The flexibility of having a career that is entirely online based is great. This is because it gives you the opportunity to see more of the world.
But working online full-time and making a career out of selling online isn’t as easy as it looks. The fact is that there is a lot of hard work that goes into online selling; and a lot of it happening behind the scenes.
Online trading provides a huge range of opportunities that did not exist prior to the internet revolution. But can you really make a career out of it?
The obvious advantage of selling online is the fact that it allows you to reach a wider audience.
With 41% of the world’s global internet users purchasing products online in 2014, there is always a customer out there. This figure is expected to grow by 2017 as forecasters expect there to be about 1.32 billion digital buyers across the globe in 2016.
But if eCommerce or selling online is an area you have never really explored, it can be overwhelming. Here are the foundation building blocks you are going to need to make a success out of selling online.
#1]. Invest in the right things and be profitable
It might sound obvious, but making a career online is all about being able to keep your online business profitable.
Without a solid financial base of money flowing in, you won’t be able to sustain your business for long and build a foundation for a long-lasting career.
You don’t want to be spending money on the wrong things – make sure that you’ve set up the right financial goals from day one to help you keep on top of everything.
- Don’t cripple yourself with expensive startup costs. Order fulfilment and drop-shipping mean that you can sidestep traditional ecommerce costs like warehouse and rent by getting a third party to manage your products and inventory for you. Just make sure you conduct plenty of research before you sign on with anyone.
- Think carefully before hiring any permanent staff – staff are expensive financially and take up a lot of time.
- Be cautious with monthly subscription costs – they can quickly add up if you’re not careful.
#2]. Lean on associates
Don’t try to go at it alone — trying to do and keep everything in-house will cripple you. You need learn how to effectively manage suppliers and freelancers in order to succeed as an online entrepreneur.
#3]. Embrace technology and new ideas
The best way to make a sizeable income online is to embrace new technology as it comes out and become an early adopter. This way, you can differentiate yourself from the competition.
- Keep surveying the industry and your competitors to make sure you are keeping on top of the latest online developments and innovations.
- Remember that customers are very savvy and demanding and that you will need to provide a great customer experience if you are trying to get them to part with their money.
- Learn how to recognise fads disguised as innovations. Don’t feel like you have to go off and chase after every new trend. But have your mind open to new possibilities and niches. If you can set yourself up a leader in a specific niche, it could mean a huge payoff for you. Google Trends is a great way to keep an eye out for what people are searching for. You can also use it to understand whether an interest in a product or market is growing or declining.
#4]. Plan for the future
Working online can be volatile and unpredictable – you need to make sure that you protect yourselves and your assets for the future.
- Invest in products and services that have longevity. Don’t just go for the latest fad and open a store with all your savings. You can take educated risks, but don’t gamble your money away.
- Think about your offline investments too – could you use any of your online income to make a difference offline too? Bring your two worlds together. You don’t want to have one life over there, and a completely separate one somewhere else.
#5]. You’re only as good as your customers
Your customers and your audience are the ones who are going to be bringing you business day after day, week after week. You need to listen to them and give them what they want.
- You need to map out detailed buyer personas in order to satisfy your customers. Get to know them properly and make sure that you make content and stock decisions based on buyer and user behaviour. Here is what you need to know about your customers.
- Get to know your analytics platforms really well so that you can informed decisions based on what customers are buying (and not buying). Address any high abandonment or bounce rates quickly.
#6]. Monetise well
There are many different ways of monetising a website and selling things online – and not all of them might be right for you.
- You can open an online store on your own domain, or you could sign up as seller on a third party website and sell that way. Selling through a third party site has some extra costs attached to it, but it’s a great way to make money fast as big marketplaces like Amazon and eBay already have a captive audience. Remember that you can set yourself up with a drop-shipping supplier so that you don’t actually manage order fulfilment yourself.
- You can use affiliate links to earn passive income – just remember to disclose, and to really make a profit: go for high commission and ticket items. Don’t endorse stuff you can’t stand behind.
- Ad revenue only makes sense on very high traffic sites as a reliable source of income, but include tasteful ads on your blogs and eCommerce sites by all means.
- You could sell your content or your services out to people online via a well-optimised portfolio or showcase site. You can even sell these leads on and just manage an online storefront.
- If you are going down the content route, eventually you can start to sell sponsored content spots on your website and earn revenue through partnering with media organisations, brands, and PR professionals.
Making money online is great – but it’s also a lot of hard work! What do you think is the most attractive thing about working online?