How to Start Ecommerce as a Side Hustle? | Steps and Tips to Get Started Today

How to Start Ecommerce as a Side Hustle? | Steps and Tips to Get Started Today

44 million Americans have a side hustle, and why shouldn't they? A side hustle is a popular approach to make an extra profit while maintaining the safety net, that is your full-time job. Despite popular belief, the extra credits you work for can be both highly fulfilling and financially rewarding. You can be your boss and extract profits out of projects you are genuinely passionate about.

On that note, starting an eCommerce business is the most sought way as a side hustle. Ecommerce is the buying or selling of goods and services via the internet. In today's digital world, it has become pretty convenient and easy to set up an eCommerce store and kickstart your business.

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Steps to Start Ecommerce as a Side Hustle
Decide The Product or Service To Sell and Your Target Audience
Research About Related Ecommerce Businesses
Set Up Your Online Store
Promote Your Ecommerce Business
Tips To Make Your Ecommerce Side Hustle Successful

Number of digital buyers worldwide from 2016 to 2021
Number of digital buyers worldwide from 2016 to 2021

Steps to Start Ecommerce as a Side Hustle

Setting up an online business might seem overwhelming at first, but it gets better with time, as said by Nelson Mandela, "It always seems impossible until it is done."

The following are four easy steps that will help you to start eCommerce as your side hustle:

Decide The Product or Service To Sell and Your Target Audience

You must be wondering what exactly you should sell. There are tons of business structures, be it service-based businesses, physical products, digital products, or software. It is common for people to get stuck on this.

Here are a few things that you must bear in mind while selecting your product:

  • You must be genuinely passionate about it so that if it pays off well, you can continue to pursue it full-time in the future.
  • Consider the practical necessities of the product or service such as the competition and its demand in the market.

You can start this step by making a list of possible products that you would want to sell as inspiration is present everywhere. Think of the products or services your close ones or your target audience might want to buy. There are numerous product lists suggestions available on the internet that might help you with this. Lastly, search for your product on Google trends and verify whether a demand exists for the product. As this will help you to find your target audience.

A few more things that you should take into consideration at this step include:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are the pain points of your target audience?
  • How can your product help them?

All this will help you set a definite goal in advance, which ultimately makes the rest of the steps easy.

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Once an idea about selling something pops in your head, you would be tempted to start your business right away. But at this point, it is important to control your impulse and rather take a calculative decision.

So, after you have decided on the product or service that you want to sell, you must conduct proper market research, watch out for your competitors, and, observe what they are doing, what is working, and what is not working for them. Here are a few things that you must consider while researching other businesses:

  • What is their business model?
  • Who is their target audience?
  • What are the social media platforms they are active on?
  • How do they generate leads (SEO, PPC, email)?

All this will help you create distinguished characteristics for your business and you will also get to know what to do and what not to. Thus, conducting research and analyzing your competitors will give you a better understanding of how you should start eCommerce as your side hustle.

Set Up Your Online Store

Set up your online store - Shopify, eBay
Set up your online store - Shopify, eBay

The next step is to set up your online store from where your customers would be able to buy the products or services you are offering. You can choose eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Woocommerce, eBay, and more. They provide ready-to-use templates and easy-to-use store-building tools. With so many options available, it might be confusing to choose one platform from where you want to sell. Here are a few points that you should consider before selecting a platform:

  • Loading speed
  • Features and tools
  • Compatibility with payment getaways
  • SEO-friendly features  

Make sure your store's theme matches the theme of your business. Give your business a memorable name and be as creative yet clear with the logo. That's what differentiates other businesses from yours. Also, try to make the buying process as smooth as possible, remove any additional steps and only ask for the information that is necessary to make the checkout process convenient for the customers.

Also, nowadays, a platform that is gaining huge popularity for eCommerce setups and marketing is Instagram. It is easy to use as all you have to do is open an account, post pictures, think of a payment mode and start selling. Since people are getting more comfortable with Instagram shopping, it is definitely an option worth exploring.

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Promote Your Ecommerce Business

Deciding on what to sell and where to sell is not the end of the process for starting an eCommerce side hustle.  No business becomes successful without great sales. Lead generation and sales are the most important part of any business. So, it is important that you spend your heart and soul on promoting it.

The secret to a successful eCommerce business is to perfect your marketing strategy and channel it to the right platforms. Closely follow your competitors, and look for how they are generating leads, or which platforms they are investing in. Focusing on your marketing and making sure that you have a regular inflow of clients should be your priority.

Tips To Make Your Ecommerce Side Hustle Successful

Tips to make your eCommerce successful
Tips to make your eCommerce successful

If you are establishing a full-fledged eCommerce business or just starting with your side hustle, certain tips will help you make your business successful:

Provide an Exceptional Customer Service

A survey conducted by Greenwich states that "India loses around ₹11,640 Crore every year in revenue due to poor customer service." Great customer service is essential for your business's long-term growth.

You should go the extra mile to meet the expectations of your customers and keep them satisfied. This will ensure that such customers keep coming back to you.

Work on Store Optimization

Once you've laid the foundation of your business, the next step is to work on your store optimization. Here are some things that you can do to optimize your store:

  1. Make your store mobile-friendly
  2. Increase the loading speed
  3. Improve your navigation bar
  4. Improvise your search button
  5. Create impressive product pages
  6. Add a section of related items

Keep Updating Your Inventory

It won't take a long time before your existing products start losing their thunder in the market. You need to keep on improvising and adding new products or services to your business to keep it relevant. Offering new and improved products and services from time to time will help you to retain your customers and also attract new ones.


A side hustle is a new trend that everyone seems to like, be it young children from school, college students, or even working professionals. It might seem tough in the beginning but with time, it pays off well both in terms of money and experience. So, it is indeed possible to handle a side hustle alongside your full-time job, college, and social life. All you need is strategic planning and a bit of patience. Thus, deciding to start an eCommerce side hustle is a great first step in itself and once you have set the foundation of your business, it will be ready to fly to newer heights.


Is starting eCommerce as a side hustle profitable?

The eCommerce industry is full of competition, but if you know what the market wants and have a plan in hand, it can be very profitable. However, the profit will depend upon the type of products or services you are selling and also your business model.

  • Amazon
  • Flipkart
  • Myntra
  • Shopify
  • eBay

What can I do as a side hustle?

  • Sell products or services online
  • Teach a subject online
  • Rent out your vehicle
  • Start creating videos on Youtube and Instagram
  • Start a blog

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