08 September 2022

8 Tips to Help You Turn Selling Online into a Full-time Job

Over the past decade, the growing trend of online shopping in Malaysia has opened up many opportunities for individuals to pursue their passion for selling products online.

For some, this is a hobby and something they enjoy in their spare time. For example, someone who collects items as a hobby can often find they can make a quick profit by reselling their products at a higher price to other enthusiasts.

For others, the opportunity to sell online is often seen as a side hustle or part of a long-term plan to have their own business which they can focus on as a full-time job.

We’ve put together our top tips to help you on your journey of turning online selling into a full-time job.

Test Your Idea

The first stage of selling is having a good understanding of the potential. Selling to family and friends is a great way to gain valuable feedback on your product and also gain inspiration and ideas on how you can improve your offering. With so many factors to consider such as pricing, quality and product selection, selling to those close to you is a great way to start.

During the beginning stages, it’s important not to take negative feedback and criticism badly. It’s normal for business ideas to change regularly especially during the early stages when you are testing the market.

Whenever possible try to make decisions based on data rather than opinions. For example, if you have accurate data to prove that a certain product is selling well online this is more valuable than someone’s opinion on if they think your product will sell.

Create a Budget

How you manage your funds is by far the most crucial factor in any business. If you consider most businesses fail due to bad cash flow, the importance of having a budget is vital to the growth and long-term success.

If selling products online is part of a side hustle alongside your full-time job, it’s important to have a good understanding of how much of your salary you can afford to invest each month. 

Having a separate bank account for your online sales is a great way to monitor your progress and this will also help you to keep your expenses separate from your personal spending.

Identify a Niche Audience

If you are new to selling online and are planning to test a new idea or product, its often best to focus on a particular audience first. For example: If you plan to sell bags online, with so many types of bags and different audiences you may find that your target audience is too broad. Investing in stock and managing an inventory will also become more complex, the more products you are selling.

For example, if your plan is to sell bags, instead of selling a wide range of bags for women, kids, and men you could focus on a Niche audience such as:

Men’s Laptop Bag

Children’s School Rucksack

By starting small and building your business in this manner you can find which products and audiences are working best for you and then build your business from there.

As tempting as it seems, don’t feel that you need to have a very wide range of products in order to be successful. There are many online sellers who are selling large quantities of only one product online. 

Find a Support System

Taking the step to become a full-time business owner is most likely going to be one of the biggest decisions you make in your career. Having a circle of friends or family members who have experience in owning and running a business will give you great insight and also give you a support structure to seek advice and tips when you need to.

As well as family and friends you may also want to look out for mentorship programs where you can seek advice and share your progress and goals with someone more experienced. 

Things such as online marketing and social media will both play an important part in creating awareness for your brand and product range as well as helping you to build a loyal following. The good news is there are plenty of online resources which can help you to gain skills and knowledge in these areas which you can build on as you go along.

Learn from Others

There are many inspiring stories of individuals who have left their full-time jobs to become business owners. Although everyone’s story and circumstances are different you can usually take some inspiration from each one.

If for example, you are starting your business on a small budget, look for success stories of others who did the same. These tips could be valuable to you and avoid you from making mistakes.

Look for a Good Competitive Advantage 

Having a competitive advantage over other businesses will allow you to differentiate and scale your business faster. Becoming an exclusive distributor for a product is a great way of having this advantage as it means you are not competing with other sellers online. This will also allow you to find a price point that works for you without worrying about others selling the same product cheaper.

Another competitive advantage to consider is your “Location”. If someone is shopping online for a product they are more likely to choose a seller who is located within close proximity to them. This is mostly due to the speed of delivery but also an important factor is the shipping cost.

If you consider the cost of shipping your product from Kuala Lumpur to a customer in Johor may be RM5.00, The same product shipped to a customer in Sarawak may be RM15.00. 

This means those selling the same or similar products in Sarawak will have a competitive advantage over you as they will be able to sell with lower shipping costs.

Look at where you can use this to your advantage over your competitors by offering things such “Same Day Dispatch” or “Free Shipping” for purchases made by customers in local city.

Adjust Your Priorities

If like many beginners, you are working a day job while selling online in your spare time, it’s important to create a strict schedule where you can focus on carrying out key tasks in order to keep your online sales flowing. 

As simple as they may seem tasks like checking emails, updating order status, dropping packages to the courier and replying to customers’ enquiries can all take up a large amount of your time and delays in completing these tasks can have a big impact on the growth and long term success of your business.

Dedicating a few hours every morning and evening to make sure all the tasks have been completed will keep your online sales running smoothly. 

Being able to prioritize tasks and stick to a schedule early on in your business will also provide you with key skills which will benefit you in the future should you expand into running your business full time.

Build Customer Loyalty

When selling products online, a customer who returns to purchase your product again is a great sign to know if you are on the right track.

As well as providing fast responses to enquiries and great value in your products there are a few things you can do to build a loyal customer base and ensure your customers come back to purchase again and again

Here are a few of our recommendations:

  • Ask customers for feedback. By doing this you are showing customers that you care about their opinions.
  • Encourage customers to spread the word. Recommendations through word of mouth are proven to be the most effective way of gaining new customers and with the help of social media even a share or page follow from a customer brings to your business.
  • Be professional. During the early stages of selling online, it’s nice to see your customers as friends, but as your business grows it’s impossible to do so. We recommend having a good customer service policy in place from the beginning, along with some well-written email templates which can be used to reply to enquiries and requests.

Interested in selling products online but not sure what to sell? Check out https://merchant.vodus.my/resources/36/top-trending-products-to-sell-online-in-malaysia to find out our list of top trending products being sold online in Malaysia