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Starting An Online Home Business E-commerce Store In A weekend (With Less Than $100)

The growth of online shopping and Ecommerce in Australia has been truly astronomical over the past five years. We’ve seen some massive businesses evolve seemingly overnight to become household names, and a lot of them had very humble beginnings. As in a single person with a dream using their bedroom desk, to millions in dollars in yearly revenue.

When we think about these success stories, we often think about the huge leap and massive risk those people must have made though…

The truth is that starting an online store these days requires very very little monetary investment, and with the help of some great new providers out there, you don’t have to be an I.T. genius or computer programmer. Anyone with a morsel of desire and persistence can do it…anyone. It just takes that little bit of thought to think about where you can place yourself comfortably in this continually growing market.

Starting your ‘Ecom’ business though is an idea that could be fraught with confusion and huge feelings of uncertainty. What do you need to setup, what do you need to do first, and what do you even sell?

This 3-part blog series will focus exactly on what steps are required to get going:

  • Creating your store (this blog)
  • Finding out what to sell (our second upcoming blog)
  • Final touches and growing your business (now you are running, let’s grow baby!)

So with a spare weekend and $100 to setup your own store, what are your first steps? It may surprise you how easy it has become in recent times. Even just a few short years back, starting an online store meant:

  • getting a domain name
  • buying hosting
  • purchasing/installing your ecommerce cart
  • setting up payment processing
  • having a web-designer design a theme/brand for your store
  • having a web-developer get your cart up and running, and keeping it that way
  • finding products to import from a an overseas supplier (not as easy as it sounds)
  • warehousing and order fulfillment
  • product returns/customer support
  • etc

 

Quite a workload there for a single person, especially someone new to the space. Before you had made a single sale you are dealing with the costs of hiring designers, developers, initial stock, and the ongoing monthly costs of keeping it all going.

This thankfully has been flipped on it’s head. Using Ecommerce ‘SAAS’ providers, you can now be in the back-end of your own ecommerce store in under 5 minutes…literally.

Step 1: Fill out some basic details, and then…

 

As seen above, filling out a form with basic details and wala, 10 seconds later I now have the base for my store up and running.

Companies like Shopify, Bigcommerce, et-al, have allowed everyday people to set up their storefronts, select products to sell, and start receiving and shipping orders…all in a day’s work.

So that large initial setup list above has been shrunk down into two steps:

    1. Register a domain name for your store/business: ~$10 (can do this second, once your store is setup, and it isnt an absolute requirement – in fact I would recommend doing this second when figuring out what products you would like to sell)
    2. Setup your store with a FREE trial: https://www.bigcommerce.com/pricing/free-trial – $29.95 thereafter.

In fact you could setup free trials at Shopify, BigCommerce and Volusion to see which you like the feel of the most. We can attest though that the crucial factor will come down to you, and not which provider you select.

Ihave worked on both Shopify and BigCommerce stores, and Bigcommerce I am most familiar with, having grown an apparel store to over a million dollars in yearly revenue over the past 12 months:

I also work with a friend on their Shopify account and often at times prefer it’s workflow and interface. Shopify does win out in terms of expanding it’s functionality as it’s ‘app’ marketplace is larger, so will allow more extendability. BigCommerce has more useful features out of the box, and was originally founded by two Aussies from Sydney.

So throughout the rest of this article, we will look at the BigCommerce platform for our examples, as it also allows us to find and sell products seamlessly by connecting with a wholesale marketplace. Which is part of the key starting your store in a no hassle fashion. You don’t even need to know what you are initially going to sell to get your store up, we can figure that out later after all.

So really two simple steps lay ahead, setting up your store, and then browsing for what types of products you would like to sell (in our next installment we will show a great workflow for figuring out what to sell).

Once in the backend we can see all sorts of fantastic themes and templates for your store, and in the spirit of taking things for a test-drive I would recommend using the free themes initially, as they are very good out of the box.

Have a look at some of these to get a feel for the quality of the store you can easily setup.

Very very slick and no computer coding required to make it look fantastic and begin on your journey of building a profitable Ecommerce store.

I love the classic hip theme, so will be using that for the rest of this series.

So what lays ahead now? Firstly we should look at the great tutorials provided in the backend of your store, and get a feel for navigation and layout. Bigcommerce are even nice enough to outline the upcoming steps in setting up the store, but we will also be going in depth into how to find, select, and upload your products into your store.

It’s difficult not to encourage anyone with an entrepreneurial bone in their body to jump at setting up an Ecommerce store. The barriers to entry have thoroughly been smashed, and a little bit of planning and research can set you up either a nice side income, all the way to a fully fledged Ecommerce behemoth superstore. All great endings have humble beginnings!

Now we have a store we can login to and love the look of, next week we will start doing our research into what products we would love to sell, setting up our payments, and then look at the final step of growing our store and earning some revenue!


Stay tuned for part 2, and let’s get your home business up and running!

PS: If you don’t think an Ecommerce store is for you, try our home business matchup. It takes your survey answers and matches you with up to 4 ideal home businesses that are being worked successfully in your area, and helps team you up with the exact people that can make it happen for you locally.

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Amazing Home Business Tax Advantages in Australia

Working from home has become a very popular trend in Australia and across the world as we become more connected than ever. Running home-based businesses can offer you many benefits and rewards which are not available to do who are working traditional jobs, in a traditional work space. You will not only experience improved motivation though being your own boss and positive shifts in your work-life balance, but also some significant financial perks, including the eligibility to claim certain tax deductions. However, in order to fully benefit with these great tax advantages in Australia you need to be informed on what you are able to actually claim as a deduction. In general, the deductible expenses for a home based business are divided between the running expenses and occupancy expenses. If you plan to start working from home or have already ventured on this exciting path, you may know pf some of these tax advantages that apply if your home is your principal place of work or business.

Well known examples of a home as primary place of business include:

  • a dentist or doctor who has their practice at home.
  • a small business operator with the main office is in their home
  • a crafts-person or trades-person who has their workshop at home

In this blog we will look at the ‘main residence exemption’, and the capital gains deductions you can claim if your home is listed as your place of business.

In case that you do only some of your business from home this information is not as relevant to you. Instead in your case tax deductions for a home office are more applicable. For example, in case that your employer has an office in the same city or town where you reside, even if your work requires you to work at home outside normal business hours, your home office is not considered to be a place of business. With that out of the way let’s see what the perks are.

Deductions you can claim

You can claim some of these tax deductions if your home is your place of business or you carry out income-producing work at home and incur expenses in using your home for that purpose:

  • The cost of using room’s utilities, such as electricity and gas, will be apportioned depending on your floor area. In case that the business portion is based on something different than the floor area you will need to document clearly your claim.
  • Decline in value of office equipment and furniture, such as computers, chairs, and desks. In case that you also use some equipment (for example, your computer) for some non-business purposes, you will need to apportion your claim.
  • Business phone costs in case that you use your telephone line at home exclusively for business, including rental and calls costs but not the installation costs. In case that you also use your telephone for private calls, you can only claim a deduction for business calls.
  • Cost of renting or owning the house, including mortgage interest, rent, rates, insurance. You can only claim the portion of these costs that relates to the workshop or the room you use for business, based on the floor area.
  • Decline in value of light fittings, carpets, and curtains.

However, you may not be able to claim a deduction for occupancy expenses in case that your income is focused around personal services income.

Capital gains and the main residence exemption

When you sell your home you can usually ignore a capital gain or loss. This is the ‘main residence exemption’. However, if your home is your principal place of business, you can’t obtain the full main residence exemption but rather just a partial exemption. You can apply the same apportioning process In order to calculate the capital gain. You can use in most cases the following:

  • period you use it for work or business purpose.
  • proportion of the floor area of your home that is used in order to produce income

It is recommended to get a valuation of your home at the time you first start to use it as place of business. By doing this you ensure that when you will sell your house you will not pay more capital gains tax than necessary.

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