6 Entrepreneurs Share Words of Wisdom to Those Scared to Start Selling Online

By now, you’ve probably heard that studies show that e-commerce is driving nearly all retail growth in the US, and 1 in 20 retail dollars are already online.

This is great news if you’re already selling online. If you’re not there yet, it may seem daunting to get started. To help inspire you, we’ve compiled tips from entrepreneurs, just like you.

1. Find a niche:

“Take your time and find a niche. Don’t try and be a generalist.” –CreateYourWoodSign.com

CreateYourWoodSign.com is a family owned business that has been selling signs online since 2008.  They’ve research their niche carefully, and listened to their customers. This has led them to creating a tremendous number of signs – over 5,000 and counting!


2. Find a mentor:

“Find someone who has been successful and repeat what they’ve done in your own niche.  eCommerce can be a vicious market. You want to find a mentor that you can talk to, learn from them and model their success.” – Greg Witters, In Demand Toys

In Demand Toys has been selling online for 12 years, and they ship toys all over the world.  Toys are a competitive niche, but they’ve set themselves apart by carrying the most popular and hard to find toys, and they have incredible customer service.


3. Be Aware:

“I used to think that the person on the other end of the computer was likeminded and similar to me. I’ve learned that isn’t the case. There are scammers, but there are also a lot of great customers out there.  You need to keep your eyes open for both.” – Jeff Sanborn, Sound Barrier

Sound Barrier has been selling on eBay since 1996. Considering that eBay got started in late 1995, that makes Jeff one of the early pioneers of eBay.  His business has grown tremendously and he sells unique products ranging from snowboards to stickers.


4. Know your audience:

“Knowing your product(s) and how to best promote on various platforms to reach your target market are vital.” – SlipDoctors.com

SlipDoctors.com listens to their customers and creates products focused on floor safety in homes and businesses. Their vast product line has led them to creating numerous websites that are tailored to each audience. If you need a bath mat or tub adhesive, you’ll find it on their site, tushiesandtoes.com.  But if you need an ADA approved grab bar, you’ll order it on ada-grab-bars.com .


5. Use Software:

“I always tell small businesses that are in a similar position to where we were a few years ago to hire software, not another employee.” – Mike Wilson, Sunbelt Products and Deal Dreaming

Sunbelt Products and Deal Dreaming is a 2-year-old company that is on pace to do $2.4 million in sales this year. You may think it would take a large team to accomplish this, but Mike has managed everything from inventory to picking and packing with 3 people, and using software. “My only wish is that I would have launched both systems [ShipWorks and SkuVault] earlier and that would likely have caused us to grow even faster.” 


6. Get started:

“Don’t be scared, dive in.”  – Andrew Tjernlund, Tjernlund Products

These words of wisdom are from Tjernlund Products. They started selling only through wholesale and brick and mortar stores, but now they’ve diversified and sell directly to customers. They now sell more SKUs than before, and they’re recognized as a leader in the exhaust, ventilation and heating/cooling market.


Are you selling online? Do you have another pointer to share? If so, join us on Google+ and share your experience.