How to grow your online store while having a full time job

Being an online entrepreneur can be a richly rewarding experience, that's why the team at Appily App Builder compiled the guide below to help you kickstart your entrepreneurial journey. With an online store you can earn a healthy living for yourself while working from home — or from wherever in the world you want to call home.

And yes, you can definitely make your online store successful while working a full-time job. The key is to take it slow at first and slowly build things over time. It’s about pacing yourself so you don’t become overwhelmed when your job demands the majority of your time.

Here is how you can launch and grow your online store without having to give up the safety net of a job.

Start small

By keeping things simple in the beginning, your store will require less time from you to maintain it.

One of the best ways to ensure your store is positioned for success when you are just starting out is to start small. It’s important to make sure you aren’t in over your head from the very beginning. By starting small and slowly building your online presence, you can avoid becoming overwhelmed with a product catalog that’s too big to handle.

Starting small also can mean keeping things simple. For example, you could start with a basic App with a premade template instead of an elaborate custom-designed App. It could also mean starting off with one or two simple products instead of offering a wide selection.

This lets you fulfill orders and take care of other things during your free time without feeling like you’re in over your head.

Make sure you are selling the right products

Digital products are a great option to focus on if you are new or don’t have time to fulfill orders.

Selling the right products in your online store is vital to learning how to grow your online store. Get this one wrong, and your store could experience difficulties. Even worse, it could result in you having to shut it down.

Something you can do to know if you are selling the right products is to determine if there is demand. One way to do this is by checking the product offerings of other companies in your niche. Competition isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, if other companies are selling a particular product, it shows there is demand for that product.

Another thing to consider is the size and weight of the products you are selling. The smaller and lighter products are, the easier they are to fulfill. They take up less space in storage, and they are also easier to ship when sales come through.

There are various kinds of digital products you could sell, including eBooks, stock photography, printables and others.

The great thing about digital products is they can be fully automated. With a digital product, once a customer purchases a product, a link is then provided to download the file. As a store owner, you don’t have to stock any products or deal with fulfilling orders. You can set everything up for hands-off operation.

Set realistic goals for how to grow your online store

One of the most important things you can do to ensure the long-term success of your online store is to set realistic goals.

Let’s face it: When your online store is new and you are still working full time, you probably aren’t going to dominate your niche. Maybe someday you will, but growth takes time.

What constitutes a realistic goal depends on your unique situation, including your eCommerce experience, the amount of time you can devote to your online venture, the demand for your products, and other factors.

If your store is brand new, you could set a goal to achieve a certain number of daily sales one year from the initial launch. You could also set a goal to offer more products or to increase your advertising spending.

Automate your online store

These days, it’s now possible to build an online store that requires very little of your time and mostly runs itself.

Speaking of automation, this is a great way to ensure the success of your online store if your job keeps you from fulfilling orders.

One way you can do this is by using a warehousing and fulfillment company if you are selling physical products.

These companies store your inventory in a remote location. When a sale is made, they take care of picking, packing and shipping the product to the customer. In some cases, it’s even possible to have your inventory shipped directly to your fulfillment company so you never have to deal with it.

In addition to shipping your products when you make sales, these companies also handle returns. Some even handle customer service issues. There is, of course, a fee for these services. It might be worth it in the early days when you are figuring out how to grow your online store.

Outsource tasks to save time

Outsourcing tasks is another way you can make your online store successful while working a full-time job. By outsourcing certain tasks to freelancers, you can save valuable time.

It also gives you the ability to hire someone who might be an expert in something you’re not skilled in, like graphic design or copywriting.

There are now several websites, such as Upwork and fiverr, that serve as intermediaries between those looking for freelancing work and those needing work done. These sites connect people from all around the world.

There are many things that can be done remotely, and where you or the freelancer you hire lives doesn’t matter.

In addition to hiring people to take care of certain tasks on an as-needed basis, it’s also possible to hire either a part or full-time virtual assistant (VA) to help you run your store. A good VA can take care of customer service issues, process orders and do other things.