Running an online business is one of the best ways to make money from home. It’s usually cheap, and you can do it from anywhere. If you choose to set up an online store, you can sell digital or physical products. Perhaps you love crafts, and you’re looking for somewhere to sell your creations, or you just want to try your hand at running an e-commerce business. It’s not difficult to get started, especially if your sales model doesn’t involve buying in stock. But if you’re not sure where to start, check out this short guide that will have you up and running in no time.
Make Sure It’s Legal
Before you start trading, ensure that you’re following all the rules regarding establishing a business and paying your taxes. You’ll need to register as a company, if you haven’t already, and file your tax return every year. You might have to pay sales tax too, depending on how much you make in profits.
Decide What and How to Sell
There are several ways you can go about selling things online. You can store your stock at home or in another storage space and ship it out when someone places an order. Alternatively, you can use drop shipping, where your orders are sent to a manufacturer or wholesaler for them to fulfill. You can also sell digital products, instead of physical ones, such as ebooks, music or images. Selling digital products can be cheaper, but you still have to spend time and money perfecting their quality. Another choice to make is where you’ll host your online store. You can use a third-party site, such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy, or you can set up an independent shop. Many retailers do both and have a presence on several websites.
Get Your Store Set Up
If you decide to host your store on a site like eBay, setting it up is relatively straightforward. However, you should still ensure that you have quality product descriptions and images. When you start your own website, you’ll need a domain name, a web host, a dedicated IP address and SSL certificate, shopping cart script and payment gateway. Many of these items will incur monthly or yearly costs, so be sure to work out a budget and running costs. Once you have all the essential elements set up, you can customize your store with product photos and descriptions, among other things.
Start Bringing in Sales
When everything is ready to go, it’s time to draw in some customers. Most people start off sharing their new store with friends and family, but pretty soon that won’t be nearly enough. One thing to think about is SEO to make sure you appear in a good position in search results. But it’s not just bringing people to your site that’s important. You might also want to use conversion optimisation services to ensure that site visits turn into sales.
Once your store is set up, there’s still a lot of work to do to bring in customers. But the effort you put in is worth it for the luxury of working at home.