Working for Yourself: How to Start an E-Commerce Business from Home
Who doesn't want to be self-employed, make their own schedule, and answer to no one but the customer? When you can't find the perfect job to fit your lifestyle vision, the internet has provided an opportunity to create your own job. Consider these tips to help you start your career as an e-commerce business owner.
Do Your Market Research
Market research is an important element for any business owner. You need somewhere to start, and the only way to figure that out is by learning more about your chosen industry. What aren't your competitors providing that you could fulfill? Can you do something better than current businesses on the market? This is how you find your niche and figure out what you want to do. It is also how you discover your target audience. Some characteristics to look for include age, gender, consumer habits, geographic area, employment, and average income. You will use this information to inform every decision you make.
Stay Organized with PDFs
You’ll rarely meet a successful entrepreneur who doesn’t have a rock-solid system for organizing their most important business files. Set your e-commerce company up for success from the beginning by making PDFs your go-to format for document organization. Unlike paper files, which are difficult to keep track of and quickly pile up, PDFs can easily be organized on your hard drive and saved in the cloud, so you can access them (and run your business) from anywhere. You can also use Adobe Acrobat’s PDF editing tools to update your documents as needed. Whether you’re updating an invoice for a customer, creating a PDF newsletter to email to your marketing list, or adding your signature digitally to an agreement with a business partner, PDFs will keep your operations organized and running smoothly.
Hire Experts When You Need Them
When you reach elements of building your e-commerce business that are out of your area of expertise, you will need professionals to help you. The first reason you may need help is regarding how to legally set up your business. While you can do this step yourself, you may find it less stressful to hire a formation service to do it for you. For a small fee, they will take care of all of the state required paperwork so you can focus on other aspects of setting up your business.
Once your business is moving forward, you’ll likely find plenty of reasons to enlist professionals. For example, there are servers that will guide you through building a website, but you may not know how to include all the features you need for success, so maybe you’ll need help from a graphic designer to create your visual brand. As an online-only business, how you present your company is very important. Presentation is your first opportunity to make an impression, and a skilled graphic designer can create a logo that will display the message you want your company to portray.
Set Up a Space for Work
Doing all your work online means you can work virtually anywhere. However, you need a space that promotes productivity and helps you stay organized, so create an office space at home. Even in limited space, you can designate a specific spot to work. For example, turn a kitchen nook into a desk area, or if you have a garage, make that your office. Even a small walk-in closet can accommodate a desk if you do it strategically.
Develop a Social Media Marketing Plan
Coschedule explains that businesses with social media engagement build brand awareness and better understand their target audience. As a company built and operated entirely online, you need a way to reach your audience, and social media is the easiest way. You can create profiles across multiple platforms and reach more people by creating a cohesive visual brand that makes your pages immediately identifiable.
Delegate Menial Tasks
When you need more time to work on the elements of your business that promote growth and expansion, it may be time to hire staff. Even a part-time assistant could lift a heavy burden and provide you with more free time to spend with your family or engage in your hobbies outside work. Make a list of the things you could have someone else handle, and then talk to a staffing agency about hiring someone.
Find Your Personal Balance
As you navigate this new world of being your own boss, know that there will be both good and bad days. You should always enjoy the great days, but also prepare for the days when it feels like too much. You can easily become overwhelmed if you don't have the time to recharge, so take advantage of experts to take on big tasks like web design and accounting. Your own business should be a reflection of your goals and ambition. Keep that in mind when you start each day.
The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce is here to help you build a successful business in our community. Become a member today!