Building an eCommerce Business While Working a 9 to 5

Starting an eCommerce business from scratch can be a tough mountain to climb and in a country like South Africa it can be an even tougher task, with a weak economy where new businesses are difficult to get off the ground.  For many entrepreneurs, it’s no question that they’ll have to keep their day job as it allows them to maintain an income at the same time as starting a new and unestablished business.  However, just because you have to work a full-time job and build your new business up on the side doesn’t mean it won’t be a success.  Written in collaboration with Private Property, here are some tips to keep in mind before you dive into building your eCommerce business.

Create a schedule

Before you even begin, you need to create a schedule in order to set yourself goals and timeframes.  You will need to make your free time as effective as possible because you won’t have much of it in between work and family commitments.  This means you’ll need to create small, achievable tasks to work up to the bigger goals.  This will help you stay focused, as larger tasks will become difficult to attain in short spaces of time and inevitably lead to frustration and little progress.  Once you’ve set out a list of tasks and times, stick to them rigidly and you’ll see a steady progression from week to week, or month to month, however you choose to set your deadlines.  There are numerous tools you can use to help you create a schedule such as Google calendar or if you prefer, a good old pen and paper still does the trick.

Find the right location

As you need to make the most of the time you have when not at work you need to find the right location that gives you the best conditions for ultimate productivity.  For some people, this location is a coffee shop, but for many it’s a room in their home that they’ve converted into an office.  Getting your home office to work for you can be a challenge, but once set up it will help you achieve your goals during the late night grind.  Creating a boundary between your office and the rest of your home will help to ensure when you’re not in the office your mind is relaxed and when you are your mind is focused.  If your home does not have an appropriate space and you’re looking for houses for sale in Cape Town, for example, ensure that you look for a room that has enough potential workspace, sufficient storage space, natural light and is placed away from general family areas that can become noisy and therefore a distraction.

Don’t go it alone

Building a startup while working a 9 to 5 is a challenge, but it’s even more of a challenge if you do it alone. Whether you choose to merge with a cofounder, or even hire an intern, a second person can help you free up your precious time to focus on some bigger tasks you have yet to tackle.  Not only can a second person help free up your time, but they can also contribute expertise that you may be struggling with. If for example, you’re unsure of where to store your products, you might find someone who has previous experience in sales and has a good idea of the warehouses and areas available for you to hire or purchase space.  Of course if you partner with someone who isn’t passionate about your products or doesn’t have the same vision as you, your productivity might fall instead of rise.  Make sure you either know the person before hiring them or conduct an interview with them and call a reference to ensure they’re a good fit.

While building an eCommerce business alongside a full-time job is a challenging task, it certainly isn’t impossible.  With a robust and realistic schedule in place, a conducive working environment and a helping hand to lighten the load, you will be well on your way to building an eCommerce business that will eventually become your new full-time job.