If you’re thinking about setting up an online store as a side-hustle to your demanding day job, make sure you’ve got the juggling skills of a circus performer, because life is about to get chaotic.
According to WorldFirst’s Voice of Online Sellers Singapore report, 30 percent of respondents spend more than 25 hours a week on their online store and 28 percent of them plan to one day quit their day job and make eCommerce their primary source of income. Until then, however, how do successful sellers find time to manage it all, while maintaining a social life?
Avoid swapping date-night for freight-night and check out our top tips for managing your eCommerce businesses, while keeping up the rest of your life:
1. Set up your side-hustle space properly
Where you get down to business is arguably one of the most important aspects of establishing your online seller career. Many people assume this can be done from a laptop in front of the TV (and when there’s a juicy new show streaming on Netflix, this option can be hard to resist). If you really want to maximise your time and work efficiently enough to keep your social life buzzing, consider setting up a designated work space. Find an area that has:
– Limited distractions (ideally in a separate room from the lounge or bedroom)
– A desktop computer so you can navigate different windows with ease
– Fast internet and a reliable connection. You don’t spend hours setting up the perfect work space, only to realise it’s in a WiFi ‘black spot’!
2. Don’t try and run before you can walk
Establishing a successful online business takes time and patience. It’s something that needs planning, attention and a long term vision – so don’t expect to be rolling in profits right away.
Once you have your work space set up, start working on your business plan. You don’t need a degree in commerce to do this either; there are plenty of resources you can download on the internet, and tailor the content to suit your personal goals and vision.
3. Make your calendar your new best friend
Whether you use an Outlook calendar, or you’re kicking it old school and using a paper filo-fax, make sure you start scheduling your life outside of your day job – this is key to maintaining a social life.
Firstly, fill out all of your personal commitments throughout the month that you know are locked in. This might include gym sessions, date nights, picking the kids up from school and even scheduling time to make dinner to avoid last minute UberEats ordering!
When it comes to allocating time to working on your side-hustle, make sure you have something scheduled in every single day. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending countless hours on it seven days a week, it could simply mean setting aside 15-30 minutes to respond to customer/ supplier emails.
It’s the little tasks which can multiply in a short space of time and cause the biggest headaches when they pile up. Make free time tomorrow, today.
4. Think about ME. Managing expectations that is…
Communication is one of the most important things in business – especially when you’re dealing with customers. Whatever the situation, always put yourself in the customer’s position and ask how you would expect the situation to be handled.
For example, if you know there will be supplier delays on your product (due to public holidays in the manufacturer’s region, like Chinese New Year) communicate this to your customers in advance and provide updates on orders throughout this period.
This goes for personal holidays too. Chances are you’re running this online store solo, with no assistant pick up the slack while you jet off on holidays for two weeks. Make sure existing orders are on track for delivery before you leave, and communicate on your website that there may be delays in response time and on new orders over the period you’re away.
Alternatively, if the idea of switching off from your eCommerce side-hustle fills you with dread, lock in some time while you’re away to keep things ticking over. If you can quickly acknowledge an email, or respond to a negative customer review, it will save you coming back to a pile of problems when you get home.
Top tip: install an automatic reply on any customer enquiries/ order emails, stating your business hours. If you say you’ll reply within 24 hours, honour that promise.
5. Outsource and automate
A great way to free up your time is to outsource jobs. This could include:
– Selling on well-known marketplaces and platforms, such as Amazon and Shopify, and build on their existing brand to access hundreds of millions of customers
– Save time on research with tools like Jungle Scout
– Warehouse your inventory at fulfilment centres and utilise services like Amazon’s FBA
– Employ freelance writers (or even uni students) for content creation and to boost SEO to drive people to your webpage
– Hire a virtual assistant to complete menial administrative tasks
– Spend a day creating your social media calendar and schedule ‘future’ Facebook posts for the year (for example, communicating potential supplier delays due to public holidays or promoting special offers for national holidays). Check out Facebook’s scheduled post management system here
6. Open virtual receiving accounts
By setting up international virtual receiving accounts in the countries you’re selling in, you can be everywhere without leaving the comfort of your own home (or wherever you’ve set up base).
Using specialist international currency transfers companies like WorldFirst, multiple virtual receiving accounts can be set up, on your behalf, in the countries you’re operating in.
For instance, if you’re located in Singapore and your side-hustle is selling on Amazon US, WorldFirst will open up a US international currency receiving accounts, which plugs into Seller’s Central. This means you can:
- Repatriate your USD at times that suit you
- Protect yourself from currency fluctuations,
- Make same-currency direct supplier payments
- Achieve better exchange rates on your transfers
Speak to a WorldFirst currency specialist today to find out more on +65 6805 4370 or visit our website worldfirst.com/en-sg
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