#021 – Starting In E-Commerce With No Budget

I’ve realised that there is a bit of a disconnect between what I’m doing right now with this site and who might get the most benefit from it.

And the thing that hit me was that one of the core audience groups I wanted to help is the self-starters who start their own online shop – so e-commerce.

It’s an area I have little experience.

I once ran a subscription box business (the website is still alive but that’s something for another day) and it went well but the space the merchandise took, the time involved in fulfillment, and the cost of buying stuff in means that doing it all myself again isn’t feasible this time.

Because instead of being in a position to share what I’m learning, I’ll be tied up in printing and packing and shipping.

I need to simplify from this.

So how do you start an e-commerce business with no budget?

Or in my case also a lack of time and space…

The 2 main options – both are roughly the same model are dropshipping and print on demand.

What is dropshipping?

You basically set up your website with the products you want to sell but you hold no stock whatsoever.

When people order through your website, the order goes to a wholesaler to process and pack and deliver to the customer in your name.

It does mean you need to find a reliable supplier who quality checks and has good shipping times.

But you can sell virtually anything if you can find yourself a drop shipper to manage it.

FYI if you’re thinking about dropshipping and are worried about finding a supplier if you’re using something like Shopify for your store, you can use one of their apps – some of them are designed to auto-populate your store with the things you want to sell.

Then what’s print on demand?

It’s basically the same kind of model.

You have a store and you hold no stock but you sell custom designs so when someone buys, your supplier takes care of the whole supply chain – printing the design, packing, and shipping.

I am going to go with print on demand.

Here’s why I’m going with Print On Demand

The better customisation options mean that I can really start to build a brand and have some principles and an ethos.

If I’m looking long term, then that’s more important than just building a shop to make some cash.

Plus it means I can focus on design and a more concrete product range instead of just selling what is available.

And the third thing is the speed of implementation.

Yes, it will take me some time to get my designs ready and figure out my niche properly but I already know the suppliers I want to use so I have a foundation and don’t need to do any research or testing on that.

Which Print On Demand supplier to use?

I’m in the UK so I wanted a UK supplier but that can also ship globally.

I wanted one that isn’t just using cheap bulk t-shirts (I’m looking at you Fruit of the Loom!) so I can differentiate a bit.

And I wanted one I felt I could trust.

I landed on Teemill.com.

It kind of happened by chance – one of the Twitter accounts I follow (Very British Problems) started using them for their online store a while ago and so I’ve been able to watch them for a while and their customer service and how they’ve grown their range and tech offering.

Don’t treat this as an endorsement or review – I haven’t actually used them yet.

Hold that off until I write my post comparing a few different options!

So the next steps

  • Figure out my name, niche, and audience
  • Figure out my designs
  • Get my shop set up
  • Run with it and keep reporting back on here.

PS: Budget will come in to play when I’m looking at getting ads running to it by the way but I will do my best to go with free traffic as long as I can.

About Abhi

Hi, I'm Abhi. I'm a blogger, copywriter, marketer and coach. Super Simple Mode is my space where I document everything I try in marketing and conversion so you can learn from my screw ups. Thanks for being here.