For most people, having a full-time job or family commitments is enough. If you’re setting up or running an ecommerce business, however, chances are you’re trying to fit more into your day than the average human.
Launching an Ecommerce business is a big commitment. It takes a lot of hard work to get an online store up and running, let alone making the kind of money that would enable you to work full-time on your business.
It’s incredibly time-consuming, and for many of us this is a problem. Most of us don’t have enough time to do all the things that we’d like to. We know that the most successful entrepreneurs know how much it’s going to take and make sacrifices and decisions which enable them to achieve their goals, but what does this actually look like when you’re raising a family and working 9-5?
It’s not just about time. There are various start-up costs associated with launching an ecommerce store. From hosting and web development to marketing and investing in products, it can often take several thousand dollars to launch even a relatively simple store.
Even if your overheads are lower than that, just think what you could do with a couple of hundred dollars a month to invest in the growth of your business.
We know first-hand how difficult it is to launch a flourishing store. Here are some ideas that might just help you to find more time and money to spend on your business.
How to Find More Time to Work on Your Ecommerce Business
Many successful entrepreneurs will tell you that it’s important to ruthlessly find time to focus on your business.
You might choose to get up slightly earlier and do 30 minutes a day before work. Having the discipline to set aside a small window of time on a daily basis could add several hours of productive work on your online business without having to let anything else drop. If you’re a professional and don’t want to give anything other than your best to your 9-5 then your 30 minute window could be in the evening.
Alternatively, setting aside a portion of your weekends is another way to find more time to work on your ecommerce business. This approach could give you anything from 2 hours/month to a whole day or two of work per week. We recommend that you plan your weekends carefully, breaking down your time into specific goals and tasks – ideally of no more than 30 minutes or 1 hour. If you’re already busy then it’s not a great idea to fill up your weekends with inefficient, unproductive work. You need to rest too.
In this article about finding time to set up a side business Steve asks a great question: how many hours can you comfortably devote in a month/year to your business? This will completely depend on your existing commitments and factors such as how much sleep you know you need. For the record, we don’t advocate cutting sleep as a way of making more time to spend on your online business. As Steve explains, there’s little point in burning the candle at both ends because after a couple of week’s you’ll just start to run out of steam and everything else in your life will be creaking.
If you’ve got kids then you’re going to find it that much harder to find time to spend on your online business. However, there are still ways for you to do so. Why not ask friends to babysit for you or see if your family would be prepared to look after the children for a weekend? Explain what you’re working on and how much it means to you. You’ll be surprised how many people will be prepared to help – after all, if a friend asked the same of you you think how willing you’d be to help them pursue their dream.
All of us can stop doing things that aren’t essential. Watch less TV. Get your partner and teenagers to help with the household chores – or pay a cleaner to do this instead (can’t afford to? We’ll be looking at ways to free up more cash in a moment…)
Drill down on what’s really working for you. We’re as guilty as anyone of writing articles like 14 Easy Ways to Sell More Products Online but whilst there are many, many ways to build a business – and we want to resource you with as many ideas as possible – you shouldn’t try and do all of them at once. Understand how much time you can commit and focus on doing the things that give you the best chance of building a successful store.
A key discipline for every successful ecommerce entrepreneur is learning to outsource effectively. It’s important that you start pushing out the things that you’re slow at or find difficult. This could be marketing, graphic design or even administration. Yes, there is a cost to outsourcing, but when time is in short supply it’s important that you focus on the things that you do well and find the right people to cover your weaknesses.
In Corey’s article for the Shopify blog he coins the phrase “sidepreneur” – which we think describes the vast majority of us. Not many of us have independent resources which enable us to devote all of our time and energy to our ecommerce stores. This is a really helpful article because it’s honest about the reality of growing a business as a sidepreneur – it’s going to be slow, and that’s okay. A business that you could build in a year might take 3-5. However, in the grand scheme of your life this isn’t a long time.
Corey also points out another huge advantage for those who work full time and build their online businesses in their evenings and weekends – you can earn the cash that you’ll need to help grow your business. Yes, it’s risky investing in your business rather than savings, but if you’ve got a clear plan and you know where you want to be then it’s almost certainly worth it. This is the heart of the risk and reward principle – the vast majority of successful online businesses require huge amounts of speculation and investment from their owners before they achieve success.
Hopefully you’ll have picked up some tips that will help you find more time to work on your ecommerce business. Next, we’ll turn our attention to giving you more cash to spend on your online business.
How to Find More Money to Spend on Your Ecommerce Business
It might sound a little counterintuitive to talk about spending money on your online business. After all, it’s meant to be generating a life-changing income, right?
The reality is that if you’re working 9-5 then it’s going to be difficult to grow your online business as quickly as you’d like. However, if somebody offered you several hundred dollars a month to spend on your store then we bet you’d bite their hand off. You know better than anyone what a difference that money could make. Whether you’d spend it on stock, paid advertising or outsourcing work to a freelancer, it’s amazing to think what a difference a relatively modest sum could make.
Now if you’re already a money-saving expert then you might not want to read on at this point. You’ve probably got something better to be doing like sourcing free meals or shopping around on your car insurance.
For everybody else, here are 6 simple ways to find more money to spend on your ecommerce business. Yes, most of these processes are time-consuming (and the whole point of this article is helping you find more time and money to spend on your ecommerce business, not lifehacking!) but an investment of a few hours now has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars every month, and when you think about what that would give you the potential to achieve with your online business it’s got to be worth it.
We’re not going to consider financial planning in detail but if you have significant debts – particularly high-interest loans or credit cards –this should definitely be a priority for you.
1. Draw Up a Budget
The first and most important step is to draw up a budget with a detailed breakdown of all your expenditure. You’ll need to check this against your bank statements to make sure that you’re not just flattering yourself.
Drawing up a budget will help you free up more cash to spend on your ecommerce business because it will help you to fix your outgoings at a level that you’re happy with and see if you’re spending too much in any one area.
You might be surprised at how much you’re spending. By resolving to cut back your spending in a particular area you might be in a position to choose to spend that cash on your online business rather than on something you’re not that bothered about.
2. Shop Around on Energy and Insurance Deals
It’s well documented that most of us pay too much for our energy and insurance provision. By taking a couple of hours to shop around and find cheaper providers you could easily save anything from $20-100/month without having to make any changes to your lifestyle. Online comparison sites make this easier than ever.
Even if you find that you’ve currently got the best possible deals, this is useful information. You might choose to cut down your energy usage instead. This will cut your outgoings, reduce your impact on the environment and help you to feel like you’re investing in your ecommerce business – even when you’re doing other things.
Some simple ways to reduce your energy usage are:
- Taking shorter showers
- Turning off lights when you leave a room
- Turning down your heating by 1 step
- Watching less TV
- Only boiling the amount of water that you need
3. Cut Down Your Travel Costs
Travel costs are typically one of our biggest outgoings. You can be as radical as you like with this one – if the goal is to build a successful online store then by making a series of lifestyle changes you’ll help to focus all your energies on this goal.
You might decide to walk or cycle instead of driving – even if it’s once a week. Maybe you can share rides with a colleague or find ways to make less journeys in a week. If you’re really feeling motivated then perhaps you could sell that second car and pump the proceeds into growing your store.
It might be inconvenient, but the best entrepreneurs are prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.
4. Reduce Your Food Bill by 10%
Groceries are one of our biggest outgoings and therefore offer one of the biggest opportunities to save money. Cut out whatever you can, find cheaper products and minimise luxury items. Even if you don’t want to cut back, simply planning your meals for the week will help to minimise waste and keep your bills looking trim. Whether you look trim is up to you!
Reducing your food bill by 10% could mean a saving of $10/week which equates to over $500/year which can be invested into your ecommerce business.
5. Take a Budget Holiday
Holidays are a huge outgoing for many of us, typically running to hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. Successful entrepreneurs are prepared to make short-term sacrifices to achieve their long-term goals. Finding cheaper ways to enjoy your holidays is a great way to free up some serious cash to spend on your online store. Even if you only do it once it’ll be worth it – who’s to say that in a couple of years time your business won’t be making enough for you to take as many holidays as you like…
Try camping or staying with family. If you’re really keen, why not holiday at home and combine days out with the chance to invest some serious time in your online store. You only need to do it once, and the impact you’ll make should be long-lasting.
6. Buy a Thermos
If you’re a coffee loving caffeine fiend then you could easily be spending $50-100/month on takeout coffee. Investing $30 in a high quality thermos that you enjoy drinking out of is a great way to save money without compromising your quality of life. You can even upgrade the quality of coffee you drink – and still have more cash to spend on your ecommerce business.
Got an idea for how to find more time to work on your ecommerce business? Are you saving money to reinvest in your ecommerce business? We’d love to hear from you. Why not drop us a comment below or drop us a message on Twitter.