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12 Awesome Tips For Starting An ECommerce Business From Scratch

By Alice Teacake

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see my affiliate disclaimer here.

If, like me, you strive for efficiency in your life, how does starting an ecommerce business from scratch, at the same time as travelling the world sound?

Very difficult, perhaps nearly impossible?

Well, in 2018, this is simply not the case. If you’re wondering how to start your business; with e commerce tools and smart business models (like dropshipping), you can run your own company from anywhere in the world!

With the right e commerce plan and processes in place, you can even get to the stage where you don’t have to work on a day-to-day basis. You can outsource all administration tasks to virtual assistants and never lift a finger!

12 easy steps to starting an ecommerce business from scratch

Starting An E Commerce Business From Scratch

Start your online e commerce business today

This post will outline how you, as a female entrepreneur, can explore the world whilst successfully building an online business! Grab your 12 essential tips to starting an ecommerce business right now, so you can make sure you don’t miss a thing!

What is eCommerce?

ECommerce is an electronic transaction: it’s buying or selling a service or product online. ECommerce is short for ‘electronic commerce’ and in the last couple of years, eCommerce business has completed exploded on the internet! Stores that sell their products online are called eCommerce stores: eCommerce online shopping is thriving and is very much the future.

Want to know how to start a small business? Read on…

Budget carefully and be realistic

You will have to budget carefully to get your new e commerce venture off the ground.

It may take a few weeks, or even a couple of months, to start-up and generate ANY profit from your e commerce brand.

To keep yourself motivated in these early days, set yourself realistic goals. When you reach them, reward yourself with an exciting travel experience!

Starting an online business is a learning curve, so you will need to make sure you have some savings in place to keep you going on your travels.

Be patient with time and have savings - it can take time for an online business to take off!

Consider dropshipping

You cannot waste a single penny on things like inventory that doesn’t sell, so you may want to invest in fulfilment services like dropshipping instead.

Under a dropshipping agreement, there are no upfront fees for stock. You act as the retail arm on behalf of a third-party supplier. Your initial costs will be for setting up an online business store and creating targeted advertising campaigns.

Be flexible about what is working

With dropshipping arrangements, you also have the freedom to change product lines at the drop of a hat. You may find that the market you want to target is over-saturated. Being persistent is essential, but if a brand isn’t working after a few months of trying, make a switch to something more profitable.

Starting an e commerce business from scratch

Be honest with yourself about what is working - and have the strength and flexibility to change if need be

The bulk of your workload abroad would be laptop-based. Setting up daily ad budgets on Facebook and Instagram and order management will be your main duties as a business owner, so you will still have the flexibility of movement and therefore saving on living costs.

Sell what you are passionate about

Wondering what business to start? You will need to come up with a brand that is both profitable and linked to your interests. From personal experience, I think creating an e commerce store within an industry you’re passionate about will help you build a business you genuinely love — and that passion will rub off on your customers.

Dream big - What are your passionate about? Sell it!

When considering startup business ideas, think about the activities you enjoy and start researching competitor e commerce sites. Then you really will start to generate ideas on the best small business to start.

Do your research well to find your niche

Take note of the top e commerce website aesthetics, products, categorisation, imagery and product descriptions. Collect these notes in one place and add to them as your e commerce business grows.

Also, look at audience analysis tools like Buzzsumo and Facebook Insights. Identify the typical characteristics of your e commerce customer base and set up initial ads with their preferences in mind.

From Facebook’s Insights pages, build up your core customer personas. Say, for example, you wish to set up a yoga clothing brand online. From the Insights screen, start by searching the most obvious term: ‘yoga.’ Then type in further keywords to help you narrow down your results.

For example, a search for ‘yoga’ + ‘travel’ + ‘fitness’ shows that users who like these activities also purchase health, beauty and household products.

Starting an online business

Use Facebook Insights to generate ideas for your e commerce online business

This data gives you many clues on the types of items you may want to sell in your profitable online business store. These details can also give you masses of inspiration for your content marketing campaigns, and help you drive the brand visuals in the right direction.

Starting an online store is easy

Want to know how to start an online shop? Thankfully, setting up an online business is not rocket science.

Once you have your niche, your site aesthetics, and audience insights planned out, you can create an online store with an e commerce subscription site. You need somewhere to sell your products right? And online eCommerce website builder tools will set you up with everything you need to get started!

Starting an e commerce business from scratch

Opening an online ecommerce store is easy!

How can I create my own online store? Shopify is a popular platform to use, but you might also want to give WooCommerce or SquareSpace a try. It all depends on how much support and technical help you’re going to need as part of the process.

Go for the platform that has a website theme that does 99% of the things you need it to do already, so that you don’t have to do too much tweaking.

As you will be on the road, it might be best to go for a solution that has automated backups and in-built online store hosting so that you don’t have to try to configure a server when you’re in the jungle!

Which website builder is best for ecommerce?

Shopify, in my option, is an all-round winner for the best e commerce websites.

Try Shopify free for 14 days

Sign up to 14 free days of Shopify here!

Work from anywhere – whilst staying focused

You will need to regularly set up in areas with access to an internet connection 24/7 — don’t underestimate the value of expat communities and co-working hostels, as reliable internet often comes with these arrangements. Nomad List is a good website for choosing where to go next for a good working environment.

Starting An E Commerce Business From Scratch

With an online business - you can operate it from anywhere as long as there is WiFi!

Co-working spaces are available for hire in every major town and city in the world. The experience of working from one of these places can be invaluable to your growth as an entrepreneur.  Co-working spaces attract like-minded business owners. You can network, share ideas and build a good business to start together.

Work hard play hard and self-care hard!

Travelling abroad can be a lonely time for us all. Make the most of sites like Meetup.com and find marketing and e commerce startup groups getting together in a place near you. Take a look at this post for making new friends on your travels and find more information on self care here!

Starting an e commerce business from scratch

Work hard, play hard and self-care hard!

It will take time to adjust to your daily working routine, and productivity scheduling tools can help you keep on track. Use things like the Pomodoro technique to make sure you are making the best use of your working hours.

You need to also make sure you take time out to have fun. You will want to reserve just a few hours a day for work.

Starting an e commerce business from scratch

Outsource your work

Once you have started to generate e commerce revenue from your store, look to outsourcing tasks to virtual assistants to cut down your workload.

You can hire virtual assistants from anywhere in the world for a reasonable rate — check out sites like Fiverr and Upwork. These sites allow you to post for individual freelancer tasks (such as graphic design). You can also set up semi-permanent contracts for administration assistants.

Invest in time-saving apps

Make sure you explore the many time-saving apps that allow you to schedule things like social media posts in advance. They are very nifty and save you a lot of time!

With tools like CoSchedule and Tailwind for instance, you can connect to your store and schedule posts to run at allotted times in the day.

If you are travelling in different time zones, you need to make sure that your customers are seeing e commerce ads throughout the morning, afternoon and early evening. Invest in the automated tools you need to help all business operations run smoothly.

Successfully manage tax and finances abroad

You will need to make sure you have a secure internet connection for financial transactions. There will be plenty of occasions where you will need to use a business credit card to cover your e commerce expenses abroad. Take, for example, hiring a social media manager virtual assistant.

You may find yourself in an area of the world where specific sites and services are blocked. Installing a VPN system such as Express VPN on your computer will help you bypass restrictions by using an alternative IP address in another country.

Invest in a VPN with Express VPN now

VPN’s also promise an extra layer of security on international e commerce transactions. Additional e commerce security measures can come in very handy for avoiding hacks and viruses that could affect your business plans!

Seek professional help

E commerce accounting, taxation and the legalities of running an online business are essential areas of business research. Aim to do the bulk of your research work before you set off on your globetrotting journey.

You can find freelance e commerce consultants, accounting, and legal professionals online. You will also need to check out resources and applications that make tax collection and compliance more manageable.

Professional help for your e commerce business

Hire professional help for your ecommerce business

For those looking to sell in non-English speaking regions, translation services are another crucial area to investigate. You can also find business consultants that help English-speaking startup owners export to new countries. Check out the host country’s government website to find local chamber of commerce offices in your area.

In just the same way as travelling, you have to be mindful of other cultures. Make sure you mind your P’s and Q’s in your international advertising campaigns.

Start a company e commerce business today

Travelling the world as an e commerce brand owner is an empowering way to make a living. Opening an e commerce store will give you multidisciplinary training in running a successful business and become a female entrepreneur to be reckoned with.

Hopefully you’re now feeling more confident about how to start an online business. All you really need to succeed as a remote worker is a laptop, a secure internet connection, and the research skills to build an online reputation up from scratch.

Related Reading

How to create your own travel blog in 8 easy steps

Teach English abroad to fund your travels

17 fantastic job ideas you can do whilst travelling

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About the author Victoria Greene

Victoria Greene is a freelance writer and brand marketing consultant. She writes for Victoriaecommerce. Check out her tips for starting your own business and running a successful e commerce brand from anywhere in the world.

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About Alice Teacake

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I'm a feminist British kickass solo female traveller who believes in women facing their fears, pushing their boundaries and reaching their full potential through solo adventure travel! I have been featured in Nat Geo Traveller UK, Lonely Planet, the Daily Mail and Buzzfeed and spoken about solo female travel safety on BBC One, whilst working with a bunch of awesome brands. Follow me for travel advice and inspiration, so you can go forth and challenge yourself to reach your own personal goals!

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12 Awesome Tips For Starting An ECommerce Business From Scratch

  • Great article Alice! I have just started my e-commerce store on Pipxa for my artwork, the biggest challenge is to allocate the right budget for advertising on Google and social media. Can you suggest which social platforms provide a better lead?

    1. Hi Atul! It depends on how well your social media is doing! I’ve been recently getting into Facebook ads and have seen many have success with them – but Adwords done right on Google are also a hit if you know what you’re doing!