Can You Run an Ecommerce Store as a Digital Nomad? What to Know
Becoming a digital nomad was once a mysterious concept where people somehow traveled the world while working. Today, it’s a mainstream option fueled through entrepreneurship, freelancing, working remotely for a big corporation, or running your own ecommerce store.
With the right mindset and process in place, It’s entirely possible to venture into the world of ecommerce without giving up the freedom to travel.
Rely on Print on Demand
Print-on-demand is one of your first lines of defense in running an ecommerce store as a digital nomad. POD alleviates the burden of keeping physical inventory in stock or dealing with production and fulfillment.
CustomCat fuels your online store so you can travel the world the way you want. Upload your designs to our library, choose the products you want to customize, and we’ll take care of the rest. Your customers get high-quality products with reliable service and shipping.
Learn how to get started with CustomCat here.
Outsource Everything Outside Your Zone of Genius
Just because you can do everything in your business doesn’t mean you should. Make a list of all the tasks you love doing, do well, and can’t afford to outsource. Then make a list of all the things you can’t stand doing and demand the most time and attention.
Even a $100 budget goes a long way to get some tasks off your plate. Consider hiring a Virtual Assistant through Upwork or Fiverr to handle specific functions like inbox management or bookkeeping. As you grow your revenue, you can reinvest it back into your business to outsource what you can.
Prioritize Customer Service
Customer service is the cornerstone of any ecommerce store but is essential if you’re a digital nomad. You want to ensure someone is taking care of your customers and responding promptly. If you’re traveling all day or exploring Bali while most of your customer base is in the United States, you need someone dedicated to your customers.
If you really can’t afford a customer service rep, make sure your policies are clear:
- Clearly define your returns, terms, and conditions.
- Set expectations in every order that ships out, “If you have any questions or need help, I respond to all inquiries within 24 hours.”
- Create an auto-responder that includes links to FAQs and when you’ll respond.
When you set clear expectations with customers, they have more peace of mind that they can trust your business, even when you’re traveling.
Take a cue from corporations and booming online businesses with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). When you create SOPs, you detail specific steps and procedures for every task. It makes your life easier and simplifies the process when you outsource more jobs to assistants and consultants.
Get started by defining the objective and goal and asking for input from current employees. Next, outline roles and responsibilities and test your SOPs once everything is in place.
Here are a few SOPs you can create for your business:
- Onboarding new employees
- Social media post creation
- Social media engagement
- Product descriptions
- Product photos and images
- Updating website
- Sending customer service emails
- Email marketing messaging and templates
- Pulling sales resorts and projections
- Inventory ordering
- Customer follow-up
Redefine the Concept of Routine
If you’re a digital nomad, chances are you easily tire from too much structure and rigid routine. But when you run a business, you still need some type of routine to keep things running. At the same time, you may be so focused on turning your online store into a success that you forget to put away your laptop and have some fun.
You don’t need to wake at the same time every day but think of routine as dedicating a few hours a day to your ecommerce store and specific tasks. Or schedule your work over a few days a week—schedule time to go exploring, lay on the beach, or rest and enjoy the pool. Making room for more fun is also part of your routine as a digital nomad.
Research Your WiFi
Robust and reliable WiFi is your lifeline as a working digital nomad. Unfortunately, paradise doesn’t always have reliable WiFi to keep your ecommerce business going. Free public Internet is sometimes available, but you should also look into an international hotspot provider to find a signal. You may also need a VPN to navigate safely and invest in an external WFi antenna to boost your signal.
You may need to rethink your destination if you rely on streaming media for your business or cannot function with some Internet interruption. Research your options, hotels, hostels, campgrounds, and local hotspots in advance to devise a few contingency plans if you discover your connection is less than reliable.
Leverage Your Digital Nomad Story
There’s no need to hide the fact you’re traveling the world from your customers. You’re a digital nomad, so own it! Part of your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is your story. A USP offers a benefit that helps you stand out from the competition. Otherwise, getting lost in a sea of ecommerce stores is far too easy.
Talk about your desire to travel, what you love about running your online store, how your journeys make you a better entrepreneur, and how your lifestyle shapes your business.
Focus on What’s Working
It’s tempting to get caught up in scaling your business and aiming to 10x your ecommerce revenue. Your goals as a digital nomad business owner are probably very different from your competition’s. Focus on what works for you. If your store is sustainable and provides the necessary income, stick with it and grow an emergency fund. Or, if your goal is to earn enough to outsource almost everything, then focus your efforts accordingly.
Never lose sight of why you wanted to run an online business as a digital nomad in the first place. When you’re so focused on your competition’s success, you derail your own. You’ll end up living a life of stress and prioritizing the wrong things in your business.
What are your goals as a digital nomad ecommerce store owner? Let us know by leaving a comment below!