Starting an e-commerce business is has never been easier. Literally, you can be sipping on your favorite tropical beverage on a beach somewhere and be running a full-on enterprise that sells millions of dollars of product each year.
Also, with 5G technology coming online, you’ll now be able to do it off a hotspot from your smartphone. You won’t even need an internet WiFi connection to run an online business.
Here’s everything you’ll need to run a successful e-commerce enterprise from anywhere in the world.
This may seem obvious, but you’ll need a computer. If you want to travel, you’ll want a decent laptop.
You don’t need one with a ton of processing power because the work will be done on the cloud. You may want to consider a bigger screen because you’ll be working a lot with images.
This will be all the more important as 5G networks become more robust. As you are traveling, instead of having to find a coffee shop or hotel, you can work from anywhere as long as you have a hotspot on your phone and near a 5G tower.
The bandwidth in a 5G network will provide enough speeds to run an effective e-commerce shop. It’s hard to believe, but it’ll be as highspeed as the fiber networks are now.
For those who are getting into living in van or RV, 5G will revolutionize your workflow. You’ll be able to live in your RV and work while you’re on the road.
As already mentioned, you’ll be doing most of your work off of cloud software. You’ll want to get one comprehensive e-commerce platform that can integrate all of your activities.
Instead of building a platform yourself, there are many services that offer this with a subscription. Platforms in the vein of Big Commerce, Shopify and Magento are what you are looking for.
When you’re shopping around, don’t just look at the price. Look at what you get for it. For example, the Big Commerce pricing may seem more reasonable than the other platforms like Shopify but look closely at what you’re getting.
Some of the features that Big Commerce lacks may end up costing you more money down the line. In addition, having a more streamlined, easy-to-use platform like Shopify will save you hundreds of hours of additional customization and headaches over time. That’s worth it’s weigh in gold.
A good e-commerce platform will allow you to manage inventory, list them on to the various marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. It will also allow you to do deep analytics so you know which items are selling well and where you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
You also want to look at the data. Which e-commerce platform are users getting the most return on investment? Which platform are users have the fastest sales growth? Looking at the data with real e-commerce merchants’ experiences can help you determine which will be the best fit for you.
If you truly want to be completely mobile, it’s a good idea to not hire full-time or even part-time employees. Employees require a lot of overhead and management. They require development, coaching, and constant feedback.
Using freelancers is the best option for keeping your office virtual. There are great marketplaces where you can find freelancers for virtually every function of any business.
It’s also very cost effective. Take marketing for example. To hire a full-time marketing person in the US can cost $50,000-$80,000 a year, depending on their experience.
Even then, a marketing director will not be able to do all marketing functions. In fact, most likely, they’ll have to outsource things like graphic design, digital marketing, SEO, SEM, social media and other functions.
Instead of hiring a marketing team, you can hire agencies to direct yourself or hire freelancers to do individual projects.
You can find a great graphic designer for $10-20 per hour overseas that has just as good quality or better than a designer in the west that can cost upwards of $50-70 per hour.
The best part of using freelancers is that you don’t pay them for work they don’t do. They’re usually project-based. It’s also super easy to fire them versus a full-time employee that’s on your payroll.
Mobile E-commerce is a Reality
With the minimal technical requirements for starting an e-commerce business, the barrier is super low to entry. Just about anyone can start an online business for pennies on the dollar. Many entrepreneurs don’t even need to take out a business loan to start their own online business. With a computer, smartphone, a virtual team, a great e-commerce platform and a little bit of know-how, just about anyone can live their dream of owning their own business.