How to apply advice from a well-known author, investor and speaker to your own eCommerce business? Here are some real-life tips you can do today to make your business (and life) more holistic and fulfilling.
I suppose you know who Tim Ferriss is. Despite the fact that today the world is experiencing a second massive wave of inspirational books on business, motivation, time management and entrepreneurship, despite significant criticism towards such kind of literature, Tim is mostly loved and respected by the crowds. The reason is simple: his methods can work. Or, if to be precise, they work for a bigger percentage of people than we could expect from a business-and-life book.
Another reason is that his advice can be applied to virtually any sphere of life or business. Some of the things he’s saying in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, are illustrated by examples from his own life, and at this point they stop sounding too general or illusive.
Today we’ll go through some ideas ofThe 4-Hour Workweek and see how these tips can be used to reinvent your small e-commerce business.
Tim insists you should do things as soon as the idea and desire to do this come to you. The issue of ‘someday’ is tricky; sometimes the reasons not to do it today may even sound reasonable.
The thing is, reality doesn’t offer ideal circumstances to us, and if they look or seem ideal at some point, it doesn’t mean they actually are. We just don’t see or understand the big picture or details.
And when you come to a point that no time is ideal for doing something, you see that doing it now is a brilliant idea.
If you want to implement a new business process, to start selling some new products, to run an experimental promotion, to change the website layout, whatever, do it now.
Here are the common false-reasonable excuses that may come up in your head, busted:
There won’t be any better time for A/B testing your product page, finally adjusting your shipping rates or implementing a loyalty program. Now is the perfect time.
The philosophy is quite simple; it implies a double aim.
Your store must bring you money every day so you could pay all the expenses and taxes and get your profit as well.
Secondly, you should think about a bigger aim, something more than just enough daily cash flow. This big payday could be anything: selling your store and getting money, being acquired, certain burst in sales and revenue, becoming famous via a viral effect, and anything you actually want for your business.
And to achieve the double aim, your efforts should flow in two directions.
And when it comes to time, everybody has 24 hours a day, and the payoff vary from what you’re doing with this limited resource.
But the dollar can cost a whole difference. Its price depends on currency rates, living costs, the money you have and the amount of money flowing around you (other businesses and people and economy in general).
You’ve probably read those amazing stories on how this or that e-commerce startup earned 3M in a year (quarter, month, whatever). And this is complete nonsense to apply those numbers to your business. The revenue should be always counted in with a number of other parameters, such as: the money that were invested, the number of people actually getting the final earnings, the cost of living and having business in the area, etc.
Tim talks a lot about living in less expensive areas. The same can be applied to e-commerce business with great success, and this is what big companies are doing, hiring people all over the world. A small business can do this, too!
E-commerce business implies online marketing, which changes and grows rapidly. Successful strategies are shared and then accepted as common in a couple of months, if not weeks.
It’s good if you are aware of the main tendencies, best methods and new ideas in this field, but the problem is: your competitors do it exactly the same, reading the same e-commerce blogs and applying the same strategies.
And if you feel like you can’t offer more than others, it’s time to forget about the rules and try something new.
Invent your own ways, be it customer care, sales, marketing, partnership, business processes or packaging.
Of course, nobody will tell you if this going to work, and the only way to find out is to experiment (and yes, it requires time and effort, and sometimes money).
But investing into something nobody does can bring you more than everybody gets.
Buffer’s radical transparency has been accepted as a controversial idea a couple at first. Look at where they are now. Of course, their success is not just about publishing salaries, but this brand feature played a huge role in their market establishment.
Collect your ideas and start trying them today. Some will work, some won’t, but this is the only way to achieve new heights.
You can have success with short blog posts (despite the fact that people love longreads), radical customer care policies (Warby Parker’s home try-on with prepaid return labels sounds like a waste of money to many of my friends who work in retail), site design that doesn’t look like the most stores in your niche, with experiments for your AdWords campaign that will make a typical PPC specialist turn grey – and when it works, it doesn’t matter.
To cut the long story short, each great thing was someday invented and done for the first time, and by being the inventor, you are going to take the cream while you’re the first and single one to do it.
As Tim says, different is better when it is more effective or more fun.
The Pareto principle states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
Parkinson's law says that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
It sounds too simple at first, but the reason why it’s repeated so often is that people are afraid of letting things go.
Reducing activities that aren’t effective or are not sufficiently effective is OK. You don’t have to run an Instagram account for your shop just because you were told to do so by a marketing guru. Banners aren’t working for you? Drop it. Yes, you’ve spent time and effort to work on them, but now it’s time to stop, or you’ll lose even more.
To wrap this up, I would like to say that many of you can feel insecure to step outside the comfort zone. As any other business, e-commerce is never a comfort zone. But Tim has a good point: