Ecommerce has become one of the most approachable industries for the budding entrepreneur — perhaps even topping the list. The appeal of selling online is enough to tempt people to radically alter their career plans, but it doesn’t require them to, because it’s entirely possible to maintain your current course and move into ecommerce.
How do you do this? Well, it’s simple: you get your regular routine under control, then pursue ecommerce as a side hustle. It’s certainly not a revolutionary tactic — we live in a gig economy, after all, so the business world has become accustomed to more flexible working arrangements — but it’s certainly effective. Or at least it can be, if you get it right.
Is it really something you should pursue, though? It isn’t for everyone, and you may be best served sticking with your current plan and using your free time for something else. On the other hand, it might be exactly the kind of challenge you need. To help you decide, let’s run through the pros and cons of setting up an ecommerce side hustle:
Why you should set up an ecommerce side hustle
There are various reasons why anyone with entrepreneurial inclinations would benefit from running an ecommerce store in their spare time. Here are just some of them:
l Dropshipping lets you sell without stock. Dropshipping allows you to list products and take orders without having any stock — every order gets passed directly to the supplier. This is what really makes the side hustle model work.
l You can run a store from anywhere with an internet connection. Running a physical store as a side venture would never work, because you wouldn’t be able to make the scheduling work — but ecommerce has no such issue. All you need is an internet connection to check your store and make regular tweaks (there’s every chance you’ll be able to do it from a smartphone if you don’t have a laptop with you).
l There are countless free guides online. Ecommerce is the industry of accessibility, and that certainly goes for the free online selling resources out there waiting for you. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the first thing about running a store right now — you can find all the information you need without having to spend anything.
l You can cheaply build (or buy) a store. There are numerous ecommerce store builders that make it easy to create your own site, even if you’re not very tech-savvy. And if you’re still discouraged, you can skip that step entirely and buy one from a marketplace for a modest sum.
l You can scale the business as needed. Not getting very far with your store? Stop advertising, swap to the cheapest hosting tier, or simply shut it down entirely — it isn’t hard to do. Alternatively, if you’re doing really well, you can scale up to meet demand. It’s incredibly flexible.
Why you shouldn’t set up an ecommerce side hustle
Running an ecommerce store isn’t all fun and games, though, and there are some reasons why you might not want to do it. Here are some notable cons:
l Ecommerce is a super-competitive industry. Ecommerce is really easy to enter, so it’s no surprise that a lot of people do just that. This makes it a saturated industry. That doesn’t mean there’s no room for new sellers, because there’s always room if you have something unique to offer — but it does mean that your chances of hitting it big are slim.
l If you want great results, you’ll need focus. You might imagine running your business from your phone while relaxing on the beach, making money as the waves lap against your feet, but that isn’t realistic. If you’re just looking for a hobby, then you can take it easy — but if you really want to make money, you’ll need to work for it.
l Burnout is a possibility. Do you really have the time to work on an ecommerce store on top of your regular routine? Having a challenge is great, but it can go to far and lead to burnout — something that can hugely disrupt your long-term plans and leave you disillusioned about business in general.
What is there to lose?
So, having been through the pros and cons, should you try running an ecommerce store as a side hustle? On balance, I have to say yes — absolutely. The reason is simple: provided you manage your workload to avoid burnout, there isn’t much to lose.
It doesn’t cost much to get started, so you won’t end up bankrupt, and it’s one industry that welcomes everyone. No matter your age, sex, gender, race, nationality, or educational background, you can make a success of selling online if you com