Why Now is the Perfect Time to Start an eCommerce Side Gig

There is a huge opportunity emerging in the eCommerce space. It is easy and cheap to enter the online marketplace and sell goods online.
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There is a huge opportunity emerging in the eCommerce space.

You might have noticed that people aren’t going out as much to shop, and this has been a huge boost to major online shopping platforms like Amazon. Many other retailers who offer online options (like Tesco and Walmart) have seen a huge boost in their online sales since 2020 began, due largely to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns.

While the lockdowns will come to an end at some point, there is every reason to think that the trend toward eCommerce will continue for a long time. People under 40 years old adore tech and shopping from some sort of electronic device.

It might be surprising to learn that starting up your own eCommerce side-gig is very easy. Platforms like Shopify make online sales easy, and you can sell just about anything you like. There are also opportunities with platforms like Amazon and eBay, both of which are widely used, and simple to operate.

The eCommerce Side Hustle

You might be thinking…but I already have a job!

The good news is that it is so easy and inexpensive to start up an online side gig that you can do it in your spare time. Many people use their online eCommerce side hustle to explore an area they are passionate about, as most people aren’t in love with their full time job.

If you want to sell physical products, there are a few ways to go. The easiest way to start selling right away is to use a dropshipping service, and use your eCommerce portal to market goods from another company.

Dropshipping Makes Selling Online Easy

There are a lot of options if you want to get into dropshipping. The most popular option on Shopify is Oberlo, which has been owned by Shopify since 2017. You can read a full review of the platform by clicking here.

In short, all you have to do is open a Shopify account, and add Oberlo to your new eCommerce store. Once you do that, you can choose products to sell from its extensive catalog, and then you will make a profit every time something sells from your store.

Aside from choosing and marketing the products, you don’t have to do much, which makes a dropshipping eCommerce store a great option for anyone who has limited time. On the downside, anyone can do this, so you will have to find a good angle to drive sales.

Oberlo Homepage
Oberlo Homepage

If you have an interest in a specific kind of product, say sunglasses or some other kind of accessory, you can create a webstore that specifically features sunglasses with unique reviews and your own opinions about the style and build quality.

This kind of selling model works for just about any kind of product, and you will be able to create content passionately if you love the products!

Be a Maker

Marketing your own products has never been easier. There are ways to use established platforms, like Etsy or eBay if you like to make artisanal products, and you can work towards having your own business.

The good part about being a maker is that you can choose when you work, and what you produce. Maybe you like to make small batch clothing, well…selling on etsy, or using Shopify to sell your products is a good way to make extra money, and start building a brand.

Etsy Homepage
Etsy Homepage

Just take a look at all the things you can buy on etsy and you will see that there are loads of niche markets for almost any kind of product. If you don’t want to deal with physical products, and just do design work, there are also print-on-demand platforms to consider.

POD Makes Selling Custom Printed Goods a Snap

Print-On-Demand (POD) platforms like Printify (there are others as well, like Printful) allow you to create your own designs and then apply those designs to a multitude of products. You can sell t-shirts, mugs, and loads of customizable products, and you don’t have to invest anything but your time to get started.

Printify Homepage
Printify Homepage

Much in the same way that a dropshipper takes care of everything for you, a POD platform will handle the printing and delivery, and all you have to do is deal with the designs, and decide how much you want to charge for the products.

One of the biggest advantages that POD offers to sellers is that the products will be 100% unique. While dropshipping services offer the same products to anyone, POD services let you sell your designs, which will be unique to your store.

Amazon and eBay Offer a Huge Audience

Some people may not want to deal with building up a client base from zero. There is no doubt that it takes time to market your online sales portal, and this may not be a good fit for everyone.

You may not understand how easy it is to sell items on Amazon, or use eBay to tap into existing markets. eBay offers you a global presence, and also has loads of people who don’t mind taking a risk on used goods, as long as the descriptions are truthful.

If you have a lot of stuff sitting around you home that you no longer want…start selling it on eBay!

You might be surprised at how much fun it is to watch bids come in on your old items, and you will be banking cash on every sale. You can also look around at yard and boot sales for cheap goods, which you can then market on your weekends.

If you live in the US, UK, or Western Europe, Amazon should be on your side-hustle radar. Selling with Amazon isn’t going to be as cheap as some of the other options in this article, but it does have the advantage of leveraging the popularity of the world’s largest portal for online consumer goods.

There are many ways to use Amazon to sell your goods, regardless of whether you are making them yourself or re-marketing goods, you buy from a third-party. Amazon has an amazing logistics network, and it also is a go-to source for many online shoppers.

Driving Traffic to Your eCommerce Portal

One of the most difficult things for any website is attracting attention, and eCommerce sites are no exception. If you want people to buy your products, you will need to have a plan.

The first place to start is learning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

If you are new to creating websites, SEO is a way of creating content so that Google ranks it well in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Niche products and markets have a big advantage, as people who want to buy specific products are far more likely to use certain search terms.

For example, when someone looks for ‘men shirt’, your new eCommerce site isn’t likely to rank. However, if you sell something like ‘punk t shirt anarchist’, you would be far more likely to rank on the first or second SERP.

Knowing how to best use SEO will not only allow your potential clients to find your products, it will also help you boost your brand awareness to people who may not have known about your products in the first place.

Other Ways to Promote Your Side Hustle

Depending on what you decide to sell, there may be places online where you can use a little bit of time, and gain a lot of brand awareness. If you sell a niche product these ideas are probably going to be more effective, but it doesn’t hurt to learn a little bit about internet marketing!

  • Look for Groups – There are loads of groups out there for just about any area of interest. Facebook is a popular venue for promoting eCommerce platforms, and many groups will allow you to promote your business. There are also forums that may work as a way to gain some attention, just be sure to check with the mods before you start advertising!
  • Do Giveaways – People love winning free stuff. If you make your own products, chances are that your profit margins are pretty good. It may be cheaper to just give away some of your goods on a forum or Facebook group, and get people talking about what you are selling. Be sure to get contact info as part of the contest, so you can promote new offers directly in the future.

Cross-Promote on Social Media

SEO was a big deal when you could just dump a bunch of keywords in an article, but today, social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, as well as YouTube (maybe isn’t technically social media…) play a big role in what Google ranks, and also how people share what they love.

If you have some extra time on your hands, all of these platforms give you inexpensive ways to build brand awareness, and potentially attract clients to you sales funnel.

The approach you take to selling goods or services online will be based on what you have to sell, and how much time and money you want to sink into a side-hustle. Like anything, the more you promote your eCommerce portal, the more likely you are to win new customers.

One thing is for sure in this world, eCommerce isn’t going anywhere. As the recent lockdowns showed us, when it all falls apart, the internet becomes the best way to connect with people and get the goods we both need and want.

You can take advantage of what is likely a generational trend, and start an eCommerce business!


Nicholas is an experienced Finance Journalist who has written for a number of prominent online publications. He grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan with a father that would read him the Wall St. Journal along side of other bed-time fare. He has traveled extensively, and been lucky enough to study a changing global economy in person. Nicholas spent many years in the Southern Cone of South America, sometimes in the middle of the countryside where livestock starts its journey to all points of the globe. Today he is thoroughly bemused with the stance that Central Banks have taken in the wake of the 2008 meltdown. There is no telling what will come out of the global financial system next, but he is glad that he lives somewhere that gold can be bought and sold readily!

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