The Beginner’s Guide to e-Commerce

In the current economic climate where employment opportunities can be scarce at best establishing a small business can seem like a tempting proposition. Being self-employed can free an individual from the endless process of job hunting and provide much desired independence.

However, establishing a business is not as straightforward as some may presume. There is a lot more involved in creating and managing a business than may at first be imagined. The owner of the company is not only responsible for day to day operations but also for managing the business itself.

A working business idea

In many respects coming up with a working business idea can be the most difficult part of establishing a new business. The majority of entrepreneurs approach this problem from one of two very different directions: having a business idea and creating a business based upon it or simply having the desire to create a business with a working business idea yet to be created.

Either way, caution should be exercised. In the first instance the prospective entrepreneur must ensure that there is a market for the business and that they do not simply press ahead with the idea based upon passion and emotion. This would be a sure route to failure.

In the second instance the prospective entrepreneur should ensure that the business idea that is adopted is of course viable but they should also ensure that they have sufficient knowledge and enthusiasm for the product. This is essential to succeed.

The basics of e-commerce

Once the newly established business has a product with which it can proceed, the next challenge is to create the infrastructure necessary to sell the product. This generally starts with a website. For more sound business cases this may involve designing and building a professional website or having one created on the business’ behalf.

ecommerce basics
ECommerce 101

If the desire is to simply test the water before committing significant resources many companies have found eBay to be a good starting point. Products can be advertised and sold on eBay for minimum investment and maximum return.

Of course the business should ensure that it has sufficient stock to be able to sell to clients, whether using eBay or a professional website. Moreover, the business should consider supplies of consumables including cardboard boxes, jiffy bags and other packaging. The business should also consider the creation of address labels, packing slips and invoices.

Business development

It is always a fine balance between failing to take advantage of a market and overreaching too soon. The business should be ready to take full advantage of the market if it is available and the sale of the product is successful.

However, the business should also ensure that the infrastructure is in place to support this expansion to prevent overreaching. The company should aim to expand progressively in a controlled and calculated manner. By doing so, the owner of the company can ensure continued success and this will allow the business to grow naturally.

Working at Home – Know Your Stuff and Avoid the Scams

Having the opportunity to work from home is a dream for many people. Some people choose remote working as a way to earn a little extra money while looking after their kids, while others opt to work from home so that they can avoid the daily commute, or just structure their work day a little differently to the average 9-5 job.

Because remote working is so popular, this has led to a lot of scams job advertisements cropping up. Job sites do their best to try to remove the scams, but it can be difficult for them to stay on top of the sheer number of job postings that are submitted. If you want to avoid dodgy work-at-home advertisements, try the following tips.

work at home

Remember That Real Jobs Don’t Cost Money

If a job posting asks you to pay money up front, steer clear of it. A real employer would not charge money for training materials or equipment. Never hand over cash when you apply for a work-at-home job. You won’t see that money again.

Don’t Expect to Get Rich

Avoid listings that promise good incomes for part-time hours. Those listings are almost always pyramid schemes, MLM, or something similar. Work at home jobs are still jobs, and you’ll have to put in real work to earn real money.

Read the Advertisement Carefully

Before you apply for any remote working job, make sure you understand exactly how it will work. Many jobs work on a commission basis, or a revenue sharing basis. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re a scam, but it does mean that your income isn’t guaranteed. If you need a fixed income to pay the bills, be careful applying for commission related jobs.

Common Scams to Avoid

Until recently, assembly related jobs were a common work-from-home offering. These jobs tend to require fiddly, difficult assembly work. You can expect to work long hours to meet your targets, and will then have a sample of your work quality tested. If any of your work fails the test, you won’t get paid for that batch. ┬áHome assembly jobs might sound nice, but you’ll probably do a lot of work for very little money.

Another common remote working scam is data entry. While fast typists can do very well financially from real data entry jobs, in the work-at-home world, data entry is a euphemism for posting spam advertisements on forums and job boards. Your income (if you get any) will probably come from scamming other people into paying to buy the “data entry” start-up kit that you just purchased yourself.

Finding Real Work-at-Home Jobs

The best way to approach the work from home job hunt is not to look for jobs that advertise themselves as “Work from Home”. Instead, treat it like a normal job hunt. Figure out what your marketable skills are, and look for jobs in those areas. Jobs such as tech support, public relations, accounting, and software development all support working from home these days. Look for jobs with well known, reputable employers, and negotiate remote working with them if you want to avoid scammers.

About the Author: This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Maintel the remote working experts.

Image: Eric__I_E / Flickr

Are Self-Employment Opportunities on the Rise?

Chances are you know someone that is self-employed. In fact, you may even work from home. Whether it’s a career in freelance writing or selling items on eBay, there are a number of jobs to be had. Of course, many of these jobs have been available for the past decade. Still, people can’t help but wonder if self-employment jobs are on the rise and if so, why?

The Numbers

In the fall of 2011, self-employment hit a record high of 41.4 million, which added up to an 8% rise since spring 2008. While this sounds like a huge increase, the truth is these jobs may not be what people expect.

Why Are People Turning to Self-Employment?

The truth is many people aren’t turning to self-employment as a career per say, but as a way to simply make ends meet. It is estimated that people working odd jobs, equaling less than 30 hours per week, accounted for 89% of the recent rise. These people are those that were left unemployed due to a bad economy and want to avoid unemployment. In other words, they may be working these jobs, while also looking for another job. States like Delaware have even made the idea of self-employment more enticing by offering a weekly allowance to help unemployed individuals start their own small business. Of course, the unemployed aren’t the only ones looking at self-employment. Companies are actively seeking contract employees to fill positions. A number of large media businesses actually let employees go in favor of freelance employees as a way to save on the costs of benefits, unemployment and taxes.

What Jobs Are People Doing?

There are a number of self-employment jobs to be had. Those that are doing odd jobs to make ends meet may be cleaning homes, doing landscaping or handyman work. Those that are serious about self-employment may be working as freelance writers, website creators, online sellers or even professional bloggers.

The clear answer is that yes self-employment is on the rise. However, in many cases this isn’t because the person wants to be self-employed. In most cases, due to the poor economy and massive layoffs, people often don’t have a choice. This usually means taking on odd jobs to make ends meet, while looking for a more permanent solution. Unfortunately, in today’s economy, these odd jobs may soon become the only source of income for those that are out of work.

About the Author: Enrique Maden is a small business owner who enjoys working from a virtual office set up in his home. He was one of many left unemployed after his company closed and is now making it on his own.

Make a Vending Machine Investment Work for You

A vending machine can be a wonderful investment. The initial investment is much smaller than most other retail opportunities, and the business requires minimal work and ongoing capital. Considering the around-the-clock earning potential without any staff on hand, there are plenty of chances to earn profits. With a little bit of planning, a little bit of work and a little bit of gumption, there’s no reason that this investment can’t work wonders for your pocketbook. Whether you want some extra cash on the side or a whole new career, the following information should help you achieve your investment goals and make a vending business work for you.

Choose products and locations wisely

Spend time researching which products will sell and where the most opportune locations are so that you can make ongoing investments work just as well as the initial investment. The right products can make impressive profits without any effort on your part, but the wrong products can sit there until they are outdated and have to be thrown out, taking up space that could have been used for something profitable. With the wrong location, no one could see your products in the first place.

vending machines
Vending machines

Keep your income passive

One of the best things about vending machines is that they don’t require any staff to continuously sell products. As long as you are able to perform all the primary functions of your vending business without any paid assistance, you will be earning passive income, which provides returns on your investment even when you’re not thinking about it. The work of maintaining your fleet of vending machines should never be more than you and your family can handle; that way, you can spend your time doing what you please as your machines are making money for you.

Never invest more than you can afford

As long as you only invest what you can afford to spend out of pocket, you will never have to worry about your vending machines becoming unprofitable. There will be times when your vending machines aren’t earning money, but with careful planning the slow times won’t put a dent in your financial plan. Vending machines have incredible potential to earn returns on your investment as long as you keep the investments minimal. Once you start borrowing more than you can afford to quickly pay back, though, you begin to go down a slippery slope.

Joseph is a great writer and he especially enjoys writing about business. To learn more about Vending Machine please visit

Image: vincentsl / Flickr