If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know I’ve documented how both myself and my business partner, Pete, build our Lifestyle Businesses.
For this post, I thought I’d go back in time to October 2014 when Pete was starting out with his first e-commerce website. He used the business model below as it was simple to implement. It also allowed him to start without worrying about shipping and dealing with customers or finding money for stock which is the big drawback for many fledgling e-commerce sites.
11 months later he’d earned $1m in eCommerce sales from one of his stores and almost $700K from another.
It all started from a simple little store created exactly as I lay out below.
Back then no one was talking about e-commerce, unlike now when every man and his dog seems to be promoting a $2000 eCommerce program.
The problem with most of these courses is that they teach you to use AliExpress and Alibaba which means you have a long extended supply chain. It can take 8 weeks to deliver your products and you’ve spend thousands of dollars on stock before you even make a sale. Not a good model when you are just starting out.
Who wants 10,000 rubber dog chews sitting under their bed for the next 4 years? Ohh and while we are on the topic of importing stock, let’s not even touch on the tax issues with importing from abroad that these courses usually fail to mention.
Let's be honest here, we all make mistakes when we start out. We mess up our links, we screw up the technical stuff. We don't know how to run profitable ads. Surely it makes more sense when starting out to make a sale before buying the stock?
This was the problem Pete set out to address.
There was no way he wanted to spend money on stock before he knew if his business was going to be profitable. He also didn't want to have to contact drop shipping companies as he was just starting out. They can be a bit daunting at first and if you aren't doing thousands of dollars a day, you can quickly become a number rather than someone who is trying to build a business.
A Simple eCommerce Model That Works
What I’m going to show you here is a simple eCommerce business model which you can use to get started today. It has no upfront costs, no shipping and a very small supply chain (Bonus: you don't even need to contact drop shipping companies). You'll be contacting passionate small business owners just like you who understand what it's like to be starting out in the crazy world of online marketing.
I'll explain this business model in more depth with video as part of our FREE 7 Day Build a Lifestyle Business Course.
Here is how you create a simple online business in the next 24 hours.
- An eCommerce website
- An item to sell
- A passionate audience
1. Find a Passionate Audience
In the video that accompanies this lesson on the 7 day course, I look for an audience that is passionate and enthusiastic. After a few minutes, I choose vegans.
A good indicator of a passionate and enthusiastic market is a group of people who can’t stop talking about their favorite topic.
If you’ve ever spent 5 minutes alone with: a crossfitter, a person on the paleo diet, a vegan, a fisherman, a bodybuilder, a yoga fiend or a golfer, etc., you’ll know what I mean.
(BTW did I tell you I hit a drive 331 meters last week and lost 20lbs by just eating raw aardvark?)
2. Find a Product
Next, I went to Etsy and found vegan products. During this phase of my research there were several items that jumped out at me.
Etsy is great because it has a large base of small business owners who have a product that they create themselves. Many are more than happy to give you a wholesale deal and send out orders for you.
The next phase is simple, a quick email to the people selling the items I want to sell. I simply explain that I would like to sell their product and ask them if they have a wholesale price.
If they are happy to give me a decent price, I’ll make things simple for both of us by forwarding the orders to them along with the payment (including shipping) to the customer once a day.
That’s it. No stock, no shipping, all I need to do is to take the order and email the details to the supplier. What could be easier?
Now I need to get orders. For this, I need 2 more items.
3. Set Up a Store
Simply go to Shopify and sign up for their free trial. This trial is long enough to get your store earning money for you. They also have great support and training tutorials.
Don’t over complicate this. Your store should simply have a page for each product, an obvious buy button, and a checkout page. All the other bells and whistles can be added later.
You'll probably see recommendations for other stores elsewhere, the Woocommerce plugin or Magneto. Trust me on this, Shopify is far simpler to use and you'll be up and running quicker. It also has many more apps you can use in the future to grow your business.
4. Run Ads To Your Audience
For our audience (I explain in the course a simple way of finding the right audience), we are simply going to go to Facebook and create a page and list our products.
Then create a series of ads and test which products sell best.
That's it. It is really is that simple to get your eCommerce business up and running. There is no need to complicate things and make it difficult for yourself.
Once you have sales coming in, you can start to test and optimize your business. Until then, keep it simple.
Try this now you have nothing to lose!
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Some people wondered if this was a long term business, here are 2 screenshots from this month to date
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