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20 South African Side-Hustles You Can Start This Weekend

Start one or more of these low cost 20 South African side-hustles this weekend.

Nicole Crampton

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Are you looking to make extra money on the side? If you don’t want to invest a lot of your hard earned money into it, and you don’t want it to be too complex and time consuming to set-up, then you’ve come to the right place.

There are numerous types of uniquely South African side-hustles that you can start this weekend. This list of part-time or side-jobs require relatively low investment and need very little infrastructure to get off the ground.

Here are 20 South African side-hustles you can start this weekend:

Side-Hustle 20: Weekend food truck

Crumbs and Cream food truck

Are you a bit of a foodie? Do you enjoy making interesting and unique food for your friends and family? Perhaps you should invest in a food truck and earn some extra money on the side?

Miles Kubheka was so inspired by the fictional character he played, named Vuyo in the Hansa adverts from a few years ago, that he turned his fictional Vuyo’s Original Wors company into a real-life, well-known South African branded food cart operation.

“It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission. I never asked SABMiller if I could use ‘Vuyo’,” admits Kubheka. He now has his own restaurant and that’s only the beginning of the success that has resulted from this side-hustle.

Crumbs and Cream, a popular ice-cream sandwich restaurant started off with just a tuk-tuk at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. This was a low cost, mobile operation, which the founders could start while still working full-time. Their business did so well that they now have an additional location in Cape Town and a location in Johannesburg.

Interested? Read up on how Balkan Burger Filled a Niche… and a Lot of Stomachs.

Side-Hustle 19: Become a virtual English teacher

virtual English teacher

You might be asking yourself, but how is this uniquely South African? Yes, people can do this from all over the world. However, many countries prefer South Africans because compared to Americans, Australians and those from the United Kingdom, SA’s accents are a lot easier to digest and understand to the ears of second- or third-language English learners.

As a native English speaker, consider how difficult it is for you to understand Scottish, American and Australian accents, never mind someone who’s trying to learn the language from scratch. There are many teaching opportunities across the globe, and all you need to start earning is decent Internet connection speeds and a computer.

Related: 10 SA Entrepreneurs On What They Wish They’d Known Before Starting Their Businesses

Side-Hustle 18: Brew your own craft beer

craft beer

Craft beer or artisanal beer is growing in popularity amongst the millennial and Z generations. Brewing beer is very different to drinking it, so you’ll need to understand the fermenting processes and have at least some understanding of how to go about brewing and marketing your beer.

South Africa has 9 600 recorded plant species, 70% of which are not found anywhere else on the planet. The unique proudly South Africa ingredients and flavours you introduce to your brew could put you in a class of your own. This venture could lead to you launching your own beer label, or at the very least means you’ll never have to buy beer for as long as you brew.

Find out how The Tap Room Is Opening The Taps On A Niche Business.

Side-Hustle 17: Tutor younger South Africans

tutor-young-students

There is always demand for strong tutors in South Africa to help younger generations improve their understanding of a variety of subjects. So, if you excelled in primary school and high school, this might be the option for you.

Tuta-me, for example, enables students and tutors to digitally connect with each other and arrange for a meeting in a time and place that suits both parties. The app streamlines processes by making it a paperless option for students looking for tutors.

“Dylan Hyslop and I started talking about this and we wanted to know how we could contribute positively to the state of education in the country. Access to good education is a challenge, as a lot of people can’t afford private schooling. We wanted to make an impact on and improve access to education,” explains co-founder Abed Tau.

Related: 10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!

Side-Hustle 16: Teach your passion to others

Whether you’re an avid cyclist, dancer, yoga practitioner, runner, painter, carpenter or jewellery maker, you can create a class and teach others your passion. You could teach others to make traditional African jewellery, paintings or pots to earn money from too.

There is always a need for others to express themselves. You can offer them something no one else can with a uniquely South African tailored-learning experience. Try creating the best city-sites for cycling routes, or hosting yoga classes in one of the many parks or botanical gardens across the country – like a popular ParkRun.

Related: The 10 Best New-Age Business Ideas You Haven’t Heard About Yet

Side-Hustle 15: Give adventure tourism a shot

adventure-tourism

Are you an adrenaline junkie? Do you know where all the best bungee jumping, base jumping, parasailing, wakeboarding, surfing, mountain biking, horse riding, hiking spots are? Then this is definitely the side-hustle for you. Organise groups to go with you to South Africa’s adrenaline-inducing spots, like a Sani pass in 4x4s.

Numerous local and foreign tourists won’t know where the best hiking, cycling, riding or 4×4-ing trails in the area are, but you do.

All you have to do is organise groups to go, and create an adventure-filled unforgettable experience for them. You can even tailor vacations for those adrenaline junkies looking for the most exciting activities South Africa has to offer.

Starting A Business In Tourism? Sell Memorable Moments

Side-Hustle 14: Odd jobs

m4jam

M4Jam is a proudly South African app that allows you to find jobs near you and that suit your skill set. Jobs range from simple tasks you can complete in your area, like taking a photo of a shop, or completing a survey from your couch. You will earn money for each job you complete.

“With the opportunity to earn extra cash and supplement their incomes, our jobbers are strongly invested in our platform, providing real insights, in real-time and solving real business issues for companies. This begs the question of brands – can we afford not to be on-board?” says Andre Hugo, co-founder and Chief Jammer at M4JAM.

Related: 11 Uniquely South African Business Ideas

Side-Hustle 13: Make and sell crafts

Make and sell crafts

Do you enjoy making uniquely South African hand-made items? Do you enjoy creating and being crafty? This might be the unexpected job for you.

Flea markets are big across South Africa where you can sell your wears to international and local tourists looking for something unique to your city or SA. Sites like Etsy and South Africa’s Hello Pretty can make it possible for you to sell your wares for substantially better margins.

There are some who have crafted opportunities out of challenges, for example Molemo Kgomo couldn’t find an African doll for her daughter, so she created one. She now owns a company Ntombenhle Dolls which has grown into an entrepreneurial success. She was solving her own need and now has a full-time business to boast about.

Side-Hustle 12: Figure out how to solve a challenge in SA or in your area

Repurpose Schoolbags

South Africa is far from a perfect country, there are problems to be solved all over. You could make money by designing something to assist your community. Repurpose Schoolbags is a business that was created by two high schoolers, Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane. They transformed discarded plastic into schoolbags.

These schoolbags are functional and reduce litter in their area. It also includes a solar panel and a light, so the child could see to do their homework. This business became a sustainable social enterprise that benefits school children, employs members of the community and turns a profit.

If these two clever teenagers can come up with such an innovative solution, you definitely can.

Related: Hate Being Stuck Behind a Desk? 7 Business Ideas for You

Side-Hustle 11: Become a coach

sports coach

Sports are a big part of life in South Africa, but people of many ages are unable to access sports equipment or a knowledgeable coach. If any type of sport is a passion of yours, you should make it you side-hustle to teach others how to play the game.

Sports For All is a franchise that expanded into South Africa, to support local sports because schools couldn’t afford the equipment and coaches.

“SFA is a social franchise that’s primarily aimed at uplifting the community. Because of this, franchisees need to be very engaged in their communities. You need to care about your community and be very involved in it,” says Marina de Lange, franchiser who brought this franchise to South Africa.

“It makes getting a sport programme off the ground so much easier because you’re provided with a turnkey solution. All the sports equipment needed, for example, is provided for you,” explains de Lange.

If this business could develop a whole franchise around its offering, then there is definitely a need. So, why can’t you be the one to fulfil it – even starting out with just one school in your area?

Side-Hustle 10: Make and sell food at food markets

Balkan Burgers

Do you make the best traditionally-South African food in your neighbourhood? Maybe this is an opportunity for you to start a food stand side-hustle.

The founders of Balkan Burgers did just that. They saw an opportunity in the Johannesburg market for a different kind of meal. They mobilised the whole family to get involved. Now, they trade in three of Joburg’s most famous markets, they also have a food truck and they sell at big concerts, festivals and events. They even cater for birthdays and weddings.

All of this was accomplished because they went to the market, saw there was a gap in the market and filled it. When they started out they managed to pull it off in 6 days, and if they can do it, so can you.

Local is lekker: Why the V&A Food Market is a Great Place to do Business

Side-Hustle 9: Take foreigners on a journey of SA with Voicemap

Voicemap

Do you live in an interesting part of town that has a lot of quirks and hidden treasures? You can use Voicemap to guide tourists and visitors through your area, or areas you like to frequent. This app offers stories and facts given by best-selling authors, expert correspondents, veteran broadcasters and even passionate locals.

“I’ve had almost all of my best experiences when a local showed me their city. It immediately cuts through all the abstraction of being an outsider, because you become a participant, with a point of reference that helps you to identify with a place. You get to share somebody else’s feelings for their home,” explains co-founder and CEO of Voicemap, Iain Manley.

Get paid for telling the story of your neighbourhood and guiding tourists and visitors to those secreted gems.

Side-Hustle 8: Design and sell unique South African fashion

YDE

There have been many designers who started out created clothing for themselves or sold pieces on the side to make a bit more money. If you love to sew and design your own clothing or make clothing for others, you can always make a dozen pieces and sell your wears at local flea markets, or even online.

Stores like YDE offer space for rising designers too, so you could potentially sell your clothing through them part-time. Hello Pretty is another online opportunity where you can sell your wares. By purveying online, you can see how many items you need to make and reduce wasted time, effort and inventory.

Related: How Fashion Start-Up ToVch Built A Brand Presence With Only A Little Budget

Side-Hustle 7: Rent out your spare room/spare bed on Airbnb

Airbnb

If you have a granny cottage in your back-yard, a spare room in your house or even a spare bed in your house, you could rent it out using Airbnb. South Africa has some of the most sort-after natural wilderness and if you live near it this could be a solid side-hustle option for you.

Brigid Prinsloo now travels around the world while she rents out her apartments through Airbnb. “By the end of that first month, we had earned close to R10 000 by renting out the room. The rent for our entire two-bedroom flat was R10 500 per month. We realised that we could earn a tidy sum by renting out an entire flat.” It all started with a spare room, now Prinsloo has multiple properties and rents them out regularly, while she and her family travel around the world. You can learn more insights from her success story here.

Side-Hustle 6: Design food-growing opportunities

Reel Gardening

There is a food-shortage in South Africa. You can help by designing a product or systems to help others around the country grow fresh food for themselves. If you’re good at growing your own veggies, or know which animal’s lifecycles will be best suited to a livestock farming system, you can create a solution to help solve South Africa’s food shortage and feed those who currently can’t feed themselves.

Examples of businesses already doing this are Reel Gardening that created seed strips to help reduce water usage and increase germination. Aquaponics is another business that offers rural people an opportunity to breed and sustain their own fish supply. The entire system is closed and requires water and electricity, but can be transplanted anywhere.

Start your own farming business with this easy to use guide.

Side-Hustle 5: Teach the community

community

If you have computer skills, you can offer a group class to those looking to learn the basics. There are those that offer computer classes at old age homes to help the elderly email and Facebook and stay connected to their relatives, friends and families around the world.

Silulo Ulutho Technologies flipped South Africa’s shortage of education into an opportunity and started offering access to computers, as well as training sessions for those who didn’t know how to use a computer. Now, the business has branches all over the country and it’s still growing.

Side-Hustle 4: Make and sell South African memorabilia

South African memorabilia

There’s nothing tourists like more than being able to take home a keyring, magnet, t-shirt, hoodie, cap or beer mugs with ‘South Africa’ on it. This is relatively easy to do, and you could even offer an online store so you can manage what you need to make in your spare time. You can keep this as low cost as you want, until you make enough cash to buy equipment and turn this into more of a full-time enterprise.

Paul Simon, founder of YDE and Über Flavour, sold custom mining helmets during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and made enough to allow him to start his next business.

“The Makaraba mining helmets are very South African, and real artworks, which of course means they weren’t geared for the kind of mass production that an event like the World Cup needs. We created a mass production version. We manufactured a plastic projection moulding kit and customised them according to a country’s team clothing. Fans bought the kit in pieces with stickers and could ‘create’ their own Makaraba helmet too,” explains Simon.

Side-Hustle 3: Plan uniquely South African holiday packages

South African holiday packages

Have you explored the ins-and-outs of this beautiful country? Do you love organising holidays, negotiating for cheaper prices and finding the best value-for-money when traveling? You can design custom South African holidays for those wanting to see the best of the country, but don’t even know where to start.

Camping Khapela offer luxury camping services for holidays, weekend getaways and festivals. But, it all started with the founder, Karabo Sepharatla, using the deposit for the trip to buy the equipment, but once the equipment was paid for, each following trip made a higher percentage of profit. To read more about how Camping Khapela set-up itself for success, visit here.

Side-Hustle 2: Grow indigenous plants

De Fynne nursery

If you have a super-green thumb and enjoy growing plants in bulk, you could start growing your own profitable side-hustle. That’s how De Fynne nursery started out. Founders Hacky Goliath and Elton Jefthas were growing and selling fynbos and indigenous plants on the side while finishing their degrees.

The demand for their plants grew, and it paid more than their day jobs, which made them decide to turn their side-hustle into a full-time gig, creating De Fynne nursery. They are now on a 22-hectare property with well-over 600 000 plants and 22 permanent staff to brag about. The company also supplies Woolworths, Massmart and Spar, as well as landscapers, commercial farmers and wine estates.

Side Hustle 1: Make your own proudly South African creams and lotions

Oh-Lief

With so many skin sensitivities around, especially in babies and toddlers, a natural South African balm, cream or lotion is just what the mass market is looking for. If you enjoy making your own lotions and balms from scratch, because you prefer natural South African ingredients, then this might be a profitable side-hustle for you.

Christine Buchanan and her sister Louiza Rademan concocted their own nappy rash balm for Buchanan’s first child and it worked wonders. They started out selling their products at a trade show, and sold out 100 tubs on the first day, they went home made another 100 tubs for the second and third day, and sold out on those two days as well.

Now, their products are sold internationally and they were able to leave their senior positions to follow their dreams. Oh-Lief is now also stocked across the country in hundreds of different stores including Woolworths.

Nicole Crampton is an online writer for Entrepreneur Magazine. She has studied a BA Journalism at Monash South Africa. Nicole has also completed several courses in writing and online marketing.

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Types of Businesses to Start

3 Internet-Based Businesses You Can Start In 2018

Online experiences connect people worldwide to your brand and the solutions you offer – without requiring a big budget to launch your digital storefront.

Manish Dudharejia

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No doubt many people resolved to boost their income during the new year. (Of course, it’s never too late to start a business).

The internet provides endless ways to make money. The best part? Most internet-based businesses can be launched immediately, without a giant budget. Here are three awesome gigs you can start in the comfort of your own home.

1. Become a seller on Amazon

amazonAmazon is a monster. According to eMarketer, Amazon accounted for more than 43 percent of e-commerce sales in the United States during 2017 – and about half of those transactions came from third-party sellers. There are many advantages to joining Amazon’s ranks:

  • Given the site’s popularity, you can tap into a gigantic amount of traffic. Many consumers are ready to buy when they visit Amazon.
  • You operate under the umbrella of the biggest and most trusted name in online retail. If you opted to launch your own e-commerce website from scratch, you’d learn that establishing trust is perhaps the most difficult and time-consuming part of the job. Selling through Amazon omits this entirely.
  • You easily can manage your entire online business through Amazon’s Seller Central dashboard.

So, how do you get started? First, you need to choose your Amazon category, or niche. These include labels such as clothing, healthcare, jewellery, electronics, beauty and more. Then, identify which products are in high demand.

Related: 10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!

The easiest route is to become a Fulfillment By Amazon seller. This means Amazon will take care of shipping, delivery, returns, exchanges and other logistics. You’ll need to stay in tune with supply chains and demand estimates. Tools such as forecastly make this task simpler. And Sourcify can help you find a manufacturing facility, if your idea includes creating a new product.

It’s easy to become an Amazon seller, but being a successful one requires a good deal of work on your end. In addition to choosing the right niche, you must demonstrate some savvy marketing skills. While Amazon functions as your sales outlet, you still need to market yourself as you would a typical business. This involves blogging, social media, email marketing, forums and other activities designed to direct traffic to your Amazon Seller page. Netrush is just one company that can help you establish your brand on the Amazon marketplace after you start making sales.

If you pay close attention to trends and market your products correctly, you can make serious money. Entrepreneur, investor and yogi Nate Ginsburg sold his his Fulfillment By Amazon business for $1 million after three years.

2. Become a Facebook advertising consultant

facebookFacebook has taken over the online advertising market. In 2016, Facebook accounted for 77 percent of the digital ad industry’s overall growth. It’s safe to say Facebook is giving Google a serious run for its money in the world of online marketing. Facebook has enabled all types of small businesses to advertise online with a smaller budget – something that wasn’t possible in the past.

To illustrate the effect, Google’s cost-per-click for digital ads is $10. Spend that same ten-spot on Facebook, and you get 10 clicks. It’s just one reason I predicted last year that Facebook will beat all other digital marketing channels.

Helping online businesses use paid campaigns to establish a Facebook presence is a fantastic way to make money online. However, even though the technical side of advertising on Facebook is made easy, it’s not exactly a cakewalk. You need skills to write copy that converts sales, conduct in-depth research on audience profiles, find the best times to promote, keep a close eye on result metrics and glean the proper insights. Of course, you also must have exceptional client communication.

Related: The 10 Best New-Age Business Ideas You Haven’t Heard About Yet

In reality, Facebook advertising puts money into a system over which you have a limited amount of control. Be sure you do your research on the profession beforehand. Others’ experience shows you can make a lot of money this way if you understand the market. In 2014, former pastor Nicholas Kusmich and his wife capitalised on the emerging market for Facebook advertising. The couple opened a boutique Facebook marketing agency that brought in around $2 million in 2017.

3. Become a part of cryptocurrency ecosystem

bitcoinIf you’ve tuned into the news over the past few months, you’ve certainly heard something about the drastic surge of bitcoin and rise of blockchain. Based on the huge spike in demand, bitcoin is shaping up to potentially become the universal digital currency. The result? Everyone worldwide could make international transactions without worrying about exchange rates or fees to third-party banks.

In terms of business opportunities, there are several possibilities to consider.

One of the most popular is becoming a cryptocurrency miner. If you want to get in on this gig, now is the time. Bitcoin mining is a nonstop online accounting process by which transactions are verified and compiled into the public ledger. While you can make good money doing this, it’s important you understand what you’re getting into. The idea may seem simple, but the actual practice of bitcoin mining takes a good deal of effort.

Start-up costs generally run pretty high, and you need to choose the right hardware, software and bitcoin wallet. You also must make regular upgrades to your equipment – all while keeping a close eye on the bitcoin market. As long as you stay on top of your research and updates, this can be an incredible way to boost your income.

Related: 11 Uniquely South African Business Ideas

Another stellar opportunity within the cryptocurrency ecosystem involves solving niche or industry-specific problems using blockchain. Blockchain companies are on the rise, and industries around the globe are changing. The concept is very new, so becoming a consultant can be a great way to make money while you play a role in disrupting the status quo altogether.

For example, many freelancers use popular sites such as Freelance.com and Upwork to connect with companies. These platforms take a cut of the earnings from each project. A blockchain system essentially cuts out the middle person, connecting freelancers with companies directly and avoiding work-based fees.

Be advised there are still many challenges involved with the concepts of bitcoin and blockchain, so this gig requires a significant amount of research and vigilance.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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A Top Lesson From Vinewave: Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Launching a side business that makes money even while you’re sleeping has never been easier. Lawrence Cawood of Vinewave explains how it’s possible to build a multi-million rand business completely on your own, in your spare time, with nothing more than a computer.

GG van Rooyen

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Vinewave doesn’t produce sexy consumer software, which is why you’ve probably never heard of the company. Its most popular piece of software, for example, is a staff directory. But it is special for a number of reasons. First, Vinewave is a South African company, despite the fact that you’d never guess it from perusing the website — all prices are in US dollars. Another surprising aspect of the business is its client list.

Users include Sony, Samsung, Harvard Business School, the United Nations and SpaceX. Most astonishingly, however is the fact that, for a very long time, it had only a single employee: Founder Lawrence Cawood. Since 2010, Lawrence has owned and operated Vinewave completely on his own, from a single computer at his home.

Although he is now looking to scale the business aggressively, his initial aim was to create a business that could provide for him and his family, without demanding 80-hour work weeks.

“I wanted to be able to spend time with my family, so my aim was to create a lifestyle business that didn’t demand crazy hours, and that would allow me to work when and where I wanted,” says Lawrence.

Vinewave ended up being exactly what he was looking for. Working on his own, Lawrence created a business that quickly boasted around R1,6 million in annual revenue, and a valuation of R10 million.

Related: 10 Ways To Make Money While You Sleep

Being an online business that targeted companies all over the world, time and space was irrelevant. “I would often wake up to discover that I had made R60 000 in sales while I was sleeping,” he says.


DOING THE WORK

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can become a multi-millionaire while watching TV in your pyjamas. Lawrence is quick to add that launching Vinewave wasn’t easy. Sales were slow to come in and refining his software demanded hard work.

“It took me six months to make my first sale,” says Lawrence. “Also, as the only person in the business, I had to work hard. I was responsible for absolutely everything: The website, advertising, SEO, product development, and so on. However, the nature of the business allowed me to do things on my own terms. Where and when I did the work was irrelevant, meaning I could spend time with my family when I wanted. Even though I had to invest a lot of time and energy into the business, it provided a certain sense of freedom. Normal business limitations didn’t apply.”

As mentioned earlier, Lawrence is now working harder on the business than he did in the early days, since he is looking to scale, but Entrepreneur spoke to him about the ins and outs of creating a lifestyle business or side project that doesn’t demand absolutely all of your time.


Here’s his advice for creating a business that can make money while you sleep.

photography-business1. Product, not service

The more successful a service business is, the more time you’re likely to have to invest in the business, since you are essentially trading your time for money. For example, if you have a photography business, every new client will cost money, require more time and add complexity to the business. Selling items online, in contrast, is easier to scale as a business, since the difference between selling ten and 12 items isn’t all that much. Easiest of all is a business that sells a digital product. The added cost and complexity that comes with every added customer of a piece of software is very small, since there is nothing to package or ship. For this reason, a company like Facebook, Dropbox and, indeed, Vinewave is hyper-scalable.

“I think it’s important to be passionate about what you do and to pursue something that you’re knowledgeable about, but you also need to be realistic about the demands of the business you have in mind. Some ideas and products demand more time and resources than others. If you want a business that you can run on the side, you need a product that is relatively easy to ship and sell. Software is easiest, of course, but a physical product isn’t out of the question. Just make sure that systems and processes can be put in place to streamline the process and free up time.”

Related: These Are the World’s Top 10 Young Billionaires

2. Build a better version

Unless you’ve got a lot of time and money on your hands, reinventing the wheel isn’t a good idea. A company like Google, Apple or Amazon can gamble big on revolutionary ideas, but if you’re looking for a manageable side business, you want to instead focus on creating a better version of an existing product.

“You want to look at what is already selling, and build something similar, but better,” says Lawrence. “As always, you want to identify a burning problem, and provide an elegant solution that people are willing to pay for. The last thing you want to do when you don’t have a lot of time and money to invest is to try and create a new market on your own.”

3. Listen to customers

The best way to launch a business that scales quickly and easily is to create a product that customers are eager to buy.

“It took me half a year to make my first sale. I wanted to sell a suite of products, while customers wanted to be able to choose the products they needed. It’s important to listen to customers and give them what they want,” says Lawrence. “Also, remember that customers are sophisticated these days. They have high expectations. Even though I am selling a B2B product, I’m cognisant of the fact that my users are also users of things like Facebook and Instagram. Ultimately, people use things that are elegant and simple and easy to use. They pick the best product.”

Unfortunately, this means that there are no shortcuts to success. A bad product won’t find traction. Lawrence suggests launching an MVP (minimum viable product) and refining it. “Listen to customers and create something they truly want,” he says.

Related: Fake It ‘Til You Make It: How These 10 Entrepreneurs Did Just That

4. Think big

directionLifestyle businesses used to be small and location-specific. Thanks to the Internet, that’s no longer the case. Geography has become irrelevant.

“Just because you have a lifestyle business doesn’t mean that you have to sell to your immediate community,” says Lawrence. “You can now sell to the whole world, which means that you can make money anywhere, at any time. You can sell around the clock. This is particularly true if you’re selling a piece of software that’s delivered instantly, but it’s also true of physical products. Shipping around the country and internationally is less difficult than it once was. Don’t think small. Expand your potential market as much as you can.”

5. Look and act professional

The traditional shopfront is increasingly being replaced by the website. Vinewave’s customers, for instance, had no idea that it was a small South African company with a solitary staff member. Lawrence spent time and money to create a professional website that looked great and attracted large clients, and that was all that mattered.

“The size and location of your operation doesn’t really matter, provided you appear professional at all times, and offer great service,” says Lawrence.

“As I said earlier, customers have high expectations these days, but as long as you meet those demands, everything else is irrelevant. You can sit at home and answer customer emails in your underwear, as long as your customers are satisfied with the product and service that they get from your company. Around 98% of my customers are from overseas, so I knew it wouldn’t work if I tried to sell in rands. Instead, I created a website that sold in US dollars. You have to respond to the demands and expectations of your customer.”

6. Marketing made easy

A lot of people are intimidated by the thought of marketing and selling a product. For many, the idea of creating a product is enticing, but they are intimidated by the thought of having to market and sell. According to Lawrence, however, marketing and selling is easier than ever, thanks to the Internet.

Related: 5 Tips for Keeping Your Day Job While Launching Your Own Business

“I’ve almost never spoken to a customer and I rarely interact with them via email. If people are happy with your product and it does what they want it to do, you rarely hear from them. So you needn’t be put off by thoughts of difficult customer service,” says Lawrence.

“The same is true of sales and marketing. Through things like SEO and online ads, you can make customers come to you. You don’t need to cold call, just create a product people are actively searching for. Spend time and money on your website, and invest in SEO and online ads. When done properly, these things can drive your entire business.”

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6 Steps To Building A Million-Dollar Ecommerce Site In 60 Days

Jared Goetz spent only 30 minutes a day and built a colossal Shopify sales machine.

Entrepreneur

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Jared Goetz, serial entrepreneur and member of The Oracles, always had a knack for reaching an audience. At 26 years old, he’s co-founded four multimillion-dollar companies.

Whether he’s throwing the world’s largest foam party with fire breathers and circus acts (“Electric Flurry”) or selling inflatables to college students via viral campaigns (“Dumbo Lounge Sacks”), this serial entrepreneur knows how to turn an audience into a profit machine.

His latest venture, The Gadget Snob, is no different. An ecommerce store that supplies everything from jet-flamed pencils to laser keyboards, Goetz took his business from zero to $2 million in 60 days by plugging into the right audience. That’s no small feat in a competitive industry forecast to surpass $4 trillion in sales by 2020.

Goetz’s secret sauce to reaching the masses? Experimentation. As he explains, “You don’t know what people will respond to until you try a lot of things. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.”

Related: Selling Online: Be On The Right Side Of The Law With Your Ecommerce Start-Up

Goetz shares six key components to building his million-dollar ecommerce store and turning profits in less than a business quarter.

1. Don’t reinvent the merchandise wheel

“Many owners think they have to reinvent the wheel with the merchandise they sell,” Goetz explained. Instead, he suggests focusing on products with a proven track record of success. “An easy way to spot a market trend is gauging how a product performs on social media. If an item is getting 10,000 Facebook Likes in less than a few hours, that’s a tell.”

When choosing merchandise, it’s also crucial to differentiate between commoditised and unique products. Commoditised products are widely available. Unique products are less accessible handmade or niche products that aren’t mass produced.

“If you go niche, gauge demand first. Observe what people are looking for. You might be surprised to see what’s selling.”

2. Create a formula, then rewrite it

Ecommerce comes down to a formula, Goetz says, and the outcome is affected by different variables: Product, advertisement, landing page optimisation, and customer lifetime value.

“Once you figure out what produces the best margin, copy that. Most who fail in ecommerce are 90 percent there but haven’t worked out all the variables in their formula,” Goetz shares.

For Goetz, a pivotal variable was drop shipping. “I spent a lot of time bootstrapping my earlier companies. Drop shipping was a game-changer because it allowed me to advertise before securing the inventory, yielding greater outcomes.”

3. Build a legit Shopify store

Shopify

A successful Shopify store must win confidence. “In the sometimes-fraudulent digital ecosystem, you have to earn a consumer’s trust,” Goetz says. “A money-back guarantee and free shipping guarantee are great places to start.”

Related: 5 Ecommerce Myths That Are Sabotaging People’s Businesses

Goetz also suggests choosing a theme that’s congruent with your industry. “With branding, you want to look professional, not spammy or creepy.” Gadgets are fun and technical, so his site has bright colours and precise language. “If I were running a men’s fashion store or toy store, I’d change my theme to match the merchandise and brand. Branding is key to converting customer views into sales.”

4. Find winning ads with huge ROI and scale

For Goetz, marketing comes down to one word: testing. “The only way to find out what works is to test it many times,” he says. “Test 10 audiences on each product, so you know where to invest your energy.” For The Gadget Snob, Goetz hired an ad manager to optimise Facebook campaigns. “When you strike gold with a successful ad, replicate it, but scale incrementally to ensure you’re staying targeted.” He suggests increasing ad spend 20 percent per day, not 500 percent.

When building campaigns, it’s also vital to use language that’s shareable and creative. Sales psychology is your friend. From his perspective, classic scarcity techniques have been around for centuries for a reason. “Try incorporating a quantity incentive: if you buy one, it’s full price; if you buy two, it’s 50 percent off and so forth.”

“Creating an email list is also vital. Email campaigns have a higher conversion rate than cold Facebook campaigns, and you can incentivise email campaigns with rewards. You can make money by merely pushing ‘send.’”

5. Hire a VA, then specialists

For Goetz, hiring a virtual assistant was essential to scaling. “At first, my VA helped with everything,” he says. Once his site got off the ground, Goetz hired people with specialised jobs for specific tasks.

Related: 5 Basics To Success When Starting An Ecommerce Business

He also stresses the importance of universal procedures. “Having clear onboarding processes and procedures is key to growth. Make your systems as easy as possible because while you might have 100 orders today, tomorrow you’ll have quadruple that.”

6. Get your customer support airtight

For a store to operate at full throttle, Goetz stresses the importance of customer support to maximise your profits. “You need your customer support to be airtight and available 24/7,” he says. “Online shopping goes all night and people place orders at all hours.”

To support questions and concerns, Goetz says that live chat and around-the-clock customer service is a must. “In our era of Amazon Prime, customer service expectations have never been higher, he says. “The last thing you want is a minute hiccup or technical goof obstructing a sale.”

Ultimately, ecommerce allows entrepreneurs to reach untapped markets and reap the rewards. As Goetz puts it: “My ecommerce site affords me ultimate freedom.” By following a few basic steps, you, too, can build a Shopify store to run from anywhere in the world, and perhaps even create your own million-dollar sales machine.

Related: 4 Methods For Building A Successful Ecommerce Brand

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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