By Si Martin
Turn Your Online Business Idea Into a Reality
You might have seen or read about people starting an online business or store, and been intrigued as to what it’s all about. Disturbingly, a lot of the information you’ll find online about running online stores can come across as: “QUIT YOUR DAY JOB! MAKE $$$!!” – it’s often sensationalised and definitely looks too good to be true.
But the truth is: it IS possible to make your monthly income a little healthier through running an online business.
Maybe you’ve spent hours on Google looking for ways to work from home, or make money online but you’re not sure you’re ready to take the plunge. Here’s a checklist of things you’ll need for starting an online business:
The drive to do it
What is it that’s motivating you to start an online business? Is it that you want to be your own boss? Do you want a bit of extra help with paying the bills each month? Are you looking for a new challenge? Maybe you want to treat yourself or the family a little more?
As cheesy as it might seem, write down why you want to be running your own online business and put it somewhere you can keep looking at it to remind yourself what you’re working towards.
Some time and money
This is usually the biggest hurdle for people. We’ll be honest, starting an online store requires an investment of both time and money, and there’s always a risk that you might not make it back.
But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be a huge investment! You’ll get out of any business venture what you are able to put in. Investing more in stock to sell can lead to more profit, and putting in more time and effort can lead to faster growth. Just remember to take it at your own pace, and only invest what you can afford to. Every business has to start somewhere!
All good businesses will make sure that there are people out there who’ll buy their product(s) before they even invest a penny in the business. Do some research by checking online whether there’s a demand for what you want to be selling. Even better, get out of the building and talk to some people – ask them whether they’d want to buy it, and if you can, get them to commit to buying before you go live.
A place to sell your stuff from
Traditionally, to sell products you required a physical shop (which you’d have to pay rent and bills towards). But these days, literally anyone can set up an online storefront. With the introduction of online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, as well as services like Shopify and BigCartel, you don’t even need to have the skills and know how to build a website to get started with online selling. Selling products has never been simpler.
Getting your products in front of people
If you’re setting up your own online store, you’ve got to get people on your webstore, to buy your products. This will generally be done in a more “traditional” marketing way – through advertising, on Facebook or Google.
Alternatively, if you’re using a marketplace like Amazon or eBay, there are millions of visitors already visiting these sites daily, that you can get your products in front of.
Amazon has an advantage in that everyone selling the same product sells it through a single listing, so you don’t need to be able to write a convincing sales pitch to persuade people to buy this product.
Something to sell (that’s worth selling!)
This is the tricky bit, and one that lots of articles about starting a business tend to gloss over. “What do I actually sell that’s going to make money?” Well, there’s a few things you can do:
- Choose something that you would buy! Chances are, if you’ve got an interest in it, then you’ll understand what’s a good price to buy it for, and what’s a fair price to sell it for, and you’ll be able to provide the best support for customers who may be having issues.
- Start small and try a few different product lines until you find one that sells well, and then invest in getting more, or try to find a better deal when buying your stock in in the first place.
- Think about what people are already buying – do some research into shopping trends, and try to fit in around them. Are people more likely to buy Blu-Rays than DVDs for example?
- Use an online market intelligence tool like ProfitSourcery to get a list of profitable products given to you every day. You can find out more about ProfitSourcery at profitsourcery.com.
The tools for the job
A computer, or some way to access your online store, is an obvious one, but maybe think about how you’re going to keep up with it all on the go – smartphones and tablets are your friend here.
A printer for printing off posting labels, and customer returns forms is also going to be a useful tool.
Then there’s all the packaging, cardboard boxes or postage bags, parcel tape, bubble wrap etc. to actually physically send goods out to your customers.
Remember all these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to running a successful online store. Who knows, you might even make all that $$$ and quit your day job after all.
If you’re ready to start your own online store and would like some extra help, let ProfitSourcery lead you to success by showing you what can make a profit, and training you up! Find out more at profitsourcery.com.