The 1 Thing to Ensure Your E-Commerce Business Flourishes in 2017

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The E-Commerce business is in its teenage years, I believe.  I touched on that in another article.

To me, this means that selling our wares on the internet is now a bit like parenting a teenager. I'm an expert in this area because I was a teenager.

We have to deal with the hormone flare ups (brand-gating, category restrictions, etc), acne (accidental suspensions and account throttling), and getting hair in new and weird places (sellers worried about what is next, uncertainty, and my favorite fear mongering).

In my opinion, we have a few choices. Let this be the worst of times (like my parents said my teenage years were), quit, or get comfortable being uncomfortable.

This last option is my choice, and honestly, as entrepreneurs, it should be our only option. We are supposed to thrive, innovate, and prosper when we are outside our comfort zone.

Continue reading “The 1 Thing to Ensure Your E-Commerce Business Flourishes in 2017”

Tips from an Amazon Wife

Before my husband ventured into the world of Amazon and all it’s glory he was an insurance agent for his family’s company.  I was a wedding and event planner with my own company (still am…Rose Grant Weddings & Events).

We have one son, he is our world, and is now 3. When I was pregnant my husband and I talked about all the things we wanted to do with our son and how we wanted to raise him, taking him to the zoo and teaching him about all the animals, numbers, colors, and so much more.  Unfortunately, that was something we would have to plan to do on the weekends. My husband had a 9 to 5 job, as most people do, he technically worked for himself but he still had to punch a clock.

When our son was about eight months old my husband wanted to add income to our household because, as those of you with kids know, THEY ARE EXPENSIVE!

He started shopping thrift stores and selling things on ebay.  We couldn’t believe the profit that we could make by selling a tie that had been donated, then thumbed through by the masses.  One designer tie bought for $1.00 could sell for $80.00 online…WHAT?!?!

We were hooked!

We started slow then invested more and more into our new business. Then another surprise…books. One textbook bought for $2.00 at goodwill was going for over $200.00.

My husband, being the smart inquisitive man he is, read article after article to learn more to grow our business and signed up for an amazon seller account and thus we embarked on the journey of a new found way of life.

Expectations

 With the success of thrifting on the weekends and the benefit of having a husband that was eager to provide more for his family, we decided that he would quit the insurance agency and focus solely on Amazon.

Take a deep breath and here we go.

My husband had built up a great book of business at the insurance agency and we were comfortable, but seeing the potential of Amazon and seeing what we were bringing in from that left us with dazed dollar signs in our eyes.

There was no limit to the profit we could make. We could easily send our son to college (if he wanted to), we could take family vacations even.

The lingering feeling of leaving a steady income behind, an income that made us comfortable to embrace potential was unsettling. What if sales fell through? What if this doesn’t work out? What if we fail?

Well, I married a man that would never let that happen. He was too eager and too hard headed to fail at anything.

Selling on Amazon meant working for himself and working from home and that was a huge bonus. No more getting up finding something that didn’t have baby puke or sticky fingers from our son, and leaving his family to go to work every day.

We slept in a bit and dress was casual and by by that I mean for a small period of time there was a 3 day a week pajamas only days.

But there was no time to just sit around and binge watch Netflix, we had a business to run!

Reality

 Let’s be real, women have this stigma of shopping till we drop.  For the most part this is very true. I, however, am not your average woman. I like to get in and get out when it comes to shopping. I hate to linger and browse, I know what size I am and I know what I like.

My husband on the other time takes more time and that was why he was perfect for “sourcing”.  A term our family would come to know all too well. That meant that pajama workdays faded and my husband was sourcing ALL THE TIME. He was hitting all the stores, clearance sales,  and chasing all the hottest trends…who knew adult diapers were such a big seller online and could be sold for a profit at that.

So fighting the urge to sleep in and work in pajamas our business grew and I was able to help as well.

In between planning weddings I was roped into helping the home business and put in charge of packing and shipping. Sounds like a big honor, huh?

Well, really I was just given the task of taking the stickers off all the products my husband was buying.  That is no easy task, let me tell you.  I embraced finding creative ways to make my part easier (thank God for scotty peelers and heat guns).

TRADE SECRET: you can get almost any price tag off with a scottie peeler some lighter fluid and a heat gun.

My dinning room, much to my dismay, became a distribution center. With my husband out sourcing all the time I was never in need of something to do. Boxing up inventory was like a big game of adult tetris and our local UPS driver became a good friend, partly due to the beer we gave him after picking up big shipments.

Do’s and Don’ts

Working from home is great.  With our son in preschool now we had the day to work and get things done and shipped into Amazon. However, sometimes days ran into the night and having a little one running around isn’t always easy while running a business out of the home. Having to tell your son that he can’t have the toys on the dining room table because they were for daddy’s work became difficult at times.

My husband found a network of other Amazon sellers and was making great contacts. He set up shop in our basement to make important phone calls and have time away to send emails and work. But as anyone who has a home business and a family knows it’s not always easy to get things done. Being on the phone while your family is upstairs and your toddler is screaming “I want a snack” or “Daddy wipe my butt” can be tough.

On a normal day at the Grant Empire you can hear two dogs barking, a toddler pressing the boundaries of youth and me wrangling the house trying to keep some order to life. This can make my husband’s job more difficult at times. We fell into a system that seemed to work. We brought my husband’s work area upstairs so we weren’t constantly screaming down to the basement.

We moved the packing and shipping department to the garage so I could have my dining room back and we made it a point to work while or son was at school.  We made sure to be willing to be flexible in case an important email or some online arbitrage needs to be completed in the evenings.

Working together can be a big blessing, especially since both of us own our own home based businesses. But just because we are home together more during the day doesn’t mean we spend “quality” time together as husband and wife.

Sure he’s sitting right next to me but we are both working and that doesn’t mean we have the time to cuddle and share our feelings. So, we still need our date nights or sometimes lunch dates.  Amazon has really been a positive endeavor for our family. My husband is happy with what he does and he’s good at it.

There are so many avenues that you can make money with on Amazon that there is never a dull moment. It has given my husband the opportunity to provide for our family in new and creative ways.

He has made trusted friends in the same business and despite working very hard he is able to take the day off to take our son to the zoo and teach him about the animals and to the park just to blow off steam and run around.

We occasionally “netflix and chill” in our pajamas because that’s a benefit of working for yourself but my husband, being the man he is, he is always eager to work and provide while conquering each new hurdle that is thrown at him.

Please let us know in the comments what tips you have for making working with your significant other better or easier.

~Rose Grant