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Turning your hobby into a Shopify business

Turning your hobby into a Shopify business is the ultimate American dream. No boss to answer to, no limits on your vacation time, and money directly in your back pocket. This week, we’re looking at how you can turn your downtime into a side hustle, or even a full-time business, with the right tools, knowledge, and passion.

The number of self-employed Americans is set to triple to 42 million by 2020, and a big driver of this shift is eCommerce. Global online sales are predicted to hit $4.9 trillion by 2021 and money isn’t the only benefit to be had.

If you’re a lucky entrepreneur who has a hobby worth selling, you can earn an income while doing something that you’d happily do for free in your spare time. And, thanks to eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, you can join 8,000 other businesses in creating a professional-looking website to advertise your craft and sell your products.

Turning your hobby into a Shopify business

Whether you’re an avid knitter, star baker, woodwork genius, or talented artist, the following steps will guide you in setting up your first eCommerce website.

1. Allocate your time

Creating and growing an eCommerce business requires a significant time investment. You need to perfect your time management skills and divide your attention between creating your business, growing your brand, selling your products and, potentially, managing full-time work and family commitments.

We recommend creating a project timeline with achievable deadlines and using a diary to split your day into manageable tasks (don’t forget some downtime).

Tip: avoid these 8 time-wasting mistakes of eCommerce entrepreneurs

2. Research the market

The first task in your new day diary should be determining whether people will buy your products. Conduct market research by using Google, online marketplaces, forums, and social media to find out:

  • If there is a demand for your product
  • Any existing competition
  • The type of people likely to buy your products
  • Where these people typically shop, socialize, and hang out online

Use this information to assess market opportunity and keep this information to help with strategies, growth, and marketing.

3. Take your business online

Once you’re confident that there’s a market opportunity, you need to take your business online. This requires signing up to Shopify and buying a domain name (your website URL), setting up an email address, and opening up social media business accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

But before doing all of this, you need to come up with a brand name. Brainstorm unique and easy-to-remember names and get family and friends to help you decide. Once you’ve picked your name, we suggest heading over to PeoplePerHour or a similar freelancing community to get a professionally designed logo.

4. Build your Shopify store

Now that you’ve signed up for Shopify, you need to select a Shopify theme and begin customizing your website and building your store. This involves adding content, downloading extensions, creating products, and organizing your Shopify fulfillment methods.

For a detailed walkthrough, check out our 10-step guide to launching your own eCommerce website.

Turning your business into a successful Shopify business

And that’s it – you’ve now created a Shopify business out of your hobby. The next step is making your Shopify store successful so that your hobby can become your full-time business. To achieve this, you must:

1. Maximize profits

To continue with your Shopify store, you need it to make a profit. Your profit is directly affected by how much you price your products, how much you charge for fast shipping, and how many sales you make.

Look at different Shopify pricing strategies to help price your products low enough to attract customers but high enough to make you money.

2. Enhance customer experience

Customer experience is really important for Shopify sellers. Unlike online marketplaces that have inherent customer loyalty, you have one shot to get things right. Enhance your customers’ journey through…

Shipping

Fast and free shipping are the top purchase drivers online, making them essential for your shipping strategy. If you’re struggling to meet two-day delivery speeds while juggling your business and full-time employment, look for an outsourced fulfillment partner who can handle everything and guarantee customer satisfaction.

Customer service

70% of the customer journey is based on how a customer feels they are being treated. Optimize your eCommerce customer experience by sending post-purchase thank you emails, responding quickly to any queries or complaints, and ensuring that your products are delivered properly packaged and on-time.

Inventory management

What does your inventory have to do with customer experience? A lot. Proper inventory management ensures that your stock levels are accurate, your warehouse staff can locate products quickly, and your customers receive the right item at the right time.

Use a Shopify inventory tool to ensure that your customers never suffer the effects of poor inventory management.

3. Generate traffic

A great skill and an outstanding website are only profitable when people know about them. Since you’re testing new products, you’ll need to implement Shopify marketing tactics to generate awareness and attract traffic to your Shopify website.

  • Optimize your Shopify store using Shopify’s in-built SEO tools to identify and target short and long-tail keywords
  • Run Google Ads and social media ads on your new products
  • Use referral promotions that reward customers who recommend you

Tip: Improve mobile conversions on Shopify by using a mobile-optimized theme, clear calls to action, Accelerated Mobile Pages, and Progressive Web Apps.

4. Plan your next steps

You want to turn your hobby into a Shopify business, which means setting your sights on larger order numbers, higher customer figures, and significant profit growth.

A great strategy for eCommerce growth is multi-channel selling. Multi-channel selling involves selling on online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart, alongside your Shopify store. It gives you access to more customers, fast shipping programs, and marketplace advertising that can take your pastime into a business and beyond.

One final tip

Our last tip for turning your hobby into a Shopify business is to enjoy it. Hobbies are meant to be fun and enjoyable. Don’t lose that passion by struggling with orders, staying up late to meet shipping deadlines, or failing to ask for help. Good luck!

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