Beginner’s Guide to eCommerce

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The Beginners Guide to eCommerce and Online Business 

Having your own business is a real blessing. It reduces your tax obligation year-over-year, allowing you to save faster, take memorable vacations and afford a better lifestyle. 

If you want run a business that you love, then you’re in the right place! 

What is eCommerce? 

eCommerce is an “Online Business” which simple equates to Buying and Selling online

There are so many types of eCommerce, but they ALL fall into one of three categories : ProductService or Ad Space

And there are so many misconceptions about what an online business really is. YouTube ads would have you believe that eCommerce businesses are easy, free and will produce huge amounts of money quickly. Well, they’re not any of those things. 

Growing a business will sometimes feels like an unpaid internship at first and the return on your (time) investment is not guaranteed. But I’ve chosen this model because the start-up costs are low and I can test the market without breaking the bank. 

Scaling an eCommerce business means that I DO NOT need an office or warehouse space, storefront or salaried employees.

How do I get started with eCommerce? 

To Start an ecommerce business, you need a laptop and the internet.

To build it, you will always need the following: research. No matter what type of business you choose, the majority of your time in the beginning will be spent on research. Lots and Lots of research.  50% of your time should be spent on research alone! Doing your homework will save you a lot of headaches on the backend. 

Get a Good Course and Mentor. The best way to reach your goal is to learn from someone that can give you a direct route to get there. There are so many scammy courses and teachers out there these days, that you really have research the mentor and/or course before you shell out your hard earned cash.  No matter what you choose, you’ll see that every good course starts with this one thing — RESEARCH.  Everything starts with research. 

RESEARCH YOUR TRIBE and NICHE: The great thing about eCommerce is that you can reach people all over the world.  The difficult thing about eCommerce is that you have to figure out how! 

Who is your target audience? 

Where do they hangout online? How active are they online? 

What problem will your product solve? 

How affordable is your product or service? 

All of this information is free on the internet, if you have the time to research it. Really good research is always available fast, if you have the money to pay for it. 

RESEARCH YOUR PRODUCT: Trust, there is nothing worse than spending $20,000+ on product development in China, only to find out that it can’t be shipped by air – only by sea, which triples the total cost. 

Or worse, it can’t be legally imported at all! 

True story. 

Here are the key points : 

1. Is it physically possible? Can it be produced and shipped? 

2. Is it legal? Are there any federal, state or local laws against its shipment or use? 

3. Does it make sense financially? After you’ve calculated the costs to make it and deliver it, can you turn a profit? 

You’ll also need to understand what kind of competition you’ll have for price, quality and delivery. 

RESEARCH YOUR BRAND: Is your brand in line with what your what your selling?  The best way to shape your brand is to start by researching your competitors and how they present. This will help you when you’re designing your brand package. Then, grab your domain name on FB, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and all other relevant sites where your people are spending a lot of time. You’ll want to make sure that your business name is available as a domain and handle on all other platforms before you commit. 

BUDGET YOUR TIME AND MONEY: Before you can start making money moves, you need to figure out how you’re going to take action.  What do have that you can leverage? 

How much cash do you have? 



If you have a lot of money to spare, you can shortcut pretty much any process and pay for help. Otherwise, you’ll need to decide how much time you can dedicate to the process and be consistent. 

Tips for Success in eCommerce 

SYSTEMS, SOFTWARE & STAFF: These three gems need to be functioning at an equilibrium in order for your business to run smoothly. 

Let me explain. 

Do you remember the Project Management Triangle? Price, Time and Quality. If you want it Fast and High Quality, its going to be cheap. Conversely, if you want it Fast and Cheap, its not going to be the best quality. They have to be equal, or you’re forced to pick two out of the three. 

The same goes for a new business. 

You won’t have many people/staffers on board in the beginning so you’ll have to invest in Software and SystemsWhen you first start out, you’ll want to join as many groups and forums as you can to see what’s working for other people who have businesses like yours. 

Your eComm business will consist of three parts : Marketing & SalesOperations & Finance and DeliveryThese three parts often overlap, and as a business owner you’ll be responsible for all three. If you don’t have any experience with 2 or all 3 of these parts, you can definitely bootstrap the entire process (which can be challenging).  A better way to tackle this, is to focus on your strengths and do cursory review of the others so that you can build a team to fill the other spots.

Typically, if you’re only selling one product on 1-2 platforms, you can function all on your own just fine. As you begin to increase the number of products you have and the number of marketplaces you sell in, the required number of staff and software doesn’t need increase along with it. With a strong process in place, you can reduce the number of employees you need. The easiest way to achieve this equilibrium is to take a course and copy the process your mentor is using.

Why reinvent the wheel? 

But if you’re on your own, creating from scratch, process is something you’ll create along the way.

THE PLAN B PIVOT: Facebook, Google, YouTube, Amazon, Etsy, Pinterest, Instagram — all huge platforms that are constantly changing the rules without warning.  You’ll be sailing along with a traffic count in the thousands, and one day, without warning, BAM. Nothing.  Suddenly that endless stream of customers you had, comes to a screeching halt and you immediately have Zero sales. Always have a Plan B.  Always have a secondary traffic source, a second selling platform, another income stream, another site host ready to go.  Also, have a 5 and 10 year plan.  What will you do with this business and how will it evolve? Will it become an umbrella company for other business you have in mind? Will you be selling it off?  Knowing this in advance will mean that your business will be ready to sell Year 10, in presentable condition. Or It will mean that you can reach out to your current customer base Year 5 with your new business venture, to prime them for sales in Year 6.

PATIENCE OF A SENSEI: Go “A mile deep and an Inch wide“. All of the sob stories I’ve read online start off with, “we invested everything we had” or “we put ourselves into debt”. This is one of the biggest takeaways from one of the courses I took.  We shouldn’t put all of our cash into one type of product until we really understand how things work.  Its a lot of research at first – Test and Tweek, Test and Tweek – everything from the ads to delivery and reviews.  Its almost better to start out with a limited budget because this will force you to make decisions and be frugal, rather than throwing money and a problem and waiting for the solution. 

STICKTOITITVENESS: The hardest part about this entire process is staying motivated.  You’re constantly learning new skills, facts, industry changes and it sometimes it becomes exhausting.  Especially in the beginning when you can’t see the results.  This is the part most people struggle with the most. Its typical to give up too soon, or not start a project or task because you’re overwhelmed with dread. To Get and Stay motivated, plan out your To-Dos in bite size chunks.  And most importantly, shift all non-focused thoughts about boredom and failure to (daydreaming about) the positive outcome.

Common Questions/FAQ About eCommerce

  • How much does it cost to start an eCommerce business?

    • This is a great first question and a difficult one to answer. The answer to this question is, it depends. You can start affiliate marketing today, right now, for free (excluding the cost of your laptop and internet connection). You can also start selling shirt online, right now, for $0.20. That’s right, $0.20. To start an Amazon FBA account, you’re looking at a minimum of $3,000 excluding the cost to learn the business. Right now, its super easy to start an affiliate business for free. 

  • How do I know what to sell?

    • Before you ask this question, a better question to ask is what online business model do you prefer? If you’re going to sell services, or ad space, all you’ll need is a website. If you’re going to sell physical products, you’ll have to make more decisions upfront. First you’ll need to decide on a business model and go from there (e.g. drop shipping, FBA, warehousing). 
    • You need a passionate audience. The Riches are in the Niches they say, and after 10 years, I agree. You can decide what to sell in one of two ways: 1. Sell a product that you’re familiar with. 2. Sell a product that is in demand. There’s probably a group of people out there who love wicker baskets, but how many people are there?  Is there anything you can sell to them and at what price points?  Before you move forward with what you’ll sell, you’ll have to validate your audience. 

The Last Thing You Need to Know about eCommerce

Running your own eCommerce business from home is super empowering.  You’ll love the freedom to direct your own time and by putting the money you earn back into the business, you’ll never feel like you’re at a loss. 

Share you ebusiness journey with us below!

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