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Leave Your 9-5 Job to Start Your Own Online Business?

Aug 17, 2007
Admit it, your tired of the daily grind. Every single day you wake up from not enough sleep, rush through breakfast, while you get the kids ready for school and find out they didn't do one last homework assignment that they need help with right then and there. Plus, the baby needs breakfast. Then you realize that your shirt isn't ironed and that you're already 15 minutes late leaving and now your kids have missed the bus so you need to drive them to school along with dropping the baby off at the baby sitters.

Since you were late to work, the boss chews you out immediately upon arrival because an important client called to speak to you and you weren't in the office. This starts a trend for a stressful day that doesn't get any better. You work through lunch and play catch up all day and then fight traffic all the way home. Make dinner for the kids, help them with their homework, play and feed the baby. Attempt conversation with your spouse, and you both fall exhausted into bed. You awaken to an alarm that sounds far too soon and it's time to do it all again. Tired of feeling like you're running in circles? There might a solution for you.

It isn't for everyone but if you're a self-motivated individual and you are organized, having your own e-commerce business might be the way to go for you. Are you a craft person? A lot of people supplement their incomes selling candles, soaps, and gift baskets. If you're not, but you still want your own ecommerce business, look into drop shipping. Drop shipping is where you sell products at a higher price than where you get them from, and when you make a sale you merely contact the firm whose products you're selling, and have them ship your order using your company's name. It's a great way to sell multiple products without a huge investment on your part.

Do your research and find out if there's a market for something you can make, information you know or start investigating drop shoppers. Also, check out what the laws are in your city and state for having a business. Take the time to do it right and you'll already be stepping one foot towards a successful online business.

After you decide you want to have your own ecommerce business, be smart about doing it. Remember that even a brick and mortar business can take up to two years on the average to show a profit. This can apply to an ecommerce business as well, so don't waltz into your supervisor's office after you decide to open your own business and quit your job - but that's the goal you're working towards.

Plan on running your online business at least part-time at the start and grow it slow and steady. Controlled growth is the way to succeed. If you get too big too quickly you'll wind up disappointing a lot of customers and bad news travels fast.

The next step is your calling card to the world: your website. It can't be stressed enough how important every detail of your website is. You might have a brother-in-law that does websites as a hobby; but unless he knows secure server and php, opt for a professional web designer. You want to instill confidence and project a professional image to anyone that frequents your online business - you can't do it with a screaming red background and dancing dollar signs all over your page.

Use a formula that works. Take a look at some of the biggest websites everyone knows and uses. Yahoo and Amazon to name two. They are low on the graphics, fast loading and low use of color. Easy for everyone to navigate.

Other sections of this site deal with the search engine optimization of your site and unless you make your website search engine friendly, no one will be able to find your business online. Once again, if you don't know how to do it yourself, it's time to call in a professional.

You can have a sense of humor and still present a professional image to the world, take a look at Google. Every April Fools day they still put a joke on their website, most recently it was "Pigeonizing", an in-depth look at how search engine results were tallied through the use of pigeons pecking the keyboards complete with photographs. Just leave out the blinking words, 4-inch tall letters and other items that will make people leave your web page almost immediately.

Now that you've done your homework and you know the type of business you want to have online, you have a website that is up and running and appealing to the eye of the discriminating web surfer, you're going to need two last things to make your ecommerce site able to make sales for you.

Those last two things you will need are a shopping cart program and a payment gateway. Those two things go hand in hand and it can seem confusing at first but just remember it like this, a shopping cart takes the orders and the payment gateway takes the payments.

When you start shopping around, you'll quickly discover that all shopping carts are not created equally. When you're looking at shopping cart programs, make sure they are compatible with at least the top three browsers, those are Internet Explorer, Netscape and Firefox. If people can't load your shopping cart, they can't buy from you.

Shopping carts can be a real bone of contention for some people, if it's slow or asks too many questions, people will just click off your site and decide they didn't really need what they were attempting to buy that badly in the first place. Make sure your shopping cart needs only a minimum of required information. Don't try to do a demographic survey when someone is trying to check out - surveys show that most website visitors consider those types of shopping carts overly intrusive to their personal information and it can cost you sales.

The best thing about a shopping cart is that you will make money when you sleep. Imagine it is 3 in the morning and you're fast asleep. Someone visits your website and decides they simply must buy a particular item for Auntie Edna's upcoming birthday. They click on the item and it is in the cart.

After the customer has put their desired items in the shopping cart, check out is a breeze. They simply fill out their method of payment and where they want their purchase sent, either to themselves or directly to Aunt Edna. The payment gateway will verify the credit card information, which cuts down on fraud and will process the order.

With most shopping carts, the customer will receive a thank you notice and purchase confirmation and you're still fast asleep. That's why good search engine optimization is key in getting targeted business to your website. Imagine that scenario played out tens to hundreds of times per day.

Now you see how an ecommerce business can free you from your 9-5 entrapment, start looking around for a business you'd like to put on the web and get ready to be your own boss!
About the Author
Kurt Clark is a freelance writer & CEO of Kurt Clark, Inc, a web development firm. Learn more at: http://www.kurtclark.com

Based on interview with the Director of Billing at OMG, http://www.outsourcemanagementgroup.com
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