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How to Get Started in E-Commerce Without a Loan

How to Get Started in E-Commerce Without a Loan

Deciding to start an e-commerce business is a tough and intimidating decision, particularly when you’ve decided to do so without taking out a loan to help cover the costs of manufacturing, office space, and labor. Although starting your new online company on purely working capital can seem ludicrous, in the long run, it may actually be more profitable. Below, we’ll discuss how entrepreneurs can build a profitable online business without taking out a loan.

Idea Development

Whether you plan to sell tangible products such as office supplies or digital products like SEO services, you will first need to sit down and develop the ideas into a well-organized plan. Keep in mind that idea development isn’t only limited to creating an attractive business model and personality, it is also critical to painstakingly explain the ins and outs of your products or services, including:

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  • Who are your products developed for?
  • How they will improve the lifestyle of your clients and customers?
  • What those products and services will look like, include, and be manufactured of?
  • Who will conduct the manufacturing?
  • How will they be marketed to your customer?
  • How will your customer ultimately purchase these products and services?

Presales

Newly formulated companies with strong presales capabilities have been proven to consistently win 40-50% of potential leads, but how do they do it?

With these higher-than-average sales rates, it’s clear how important presales is to revenue generation. Instead of using a loan to develop a prototype and share it with your target audience, start your presales process by identifying your leads, then do research on what their perfect product or service would be. Use their feedback and your own personal research to adjust the original vision of your products and services. Then, test the idea with tentative designs using computer animation or drawings and solidify the manufacturing specs. Once you’ve drafted this information, share it with your potential clients to get more feedback.

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Overcoming the Fear of Failure

Starting a company with little-to-no financial backing can be extremely intimidating. As such, it’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to have an inherent fear of failure. Overcoming this fear of failure is one of the many hurtles you will leap over as you step into the role of an established entrepreneur. Keep in mind that failure is subjective, and that reasonable clients will always give you the opportunity to correct any mistakes you make along the way. Keep in mind that in order to succeed, you will also fail dismally. Don’t believe us? Take a look at Sir Richard Branson, one of the world’s most influential philanthropists and owner of the Virgin Empire, who was a high school dropout. On the other hand, Warren Buffet was rejected by Harvard University. With these examples before us, it is safe to say that failure is an impassable avenue to success.

Marketing on a Budget

One of the most challenging (though not impossible) aspects of starting an e-commerce business without a loan is finding marketing avenues and tools to spread the word about your brand. Thankfully, the ease of the internet has made it possible to advertise your brand using free tools such as YouTube, social media platforms, your company website, e-commerce software, and more. Because content marketing is such an effective tool, and can be created by entrepreneurs themselves without an investment, it has quickly become one of the most popular marketing avenues today. In addition to content marketing, it is important to network with other businesses in your community, offer rewards for customer referrals, and generate some effective (but budget-friendly) business cards.

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Overall, building an e-commerce businesses without a loan is entirely possible if adequate pre-planning is done. Before launching your product, finalize your idea development and work diligently on presales to ensure your goods and services are needed by your target demographic. Then, overcome the fear associated with launching a new business and begin developing a marketing budget to keep you out of debt and profitable.

Featured photo credit: StartupStockPhotos via pixabay.com

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Kumarpal Shah

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

Bonus:

If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

3. Take meaningful time for yourself

We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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No time for me-time? Try this:

If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

Bonus:

Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

4. Get productive and feel accomplished

Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

Try this:

Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

The bottom line

There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

The only question is — which tip will you try first?

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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