In many terms, a Sidepreneur is better than an entrepreneur since there’s limited risk factor involved. Also, if you have a child to raise, a family to support, or any other personal responsibility, it’s not possible for you to leave everything behind and give in to your business.
However, it is still a business and requires plenty of effort and energy. On the other hand, you need to take care of your health, your family, devote time to relaxation, and manage the crises every once in a while.
So, the question is, how do you start an eCommerce business while working full time?
Well, continue reading to find out!
#1: Organization Is Key
Everyone has their own unique style of staying organized but one thing usually helps most entrepreneurs: Evernote.
Evernote is a classic productivity tool that has been around since the dawn of the Internet. Every successful entrepreneur you can think of has used this tool as their digital notebook to take down notes needed for their business regularly.
You can use it to keep notes of business information, product ideas, contact information for suppliers, customers brokers, warehouses, etc. or even domain name ideas, business name ideas, and so on.
With Evernote, you can have the app installed on your phone, so whenever an idea hits your head or you need to quickly reach out to one of your suppliers, you got the information right there with you on the go.
#2: Look For a Compatible Co-Founder
You may want to work individually, and that’s your choice. Nothing is better when you can handle all your engagements alone, right?
When you have a co-founder, though, you are no longer a one-man army, but a team. There will be someone to back you up, and they’d know and share your business and ideas. While your family could also support you, they won’t understand the business better than your co-founder.
Starting an eCommerce business while working 9-5 will be a lot less overpowering once you have a trustworthy co-founder beside you. So, put up the profile you want and start interviewing people aggressively. You’ll know who’s the best fit for you.
Another advantage of having a person working beside you is you can both hold each other accountable for certain things. For example, if you’re procrastinating now, your partner could cheer you up and get you back on track in no time.
#3: Test Your Ideas First
Before you start launching your first product online and purchasing official commodities for your brand, think of determining how good your idea is.
Once you’ve made your first prototype, get consumer feedback.
Taking clients interviews will be of great value to your idea. You’ll know if what you are about to create is even worth it, whether it would solve a particular problem or not, and if so, how long would it work for, etc.
All those questions will be answered once you start exploiting your idea. During these surveys, consider asking to the point questions.
The next step is improvements, based on what you’ve learned so far. You’ll need to repeat this process several times before the final product is ready and put on sale. You shouldn’t waste resources without knowing if the product is worth selling or not.
And the final step is customer satisfaction measurement. For every complaint you receive from a client, chances are many aren’t satisfied with your service/product but choose to say nothing. These are the customers you’ll likely lose if you don’t take quick action. Thus, tracking customer satisfaction metrics is highly critical.
Also, gather enough resources for creating your website via online resources. Usually, people spend enough time making their logo and coming up with a proper name for their site but forget to work on the website and its content. So, don’t be careless with choosing the best website builder. Remember, your site will be the face of your online business.
#4: Avoid Planning “Everything”
Things don’t always go according to plans. Therefore, consider going with the flow during this time, while your product is still in the making.
“You can have it all, just not all at once,” said Oprah Winfrey.
What it means is you cannot plan everything and think of something great and surprising to happen. Keep calm and plan out your goals. And remember, just the milestones. Try not to go crazy on the planning factor.
Consider focusing on things that actually matter and forget the ones that occupy unnecessary space in your brain. Working is more fun when the mind is clutter-free.
Furthermore, for carefree planning, try to schedule your engagements with Google Calendar, not the one in your office system. If you’re using WordPress, you can also add Google Calendar to your website to manage schedule, share events, and organize pretty much everything around you.
#5: Outsource Most of Your Work
Outsource all your work as much as you can. It’ll be affordable and help you focus on limited things. Your attention span is limited, after all.
When you’re working 9-5 while also working on your side business, outsourcing can make all the difference in the world. It’s time you started acting like a big company.
Now, acting like a big company doesn’t mean you spend millions of dollars and set up fancy offices. It refers to following some ethical values that you and your team will always abide by. It means never compromising on quality and providing your potential consumers with the best product.
It also indicates having a customer loyalty program. According to research, more than 90% of businesses currently have some form of customer loyalty or engagement program. Loyalty helps your business to improve brand image, and strong brand image helps the business to glue your customers.
Acting like a big company doesn’t mean you work 24/7. What you do is work effectively and sustainably because that’s the key to being a big corporation.
Think of it this way. There will be days when you’ll be working very less on your business, but that doesn’t mean you stop moving forward. Acting like a big company is ensuring the people you work with are happy and giving in all the skills and potential they own. You’ll be learning from your failures and encounter along the way while moving on to your next plan of action.
What it ultimately means is YOU being always aware.
#6: Do You Ever Quit?
The thing is, you’ll never know when to quit.
The motto in opening a business while working 9-5 must be to get revenue from day 1. We’ve seen a bunch of startups go down because revenue wasn’t enough or funding stopped. Being bootstrapped will assist you in getting momentum and keeping your future secure. Recurring revenue should always be the focus.
If you’re looking for venture capitalists and angel investors, they come with their own baggage. Remember, investors want to see you working 9-5. After all, they’re investing on you. If you’re able to handle that kind of pressure and provide accountability for everything you do, go ahead with the investor collaboration. Or else, stick to being your own wingman.
There will never be a perfect time to know when to quit your job and work 9-5 on your eCommerce business. You can, however, set a time frame for it. For example, “I will leave my job after I begin earning X dollars from my own website.”
Alternatively, you may want to sell your online shop or are interested in what your business could be worth since eCommerce is expected to become a trillion-dollar business in the US alone. In fact, it is soon on the verge of reaching over $3.4 trillion in sales worldwide in 2019. It’s so mainstream now that many investors are interested in buying these online businesses, regardless of their size.
As you can see, it’s still a bit risky. In fact, you might even end up losing it all.
Therefore, you need to decide on the “leaving your stability” part wisely. Also, try not to stick to your comfort zone as you’ll have to come out one way or another.
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