It’s been a secret desire of mine to run an online store for a living. The lure of being independent of answering to somebody else is an entertaining thought to have. Making money online has been a lifelong passion that hasn’t really matured to where I’d like to be. And after reading Steve’s post on eCommerce stores, I wondered to myself – why have I not started one a long time ago?
Then I realized – it’s not as easy as it sounds.
BigCommerce – one of the easiest platforms for an eCommerce store.
Having never ran an eCommerce store myself, I can only list some of the things I’ve learned while looking into this subject matter:
Pros of Starting Your Own eCommerce Store
- Low start-up costs – many eCommerce platforms host your website for you so there is no need for specialized servers. Different pricing plans are also readily available with some starting at less than $40 per month.
- No need to manufacture or carry products to get started. Drop shipping is readily available (although translating to lower profit margins) where products are shipped directly from wholesale distributors to your customers.
- You can be your own boss – who doesn’t love answering to anyone? You run the place – you’re the boss.
- Low overhead – granted you’ll need professional space much sooner than you think, an online store can be started from home (from that cozy couch you pet your kitty or your puppy).
- You can work at your own pace – it’s totally up to you how fast you want to grow your business and how much time you put into the work. If you’re as awesome as I’m pretty sure all of you are, you’ll be rich in no time.
- Potential of turning your small website into a large business that you can be proud of. Unlike the pesky little projects that have come and gone for me, an online store is not something you would sell for a quick profit. You build onto it until you can be proud of what you’ve accomplished.
Cons of Starting Your Own eCommerce Store
- Takes complete dedication. I can’t imagine working another job and running an online store at the same time. You would have to dedicate yourself to it in order to succeed.
- Customer support – you’ll have to deal with customers. This means having to answer the phone no matter where you are. Can you imaging dealing with complaints day to day.
- It could take 6 months to a year to generate profit. Drop shipping products usually results in a low profit margin from what I’ve learned. With money in, expenses out – it may be a while until you’re profitable.
- It can cost a lot to get running. Sure, you can try to get away with a basic out-of-the-box design, but chances are you’ll need a custom website design and SEO to really get ahead. E-commerce Search Engine Optimization is more difficult than a simple website. There is a professional position for this task alone. Depending on the costs of such services, it can get expensive to tweaking your website just right.
- You’ll most likely have to spend on advertising. Many of you already know how long it takes to grow a blog, yet alone a business. You’ll have to spend money on AdWords, which can get expensive – assuming you already know how to best use the platform. If you’re new to AdWords, there’s a steep learning curve, which may mean money wasted.
- You’ll probably have to carry products on-sight for better profit margins. This means meeting with suppliers and or buying in bulk. There’s the risk of not being able to unload your inventory which could mean going out of business.
- It may consume all of your time and then some. Imaging doing all of the above by yourself! You’d have to spend money on hiring help or leaving enough time to do the work yourself (for most this is impossible with a day job).
- You’ll have to find the right product or risk losses. Not all products are created equally. You’ll need to know what sells well and what has a decent profit margin to be worth the time. I know electronics have low profit margins due to high competition.
Is it Worth the Effort?
I’m sure something is missing here or could be wrong, but this is what I’ve gathered so far from doing my own research.
Looking at the cons, it’s easy to dismiss the idea of starting an online store simply because of all the information you must know and all of what’s involved. However, after hearing from a friend who has worked for many eCommerce companies, it is difficult to simply say it’s not worth it as there are many people who have started successful multi-million dollar operations out of their homes.
For me, the stories of people who have succeeded and went on to describing making their first million dollars is what keeps me coming back to this idea over and over. Although I will most likely not be starting an online store any time soon after learning the ins and outs, there is still a chance that the online payday loan industry picks up and works out great as a business model.
HockeyGiant.com – highly successful eCommerce website.