Starting an Online Business

What you need to know when you start a small online business?

Many of my friends who own small businesses started them as hobbies since it was something they had always wanted to do but couldn’t because of various life events (marriage, having children, having to support the family). As a result, many started their businesses later in life.

Starting a business requires a lot of hard work, perseverance, and effort. It could take some time to begin rolling, but with the appropriate plan, it might develop into a successful venture that offers pleasant experiences.

Calculate your costs

The first step is, of course, to make a list of the things you will offer, whether you plan to sell a service or a product (whether you make it yourself or purchase it from a wholesaler) online. The next step is to determine the prices for each item on your list. You must first calculate your costs before adding the margin to get the final pricing. The margin is the amount you anticipate making when you sell your goods. To decide on your final price, research what your competitors are charging for comparable products.

All costs associated with preparing to sell must be factored into the price of your service or product, this is called Cost of Goods Sold or COGS.

Cost of goods sold (COGS) refers to the direct costs of producing the goods sold by a company. This amount includes the cost of the materials and labor directly used to create the good. It excludes indirect expenses, such as distribution costs and sales force costs.

Whether you are paying for shipping or making the delivery yourself, include the cost of shipping and handling in the price of the item you are selling. Gas, a portion of your car usage, and your time should all be included. If you can, schedule your deliveries so that you can go to the post office or deliver the package in as little time as feasible. Consider including the shipping charge in the final price since some online buyers prefer to see all included. Keeping shipping and handling in-house will save money if your order volume is minimal. But when your order volume increases, you might consider outsourcing it.

Depending on your product, you might want to include a personal touch like unique packaging (it doesn’t have to be expensive), a thank-you card, or a card that describes the product and how to care for it, such as jewelry or a floral arrangement.

How to get paid?

Choose an online payment service provider (PSP) to handle the payments for simpler, quicker, and more secure transactions online. The best way to get started is to get a PayPal business account. You can obtain an account for free, but there is a small transaction fee for each sale you make. They charge minimal transaction costs. Customers can opt to pay using a debit card, credit card, or directly from their bank account without having a PayPal account (they can sign up as guests). If you want to accept credit card payments, you might also think about using other services like Square or Stripe.

Selling your product online

When you are ready to sell your goods online, start by reaching out to your friends and family on social media. Great places to start are Facebook and Instagram. You must be consistent, post and publish frequently—at least three times a week—and interact with those who share or comment on your content if you want to succeed on these social media networks. The success of internet sales depends heavily on the product descriptions and photographs. You can get a smartphone with a good camera (my iPhone 7 takes excellent photos) and use it to take your own pictures. Just make sure the images are clear and offer as many angles of your products as you can.

Owning an online business is another option. I build and host online stores for my clients using WordPress and the WooCommerce extension. Although WooCommerce supports roughly one-third of online retailers, you have various website building platforms to select from. Having your own internet business lends you credibility and provides you with a professional look. Additionally, you might want to consider selling on a website like Etsy or eBay. You do not need to use just one platform to sell your goods; you can use a variety, just be sure to research and account for the costs of each one.


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