So… life has become such that ya wanna to join the craze of owning your own e-commerce store eh? We’ve all been there. You see some annoying, old high school classmate on flakebook that you haven’t spoken to in years post this screenshot saying they have made more moolah in a month than you make in a year. Well not YOU specifically, I mean if they did that it would just be plain mean. That would be like that shy person who never posts photos of themselves online but then their friend tags them in a drunk photo without permission… yes, those people really exist. Back to the annoying old classmate… the first thing that crosses your mind is “that douchebag used to look at my paper during exams! And he is making more money than me?! FML!”
But of course you have some self-esteem left so you aren’t going to ask HIM what he is doing, so you venture off to google to see what this “Shopify” thing is that the douche canoe is printing money with. And you run into an article like this fantabulous one you are reading!
Well, I hate to break it to you, but I’m not that different than your old pal. I barely graduated high school, I didn’t finish college, BUT I did not cheat on exams… I just didn’t show up. 😳 With that said I’ve created several successful business ventures online. However, none have reached the mind-boggling numbers that e-commerce has. And when I say e-commerce that includes things such as eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify. We will get into all those separately in other articles but right now I want to talk about what type of e-commerce methodology to use, not necessarily the platform.
Well… one of the first questions you’re going to be asking yourself when starting your own store is what will you sell and where will you get your products from. Then you’ll decide if you want to source the products from overseas and have those vendors ship them directly to your customer. That would be called drop shipping and it is very lucrative with astronomical profit margins. The other option is if you want to use a Print-on-Demand (POD) company. It is in essence still drop shipping but more automated and hands off. More on POD in a bit.
When I first started selling on my own website back in 2015 I did it all wrong, but e-com was so profitable with such limited competition that people were doing it wrong and still making boatloads of money. We were sourcing products from China via a website called Aliexpress which is the sister company to Alibaba. Now there are no rules in China, they will create products you can’t imagine and that they have no legal rights to make (aka trademark infringement). It was truly the Wild Wild West, and back then Facebook hadn’t cracked down on this practice. Eventually, they caught up and people were getting their Facebook ads accounts disabled (more on Facebook ads in another article) and their Shopify merchant accounts suspended for selling products that they shouldn’t be selling. Star Wars lightsabers come to mind! I probably hit a nerve with some of the e-com vets out there. Ah, the good old days. We were buying them for $10 and selling them for $50+ The suppliers couldn’t even keep them in stock the way people were selling them. Yes, we even kept some at home to have duels in the street… don’t judge.
Well, when Facebook cracked down that was an awakening for many people. We all realized there was plenty of money to be made online, money that could take a common person into having an uncommon life, but it needed to be done ethically. Now there is nothing wrong with sourcing products from China, HOWEVER, you need to make sure it’s a non-trademarked product. But you still have to deal with longer shipping times and customers that may not be happy that their product came from China. Until you have built enough capital to buy products in bulk, or white label your own product and have it shipped to the US to be fulfilled, you don’t have many options. So that is when competition and the marketplace in the US really started opening up to this concept called “Print on Demand”.
Print on Demand is essentially a methodology where a company has a product line that you can advertise in your store with your own designs and they will print it for you and ship it to your customers AFTER you have received payment. Are you following me? No inventory. You can essentially run a store and pack it full of products that don’t exist until after the order is made and paid for.
The key benefit to POD is no inventory, less overhead, not having to fulfill your own orders, and not having to collect the money then write a check to your vendor before they make the products. Another big factor is most POD companies are based in the US. Faster shipping, happier customers, and easier tracking. All those factors lead to less money out of pocket, more money in your pocket, less manual work, and my favorite… MORE AUTOMATION!
Now you don’t necessarily have to choose between POD and drop shipping. Both are viable and a matter of preference, some people have stores incorporating both. But for someone new to e-com, with a limited budget, POD is a no-brainer and it has been that way since the first mainstream POD company TeeSpring. They would let you design your own shirts and you would advertise your link, people would see the shirt, make an order on the TeeSpring website and you’d get your share of the profits. But that became very saturated very quickly and tons of other companies started popping up left and right. There is still plenty of money to be made in t-shirts but you need to have a killer design and target the right audience.
Nowadays you have companies that have gone well beyond t-shirts. You have mugs, jewelry, wallets, phone cases, shoes, watches, and even more obscure items. And rather than sell your products on another company’s website and grow their brand (not to mention gives traffic YOU paid for access to browse competitors products simply by going back to the website’s homepage… YUCK) you can open your own store with your own domain name on services like Shopify and have these applications from different POD companies integrate with your store. They still let you design your items, but now you import it to your store (branding your business rather than theirs) while they automatically fulfill your orders and debit the differences from your sales. Total streamlined AUTOMATION! If you haven’t caught on yet, I love automation. It goes back to my days as a software engineer. Yep, I used to live the cubicle life! Shout out to all the peeps still trying to bust out! Hey if Andy Dufresne can tunnel out of a prison cell in 20 years… damn Shawshank Redemption was a great movie right?!
Well, I hate to abruptly end this article but the Seed Planter doesn’t want to plant too many seeds in one article or you’ll have roots growing out of your head.
But if I have caught your attention and you are interested in learning more about starting your own e-commerce store click here to check out my ebook titled “Bedroom Bucks… How I Made 6-Figure Income and a 7-Figure Store Inside My 4 Walls”. Technically I have more than 4 walls because I have a bay window. You don’t care… do you?
Seed Planter Out!
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