Starting your own eCommerce website isn't as difficult as many people might think. With some basic knowledge and a bit of patience, anyone can start their very own online shop without having any previous retail experience whatsoever! You don't even have to know how to buy things in stores - all you really need is a computer, internet connection, and the right skills (which we'll cover below).
If you're looking to create a new source of income online, then there's good news. There are plenty of different ways that you can turn your passion into profit. If you love photography, you could sell prints on Etsy. Or if you like cooking, try selling food items through Amazon FBA. And if you want to start an online business but aren't sure where to begin, this article will guide you step by step so that you can get started within minutes. We've also compiled our top ten tips to help you succeed when starting out. Here they are:
You may be wondering just exactly how much investment you should put into your online venture. The truth is that you won't ever actually make back your initial capital unless you have massive sales volumes. But let us explain why...
If you were to invest $500 in setting up your first ecommerce site, you would expect to receive about $50 per sale (assuming you sold every product at full price), which means that you'd earn around 8% after tax. This is not bad considering that some websites charge upwards of 20%. However, once you reach higher volume levels, profits increase exponentially. For example, imagine you had 1 million visitors each month who made 3 purchases each. Your revenue would be roughly $2,000 per day ($6,000 per week) and you'd still only be earning 4% after tax. In other words, your return would drop considerably. So while initially it may seem risky to set up an online store, remember that it pays off handsomely over time.
So what can you realistically expect to achieve? Well, depending upon your niche and marketing strategy, you could see anywhere between 2%-20% ROI (returns on investment) per year. Obviously, these figures vary greatly based upon your success rate and traffic acquisition strategies -- but they give you a general idea.
The truth is, you don't necessarily need to have any prior experience before launching an online store. Many successful entrepreneurs didn't go to college, nor did they work in the industry beforehand. What matters more than anything else is whether you truly believe in your vision. As long as you're passionate about something, you can find a way to monetize it.
But if you already have experience in similar fields, great! That makes it easier because you already understand what works well and what doesn't, plus you have a better understanding of customer needs. Plus, you probably have access to resources such as mentors and advisors that can assist you during development. All the same, though, keep in mind that there's nothing wrong with learning along the way. After all, the Internet never forgets!
There are several options available to those wishing to launch an online business without needing to spend thousands of dollars upfront. One option is to use one of the popular platforms that provide both hosting and payment processing services. Some examples include Shopify, Big Cartel, Magento Commerce, Volusion, and WooCommerce. Another option is to host your own website using WordPress. Not only is it easy to learn, but it often comes with prebuilt themes and plugins that allow you to add functionality quickly. Once again, however, if you have limited funds, you may wish to consider partnering with someone who specializes in building sites for small businesses.
Once your site is live, you'll need to promote it heavily. Depending upon your chosen platform, there are various methods you can employ to drive traffic to your site. Examples include SEO, social media advertising, PPC campaigns, affiliate programs, email marketing, etc. It's important to note that none of these techniques require large sums of cash upfront. Instead, you pay monthly subscriptions for each method.
However, regardless of how you choose to approach your promotion efforts, you must always remain consistent. It's crucial that you continue working towards your goal until you finally hit the mark.
It depends entirely upon the type of business you plan to run. A lot of factors come into play here including your products' value, margins, competition level, potential audience size, and others. To simplify it, the rule of thumb is that you'll need to have a minimum viable inventory (MVI) of $200-$300. An MVI refers to the amount of stock you need to hold in order to test demand for your goods.
For instance, say that you decide to sell t-shirts online. You will likely need to purchase enough shirts to fill approximately 50 orders at full retail price in order to gauge interest. Then, assuming that the average shirt sells for $25, you'll have to factor in additional costs such as printing fees, packaging materials, postage, etc., which brings your total cost to around $400. Now, multiply that figure by the number of units you intend to produce and you'll have a rough estimate of how much you'll need to purchase before you can break even.
Of course, this formula varies drastically depending upon your specific situation. For example, if your merchandise sells for less than $5, then you wouldn't need to worry too much about calculating your MVI. Also, if you're planning to offer accessories alongside your core line, you'll obviously require more inventory since they typically take longer to ship.
Ultimately, you must make a decision regarding how much risk you're willing to accept. Are you comfortable losing hundreds or thousands of dollars if your customers don't respond favorably to your offerings? Do you feel confident that you'll generate significant revenues quickly enough to recoup your losses? Only you can answer these questions.
One area that many people overlook when deciding to start a business online is apparel. Clothing is unique because it requires high quantities of raw material and relatively low production costs. Moreover, people tend to be loyal to brands they wear regularly, which makes them ideal targets for direct marketing campaigns.
In fact, according to research conducted by Global Industry Analysts, global apparel sales increased by 6.1% in 2015 alone. And in 2016, it was projected to grow another 5.8%, reaching $4 trillion by 2020. Of course, this growth comes despite increasing concerns over rising inflation rates and trade tensions between China and the U.S.
To capitalize on this trend, you could easily build a thriving brand by focusing primarily on men's fashion. Men typically prefer buying quality clothes rather than cheap alternatives. They're also prone to impulse buys, making them prime candidates for targeted ads.
As mentioned above, you'll need to ensure that your initial inventory meets certain criteria in order to successfully market your wares. Fortunately, this part of the process is fairly straightforward and involves purchasing wholesale from reputable suppliers. When doing so, simply specify that you're interested in bulk discounts and/or special offers. Most merchants will gladly oblige.
Once you have sufficient stock, you'll need to focus on finding buyers. Again, this is largely dependent upon your target demographic. For example, if you're targeting younger males ages 18-24, you should look to Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter, and WhatsApp.
Again, it depends. While some niches are clearly going to outperform others, there are definitely opportunities everywhere. Ultimately, you'll need to determine your goals and preferences carefully, as well as analyze current trends in the marketplace. For example, if you're hoping to hit the jackpot with minimal effort, perhaps you should stick with an offline endeavor instead. On the other hand, if you're hoping to strike it rich quick, maybe it's worth investing in a brick-and-mortar establishment.
Regardless of your plans, it's imperative that you follow the advice outlined above so that you don't end up spending months trying to figure everything out on your own. By following our simple guidelines, you'll soon have yourself running a thriving online enterprise.
The first step in creating your own online store or website is registering your business name. You can use any name that appeals to you as long as it's unique, so make sure to choose one that you're happy about. Once you've got this sorted out, you'll need some sort of payment system set up before you can sell anything on your site.
You could pay by credit card using PayPal (which we show you how to sign up for here), but there are plenty of other options available too. For example, if you want to accept payments through Square, which will give you access to all kinds of new markets, then click here to find out more information about that option. If instead, you'd prefer to offer customers the chance to purchase goods via Payoneer, then you should check out our guide to signing up for that service right now.
Once you have all these elements lined up, you can begin selling products and services directly from your site. There are many different ways to go about doing this - whether you decide to list items individually, bundle them together into packages, or create membership sites where people can buy various add-ons at once. The choice really depends upon your personal preferences, but the important thing is that you get started! Here’s everything else you need to know...
1) Registering Your Business Name
To be able to run an ecommerce shop, the easiest way is to register a domain name and hosting package. This gives you a place to put your website online, plus a space where visitors can leave comments and feedback. It also allows you to build links back to your website, making it easier for potential buyers to locate you.
Registering your own domain name isn't expensive. A popular alternative is using a third party like GoDaddy.com or Hostgator.co.uk. Both companies operate on a simple monthly fee basis. They provide easy-to-use websites and email accounts, along with lots of extras such as advertising facilities and shopping carts. Some even include blogging functionality.
2) Setting Up Payment Options
Having registered your domain name, you'll need somewhere to host your website. As mentioned above, both Google and Yahoo offer their own domain names for around $10 per year. Alternatively, you might consider buying a dedicated server from a company like Dreamhost. Here, you'll receive 24/7 technical support and unlimited bandwidth, giving you room to grow.
If you don't mind paying extra each month, you may wish to look at services offered by Shopify. This platform provides users with customisable themes, advanced features, and powerful marketing tools. With over 50 million active stores worldwide, it makes for an excellent starting point. However, keep in mind that this comes with a price tag. While the basic plan starts at just $9.99 per month, those who opt for the premium version will incur additional fees depending on the amount of traffic they generate.
3) Signing Up To An Ecommerce Platform
Ecommerce platforms allow you to connect your existing store with an online marketplace. When shoppers visit your site, they see offers that others have posted, allowing them to browse and compare prices across multiple sellers. In addition to the convenience factor, having your product featured on another person's site means you'll earn commissions when sales take place. For example, if someone buys your book, you'll automatically receive a portion of the sale price.
There are thousands of ecommerce solutions available today. Amongst the most well known are eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and ClickBank Marketplace. Each of these have slightly different rules and regulations regarding listing details, however, the fundamentals remain similar.
4) Adding Products & Services
After choosing an ecommerce solution, you'll need to upload images of your wares and descriptions detailing what exactly they contain. Depending on the type of item, you may also need to fill out tax forms and collect taxes yourself.
5) Building Links Back To Your Website
In order to gain exposure within the internet world, you'll need to link your site back to yours. One method involves building relationships with relevant blogs and forums. Other alternatives include joining social networks, writing articles, and commenting on other peoples' posts. You can also reach out to local businesses and ask if they would be interested in promoting your business. Just remember not to spam.
6) Marketing Your Store Online
Marketing your brand online is essential if you want to attract enough attention to turn a profit. Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Reddit, and Foursquare are great places to promote your products with ease. But beware of the pitfalls. Make sure to only post content that adds value to your audience, and avoid adding excessive amounts of promotional material.
Another good tactic to employ is affiliate marketing. Affiliate programs let you partner with other brands and share revenue based on successful transactions between two parties. Popular ones include ShareASale, Commission Junction, LinkShare, and ClickBank.
7) Getting Customers And Making Money
Now that you're ready to launch your online store, the next stage is attracting customers and turning profits. The trickiest part of this process is figuring out what works best for you. Do you focus primarily on organic SEO tactics, or try paid ads? Should you concentrate on getting traffic from search engines alone, or does social networking play a role? How much time should you invest in developing your brand?
As you explore these questions, bear in mind that there are hundreds of variables involved, including things like keyword density and page load times. The simplest approach is probably to test several methods until you discover something that works for you.
8) Selling Items Directly From Your Site
Your initial goal is to get people onto your site, but the final objective is to convert browsers into actual consumers. Fortunately, there are dozens of ways to accomplish this. Whether you decide to feature individual listings, bundles, or memberships, you'll still need to determine how often to display new inventory, what discounts to apply, and whether to limit orders to certain categories or regions.
It's worth noting that this phase doesn't necessarily require a lot of upfront investment. Most of the work required is done behind the scenes, meaning you won't need to spend months trying to figure out how to optimize your pages. Instead, you can simply sit back and watch the cash roll in.
9) Managing Shipping Costs & Taxes
One of the biggest headaches associated with running an online store is handling customer returns. Not only must you ensure that every transaction goes smoothly, but you'll also need to come up with a policy for dealing with damaged items. Many online retailers charge a small percentage of the total cost, while others rely entirely upon buyers to cover losses themselves.
Taxes aren't cheap either. Unless you live outside of the U.S., chances are you'll end up paying income tax on whatever you earn from your business. However, this varies considerably from country to country. So although you might think that setting up an international store is difficult, it actually ends up being quite straightforward thanks to the plethora of software available.
Finally, it pays to be vigilant whenever you send shipments. Although tracking systems exist, they're far from foolproof. That said, you shouldn't worry unduly because it's unlikely anyone will steal your merchandise outright. More likely, unscrupulous individuals will attempt to defraud you by sending counterfeit goods or ordering non-existent items.
10) Keeping On Top Of Things
Keeping track of your finances and operations requires dedication and discipline. However, it's crucial that you always monitor the performance of your business. By regularly checking reports and comparing data against previous periods, you'll quickly notice trends and identify areas where improvements can be made.
This kind of regular monitoring helps to prevent issues escalating out of control. For instance, if you notice that a particular category is generating a large number of return requests, it might be worth considering removing it completely. Or perhaps you could cut down on shipping costs by offering bulk deals rather than single units. Whatever changes you implement, it's vital that you stick to your current strategy and don't deviate too far away from it. Otherwise, you risk losing momentum altogether.
How do you open a store with no money?
How do you start an online business with no experience?
How do I start a business with no money and no idea?
Is it possible to start a business without money?
Whether you're looking to be your own boss or just want something more flexible than working in an office environment, starting your own business can seem like a daunting task at first. It's easy to get overwhelmed by all that goes into setting up and running a successful business - but don't worry! We've got you covered with our handy guide on "How to Start An Online Business". Here we'll discuss everything from creating a solid business plan to deciding which type of ecommerce platform (or platforms) will work best for you.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to make a living without having to open a brick & mortar shop -- even if you have no previous experience whatsoever. You could sell items through an eBay storefront, offer services over Amazon FBA or simply create digital products to sell directly via Clickbank affiliate marketing sites. But before you dive headfirst into any new venture, it pays to take some time out and research about whether this particular idea really fits your skillset, personality and lifestyle.
A great way to find out if you're ready to launch your very own online empire is to check out these five tips for making sure you're prepared to go ahead with starting a brand new career path. If you feel confident enough to begin, then let's look at exactly where you should start when launching your online enterprise.
Yes! In fact, many people who were once unemployed now hold their own businesses as side hustles. Many even turn their side jobs into fulltime careers -- especially those who are experts in certain fields such as social media or blogging. While it might not always happen overnight, many entrepreneurs eventually grow their ventures into massive success stories. And while it may require patience and persistence, anyone can become self employed with hard work and determination!
No! That said, while it doesn't hurt to gain additional training in areas like accounting or management, most budding entrepreneurs learn along the way until they develop their own unique skill set. So if you already know how to code or design websites, you probably don't need to enroll in coding school to build your own startup. However, if you lack specific expertise in other areas, then you may benefit greatly from taking courses and workshops offered both locally and online. Just keep in mind that learning new skills takes time and effort so if you decide to pursue a degree program, consider going back partway to save yourself time later down the road.
While every industry has its upsides and downsides, here are three popular options for turning a hobby or passion into a full-fledged livelihood:
1. Selling physical goods
This option involves selling anything from foodstuffs to collectibles to fashion accessories to books to electronics. The beauty of this approach is that you only need to establish one storefront location -- unlike other methods where you'd need to maintain multiple stores around the country. This also means that you won't need to deal with inventory problems because you'll never have to restock after ordering supplies. Of course, if you choose to specialize in one item or product line, then you could potentially earn bigger profits.
2. Providing services
With this method, you provide a service instead of selling tangible objects. For example, you could offer cleaning services, dog walking, lawn care, tutoring or massage sessions. Again, you can easily scale up by opening several locations across different cities or states. Plus, since you aren't dealing with actual inventory, you won't face issues related to keeping track of stock levels. Still, depending on the niche you focus on, you may end up spending lots of time driving between customers' homes and offices.
3. Selling digital content
Digital products include software programs, audio files, video lessons and ebooks. By offering them exclusively at discounted prices, you can attract repeat buyers who purchase again and again. As long as you stay organized and follow proper copyright laws, you shouldn't encounter too many hurdles to becoming a legitimate eCommerce entrepreneur.
When choosing a marketable product, you must pay close attention to demand trends. Do you see a lot of interest in a given topic or subject matter? Or perhaps you think your audience would rather buy your product based on the quality of customer reviews or testimonials? Whatever you decide to promote, remember to test and tweak your ad copy to ensure you capture the maximum number of sales.
Also consider that each state has different regulations that govern how you can operate an online business. Be aware of local restrictions and tax rules, including things like licensing fees and taxes. Some states impose sales tax whereas others charge you for use of their servers. When operating outside of the US, it's important to understand local customs regarding payments, returns and refunds.
Finally, you'll want to factor in the costs associated with maintaining your online presence. Depending upon how often you update your site, you may need to invest in hosting space or upgrade your domain name registration. There are also ongoing maintenance expenses involved in managing various aspects of your business, like advertising campaigns. To avoid costly mistakes, you should budget carefully and stick to a monthly payment schedule to cover these recurring expenses.
Starting an online store isn't cheap -- nor is it inexpensive. Most small businesses spend anywhere between $500-$5,000 dollars to launch a single retail outlet. On top of that, you'll likely need to shell out another few thousand dollars annually to sustain operations. Still, if you're able to secure funding, you can cut down significantly on overhead costs by outsourcing tasks like fulfillment, warehousing, credit card processing and customer support.
As far as hosting, you'll typically pay somewhere between $10-$100/month. Once you sign up for a reliable web host provider, you'll only need to install WordPress or Shopify onto your server(s). Then you'll need to purchase either a theme or template to customize your storefront appearance. Lastly, you'll need to add products to your inventory and configure checkout pages so shoppers can complete purchases. All told, the average price tag for getting started ranges between $300 and $800 dollars.
If you opt to DIY, however, you can expect to fork over closer to $1000 in setup costs alone. Keep in mind that you'll still need to acquire inventory, hire employees and pay for utilities and bandwidth.
Regardless of which route you take, you can expect to lose thousands of dollars during the early stages of building your online business. If you can afford to give up a significant chunk of change right away, then go for it! Otherwise, try to secure financing so you don't have to immediately dip into savings to fund your operation.
After you figure out how much cash you'll need upfront, it's worth considering the amount you'll actually need to generate revenue on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available online that help you calculate a rough estimate of profit margins versus operational expenses.
For instance, if you manage to sell 100 units per week, you could break even within two months. So if you sold 1,200 units, then you would need to bring in roughly 2,400 dollars in order to reach profitability. Conversely, if you only managed to sell 400 units per week, then you wouldn't hit rock bottom until you brought in 4,800 dollars.
Obviously, the higher your sales volume, the faster you'll reach financial stability. But regardless of whether you sell fewer or more units, you should aim to keep your overall income above the minimum threshold required to continue paying bills.
In addition to figuring out how much money you'll spend on the frontend, you'll also need to determine how much you'll need to spend on the backend. Things like payroll, insurance, equipment repairs, employee benefits and taxes can eat up a sizable portion of your earnings.
To put it plainly, starting an online company can be expensive. Even if you go the DIY route, you'll need to have access to computer hardware and internet connectivity. Then you'll need to factor in the initial investment necessary to get your website up and running. With the exception of rare cases, it's virtually impossible to bootstrap an entire online business using just a laptop and smartphone.
Keep in mind that starting a business requires a considerable amount of planning, preparation and discipline. Without fail, though, you'll realize that being self-employed comes with tremendous rewards. Whether you enjoy interacting with clients or prefer solitude, entrepreneurship offers incredible flexibility and opportunities to explore interests beyond normal 9-to-5 employment.
And although you should be honest with yourself about your talents, abilities and limitations, you shouldn't necessarily limit yourself to traditional job titles. After all, a large percentage of Americans currently classify themselves as independent contractors, freelancers or consultants -- and the reasons why vary widely.
Become CEO of your own lead generation software company, just follow our battle-tested guidelines and rake in the profits.