In the crazy world of online shopping, sometimes I find myself in awe of all those independent merchants who can handle creating their own products and then sell them, all on their own. There’s this alternate universe when I imagine myself running my own shop online too, but I don’t necessarily have the ideas (or the energy) to go out and set a shop up, and definitely not the time either.
But then there’s you, the go-getter, who may be in the same position as I am but actually has the ideas AND the energy. But if you’re truly like me—overbooked, between the job you’re currently doing and all the other activities you’re invested in—you may feel you just don’t have the time to run an online store. Fortunately, with all the options available on the Internet, going full-time while selling online isn’t the only path anymore. Maintaining a shop part-time is entirely doable, and you can do it without finding yourself stressed and overloaded.
Sounds great! Where do I start?
What’s important to know about maintaining a shop part-time is that you’ll be limiting yourself slightly. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing! You’ll still have plenty of options; it just means that in order to not over-do things, taking steps like setting up a website for your shop may be out of your reach as it will require a lot of your time. I suggest utilizing websites like Etsy or eBay, where you can set up a shop within the site, and be part of a larger marketplace.
Setting up on these sites is easy too because you don’t have to do things that go with starting from scratch, like designing a website, setting up payment, and advertising. I think of Etsy and eBay’s support system like hand holding, where they’re here to help you when you need it, but you still have all the independence you want. They just take care of all the hard stuff!
What’s important to know about choosing your platform is that each have a “culture” of sorts: Etsy centers around handmade and artisanal goods, while eBay is more of a free-for-all. Other sites, like Amazon, are always an option, but keep in mind these sites all have their pros and cons, like fees, restrictions, and rules!
Be your best self.
The key to running an online shop part-time is that you’re going to want to maintain a small catalogue, and within it, some of the best products you can offer. Maybe you’re a sculptor and are just really good at making pots: go forth and sell only pots! The ecommerce world is a great way to profit from your hobbies.
On the flipside, you might be really passionate about something but not necessarily creative. No worries! You can do that too; all that matters is that keeping things simple and easy will alleviate any stress that can come from running a shop. A bigger load while only running your store part-time is a recipe for disaster.
Assess your long-term goals.
Running a business online might be your dream, or you might be in it for some pocket cash. It’s important to consider from the get-go where you imagine and hope your business will be in a year’s time, because unlike those who may run their business full-time, your store’s prosperity will be different than it just physically growing.
Ecommerce is interesting in that unlike brick and mortar businesses, it uniquely allows the opportunity to only do it part-time. You no longer have to invest a huge chunk of your time in selling online; you can do it as often (and as enjoyably) as a hobby. And best yet? If you do choose to use a site like Etsy or eBay, the commitment is more laid back and doesn’t require constant attention. Sell your goods once in a blue moon, or do it as often as you can. Whatever you choose, just make sure that you are satisfied and happy, and feel fulfilled by what you’re doing.