Making your own hours? Being your own boss? Deciding what works best for you? Starting your own business sounds like a great idea. While it can turn out to be a very freeing career move, people overlook the fact that all of the successful business owners that you see playing golf on a Tuesday morning spent years working 55+ hours a week to build what they have from the ground up! Not only do you have to be willing to put blood, sweat, and tears into a business; first you have to figure out a product or service that people are ready and willing to exchange money for.
Whether you are looking for a side hustle or you are confident enough in your new product to throw all of your eggs in one basket, the easiest ways to be your own boss (even if it’s just a few hours of being the head honcho a week) is to find a product that you can sell online through an eCommerce platform. In the past you would have had to pour tens of thousands of dollars into a storefront, merchandise, and advertising to open up a brick and mortar store. In more recent years, it was still pricey to hire a web developer to design, code, and maintain your eCommerce website. Today there’s an almost endless amount of sites to sell on that are easy to use and fairly cheap, compared to the alternatives. Facebook, eBay, Etsy, Shopify, Poshmark, Craigslist, Wix eCommerce, Amazon- these are just some of the most popular methods.
Step 1. Find your niche and perfect your product
Figure out what you want to sell and make it appeal to a target market. This can be the most difficult step or the easiest. Sometimes your idea develops through trial and error. Although many of the most popular products came from “light bulb” moments. Whether an idea falls in your lap or you have to grind it out, having a solid product that appeals to a target audience (preferably an overlooked audience or one with an unmet need.) this is the most important step. Only with this foundation can you build lasting trust with your customers that turns into organic growth and return business.
Step 2. Create a business name and logo
There are some great apps that can help you create a logo if you have even the least amount of experience in graphic design. Adobe express and canva are extremely easy to use. They offer resources and tips to help you get started, as well as templates to give you a good base to build off of. Adobe has the market cornered on great graphic design, photo editing and illustration programs. With that said, if brainstorming doesn’t help or you’re not an artistic person, then this whole step can be outsourced. Save your time and hire a graphic designer to create a logo for you. It is relatively inexpensive to work with a pro to draw up some ideas to choose from that can give your brand new business a professional and cutting edge appearance.
Step 3. Do research on the competition
Don’t simply copy what the top dogs are doing. For one, they typically have a much larger marketing budget so when it comes between you and them, they will almost always come out on top. Look at what their strengths and weaknesses are, then find a gap to fill. Are they missing a demographic? By changing even a small aspect of their product can you reach a different target audience? You can learn a lot by looking at what your competitors are doing.
Step 4. Choose an eCommerce platform
Some platforms may work better for different types of businesses. Shopify and Square are our best overall picks. They are both very popular in all types of retail businesses. Both are beginner friendly, but have the capability to handle large businesses as well. They offer everything from marketing tools, inventory management and of course, processing online transactions. If you have a large amount of products then look at BigCommerce. For smaller companies or niche markets, then we suggest Squarespace or Wix. Most of the best ones will have wizards or a set up process to help you get started.
Step 5. Start selling!
Not only is there a wide selection of different online platforms but there are middle men for just about every step of the process. Open up an online coffee shop and you can have a distributor roast and package the coffee beans of your choice. Want to create an apparel company? Some companies are capable of designing, pressing, and shipping your clothing!
Being your own boss has never been more accessible. It’s not ever easy, but if you put in the time, money and effort with a quality product in the right market then you will be on your way in no time! Spend time developing networks of colleagues and nurturing relationships with customers. Organic growth and proven quality products lead to the most lasting customer base. Focus on meeting the needs of your clients instead of simply making a one time sale. If you go above and beyond to make sure that your customer’s needs are met, then they will go out into the world and constantly refer your brand to people around them. The most lasting growth most likely will not happen quickly, but the shortcuts, like buying more followers on social media, tend to leave you empty handed.
Whether you are an established entrepreneur or are still in the brainstorming and planning phase, our team can get you on the right track with our system implementation and business consulting services. Contact us today to get started!
For more info on eCommerce and how getting into the industry can benefit you, check out our article “The E-Commerce Takeover”