Once an ecommerce hustle becomes Actual

I have been speaking with many budding ecommerce entrepreneurs recently. A major question I am asked is along the lines of”when is it time to quit your day job and concentrate on your side hustle?”

The solution differs for everybody. In this post, I will explain how it happened for me.

I wanted to become an entrepreneur. In a previous post I chronicled my trip to founding Fringe Sport. I started the business out of my garage at 2010 and attained a few million dollars in earnings in the past couple of months of the year. The following year, 2011, revenue was about $100,000.

However, $25,000 of the $100,000 arrived in 1 weekend: Black Friday to Cyber Monday. Back then, my co-founder and I were both working normal jobs, eking out time for Fringe Sport whenever we could — on weekends, evenings, and even lunch breaks.

When Black Friday 2011 gathered around, we proposed a sale on the internet and, too, locally (in Austin, Texas). We did not know what to expect. But we knew it was a big weekend for shopping. We put up the sale on the Shopify website and decided to expand it to our regional clients, servicing them straight out of our (tiny) rented warehouse.

When we showed up that Friday morning to our warehouse, we were locked out. Our landlord had rented it to a group for the weekend to shoot a music video. He did not tell us!

 

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We banged on the door and got the ring to stop recording for thirty minutes. We dragged as much material from the warehouse as we can, and waited.

Thirty minutes after we started, an elderly Volkswagen came rolling up. I believe it was a Jetta. Three individuals stepped out. We must have looked like a swap meet, with the majority of our inventory strewn around the parking lot of our warehouse. Nevertheless, they purchased our goods (exercise weight plates) anyway.

These three people kept coming back during the day, loading up the Jetta, and driving away with our plates. They cleared us out. And, finally, we had to turn off a few other regional shoppers.

However, what happened that weekend finally confirmed for me that what we had been constructing matched what customers wanted. Ahead of the weekend, I didn’t feel we’d market validation — we hadn’t achieved merchandise and market match. However, the fact that we can generate $25,000 in earnings in 1 weekend — and because I saw and spoke with our regional clients — helped me to affirm the vision what we were building was”real.”

I spent the remainder of 2011 and ancient 2012 speaking with my wife, getting my personal finances in order, and lining up my death with my company, who didn’t understand about my side hustle. I wanted to make sure my employer would be impacted as little as possible by my leaving.

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Quitting my job was a massive step to legitimizing my new firm. My gross salary from my employer was bigger than the whole earnings of Fringe Sport — not to mention perks, bonuses, healthcare, and other benefits, in addition to leaving a wonderful company and a terrific team.

However, I was 30 years old. I had wanted to start my own business because I was a child. I needed to place 100 percent of my effort into Fringe Sport. Even though it failed, at least I’d have given my all.

I also looked at the dangers. I reasoned that if Fringe Sport failed, I’d clean up the mess and get another high paying trade job. It was much better to try at age 30 than at age 40 or 50.

Next month, I will write about my three major mistakes in this transition.