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How to Start an E-Commerce Side Hustle On a Budget

e-commerce side hustle

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Are you thinking about starting an e-commerce side hustle on a budget? It’s a great idea that will allow you to earn money alongside your main job, or eventually turn the side-hustle into a full-time business. However, without the right approach, you may struggle to get started because there is a lot of misleading information out there. 

E-commerce sales grew by 27.6% in 2020, and the growth is not slowing down any time soon. Therefore, you can jump on the massive opportunity, and you only need to carve out a small slice of the pie to succeed. Continue reading to learn more about the basics of starting an e-commerce side hustle on a budget. 

Choose an E-Commerce Platform

The first step of the process requires you to consider where you’ll sell products. There are many excellent e-commerce platforms to choose from, and here are some of the top options:

  • Amazon: this is the biggest e-commerce platform out there with marketplaces worldwide. They are a great choice for low-budget sellers because they provide the digital infrastructure of where to sell. All you need to do is source products and ensure they are of good quality. Also, no marketing costs are required since many people visit Amazon to search and buy products every day. 
  • Shopify: this is not a platform where you can find new buyers like on Amazon, but it allows you to create a website where you can sell. The website has multiple templates, SEO tools, 24/7 customer support and other benefits. 
  • Etsy: this e-commerce platform is the best choice for users that want to sell hand-made items. This includes anything from custom t-shirts to carpets you can place on your home’s doorstep. The listing fees on Etsy are relatively low, and the traffic numbers are decent. 
  • eBay: eBay has the 2nd biggest traffic numbers behind Amazon. The website originally started as an online auction house where ordinary people could sell items around the house they longer need. However, businesses list all types of products you would find at your local shopping mall. The fees at eBay can get pretty high, so make sure you calculate product profitability accurately. 

Educational Content

When getting started, it’s important to learn as much as possible about launching and running a successful e-commerce business. This reduces the number of mistakes you’ll make, ensuring you can make the most of your limited funds. 

Also, there are excellent training courses that you can buy for a small fee. There is no need to complete a multiple-year course to get started with e-commerce. However, ensure that the course you buy is trusted and has a good reputation. 

Don’t want to spend money on a course? That’s totally fine and not required to succeed. In fact, you can find a lot of excellent information from blogs and YouTube videos where high-quality information is shared for free. You’ll just need to piece the information into a coherent business model, which takes a bit longer than buying a course. 

e-commerce side hustle

Choose the Right E-Commerce Business Model

Since you’re on a low budget, you don’t have the luxury of starting with any e-commerce business model. For example, Amazon FBA might be out of reach if you have less than $1,000 to invest.  Fortunately, there are other business models that you can pursue, and here are a few examples:

  • Dropshipping: this involves selling products on platforms like Amazon or eBay, and then ordering the product from a supplier. The advantage here is that you only need to pay for products once you get paid for them. This makes cash flow much easier compared with business models where a large initial investment is required. 
  • Arbitrage: you can get started with arbitrage for less than $100. Simply look for products at shops in your local area or online, and compare them with what you can sell them for on e-commerce platforms. You can make a profit by taking advantage of discounts and promotions. 
  • Affiliate: this is not technically an e-commerce business since you won’t be selling your own products. However, you can promote other e-commerce businesses on a low budget and receive a commission. You can promote e-commerce products in many ways, including ones with no prior skills or large financial investment. 

Don’t Outsource

It’s a good idea to do everything yourself when getting started to save money. This ensures you can spend more money on buying products instead of paying freelancers for outsourcing fees. Almost any e-commerce related task has a tutorial video online that you can view and figure out how to do. 

Furthermore, learning every part of your business by doing things yourself means outsourcing down the line will be easier. You’ll understand how to delegate each task and determine if it’s being completed correctly. 

Secure Funding

Want to increase the money you have to start an e-commerce side hustle? Then you could secure extra funding to increase the growth rate from the outset. For example, you can ask friends or family for money. This is the safer option compared to a bank where interest will be charged. 

However, you can get more funding from a bank, but they will need proof of concept. Therefore, you should aim to have some success before approaching banks for investment. You may also get small business loans in your local area with great terms to help you get started. 

Final Thoughts

To conclude, you can start an e-commerce side hustle on a budget by making the correct strategic decisions. Firstly, make sure to select the right e-commerce platforms for your strategy and the products you want to sell. Also, choose an appealing business model and seek out the possible funding options available to you. 

Finally, take the time to learn as much as possible to ensure you understand the basics of running an e-commerce business. With some patience and perseverance, you can succeed as the e-commerce industry is massive and continues to grow. 

About Author

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Rick Mak

Rick Mak is a 30-year veteran businessman, having started, bought, and/or sold more than a dozen companies. He has bachelor's degrees in International Business, Finance, and Economics, with masters in both Entrepreneurship and International Law. He has spoken at hundreds of conferences around the world during his career on entrepreneurship, international tax law, asset protection, and company structure. Business Anywhere Editorial Guidelines

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