How to Start Selling Online-Part One

Have you ever thought about selling on eBay, Amazon, or your own Shopify store, but you’re not sure where to begin? This guide will show you how to start selling online and show you how to find trustworthy wholesalers to partner with.

Okay, so you’d like to start selling stuff online, right?

Do you feel like you’re on a rat-race to start your own business by selling products online? Or maybe you’d be happy making some extra cash to build your retirement or to pay down your debt. 

Regardless of your reasons for wanting to sell online, eCommerce offers immense opportunities for anyone with an internet connection. I would have to admit that of all the numerous ways to make money online, selling is the easiest to get started with because of it’s simplicity. 

I put together this ten-minute online guide by using some of the challenges I faced along my journey. I started with eBay, then added Amazon FBA, and finally began my very own eCommerce store with Shopify. After reading this, you will know how to sell products online.

credit card for shopping online

How to Start Selling Online

So, let’s dive right in with what you can expect here:

I took the time to break down the online selling process into these six steps to keep it short and digestible.

Step 1: What to Know Before You Begin Selling Online

Of course, it’s a good idea to know if selling online is a good fit for you before investing time and money.

So let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of selling online so that you can analyze it to make an informed decision.

The Pros of Selling Online

Obviously working from home in your pajamas is a significant benefit, but guess what, there are plenty of other fantastic reasons to start selling online and growing an eCommerce business:

Pros

  • You can work from anywhere, choose your own hours, and decide how far you want to take it. Do you want to make it to a full-time income? Or, do you want to bring in extra cash for your household? With this business, the possibilities are endless. You control the glass ceiling.
  • You’re likely to have some level of familiarity with eCommerce. If you’ve ever bought something online, then you basically have an understanding of what selling online consists of. Ultimately, this will shorten your learning curve.
  • You can use your own interest as motivation. What does this mean? If you are passionate about fishing, hunting, or camping, you can find products to sell that would be useful in those categories. If you like motorcycles and racing bikes, then you could use those categories. Maybe you like interior design or cake decorating, those are other options for you to explore. Selling online is a way to turn your passions into profits.
  • Selling online is less risky than the traditional business model. You don’t have to rent space to store inventory, and you don’t have to invest a lot of money to get started. Overall, the barrier-to-entry is low.

The Cons of Selling Online

There are cons to anything in life, and selling online is not an exception. Here are some things for you to consider before you begin your online store. The cons will help you set realistic expectations.

Cons

  • First of all, it takes time. Don’t be surprised if it takes a month or two to start seeing consistent sales. You may have sales within your first few weeks of opening your store, but it takes time to see consistent results. In other words, the chances of making over $100 (profit) on your first day are unlikely.
  • Expect a learning curve. If you’ve sold anything online before then, you are already a step ahead of your competition. However, you’ll need to read and do some studying before you start selling online professionally.
  • Prepare yourself for the multi-tasking duties of your business. You will play the role of all the department heads. The accountant, the project manager, the marketer, the web designer, customer service, and everything else to run a successful online eCommerce business. That means you will have to shoulder all the responsibility yourself.
  • Contradictory to what you may have heard, it is not all passive income. In the beginning, you will not have your own staff. If you are dealing with regular sales, shipments, fulfillment processing, and customer inquiries, then your business is on its way to success. Unfortunately, this also means you will be putting in some real work. (At least until you can afford to hire staff.)

What next?

So just to be clear, this is not a get-rich-quick ordeal, and success doesn’t happen overnight. Also, be mindful of internet scammers posing as wholesalers. Next, you should choose an eCommerce business model.

1.2: Choosing an eCommerce Business Model

There are several eCommerce business models to consider before you start selling online, and each of them has there own set of pros and cons.

Think carefully about which model is best for your business. Since they each have unique characteristics, they may require different levels of financial risks and complexity. Therefore, they will determine how you structure your store.

Take this quiz to find out which business model is best for you.

online eCommerce store

Dropshipping

Dropshipping is the jewel of the eCommerce realm. Why? Simply because the barrier-to-entry is so low. As mentioned earlier, the financial investment is small. You won’t pay for the products you sell until someone makes a purchase on your site. 

You don’t have to store inventory, you just need to find things to sell online and find a supplier that provides dropshipping services. Then, list your products on your chosen marketplace, and the supplier will ship the product to your customer for you. 

Here are the steps to dropshipping:

  1. A customer purchases a product (at the retail price) from your store.

  2. You receive the payment from the customer and place that order with your supplier (at the wholesale price).

  3. Your supplier will package and send the product to your customer for you.

The key to a successful dropshipping store is finding a supplier with reasonable shipping times and shipping costs. Typically, it takes about three weeks to receive products from China. Nevertheless, the dropshipping business model is attractive. 

Sourcing

Sourcing is a term used to define how you buy your inventory. You can source from wholesalers or manufacturers. 

Sourcing from manufacturers is similar to sourcing from wholesalers. Your business objective sets the tone when dealing with manufacturers. If you want to design your own private label product or create a new product from your ideas, then sourcing from manufacturers is the business model f