14 Dec 5 Lessons I Learned From My First Year as a Full-Time Internet Entrepreneur
I started reselling full-time November of last year (2017). It’s now been a full year, and because I’ve paid my rent and covered all of my expenses for the last 12 months solely from the money I’ve been making on the internet I’ve learned a few things.
It’s been a stressful year to say the least. But as Jay Z famously rapped “And since I made it here I can make it anywhere”. Because I survived my first year, I now have the confidence that I can survive and thrive in stressful situations.
Here’s a list of 5 things that I’ve learned over the past year. By reading and applying some of these points you’ll save yourself a ton of time and energy in your business because these lessons apply to any e-commerce venture.
1. Just Start
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu
The bridge between our current situation, and our desired outcome is made of work and persistence. Making any progress, even if it’s as simple as listing a few things, is infinitely better then doing nothing.
2. Opportunity is Everywhere
Although the news is usually full of doom and gloom about the future, there are actually more opportunities to make money now than ever before. And a lot of these opportunities are thanks to the internet. Here are 4 free to start business ideas that you can do to make money on the internet today:
- Make an Amazon Merch account and upload t shirt designs to the largest marketplace in the world. It’s free to make an account (except it can take a few weeks to get approved), and you’ll get a commission if your design sells. And you don’t need to deal with any customer service or shipping.
- Amazon Kindle Publishing. It used to really hard to get your book published. Before the internet, the few top major publishing houses had all the power, and it was really hard to self-publish. Now self publishing has never been easier (although it’s hard to make money). There are now millions of ebooks on Kindle, so it’s harder to make a lot of money on the platform, but still very possible to break into the market.
- Upwork.com. If you’re a native English speaker then you’re more than qualified to make money by freelance writing! Upwork let’s you apply to 30 jobs per month for free, and takes a percentage of the money that the make in the job. Many people use the fees as an excuse to not use the site, but I made almost $1000 in a couple of months with Upwork. A lot of people request only native English speakers to apply for their jobs, which may put you at an advantage.
- eBay. My favorite site. Even if you’ve never sold anything on eBay you can still make an account for free, and list up to 50 things per month for free. eBay only takes a percantage if your items sells, and there are millions of users so it’s better than posting something on craigslist.
3. Most ideas will make little to no money
The truth is that most things we try will make little to no money. How many different hobbies have you done for a while and then stopped? If you want to find a successful and profitable online hustle then you’re usually going to have to try 5 or more things before you find something you really like and that makes money.
A quote from a Brazilian Ju-Jitsu master gives us a perfect mindset for online business ventures- There’s only winning and learning. Our profitable ventures are obviously personal wins, but the non-profitable projects can be opportunities to learn and improve. Maybe my ebooks fail because I don’t do any target audience research before writing them.
4. It’s a Lonely Marathon
I always mute Youtube video Ads where an internet entrepreneur is talking about how they’ve made $5000 within one month of starting their business! When I used to hear these claims I would get upset. I would think of myself as a failure, and wonder what I was doing wrong. I don’t know if these people really are making that much money that quickly, or it’s a marketing lie, but it doesn’t need to concern me.
I usually follow through with projects, but they take me a lot longer then expected, and that’s ok. It’s only a marathon with myself. Honestly I find that’s it better to not even think of the ‘competition’ in most of my ventures because I’ll get psyched out.
5. Use tools to make your life easier
Man has evolved to use tools to make work easier. I used to manually keep track of the the costs of my inventory, the sale price and shipping price, the fees, and the final net profit. Doing this manually in an Excel spreadsheet took me hours each week.
This year I’ve started to use software to help with my eBay business, and my business has never been more efficient. I used to think that it was good for me to manually look at each item and type this data into the spreadsheet because it made me aware of my profit breakdown. Keeping track of this stuff manually did indeed keep me aware of my profit breakdown, but it also made me obsessive over my numbers, and it took a lot of time each week.
The small extra monthly cost of the software is worth the investment 100 times over. GoDaddyBookkeeping is the software that I use, and it costs less then $10 a month.
I think the internet is the greatest thing to happen to mankind. Thomas Friedman, the author and economist, named his book The World is Flat because economic advancement is now available to the most amount of people ever, thus leveling the competition on the playing field.
The internet is the biggest driving force of this economic opportunity. And I think eBay is the best way to get involved with e-commerce. It’s free to use and there are things around your house or apartment that you can sell.
This past year of full-time internet entreprenurship has been stressful, but the lessons that I’ve learned will invaluable for the rest of my life. Hopefully you can get some benefit from some of these ideas!