Often, when we think about starting an eCommerce business, we tend to worry about where we could get the funds to finance the business. Today, we will learn from Brian Pulliam of BackPlane on how to start an eCommerce business without spending a dime.
Brian spoke to Shopify and this is what he had to say;
What drove you into e-commerce?
Owing to poor posture while sitting in the office, I broke my back and had to go to rehab. There, I learned the importance of good posture. So, given that I am an engineer, I was able to make a product so that I didn’t break my back a second time.
That’ when the idea stuck me! I thought that there could be thousands of people like myself out there who sit in the office all day. Maybe the product could help them too!
How did you find out that people wanted to buy the product?
Well, I did what is called pre-sales. Pre-sales simply means asking people if they would like to buy before you actually make the product. It’s a powerful tactic that goes a long way to minimize financial risk.
So, how did you make the first product?
It was exciting but very difficult at the same time. I knew a few things about posture when I left the rehab. So, when I came home, I simply picked up a hacksaw and started experimenting. In short, the first product was a massive fail! In fact, I remember my first client complaining about migraines after using the product. But I learned from the experience.
What exactly did you learn?
- The significance of pre-sales
- The importance of getting over your failures, and
- The need to focus on products that solve real-life problems
What are some of the biggest challenges you faced?
Convincing people to buy the product was a major challenge, especially when they have to agree to buy before the product is even made. The other one was people complaining that my products aren’t made from fancy materials. But I need to keep costs down, you understand.
How much money are you making?
Currently, I am at about $1,000 in revenue from zero investment. So cool, huh.
What advice do you have for other people who would like to start their e-businesses?
Only two things really;
- Have a customer base and make it easy for them to buy.
- Get a High Risk eCommerce Merchant Account from providers such as eMerchantbroker.com to protect your store.