, but you do need to make sure you are putting the time and effort into your store. It will be a lot of hard work but the rewards are worthwhile. Find out how you work best and use this to your advantage. Here are 5 tips to stay productive when you’re self-employed.
- Transitioning to full-time ecommerce pro – after a while, your own company is going to take off and you will need to figure out a way to transition from your normal 9-5 job to becoming your own boss. Do not burn any bridges and think carefully before taking on any staff of your own – you will need to guarantee their income, training and job security
- UX (User Experience) – User experience is really important when it comes to your website. As an ecommerce store, you automatically lose the ability to display products for customers to feel and browse through in person. You need to make sure that your website is clean and simple to use. Display good quality photos and descriptions on your website so customers can trust your store
Becoming your own boss is a rewarding and exciting adventure. It will force you out of your normal groove. You still need to treat your ecommerce store as a normal job in the sense that you work towards goals and deadlines to keep yourself productive. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming unfocused. Be genuine, market well, and be the best boss you can be to become successful and build a solid customer base for your products.
What’s holding you back from becoming your own boss today? Are there any other tips to opening your own ecommerce store I haven’t covered? Let me know in the comments below.
Patrick Foster, ecommerce entrepreneur, coach & writer.