Tips and Encouragement for Starting an Online Business
Should you start an online business? Yes. It’s that simple.
24 months ago, my wife came to me after watching some online videos about selling online through a website, eBay or Amazon. Like most people I was always intrigued by the idea of online selling because it opens you up to do business with the entire world. But to compete against the giants and find the capital to start out in the first place were dreams of mine rather than goals. I didn’t shrug my wife off but I thought what could I do to make it against all the odds. One day she said “you already sell vapes to your friends; you should sell them online.”
6 Months went by and the inevitable day came that I had to buy more vape batteries online to sell to my small local client base. The favorite at the time was the Eleaf I stick Mini and as I began to look to purchase them, I saw that by ordering in bulk I could cut the price by more than half of the trending online rate. Because this was something from my everyday life I knew that odds were I could sell it no matter what.
What happened next was nothing short of impressive. I bought 200 units when all I needed was 20. I listed them on Ebay, which at the time was turning the blind eye to vape sellers on their platform. In less than 1 week I sold all 200 units. The rest is history, we have since registered our business and continue to grow at a steady pace.
We are very small but with any luck one day this business will be large and perpetual. It is not for me that I want Canny Gorilla to thrive. It is for my wife and children. It would be something that I could leave here on earth to provide for them when my time is up. Providing security for my children and wife and providing for their comfort and care now and long after my last breath, that is the only reason that I exist.
But I also want to point out that owning your own business is a life changing thing. Of course there are tax write offs and additional income and many other fringe benefits, such as say “Business Related Dining and Cocktails”. But whats more is that for many years most people have to get up and go to work for someone else. Not only are they exploited, generating far more value than they are returned with in wages, but they struggle and make great sacrifices to be there. Get up under slept, rush to get ready, get your kids off to daycare or school and then rush down the interstate to work. Work all day, get out and rush back down the interstate to pick up the kids. Go home, cook dinner, clean up and pass out from exhaustion. Then do it again the next morning.
If this sounds familiar then step back for a moment and ask yourself if that lifestyle stresses you out a bit. Does that stress bleed into your date nights with your wife or husband? Do you even have date nights? Does it ever spill over into your interactions with your kids? Have you ever gotten upset with them because they were holding you up form being to work on time? Not only did I struggle with all of these things but at the end of the week I paid $500 to the daycare and $100 for transportation costs and I only took home $650. You do the math.
And all of that is for what? To keep a roof and food and clothes? But are you ahead, or just barely getting by? Or are you ahead because you have the things you want, a house or a car, but you owe it all to a bank and so you are really just getting by. One wrong move and it all disappears. A sheriff and a tow truck and you’re down to nothing.
I cannot tell you that you will be successful at online selling. But the odds are good that if you plan and use discipline and put your heart into it that you will eventually make it. Now is a great time to get a product online because most people are buying whatever they can online rather than in stores. And there are many opportunities for small online businesses to shine with fast shipping, quick easy customer service and the general speed and agility that comes from being small. But if you want to know the answer, it takes about 24 to 36 months to give it a fair attempt, so you should start now.
If you are thinking of starting an online business, here are my tips for you to start out.
First of all the best platforms are the larger ones like eBay, Amazon, Poshmark, Facebook, and Instagram just to name a few. The benefit is that they can get your product in front of a lot of people who are looking for it. This will help you create a cash flow and profits as well as getting your name out there and building reputation. Many of the customers from those platforms can also be converted into direct to your site customers in the future, essentially building your very own client list of people who have already bought what you sell. Lists like that usually cost money but you get it for free.
Second, the product that you want to start with is probably something you already love or already use. The benefit to this is that if you fail to sell it as intended you can usually use it up yourself, which lowers your exposure to risk. All you need to know is that you can buy it and sell it including the costs of fees shipping packing etc. and make a profit. The best ones are products that you can buy and sell repeatedly with little or no value added time from you. If you think you have something but you’re still unsure, buy a few at a higher than bulk cost and sell them at the trending rate to see if you can get yours to sell. It might cost you a few bucks but the information is priceless.
Most of what you need you probably have. A laptop is ideal but you could start with a cell phone. A printer. Internet access. If funding is an issue consider a credit card or perhaps you have something that you really like but is worth a lot of money you can sell it to get your startup money. When I started my local branch of business many years ago I sold my dirt bike to get my startup money. I loved the bike but the revenue from the business could buy me 10 more dirt bikes. It’s a decision I never regretted.
Patience is key and discipline to not spend the profits and reinvest in the business is a must. Stick with it, run the business lean and tight and reinvest everything into its growth. Protect the reputation and find any ways you can to build an identifiable brand or to add value above what your competitors provide for the same product. If you stick with it, you will almost certainly succeed.
This article will be the first in a series of work that I will dedicate to this topic. If 100 people read it I bet only 1 will take my advice. But if I could encourage just 1 more person to change the world for themselves then it will all be worth the effort of chronicling my online startup business and tips for succeeding.