Have you ever thought about starting an eCommerce business or side hustle? Most people have, even as a "pie-in-the-sky" idea. But a lot of people don't want to take the steps that it would require. Why? Because they're afraid of the risk.

In many ways, starting a business or side job is easier than it's ever been. For one reason: the Internet has opened up the world. There are jobs that never existed before that now drive huge salaries, markets that never could have been opened that are now within your grasp, and opportunities that now don't require thousands of dollars of startup capital.

You can build an eCommerce business; it's easy--here are a few ways to make it happen:

1. Utilize Product Photography

If you're a photographer already, you can easily use your photos to get started on building an online income. You don't even necessarily need your own equipment--there are services you can use to rent.

Images shape people's first impression of your products, and getting them right matters. If your images are low quality, your customers will assume your product and your customer service is too. Make sure you're giving them the right impression by taking high-quality photos that make them want to learn more. When you know how to shoot good product photos, you'll automatically be ahead of the curve.

2. Write Clear Copy

Though design is important, copy is one of the most important elements of any eCommerce page. If you're trying to up your conversion rates, one of the best ways to do it is to revamp your copy. The written word is important for a few reasons--it tells customers what you do and what's important to you, and good copy can stir emotions and help you build a long-term relationship with them.

Take Encyclopedia Britannica, for example. They'd been having trouble with the conversion rates on their sales pages, so they decided to get some copy help. With new copy, their sales pages had a 103% jump in conversion rate. Learning how to write good copy will make your objectives clearer and help you explain how to fill your audience's needs.

3. Build eCommerce SEO

Search engine optimization and online marketing are absolutely critical for every business these days, and if your toolbox includes some knowledge of technology, a willingness to learn and the work ethic to keep up with the constantly-changing Google landscape, you'll have a huge competitive edge in eCommerce. If you can build an organic SEO base your site will thrive. Google's the only platform you really need to worry about too--it's at 92% market share.

Chris Cantell, a product creator and online marketing specialist, recently shared with me, "Using SEO, I was able to take my own product-focused business to a seven-figure level. Everyone wants to get more eyes on their products, and SEO is the best ways to do it. By using simple, ethical SEO methods, others can run a seven-figure business as well. These kinds of results are repeatable. Strong SEO, regardless of your eCommerce niche, is the way to make it happen."

4. Master Amazon

If you have some experience with selling and know how to calculate profit margins and other important retail statistics, selling on Amazon can be an easy way to build up an income.

With over 50% of the United States eCommerce market, Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla of this space, but there are plenty of other competitors out there too. Wal-Mart's Marketplace is said to be working on a plan to compete with Amazon, too, and eBay has long been a part of the ecosystem. At the moment, though, Amazon is in the driver's seat, and that looks unlikely to change. Using some tried and true strategies, you can build an Amazon business up fast.

5. Start Dropshipping

Dropshipping through an online storefront is easier than ever due to platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce. Setting up a store, finding a niche, creating an attractive brand and selling to your audience is a snap these days, and there are resources all over the Internet on how to do it.

Take Melvin Chee, for example. He went from experimenting with dropshipping during a semester break to making a six-figure income within three months. Again, not everyone is going to be this successful this fast, but if you're willing to put in the effort and learn what people want to buy, you can build a successful dropshipping business.

If you only have one or two of these skills, don't despair--there are plenty of people out there who would happily sell their expertise to your business. You don't need to be an expert at everything if you can hire people to make up the difference; everyone does it. So when it comes to eCommerce, don't be limited in your thinking. Take stock of your skills and what you can learn and you might be the next online business success story.

Published on: Jul 12, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.