An eCommerce store as a hobby and extra income
Starting an online business as a side hobby is an appealing idea for many people looking to earn extra income.
With the right strategies, you can launch a profitable eCommerce store in your spare time without a huge upfront investment.
In this post, we'll explore the benefits of running an eCommerce store as a hobby, critical decisions you'll need to make, tips from successful side hustlers on Reddit and beyond, whether dropshipping is right for you, and how to scale up or sell your online business if it really takes off.
Starting an online store as a hobby or side hustle can be an excellent way to generate some extra income in your free time. Thanks to intuitive platforms like Marketsy.ai's AI Marketplace Builder, it is now faster and easier than ever for regular internet users to get an ecommerce store up and running.
Benefits of having an online store side hustle
Having your own online store allows you to tap into the ever-growing world of ecommerce and make some sales in your spare time. Some of the key benefits of running an ecommerce store as a hobby include:
- Low barrier to entry: The Marketsy.ai platform allows you to launch a professional-looking online store with minimal investment of time and money upfront. No coding or design skills needed!
- Make passive income: After you set up your store and list your products, sales can start trickling in with fairly low maintenance efforts from you. It is a great way to start earning some passive side income.
- Flexible time commitment: As your own boss, you get to decide how much or how little time you want to spend running your online shop each week. It can flexibly fit into your lifestyle.
- Showcase your products: An online store provides the perfect platform to present your products or designs to a global customer base.
Keys to success for hobby-level ecommerce
Launching the online store is just the first step. To successfully generate sales as a side gig, you should:
- Choose a niche/product you are passionate about: Pick a niche or sell products you genuinely love and care about. Your passion will come through to potential customers.
- Take high quality product photos: Invest time in taking appealing visuals of your products using good lighting and clear backgrounds. This helps make a great first impression online.
- Provide great customer service: Respond promptly to buyer queries, ship orders quickly, and resolve any issues. This will earn you positive reviews and loyalty.
With Marketsy.ai's simple all-in-one platform, starting an ecommerce store for some hobby income is easier now more than ever. Why not give it a try?
Can you do eCommerce as a side hustle?
You can absolutely run an ecommerce store as a side hustle to earn some extra income. With the rise of dropshipping and print-on-demand, it's easier than ever to get started with low costs and minimal time commitment.
However, launching and growing an online store still requires consistent effort. Here are some tips for running ecommerce as a successful side hustle:
- Start small and niche. Focusing on a niche product or audience makes marketing and branding much simpler initially. As your store grows, you can expand your offerings.
- Automate tasks when possible. Look into dropshipping suppliers that handle fulfillment and returns. Use print-on-demand partners to produce products only when ordered. Automation preserves your time for high-impact tasks.
- Block off consistent work hours. Treat your side hustle like a part-time job. Block off a few hours each week to work on your store - marketing, customer service, product listings, etc. Consistency is key.
- Learn as you go. You don't need to know everything upfront. Learn important skills like digital marketing and conversion optimization as you build your business.
- Reinvest earnings back into growth. Use your initial profits to improve aspects like branding, ad spend, high-quality product listings, and more. Reinvesting accelerates growth.
With the right mindset and tools, you can absolutely create a profitable ecommerce side hustle on your schedule. Just know it takes consistent effort and reinvestment to see results over time. Start small, automate where possible, learn as you go, and growth will follow!
What is Ghost eCommerce side hustle?
👇 Ghost Commerce is building digital brand and monetizing without creating a product or service. You can do this: - From anywhere in the world - Working 2-3 hours a day - Without showing your face - Without creating a product or service If you want to get started...
Ghost eCommerce refers to operating an online store or dropshipping business on the side in addition to a regular job. It can serve as a side hustle to earn some extra income. Some key things to know about ghost eCommerce side hustles:
- They allow you to leverage eCommerce platforms like Shopify and Oberlo to run an online store without needing to create your own products. You can simply dropship products.
- It's easy to get started with very little upfront investment. Many popular eCommerce platforms have free tiers or free trials to test out ideas.
- You can run a ghost eCommerce store remotely and only need to put in a few hours a day. It's flexible enough to fit alongside a regular 9-5 job.
- Popular ghost eCommerce side hustle ideas include: dropshipping, print-on-demand, affiliate marketing, online courses, freelancing services.
- There is huge potential to scale a ghost eCommerce hustle into a full-time business if you wish to pursue entrepreneurship down the line. The flexibility makes it great for testing ideas.
So in summary, ghost eCommerce refers to operating an online dropshipping store or other eCommerce model in your spare time to earn extra income. The low startup costs and ability to do it remotely makes it a popular modern side hustle idea for people looking to leverage online business.
Can you make money with an eCommerce store?
Yes, you absolutely can make money with an ecommerce store! In fact, selling products online can be an extremely lucrative business model, especially for digital goods that have high profit margins and little overhead costs.
Here are three key reasons an ecommerce store can be profitable:
Low Initial Investment
With digital products like ebooks, courses, memberships, etc. you don't need much upfront capital to get started. You can create these products on your own without large equipment costs. This makes ecommerce a great potential side hustle or hobby business.
Save Time By Automating
Ecommerce platforms like the AI Marketplace Builder offered by Marketsy.ai make launching a store quick and easy. The platform handles technical aspects like creating the website, payment integration, marketing tools, etc. This frees up your time to focus on the products themselves.
Earn Big Profit Margins
Digital products are cheap to reproduce and distribute, especially when selling online products that can be accessed instantly. This means you keep more revenue as profit. Products like online courses commonly see 70-90% profit margins for the creator.
Can you make passive income with eCommerce?
E-commerce has opened exciting opportunities to earn passive income by selling products online. With strategic planning and smart implementation, you can launch an e-commerce store that generates sales even when you're not actively involved in day-to-day operations.
The key is finding the right products that have consistent demand and setting up effective marketing. For example, you could sell popular consumer goods or products for niche hobbies on platforms like Amazon and Etsy.
Once inventory is listed and marketing campaigns are designed, an e-commerce store can run passively while you focus on other priorities. You'd simply need to monitor and optimize occasionally. As products sell, income flows in automatically.
Passive income does require diligent upfront effort, but done right, an e-commerce store can make money when you sleep. With Marketsy's AI-powered platform, launching a full-fledged online store is easier than ever. You can hit the ground running instead of getting bogged down in development and design.
Whether as a side hustle or main income stream, passive e-commerce is an alluring concept. Marketsy equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the perfect launchpad to make it happen.
Benefits of Starting an Ecommerce Store as a Hobby
Starting an online store can be an appealing hobby or side hustle for several reasons. With low barriers to entry, flexibility to set your own hours, creative outlets, and profit potential, an ecommerce store makes for an attractive small business endeavor that can be run part-time.
Low Upfront Investment
The start-up costs for an online store are minimal compared to other types of small businesses, especially brick-and-mortar retail locations which require leasing commercial space. With ecommerce platforms like Marketsy.ai that offer free plans, you can launch a fully-functional store without any financial investment. Even opting for more advanced features, an ecommerce store can be started for less than $100 in most cases, making it viable as a hobby or side project.
Owning an online business allows entrepreneurs to be their own boss and set their own hours, unlike traditional 9-5 jobs. As an ecommerce store owner, you dictate your own workload and schedule. Whether you want to spend a few hours a week or a few hours a day on your store, you can fit it around your lifestyle at your convenience. This flexibility makes operating an online store an appealing endeavor for those looking to earn extra income from a hobby or side hustle without major time commitments.
For creatives, artists, makers and anyone who wants to showcase their own products, content and brand vision, an ecommerce store provides the perfect platform. You can design your store to align with your personal aesthetics and style. Whether you're looking to sell handmade crafts, custom artwork, boutique clothing or any other products, your online shop lets you highlight your talents while potentially monetizing them. This creative outlet and complete control over your branding makes ecommerce stores rewarding hobbies.
While an ecommerce store's success relies heavily on the time and effort put into it, even modestly popular online shops can produce decent side income without requiring full-time hours. (source). Your profit potential scales with your growth. As you drive more traffic to your store with marketing and optimization efforts, sales can compound over time. While profits aren't guaranteed in any business, the low barriers make an online store a sensible side hustle play with asymmetric upside if traction is achieved. Marketsy.ai empowers first-time entrepreneurs to get sales with minimal time investment by providing an AI-powered ecommerce store builder to instantly launch a professional-grade shop.
Critical Decisions When Starting an Ecommerce Store
Launching an online store as a hobby venture can be an exciting and rewarding endeavour. However, to set your ecommerce side hustle up for success, several critical decisions need to be made upfront regarding product selection, business structure, platforms, and target audience. Planning these key elements will streamline store creation and operations.
Choosing Niche and Products
Selecting a niche and specific products that you feel passionate about, have in-depth knowledge of, and see strong customer demand for is crucial. This niche obsession and product expertise will make running your store as a hobby much more enjoyable and sustainable long-term.
Research popular ecommerce side hustles on Reddit, YouTube or niche-specific forums to find winning product ideas. Factor in competition levels, pricing trends, sourcing options, shipping considerations, production/packaging needs, regulations, and profit potential to select optimal hobby store products. Prioritize versatility - products like custom t-shirts, jewelry or wall art allow creating unlimited targeted designs that can be sold across multiple online venues.
Business Entity and Accounting
Determine if registering your hobby ecommerce store as a sole proprietorship, LLC or corporation makes most sense considering taxation, legal protections and long term plans. Set up accounting software and procedures for tracking income, expenses, inventory, sales tax, etc right from the start, even for side hustle stores. This keeps everything organized and above board for taxes. QuickBooks Online, Wave Accounting, ZipBooks and FreshBooks are affordable, beginner-friendly solutions.
Picking the Right Ecommerce Platform
An ecommerce platform or tool is the digital foundation for showcasing and selling your hobby store's amazing products online. Research leading solutions like Shopify, WooCommerce, Squarespace, and Etsy to decide what platform best suits your skills, needs and budget from the start. Easy customization, built-in payment processing, shipping management features, integration possibilities, scalability options and responsive design are all key considerations here.
Defining Your Target Audience
Get very clear on who your ideal hobby ecommerce customers are - age, gender, income level, interests, values, pain points, lifestyle habits, location etc. Building detailed audience personas allows properly tailoring your brand image, product selection, descriptive listing copy, marketing messages and ad targeting to compelling speak to their desires and needs for a higher chance of conversion. Never expect a general, unfocused approach to effectively attract niche hobby store buyers.
Mastering the E-Commerce Side Hustle: Tips from Reddit and Beyond
Starting an online store can be an exciting way to earn extra income. With the rise of e-commerce, more and more people are turning side hustles into full-time businesses. Reddit's vibrant communities offer a wealth of advice to help you successfully run your store while juggling your regular job.
Exploring Reddit's E-Commerce Communities
Subreddits like r/ecommerce, r/EntrepreneurRideAlong, and r/sidehustle are filled with tips from fellow entrepreneurs. Read posts, ask questions, and learn strategies for inventory management, order fulfillment, marketing, accounting, and more. Connect with store owners in your niche to trade insights. Reddit makes it easy to leverage others' hard-won experience.
Inventory Management Tips
Carefully manage inventory levels to meet customer demand without overstocking. Consider using e-commerce inventory management software to automatically sync product data across sales channels. Conduct regular stocktakes to identify fast/slow-moving items. Build relationships with dropshippers and wholesalers to easily rescale inventory.
Lean Order Fulfillment Strategies
Streamline order processing and shipping with integrations like ShipStation. Outsource tasks to services like Shiptify when you need to scale. Offer local pickup options to manage costs. Set accurate delivery expectations with standard processing and handling times. Automate post-purchase emails to customers.
Marketing on a Shoestring Budget
Focus your limited marketing budget on targeted Facebook and Instagram ads. Produce “how to” videos and blog posts with SEO-optimized content. Reach out to microinfluencers to promote products to their engaged niche audiences in exchange for commissions. Personalize the shopping experience with email and SMS campaigns.
Accounting and Taxes for Your Side Hustle
Use QuickBooks or Xero to separate online store finances from personal. Carefully track revenue, COGS, expenses, profits and file quarterly sales tax returns. Document everything diligently to simplify year-end tax prep. Consider SaaS solutions like Marketsy.ai to effortlessly handle the operational aspects so you can focus on growing your hustle.
With the right foundations in place, your e-commerce side business can flourish. Leverage Reddit and tools like Marketsy.ai to learn from fellow entrepreneurs, streamline tedious tasks and turn your passion into profit.
Dropshipping: The Ultimate Ecommerce Side Hustle
Dropshipping has emerged as a popular ecommerce side hustle, allowing entrepreneurs to sell products online without needing to handle inventory or shipping. For those looking to earn extra income with minimal startup costs and overhead, dropshipping offers an appealing business model. Let's explore what exactly dropshipping entails and how you can leverage it to launch your own successful online store.
The Basics of Dropshipping
The dropshipping business model involves selling products that you don't actually keep in stock. Instead, when you receive an order, you purchase the item from a third-party supplier or manufacturer, who then ships it directly to your customer. This cuts out many common ecommerce expenses like warehousing, shipping, and handling inventory.
Some key advantages of dropshipping include:
- Low overhead: You can launch an online store without much upfront investment into inventory or warehousing. This makes it possible to start a dropshipping side hustle with just a few hundred dollars.
- Easy scalability: As you build your brand and gain more customers, it's easy to scale up. You don't have production constraints related to manufacturing or storing inventory.
- Flexibility: With the ability to add or remove products easily, you can experiment with different product offerings to determine what sells best. This agility helps maximize sales.
With simplicity and flexibility as main draws, it's no wonder dropshipping has grown enormously on platforms like Shopify and eBay. However, competition has also increased, so conducting proper research is key before diving in.
Selecting a Dropshipping Niche
When launching a dropshipping store, focusing on a specific product niche is vital. Trying to sell too broad of a range of items will spread your efforts thin. Conduct market research to determine niches with:
- High demand: Look for popular search terms and products that customers actively seek out. Relevant tools include Google Trends, Amazon best-sellers, and eBay pulse.
- Low competition: Prioritize niche markets with fewer existing dropshipping stores. You'll have an easier time ranking high in search engines and distinguishing your brand.
Also ensure your niche aligns with your personal interests and knowledge base. This will make it easier to create engaging, valuable content that builds authority and trust for your store.
A few potentially lucrative dropshipping niches include:
- Pet toys and accessories
- Camping and hiking gear
- Home organization products
- Arts and crafts materials
Keep in mind that niches can be narrowed down further, like selling specialized climbing carabiners within outdoor sporting goods. Get very targeted with product segmentation.
Finding Reliable Suppliers
The key to a seamless customer experience is partnering with reliable suppliers. Conduct due diligence in researching manufacturers and wholesalers to work with.
Here are some best practices for vetting suppliers:
- Review online feedback, looking for red flags like slow fulfillment and poor communication. Sites like TrustPilot offer transparent supplier reviews.
- Validate quality assurance policies and procedures. This reduces the likelihood of defective products being shipped out.
- Compare delivery timelines across regions. Choose suppliers positioned to ship quickly to your target customer base.
- Lock in formal agreements regarding inventory allocation, product pricing/discounts, shipping rates and policies.
By taking these necessary steps upfront, you can avoid common pitfalls like product backorders and quality issues down the road.
Setting Up Your Dropshipping Store
Now that you understand the dropshipping model and have chosen a product niche, it's time to set up your online store.
When it comes to choosing an ecommerce platform, Shopify and WooCommerce are two popular options. Shopify offers a user-friendly turnkey solution while WooCommerce taps into the robust features of WordPress. Ultimately, consider ease of use, scalability needs, built-in features, and app ecosystem when deciding on the right platform.
Design-wise, keep your store simple and clean:
- Use an intuitive, distraction-free theme to allow products to shine.
- Ensure critical elements like product photos, descriptions, pricing, and the checkout process are clearly highlighted.
- Include an about page, blog, and FAQs section to establish credibility and authority. This fosters customer trust in your brand.
Don't forget to continually provide new content and improve site speed and mobile optimization. This will boost SEO and conversions over time.
By leveraging the strategies outlined above, your ecommerce side hustle is primed for success. Dropshipping offers simplicity, flexibility, and low overhead - an ideal recipe for a profitable online store.
Scaling or Selling an Ecommerce Store
The final section explores paths forward if your ecommerce side hustle gains significant traction, such as hiring help, expanding product lines, selling business or transitioning it into a full-time endeavor.
Hiring Virtual Assistants
Virtual assistants can affordably handle tasks like order processing, customer service, marketing so you can scale sales without taking up more personal time. Some key benefits of hiring VAs for your ecommerce store include:
- Cost savings - VAs typically charge $5-15 per hour, allowing you to delegate critical business tasks very affordably. This frees up your time to focus on high-impact areas.
- Specialized expertise - Find VAs with specific skills suited to your business needs, like social media marketing, graphic design, web development, etc. Leverage their focused expertise to enhance operations.
- Flexibility - Many VAs work remotely on flexible schedules. You can potentially have a small global team handling tasks on a 24/7 basis according to time zones.
- Scalability - Quickly scale up or down as your business grows. Add more VAs to handle increasing sales volumes in a cost-effective manner.
When outsourcing order processing, opt for VAs located geographically close to your customer base to minimize shipping times. For customer service, consider VAs fluent in languages of your target markets.
Expanding Into New Products and Markets
Test adding complementary products to grow profits if existing lines succeed, while assessing operational impacts first. Some tips:
- Start small with limited product runs to gauge demand before overcommitting resources and inventory.
- Assess if you have adequate warehouse space, shipping materials, etc. Factor in additional operational expenses.
- Market to existing customers first to leverage existing brand recognition and marketing assets.
- Consider products that align well with current offerings, such as accessories, consumables, variations, etc. This minimizes overhead of launching entirely new products.
Expanding into new geographical markets also represents a growth opportunity, but consider compliance factors around taxation, shipping, and local regulations before diving in.
Selling or Making Full-Time: Assessing Your Options
At a certain point of profitability, consider your options:
- Sell business - Attract acquisition offers from larger players if you build a substantial customer base and consistent sales history. Selling allows you to free up time and unlock business valuation. Prepare thorough financial records.
- Hire staff to operate full-time - Mature ecommerce stores with complex operations may necessitate full-time staff across areas like warehousing, order processing, and customer service. Analyze costs versus profits carefully.
- Transition to own full-time business - If passions align with long term small business ownership, dedicate yourself full-time using profits to pay yourself a salary. Make a 3-5 year growth plan detailing financials, milestones, and operational scaling.
Selling or expanding an initially modest side hustle into a full-fledged business represents a rewarding accomplishment. But also analyze if operational complexity compromises lifestyle. Find the right balance for your personal situation.
Final Tips and Takeaways
An ecommerce store can be a fulfilling hobby and extra source of income when done thoughtfully. Here are some final tips:
Stay true to your motivations
Launching an online store as a hobby allows you to be creative and learn new skills. Don't lose sight of those motivations in pursuit of profits. Focus first on showcasing your passions.
You don't need a full-scale business from day one! Begin by testing a few products, keeping inventory low. This allows you to experiment without much risk.
Use tools like Marketsy.ai
Platforms like Marketsy.ai make launching a hobby store easy. You can create a full online store in minutes without tech skills. This frees up more time for you to focus on your products.
The key is balancing profitability with enjoyment. An ecommerce hobby should complement your lifestyle, not complicate it. Follow these tips to start small, leverage helpful tools, and always keep your original motivations centred.