How to Start (and Run) a Successful E-Commerce Company

Why E-Commerce?

Imagine getting up early in the morning to ride your bike out to the beach, lift some weights on the beach, and meditate in the sand before taking a sunrise swim. At home, you read for a couple of hours, write for a couple of hours, study Spanish, and then take a noon dip in the rooftop pool with your significant other.

The local art cafe is bustling with activity in the afternoon. You open your laptop to see that you’ve made $487 in the last 24 hours. After that, you sit down for a lovely supper with your partner and other digital nomad pals.

This may sound like a fantasy version of the e-commerce lifestyle promoted on Instagram, but it was a reality for my wife and me in Mexico in 2019.

My e-commerce business now allows me to work around 32 hours per week during the summer, with Fridays off, to spend quality time with my wife and young daughter, go for coffee and a stroll whenever I like, have a long weekend to visit friends… you get the picture.

We don’t have a lot of money, but having the ability to live my life my way is invaluable. For the time being, I’ve chosen a basic dad life, and it’s ideal.

What kind of life do you want to live? Here are some appealing e-commerce facts:

With an internet connection, you can run your business from anywhere.

You can separate your earning potential from the number of hours you can work using passive income.

Your website will do the duties of hundreds of employees and will never become tired.

According to Oberlo, a Shopify drop-shipping app, nearly a third of the world’s population now shops online, accounting for 18 percent of global retail sales.

According to Shopify, there’s a $5 trillion e-commerce pie up for grabs, and it’s increasing at a fast pace, thanks to lockdowns and COVID.

Why don’t you take a bite out of that pie? Fortunately, getting started today is much less expensive and time-consuming than starting a traditional company. To get started in e-commerce, you’ll need to:

  • There is no outside investment and only a small amount of capital.
  • Setting up a website can take as little as a weekend.
  • If you opt to sell a service or a digital product, you won’t need any physical inventory.
  • Only as much time as you have—evenings and/or weekends are OK.
  • This book will show you how to create a lucrative e-commerce store in just a few weeks.

When it comes to e-commerce, here’s how not to get started.

Warning: my first e-commerce venture was a flop—er, I mean, a fantastic learning experience. I was able to break even after 18 months. I believed this e-commerce thing would be a piece of cake compared to the setup of my prior business, a solar lights company in Africa.

I viewed it as a get-rich-quick plan, a side venture to supplement my 9-5 paycheck that would eventually allow me to return to my “true calling.” Whoops.

Let me state emphatically that e-commerce is not a stroll through the park. To earn a profit, it will take consistent effort, patience, excitement, savvy maneuvering, and a little luck, just like any other business.

Are you still interested? Great. Allow me to explain why my online men’s store failed to launch:

  • I couldn’t come up with a compelling value proposition (the most crucial ingredient in any business).
  • I didn’t spend the time to learn about my consumers’ needs.
  • My thoughts were not validated by myself.
  • Instead of developing a brand, I tried to compete on pricing.
  • I didn’t concentrate on a specific expertise.
  • I didn’t have a strong marketing approach.
  • You can avoid making the same mistakes I did if you follow the instructions below.

Step 1: Come Up With a Value Proposition.

You might believe that the free market economy is based on money, but this is incorrect. It is based on the concept of value. A solution, more free time, a gleaming bauble, or peace and quiet are all examples of value that a client might demonstrate by spending their hard-earned money.

Since the beginning of time, every business has faced one major challenge: providing value. The difference between boundless riches and just scraping by depends on how well you execute this. That’s why we begin every e-commerce venture by asking ourselves, “What is my value proposition?”

According to Peep Laja, CEO of marketing training business CXL, your value proposition is “a promise of value to be delivered.” “It’s the main reason a potential customer should buy from you.”


“Unlimited movies, TV series, and more” is a near-perfect value proposition, as shown at the top of the Netflix homepage. You may watch it from anywhere. You can cancel at any moment.”

When someone visits your website or gets stuck in an elevator with you, a value proposition plainly states:

  • What method will you use to tackle their problem?
  • What concrete advantages (not features) people can look forward to.
  • What sets you apart from the rest of the options available.
  • It’s also written in a style that your pre-internet grandmother could comprehend; it’s the polar opposite of corporate jargon.

“Jump right in!” says the headline. On Meetup, there are so many things to do.”

“Join a group to meet new people, make friends, find support, establish a company, and pursue your passions.”

Every day, thousands of activities take place both online and in-person!”

“Make new friends; explore the outdoors; connect over technology,” according to a few bullet points that lead to other pages.

The value proposition is more than a slogan; it’s the compass that guides your entire company. If you don’t get this right as I did with my online men’s store, your clients will be uninterested in what you have to offer, and you’ll be forced to return to your old cubicle job.


Step 2: Pick a product or service to sell.

We’ve got a typical chicken-and-egg situation here: You can’t sell a thing if it doesn’t have any worth.

You can’t have a value proposition without a product, and you can’t have a product without a value proposition. These first two processes happen at the same time, as you may have anticipated. But where do you start when deciding what to sell?

The technical approach vs. following your passion

Perhaps you’re working on a company idea that won’t go away, or you have a passion that’s bordering on obsession. Perhaps, like CEO Jamie Kern Lima, you had a skin issue and realized the need for a new sort of makeup.

Maybe you’re a diehard gamer who, like the guys at Humble Bundle, found a method to sell digital material while also supporting charity. Or maybe you’re a sucker for high-end footwear like Flight Club.


Following your passion will offer you an advantage over those who are trying to get rich quickly:

you’ll have the energy to get you through the inevitable setbacks.

The technological approach, on the other hand, has a lot to recommend it. Do you have a love for something you could develop into a company concept but aren’t sure what it is? It’s no problem.

People with the left brain can tackle the topic of “what to sell” in the same way they would solve a problem. Begin by asking:

What are some of the goods that I own and adore?

With a notepad in hand, walk about your house and make a list of your prized possessions. Then ask yourself, “What’s the common thread here?” and “How can I provide equal value?”


What about my own products irritates me?

Some businesses have built empires by scouring Amazon for 3-star reviews and developing improved versions of those products. If you can alleviate a customer’s pain point, they will gladly pay you.
What are some of my personal assets? Consider offering your marketing consultancy services if you have 20 years of experience. Do you know everything there is to know about the internet of things? Perhaps you should sell smart home technology packages in a variety of price ranges?

What are some of the other people’s obsessions? You almost certainly know someone who has an odd obsession with Yeti clothing, board games, CrossFit, wine, shoes, or whatever. People are willing to pay a higher price to have their obsessions supported.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.