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Authored by Patrick Foster

The lifestyle of a digital nomad is highly coveted, especially among Millennials. Many of us identify with its appeal: escaping the 9-5, becoming our own boss, living and working wherever we want – provided there is Wi-Fi of course! If you find yourself blocked from online access, it can be a nightmare.

This revolution has proven that it’s possible to have a much more flexible work-life balance, with the aid of just a computer screen and the power of the internet. But becoming a digital nomad is not just an easy way out of doing any real work. As with anything in life, there are pros and cons.

Yes you will be able to live where you want (budget allowing) without set working hours or routines, but to continue making enough money to live, you have to work hard too. It’s not all sitting by the beach sipping cocktails (though there is a bit of that too).

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Pros and Cons of the Digital Nomad Lifestyle

  • Flexibility – you can live and work wherever you want
  • No constricting hours, routines or managers
  • It’s a great way to learn and develop new skills
  • Highly rewarding, if you can sustain it
  • As jobs go, this kind of career isn’t very stable
  • You must take responsibility for making tax payments
  • You have to keep up with the fluctuating digital industry
  • Maintaining a semblance of work-life balance can be challenging

Exploring Ecommerce

Still keen to go for it? Ecommerce is a great choice for building a steady income online, and done right it can be very rewarding both for merchant and customer. It’s not a bad idea to start building up your side business gradually before quitting your job, so you’re not starting from nothing.

The important thing with any ecommerce business is that you care about what you’re selling. Don’t just pick any old thing because you think that’s what you should be selling. You’re going to be spending a lot of time and energy on this, so it’s more pleasant all round if it’s something that interests you.

Start by doing some keyword research using a tool like Keyword Planner, which will help you to get an idea of whether there is a good market for your product of choice. If not, you may struggle to make sales.

Remember that part of what makes a successful ecommerce website is having the right mindset. You should look to constantly optimize your approach based on what you can see is working.

Setting up a Store

Setting yourself up might not take as long as you think, but you do need to explore different set up options to find the one which is right for you.

Building an online store is much easier than it used to be. You can take on the whole process from start to finish, without encountering a single line of code. It all depends on your skill level and how much support you need with the process.

A hosted ecommerce platform takes the stress out of running a store by providing a wealth of support and functionality, so if something goes wrong you have help to get it resolved. If you are already familiar with working with CMS and uploading content, etc. another option is to build your website and simply use an ecommerce app or plugin to give you the functionality you want – aka self-hosted.

Keep Your Customers in Mind

Build your store with your customers in mind. Make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for with intuitive navigation and product filtering options, as well as a search function. Ensure that the checkout process is quick and simple, with no hidden shipping fees that could drive customers away at the last minute.

You should also spend some quality time making sure that your product descriptions and images are top notch – this is crucial as it will form the entire basis of your customers’ purchase decision.

It’s important to recognize that your work is not done once the store is built. Your involvement will be required at all stages – to market the store, to optimize it, to add new products and to implement customer feedback.

How to Manage an Online Store

A large part of marketing an online store successfully is having a solid social media presence. Social media can boost sales, add personality and give your customers the chance to offer feedback. It helps to get the word out there and humanise your brand. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are good choices for ecommerce stores.

Keeping your site up-to-date with fresh content is also a must. Google rankings favor sites that are updated regularly, as they tend to offer more value for users. As well as a product catalog, consider running a blog, allowing user comments – keep it fun and interesting. Be honest and transparent with your audience about who you are and what you’re trying to achieve. They will respond to the authenticity.

Building a following consistently through good customer service, a pleasant user experience, and an engaging online presence is what will help to keep your e-store alive long-term.

Meeting Orders

Wherever you are on your travels, it’s unlikely you will have the time or means to successfully handle the huge task that is order fulfilment. For this reason, many digital nomads choose to work with dropshippers to automate the final steps of the process and ensure that customers safely and promptly receive their purchases.

Whether you pick products up along the way, make them or get them wholesale from a supplier, you can ship them through to a dropshipper who will be able to distribute them for you.

Look for one that is low-cost, reliable and happy to let you apply your own branding. That way, you can focus on the real busy-work of writing, marketing and earning money from your online store.

Don’t Underestimate the Hard Work

It’s important not to underestimate the amount of hard work that goes into being an ecommerce entrepreneur. Becoming a digital nomad is a wonderful ambition, and while it works for some, it’s not for everyone.

You still have to meet your targets to live, and the lure of the beach will always beckon. Think you’ve got this covered? Then go for it!

TO HELP MANAGE & STAY ORGANIZED WITH YOUR ONLINE STORE ↓

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Patrick Foster is an ecommerce entrepreneur, coach & writer. He is currently writing on EcommerceTips.org where he shares engaging ecommerce content for entrepreneurs and business owners.

Follow him on Twitter, or add him on LinkedIn.

    23 Comments

  1. Thanks for the tips.They r helpful.

    • Glad you found the post helpful Gopinath … wishing you all the best in your ecommerce endeavors!

  2. Great post!!! these are very informative and helpful tips to be a digital nomad and to know about the right way to be an online marketer.
    Also including that if a new marketer follows these way and
    work according to your guidelines, I believe that he will be a good online marketer.
    Thanks for sharing this post with us .

    • Glad you found the post helpful Jason! Wishing you all the best in your journey as a digital nomad :)

  3. Helpful post, would also add that dropshipping is tougher than most people think – I’ve met many new dropshippers who gave up after being unable to generate any or minimal profit from their store. A huge problem is because they are selling generic made in China stuff and these Chinese factories have caught on to the dropshipping method and are undercutting all the dropshippers.

    • Thanks for the heads up on dropshipping Chrys – makes sense that the factories would be trying to cut out the middle man and organize everything directly – not so great for those trying to make it in this market though.

      Good to note to stay away from generic goods and try for something original and niched.

      Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the wonderful tips and advice Megan in regards to generating income via e-commerce strategy. I’ll definitely save this for my future reference in case I plan to build my own business. Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work!

    • Glad you found the post interesting and useful Kathleen – if you have any questions along the way feel free to give us a shout :)

  5. Really helpful !

    • Thanks Julie – glad you enjoyed the post :)

  6. The sell of any kind products are depended upon a good services !
    Obviously Keep Your Customers in Mind is the most important factor for your niche business!

    • Absolutely – if you don’t have a customer base, you’re not going to be successful, so definitely the most important consideration :)

  7. Hi Meg Jerrard,
    Great thanks for this huge informative and useful post.
    Now a days income $$ by an eCommerce business is the most smsrt ways. But success is the main fast for eCommerce. I have seen many failure in eCommerce business. :) By the way…great thanks for this amazing tutorial.

    • Glad you found the post informative and helpful Sharon – absolutely, ecommerce is definitely one of the smartest ways to earn an income these days, but it is not without it’s challenges.

      Glad Patrick’s information could help :)

  8. Really nice informative post Patrick.

    In my early days, I also suffer to income from eCommerce. There are over 2 billion digital buyers in 2017 and the number is expected to rise. This information will surely help people to get clear idea about making money through eCommerce.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Jessica – absolutely, I think eCommerce is probably one of the biggest growing markets in today’s global economy, and there’s plenty of room for new players to make their mark and jump onboard.

      Glad you found the post helpful :)

  9. Awesome post ! I hate when people try and portray the lifestyle that you spend your time sat on the beach working with a cocktail. Sorry, but I sit in my apartment (+ sometimes a coffee shop) 8-10 hours a day, working. That’s the reality, but due to this lifestyle I am able to work those hours when I want to, so, get to explore the places I’m staying in.

    • Thanks Mira, glad you enjoyed the post – yes, I agree that it’s frustrating when people over glamorize the lifestyle; I’m the same, I’m at home most of the time, though the perks are the freedom and flexibility to choose your own hours and take off if you would like to :)

  10. Informative post! The digital nomad is a popular one these days, referring to people who work online where their chosen work allows them to do so from anywhere. I am not a huge fan of how ubiquitous it has become, and as with anything, it has its dark sides. By the way, it is really the most important that before making a store, we need to know all about the targeted customer like age, behavior, region, interest etc.

    • Thanks Lisa, I’m glad you enjoyed the post :) And great points on knowing the target customer before you begin a store, yes that’s absolutely important in shaping your business plan / strategy and ultimately your success :)

  11. It’s a great and affordable life if you know how to do it. I’ve been a digital nomad for 10 years.

    • Congrats on living your dream! Yes, tough to break into at the start but once you get on a roll it comes pretty naturally :)

    • Yes everyone can get used to this lifestyle. It not difficult. BTW it was not my dream it just happened.

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