How do I start an online business?

NathanHuppatz_pickMyBrainThis is a question that lots of people ask every day. Starting an online business can be pretty easy, but success doesn’t always come as fast as you hope.

I was recently interviewed on a podcast about starting some of our businesses, and we talked a little about how to start an online business and the sort of marketing I would suggest to build an online business and grow it successfully.

┬áMy advice was to start on eBay (assuming you sell physical goods that aren’t custom made, or particularly high end). eBay is a great place to start for a number of reasons:

  1. It is cheap and easy to list/market items
  2. There is a HUGE user base who visit every month, and they are there to shop
  3. It is easy to test a market (competitive or not)
  4. eBay forces you to learn customer service
  5. You need to learn marketing and ‘content marketing’ basics

All these are great reasons. If you can find an item, even if you initially pay more to get samples, and can sell it at your final sale price successfully, then you can have your market tested quite quickly.

My advice for testing items was to search on places like Aliexpress. This site it like the retail front for a lot of Chinese manufacturers and trading companies that you might find on Alibaba.com, but you can buy small quantities of items relatively safely.

Learning to sell well on eBay is important. eBay over the years has worked hard to ensure sellers are ranked in search based on their sales performance and this is underpinned heavily by their seller ratings (read: customer and product support). This means you have to offer good quality product at a competitive price, respond to customer feedback quickly, communicate effectively (and often) and generally be a solid operator.

You will also need to get your head around shipping and tracking (which is where Readytoship comes in!) to offer this great service.

Tick all of those boxes and you have the start of a business. And you can certainly build a big eBay business if you like. Here in Australia there are many businesses turning over $1million a year or more (some doing $20million+).

But my ultimate advice (if you want to build a business, not just a hobby) is to start a website and build your own customer database. Look for software to help you integrate (especially inventory management).

Cheers,
Nathan

ReadyToShip.com.au Co-founder
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