How to Set Up and Manage a Successful Online Business While Working Full-Time

Millions of 9-to-5 grinders daydream everyday about quitting their job and starting their own business. But with bills, outstanding loans, and a family to provide for, such a move just isn’t wise or practical for most people.

Starting an online store while still employed, however, removes most of the risk associated with making such a big leap. With the help of a shopping cart provider, you can build a business while still bringing in a weekly paycheck from your day job.

Whether you’re just looking to make some extra cash on the side, or quit your day job altogether and become your own boss, check out the following tips for starting an online store while still working full-time.

  1. Discover where your interest lies

If you’ve got a day job, the last thing you’re going to want to do is come home to a second job. By exploring areas that you’re passionate about though, you can start a business that won’t feel like work at all. When brainstorming ideas, don’t focus solely on what you think will make the most money – look into an area that will be exciting and personally fulfilling.

  1. Write down a plan or mission statement

Determining what action you need to take to succeed and putting them to paper is the first step to making your dream a reality. Plan out what you’ll be selling, who your customers will be and why they should shop at your store, how you want your brand presented, and what steps you need to take to get the ball rolling.

  1. Research the competition

Once you’ve got an idea about what kind of store you’d like to open, it’s time to research your competition. Who you’re up against will give you a good idea of what level of standards your customers will expect, and can even provide some inspiration for your own store. If you’re up against too big a fish, you’ll need to put extra effort into showcasing what makes your brand better than your competitors.

  1. Carve out time for your business

Setting up and managing an online store takes time and effort – something you’re not going to have a lot of while simultaneously working a full-time day job. Examine your everyday schedule and determine where you can make some cuts. In lieu of watching the TV and surfing the web for three hours per night, try cutting that time in half and dedicating the rest to your new business.

  1. Set reasonable, attainable goals

You’re not going to be a millionaire overnight, nor will you likely be in a situation to quit your day job for some time. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean success isn’t just around the corner. The trick is to have realistic expectations and goals for you and your business. Plan out when you’d like to launch your store, or aim for some sales goals, such as when you expect to make your first sale or your first $100. As you accomplish smaller goals, you can start setting bigger, more ambitious ones.

  1. Make the most of every minute

You’re going to have a full schedule juggling a day time job, an online store, a family, plus whatever hobbies or interests that takes up the rest of your spare time. Maximize your time effectively by working on your store in your spare moments. Instead of playing a game on your smartphone while waiting at the doctor’s, or reading a book on the bus ride to your day job, work on setting up your store.

  1. Use your PTO or vacation days

Dedicate a few days a month to refining your online store by using your paid leave. Since you’ll be working with precious, limited time, it’s best to plan out these days in advance, following a list of goals to accomplish by day’s end. It’ll be tempting to catch up on sleep or watch a few hours of television, but resist the temptation. You’ve got a business to grow, and a few consecutive days of single-minded, hard work will really help get things moving.

  1. Tune into the experts

Listening to those who’ve already succeeded at what you’re trying to accomplish can save you a lot of time and headaches. Follow industry experts on social media, tune into industry news, and read the blogs of insightful business leaders. Heed their wisdom and you’ll hopefully be able to avoid the mistakes they made in their own journeys.

  1. Set up an office or quiet place to work

The time you dedicate to your online store will be minimal and precious. Eliminating distractions will be key to maximizing what little time you can allocate to your new business. Rather than sitting on the couch in front of your television, opt for a quiet place with few distractions, particularly if you have children.

  1. Start small and outsource when possible

With such little time to work on your business, it’s going to be tough to handle some of the bigger core facets of e-commerce, such as packaging and fulfillment. Outsourcing where you can will be key to juggling the many responsibilities associated with your new store. Depending on how hands on you’d like to be, you may be interested in a dropshipper like Doba, a fulfillment service such as Shipwire, professional e-commerce design services, or the help of a webmaster for everyday tasks.

  1. Make plans for the future

What will your business look like in one year, two years, or five yeas? Do you still want to have your day job, or are you planning on quitting once you’ve reached a certain point of financial security?

Odds are you’re not going to want to juggle a day job and a business for long. Make plans for where you’d like to see your store in the near and faraway future, and work diligently everyday toward securing that vision.


Working a full-time day job and managing an online store won’t be a piece of cake, but with time and dedication, you can build yourself a profitable empire that you’ll be proud to call your own. Best of all, in just a few, short months to a year, you may find yourself in a position where it’ll be economically feasible to quit your day job and pursue your entrepreneurial dream full-time.

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