Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Money Makers: E-commerce

During COVID stay-at-home orders, families spent more time together than many of them had spent together in years. Thanks to busy lives and jobs, many families simply don’t spend enough quality time together. Many families found that they enjoyed spending more time with each other when work, school, children’s activities, and social plans were cancelled, and many parents would like to be able to continue spending more time with their children.
I had a chance to interview Scott Bartnick, the founder of the Five-Day Startup, about how parents can stay home and run an eCommerce business?

What makes E-commerce a good option for many people?
First, we need to define what e-commerce is. E-commerce is the process of buying and selling anything over the internet. In a sense, -commerce is just simplicity. A customer can buy your product from anywhere in the world so it's a product or a service. And the advantage of e-commerce is that it is so convenient. Amazon is e-commerce; where you can shop for almost anything, when you need it, and wherever you need it—as early as next day shipping. That's why companies like Amazon are so successful. The advantage for the e-commerce seller is that they don't have to be at an actual point of sale. In that manner, there is no need for brick and mortar stores. The schedule of the buyer and the seller is set by their individual clock, in any time zone, across the globe. Often, you don't need any overhead, or things set up, so, with these services, there is no overhead, nor is there with drop shipping. I never even owned the inventory, so it's really quite an advantage if you can set up a working model.

That's kind of where the trick comes in, is finding out what's going to work for you and your timeframe, and then you go from there. So, there's a perfect tie in to how can people choose the correct model for their needs.

And how can people choose the correct model for their needs?
The biggest concerns are finances and time. If you have limited finances, you're going to have to do a service-based approach.

Can they do SEO consulting, small business consulting, and social media consulting?
Yes. Development, and copywriting. Blogging is a big one. Everyone's always looking for good writers. You can be a virtual assistant, or affiliate marketing, which is always a fun one, also. Then, as I mentioned, drop shipping. That's not a service; that’s more product-based model, but that does not take money. The other model is for people who have more money and would like to invest in a product, which is where I do about half of my revenue. And that's where you actually have several models.

There's drop shipping, which again, you don't really need much money. There is also the private label product model, which is mostly what I do. And then you have retail arbitrage, which is basically, buying local products, then selling them at profit online. I always coach that private label has the largest uptime. And that's where you're creating your brand around this product. So, the advantage of this is, while it's a little bit of upfront work, once you do that, the products continue to sell—potentially forever. Product lines that I've set up four years ago are still making me a fair amount of revenue and profit. So, if you have the finances, I would push someone into profit-based private label, and if you don't have the finances, then you need to start off with a service-based model, because you won't really have an option.

What are some common obstacles that people should be aware of?
I think the biggest obstacle is knowledge. When you first start off, there's so much to learn, so many easy ways to get scammed, or to make mistakes. What I really consult on is to pick one thing at a time and become very good at it. It's pretty clear that you're going to need a website for whatever you do, so maybe start off creating websites and take two three months to really learn how to do that. Then, offer that as a service for the first couple months. That way, you've learned a very valuable skill that you're going to need, which you can then add as a service. In short time, you can sell a couple of websites, and then go on to what you actually want to do. It's a cool way to learn and stay focused. Tools such as CRM (customer relationship management) and email marketing, add complexity, and it becomes a huge barrier to entry for beginners.

Another big obstacle is obviously the finances. First, you're going to start doing every part of your business by yourself. We call that bootstrapping, where you're just kind of working one step at a time, making sure you can make ends meet, doing your own accounting, things of that nature. With good fortune and hard work, you will eventually be able to invest more into the business. That's when you're able to hire good help to take care of certain things for you. Unless you are an accountant, you shouldn't really have to worry about your doing your own accounting. You should be able to just hire someone to do that. It takes a lot of stress and time away from the areas where you can actually add value. That’s really what you focus on— the 80/20 rule. And you definitely want to focus on what you can give back to people and how you can help them. I hope that helps.

Scott Bartnick is a strong professional leader with a degree in industrial and systems engineering, specializing in sales and e-commerce consulting. Scott is a serial entrepreneur, published author, and successful business owner. He has extensive and diverse experience with Amazon consulting, management, operational excellence, public relations, sales, and marketing.
Bartnick works with large corporations to create new sales channels, improve operational expenses, and product quality. He is also responsible for projects that have saved his clients over $7M a year. Bartnick continues his career in eCommerce and public relations.
Connect with Scott Bartnick on LinkedIn at
Follow Scott Bartnick on Instagram at @foundscott
Watch Scott Bartnick on YouTube at
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