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Running an e-Commerce Business from Home

So you’ve decided to work from home – you’ve had enough of that long commute and all the office politics, and you’re going to follow your dream of building an empire and starting your own business – saying goodbye to money worries. All you need is a PC, a phone and a fast broadband connection right? Well…

In theory this may be true but there are so many different types of business you can run from home that it is vital to research the tools and equipment that you will really need to function effectively. For instance if your dream is to be a voice over artist in animated films or adverts many voice over agencies that will secure you work will expect you to have high-quality recording equipment in your own home – and that doesn’t just mean a microphone. This is true even for a voice-over agency with recording studios of their own.

Also, unless you have a huge house with plenty of space for storage you will find it difficult to buy and store wholesale quantities of your products – and without wholesale quantities you will find it difficult to make a decent profit.

You might be one of the lucky few with an abundance of storage but, more likely, you are like the rest of us and need somewhere to store your products before you even start thinking about how and where to sell them. Well the easiest, quickest and cheapest solution is simply to rent a self storage unit. It can effectively act as your warehouse until your business grows and you are ready to invest in your own dedicated warehouse space.

So that’s the storage sorted what next?

Perhaps the biggest decision of all will be where you will sell from and how you will fund the business. We all have to take debt seriously so it is important to have a grip on how much debt you are willing to take on to start your enterprise. Will you simply have a storefront on eBay or Amazon? Will you have your own website built including a business blog where you can start to attract customers, which is clearly a more expensive option? Or perhaps both?

When first starting a small e-commerce business it certainly helps get customers through the virtual door by making use of Amazon or eBay but they will take their cut of your profits of course and it doesn’t make for a good business plan to rely on them in the long term. And if you are aiming at the high end of your market it probably doesn’t make sense to use them at all.

If you are a high-end business and while you are still in the startup phase you will most probably need to rely on pay-per-click advertising to get potential customers to your site but, again, this is not a cost-effective long-term plan as PPC tends to be a bottomless money pit. So use it in the early days but start straight away with a marketing campaign that includes search engine optimisation, social media marketing, content marketing, emails, newsletter and some good old fashioned traditional marketing thrown into the mix. And don’t forget to get help with training and mentoring if you need it.

Good Luck and enjoy your entrepreneurial journey…

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