How to Make E-commerce a Successful Side Gig


A lot of people have the notion that breaking into the world of e-commerce is like climbing a giant, treacherous mountain. True, if you are looking to go all-in, turn it into a career, and make it big, you’ll quickly learn the process takes more time and attention than you could fathom.

But, if you’re a student looking to make extra money, or a working professional interested in gaining another stream of income, there are plenty of ways to dip your feet in and turn a profit by selling products online. This can either be your own stuff you have no further use for, brand new products, or a combination of both!

There are hordes of hungry digital consumers out there just waiting to be sold to. If you know what you’re doing, there will always be money-making potential out there.

In fact, 67% of Millennials and 56% of Gen Xers, prefer to shop online rather than in-store. That’s a lot of people with a lot of virtual wallets. Regardless of what you are trying to sell, let’s talk about how you can make some extra cash in your precious free time.

Selling Your Old Stuff

While cleaning out your storage areas of items with sentimental value can be like pulling teeth, it’s a necessary process.

So, if you have heaps of vintage vinyl or more shoes than you could possibly wear in a lifetime, but can’t bear to throw them in the dumpster, selling them online can generate you a healthy amount of wallet cushioning. Here are a few great places to flaunt your stock:

  • Amazon: Well of course, this e-commerce juggernaut is as good as any place to sell your stuff online – and here’s a guide to help you do just that.
  • eBay: As mentioned earlier, the iconic online auction develops more and more every year and it’s an excellent place to sell your online goods, no matter how quirky, rare, or downright weird they might be. Check out the eBay Community for lots of top selling tips.
  • Facebook: Well, you probably check it 12 times a day, so why not flog some of your stuff on it? Start a seller’s group and you’ll be able to target people with your interests, in your area, and sell your stuff for money.

Selling items as an individual on these giant platforms is a very simple process and is relatively inexpensive. Doing this is a great starting point to give you a general idea of the atmosphere of making online sales.

Taking it to the Next Level

If you’re looking to expand your side gig beyond selling a few jumpers or knick-knacks, e-commerce platforms like Shopify and Magento simplify the process of building a brand. These tools make it easy to track orders, publish content to update customers, view dashboard data, manage security, and form the foundations of your online store.

While this will require a significantly larger investment than selling your personal items, the most time consuming part will be getting started. If done properly, selling products online can quickly become a significant contributor to your income. If you are a student, this is a golden opportunity if you’re home for the holidays or on summer break with time to kill.

The evolution of e-commerce offers a world of choice and opportunity for the web-based business person. If you’re inspired by this and feel like setting out on a path to online financial stability, it’s not quite as hard as you might think.

Consider Dropshipping

As you’re running an online business in your free time, the process of managing inventory, warehousing, and shipping can easily put you in over your head. If you’re hoping to sell a range of stock through your online store, the concept of dropshipping will make building your brand and expanding your operation much easier (and less expensive).

So what exactly is dropshipping?

According to Shopify,

“Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third-party and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the merchant never sees or handles the product.”

For example, if you sell retro trainers and don’t have a massive amount of space in your bedroom or garage, you won’t have to sit there and stare at your products worrying about getting rid of your stock. Instead, you can offer your customers a focused inventory through your store and use a third-party to supply and ship your merchandise.

Platforms like Oberlo act as a marketplace for entrepreneurs and online vendors to source and sell products for their dropshipping empire without breaking a sweat.

Oberlo prides itself on user-friendliness. In fact, one newbie e-commerce entrepreneur made a whopping $1 million in eight months from dropshipping alone!

Learn How to Market Your Website

If starting an online business is so easy, isn’t everyone doing it?

Truth be told, millions and millions of people are having the idea to start an e-commerce website. In turn, there is an uncanny amount of competition. You are not just going up against businesses near your geographic location, you are competing against ALL the outlets in your industry.

So how do you set yourself apart?

It all comes down to your online presence and visibility.

For this reason, if you want to start raking in serious money, you need to learn the basics of how to market your business and convince people to buy from you, instead of from the copious number of competitors out there.

Educate yourself in SEO, and devote a portion of your time to creating stellar content designed to appeal to shoppers in all stages of the buyer’s journey. Also, you will need to know how to manage your business’ social media accounts and how you can use your profiles to leverage brand messaging to appeal to mass audiences.

At the end of the day, you can have the greatest online store across the entire internet, but if you don’t know how to market it properly, no one will know it exists. This is how you differentiate yourself from the millions of other e-commerce outlets on the web.

Final Words

Sites like Shopify, Amazon, eBay, and tech innovations like dropshipping have changed the way online sellers can make a profit. If you act professionally, get your branding right, and avoid any major functional or branding blunders, you stand a real chance of making things happen and diversifying your income, all in your spare time!