Side hustles can be a fun and lucrative venture and, in some cases, can lead to a very fulfilling career. This is perhaps why the number of professionals running a side business has steadily risen over the last decade.
However, the pandemic led to an influx of people starting their own side hustle, particularly those who were furloughed during this period. In fact, since March 2020, one in five (19%) UK professionals have started a side business.
If you’re thinking about doing the same, this can be a very exciting time in your career! E-commerce can be a great way for you to make extra money on the side and could even be your full-time earner in the future.
But if you’re not sure how to get started, that’s OK! This guide is for you. We’ll look closer at the key considerations and steps you need to take to start your e-commerce side hustle this year.
Choose what and how you want to sell
The first thing you need to do is decide what you’re going to sell. These could be goods or services, and you need to determine how you’re going to sell them. You have several options:
• You can sell something you make at home, such as homemade jewelry or candles.
• You can buy your goods in bulk and store them at home before shipping them to customers. You can do so with items like clothes, beauty products, etc.
• You can use a dropshipping model to sell goods without having to stock the inventory yourself.
• You can sell your services – writing or graphic design services, for example.
If you plan to start an e-commerce business, it’s likely that you already have products or services in mind, perhaps something you do or make in your free time anyway.
However, if you don’t know what you want to sell, you need to spend some time researching, until you find the right goods or services for your business.
Find a reliable supplier
If you’re going to be selling goods, you need to make sure you choose a reliable supplier. This could mean finding a good wholesaler, dropshipping provider, or perhaps sourcing the right materials for your homemade goods.
You need to make sure you’re using quality products and materials whilst sticking within your budget. And if you’re dropshipping, you need to find a reliable supplier that stocks all the products you want.
Think about your branding
You’re almost ready to get going, but you need to think about how you’re going to create a brand and sell your business and compete with lots of other businesses. At this stage, you might wish to create a logo or have someone create a logo for you. You should also pay some thought to your company’s name, color scheme and typography.
You don’t have to finalize all of this right away, and it may change over time, but it’s good to have an idea of what you want your branding to look like.
Create your e-commerce website
The next step is to create your e-commerce website. Otherwise, how are customers going to buy your goods or services? Your website should include:
• Your business name;
• Your branding, including your logo;
• Information about who you are and how your business started;
• Your products or details of your services;
• Product images or photos that represent your services
• Reviews or testimonials (if you have them).
You might also wish to include a portfolio if you’re offering a service. If you plan to create some engaging content, don’t hesitate to add your blog to the list.
How you create your e-commerce website is also important, and here you have to take into account the resources at your disposal. You could pay someone to create a site for you, but this can be more expensive. However, there are e-commerce platforms out there that are easy to use, even if you’re just a beginner.
Sites like WordPress, Shopify and Wix make creating an e-commerce website straightforward. You can also integrate these with other useful platforms, particularly dropshipping suppliers.
So put some thought into how and where you want to create your website. Many platforms have handy features such as drag and drop functionality, so you can have your website up and running in a matter of hours.
Set your prices and prepare for payments
You can have the best website in the world, but it’s no good if you can’t accept payments. The first thing you need to do is set your prices and make sure these are clearly displayed on your website.
That said, if you’re offering services that are tailored to your customers, you might need to add a contact form so they can get in touch for a quote rather than simply list generic prices.
Once you determine the prices, you need to set up payment options. Alongside accepting standard debit and credit payments, it’s a good idea to have other options for popular payment tools and plans, such as PayPal or Klarna.
Decide on shipping
If you’re selling goods, you need to work out how you’re going to get your orders to customers and what shipping options you’ll offer. This could require you to post all goods yourself, or you might wish to partner with a courier for larger numbers of orders. What’s more, think about what you can feasibly offer your customers – for example, can you offer them next-day delivery options?
Of course, if you’re using a dropshipping method, you don’t have to worry about this as packaging and shipping are handled by the supplier.
Get the word out there
Last but not least, you need to get your name out there and let the world know about your new business venture. You can do this by:
• Creating social media accounts for your business;
• Optimizing your website using techniques like search engine optimisation (SEO);
• Creating great content such as blog posts;
• Using this methods in your local areas such as giving out leaflets or putting up posters;
• Adding to professional platforms like your LinkedIn profile;
• Asking friends and family to spread the word.
• As soon as your business is ready, you need to organize your marketing efforts. Don’t neglect this stage, or you might struggle to make sales.
Starting a new business isn’t an easy task. However, an e-commerce side hustle opens up a range of opportunities to both earn some extra money and get a sense of fulfillment.
If you’re interested in creating an online store, it’s very important to do your research. There are several types of e-commerce platforms, you should choose the one that fits your goals best and try to optimize it as much as possible. Be strategic about the way you start your side hustle and you’ll achieve great results!