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How to Start an Ecommerce Store While Working Another Job

A lot of people aspire to becoming their own boss. They dream of the day they no longer have to take orders from the jerk in the corner office; come and go as they please, and earn money their way.

Fortunately, ecommerce is an industry ripe for self-starters. But before most people can jump from nine-to-five desk jockey to full-time ecommerce entrepreneur, they need a transition period between the two gigs. This can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.

Here’s how to start an ecommerce store while working another job.

Focus on Time Management

The most important skill you need to succeed in juggling a fledgling ecommerce business and a full-time job is time management. This will look different to different people based upon their needs and situation. You’ll also need to determine what you are willing to sacrifice to make room for your new venture.

If you work a full-time job; are you willing to spend two to three hours each night customizing premium web templates, creating logos and drafting marketing copy? If you sell hand-stuffed animals online, are you willing to stitch together button eyes for countless dolls every weekend?

It’s important to set aside time for these projects, rather than simply promising yourself to “get around” to them. Otherwise, your nascent business will never get off the ground.

Get Organized

Once you are in the practice of managing your time efficiently, you’ll need to examine and organize your goals. Do your best to set realistic expectations and objectives for yourself. For example, you may want to set up social media profiles, start a blog, launch an email marketing campaign, and find a supplier as quickly as possible. But trying to tackle all these tasks at once is impossible.

Instead, take things one step at a time. If you know your full-time job is most busy in Q3 but slows down in Q4, you can prioritize social media profiles during the late summer and fall, holding off on finding suppliers until the winter season. This will undoubtedly make the transition period more manageable and less stressful.

Outsource Duties, If Possible

While it may be tempting to take on every project yourself, it’s not always wise. Consider outsourcing certain projects that require a lot of bandwidth or expertise.

Imagine an interested customer emails you a rush order on one of your products. Normally, you would accept her request and send her back a polite email confirming the rush order. However, you are stuck at your first job longer than usual, and never even see the shopper’s email. The shopper gets frustrated, leaves you a nasty comment and makes the purchase through another e-store.

You can avoid this by hiring a part-time customer service representative. Of course, not every ecommerce newbie has the financial resources to outsource work to freelancers, agencies or experts. Just do the best you can and understand your limitations.

Plan Your Transition
Most of the above tips have focused on building, sustaining and managing the tasks necessary to get your e-store up and running. But how do you know the proper time to separate from your “day job” and move toward running your ecommerce site fulltime?

Truth be told, there is no right answer. Sure, you can disengage from your former job as soon as your ecommerce website starts turning a profit. But sometimes folks like to play it safe and give it an extra six months before making the final leap of faith. Others prefer to pare down their work schedules little by little – perhaps moving from full-time to part-time, and part-time to consulting before making that ultimate change.

While timing your transition depends on your personal situation, it’s prudent to at least save up enough for an emergency fund in case you hit a rough patch in your personal or professional life.

Allow Yourself Some R&R

Always remember set some time aside for yourself. Even if you feel invigorated by the changes happening in your life, you are bound to get tired eventually. If you don’t listen to that tired feeling, you’ll be sure to burn out.

Don’t let this happen to you. Be sure to set aside time to rest and relax, no matter how brief. Even one day a week or a few hours per day can be enough to recharge your batteries so you can properly start an ecommerce store while working another job.

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