Do you think online side hustles can be a reliable source of extra income? Today, we’re discussing this question with an aspiring e-commerce business owner: her story is an inspiration to us all!
Hi, please introduce yourself!
Hi, I’m Cleopatra Barovbe, 34 years old, from London, United Kingdom. I am a lawyer by profession with tons of hobbies: watching movies, listening to music, swimming, cycling, writing, traveling, and doing business. Even though I studied law, I have a very strong experience in retail: I’ve worked in retail for over 9 years. I also had a chance to run my own business back in 2013. It was a fashion store, so for over 2 years, I was selling clothes.
Having such an experience, why did you decide to try online side hustles this time?
There were two reasons to start with an e-commerce store. The main one was to create a second income stream. I have a full-time job, so I wanted to get an extra source of earnings in addition to my salary. And the second reason was just to start my own business because it’s the kind of person I am: I like to build stuff! I’m business-minded, so I wanted to launch my own thing. It’s priceless when you build your business from the ground up – it makes you feel free and empowered, you know?
So, what did you do to give your online side hustle idea a go?
On November 1st, 2021, I purchased a DokanFy-based Premium store. About two weeks later, after I finished connecting PayPal and Stripe and doing general setup things, I launched my first set of ads. It was the last week of November, I believe, and I ran a post-engagement campaign on Facebook and then – a conversion campaign, just like the marketing guide advised. On December 1, 2021, I got my first sale! It didn’t take long to happen, and I was SO happy that day.
Love to hear that! How is your business performing now?
So, I have been running it for about 7 months now. It is growing steadily: so far, I have had 99 orders with a lifetime revenue of just over $4,000.
That’s a great start! What are you selling, exactly?
I sell baby essentials and products for new parents. Recently, I’ve expanded my product range with DokanFy to include pet care products, gadgets, car accessories, and general personal care products as well. Now, there’s something for everyone, if that makes sense. I view this as a strategy to increase sales by targeting wider audiences, for example, pet lovers and car owners.
How are you promoting these products to connect to potential buyers?
I run A LOT of Facebook ads! I actually enjoy the process of creating ads and monitoring the figures, reports, and stuff. It really does help when you run ads, and the most important thing here is to go through the reports to know the ad’s reach, the age group, and all that data. In fact, it allows me to optimize my marketing strategy. For example, let’s say I have an ad running for like 5 days. On the 5th day, I’ll definitely be going through the reports! That would help me with my next ads so I would narrow them down to the locations where I get more traffic. That’s exactly how I go on with my strategy. I learn, and then I get better.
As a lawyer, how did you handle the legal part of running such an online side hustle?
From the legal side, this e-commerce business is definitely more straightforward than the one I had in the mid-2010s. Just because I’m starting out, I don’t really need to do a lot just yet. Of course, I made sure I’m all set up legally as a sole trader in order not to have any issues with the government. I also hired an accountant as well to go through the books. For me, an accountant is the most important person at the moment to help me understand my figures and show how the business is doing.
In general, how has the decision to try online side hustles influenced your daily life?
During the week, after I finish my full-time job, I just go on my phone and check my store, see how the ads are doing, etc. I don’t mind doing that late at night, too! I’m busier than before, but I’m happy! I’ll say it’s been a pleasure just running my business so far.
What are your plans for the future?
I am looking to increase my store visibility and sales and drive more traffic to my website. This, I guess, would mean exploring cheaper marketing options in addition to Facebook campaigns. I want to see how far I can build the business because I really want it to be successful. When that happens, I plan to buy another store in a different niche!