How to Start an Ecommerce Business as a Teenager

by | Apr 6, 2022

If you’d love to learn how to start an ecommerce business as a teenager and make more money every month than your parents can give you pocket money, you’re in the right place!

I wish I was a teenager in the ecommerce business world these days!

What an advantage you have in understanding the very people driving the future of influencer marketing and online social media sales!

The world is changing faster than any of us would care to admit and it’s you youngsters that have your fingers on where technology is going.

Add to that ecommerce sales are predicted to almost double over the next ten years.

So if you’re a teenager reading this looking for a great teen business idea, know that you’re in a unique position to build an extremely profitable ecommerce business before you even leave high school!

How Peter Samios Built & Sold a Profitable Ecommerce Business at Just 14 Years Old

Peter Samios is 14 years old. (Probably 15 by now).

Last year we bought his e-commerce business from him for 5 figures.

Over the course of just 18 months he started & grew his earpod ecommerce business, only selling because his folks wanted him to focus on studying for school.

(Don’t tell your folks I said this, but if you can build a profitable ecommerce business as a teenager before taking your exams, why bother!)

That’s just my opinion and you must of course always listen to your parents!

You can see our interview here. A very inspiring young fella.

 

How to Start an Ecommerce Business as a Teenager With No Upfront Investment (Peter Samios style)

1. Choose Your Business Model

Your best bet to start your online ecommerce business for no money down is to choose either dropshipping (the route Peter took) or print on demand.

Neither require investment in stock or inventory so you can create and advertise products that you don’t manufacture or that don’t even exist yet!

Dropshipping

Dropshipping means that you promote products on your own website that are manufactured & supplied by someone else.

The customer sees a product they like, makes the purchase on your site, and their order goes to the supplier to send the product out.

You make money from the difference between what you sell the product for and what it costs you to purchase it from the supplier.

Let me give you an example;

A dropship company offers to sell you a pair of AirPods at $10. You promote those on your online ecommerce store for $30.

The customer purchases them from you. The order is sent to the supplier with the $10, and the supplier sends the AirPods out.

You keep the other $20.

That’s called your markup on the cost price of the product.

Dropshipping is an easy route into the e-commerce business world, which means it’s also highly competitive.

To stand out from the crowd you’ll need to build a strong brand and ensure you’re only selling quality products.

Print on Demand

Print on demand means that you create designs that will be printed on products as a customer buys them.

For example printful (a print on demand company) offers blank white mugs as part of its product line.

how to start an ecommerce business as a teenager - printful - pod example

You promote those mugs with your designs on them.

When the customer buys the mug, printful prints it with your design and sends it to the customer.

Just like dropshipping. It might cost you $5 to buy the mug, but the customer pays $15 so you keep the extra $10.

Print on demand like dropshipping is an easy entry into the ecommerce business world so again you’ll need a strong brand & quality products & designs to stand out.

So, let’s get to the crux of how to start an ecommerce business as a teenager and look at how to set both these models up in just a few hours.

2. Build Your Own Ecommerce Website

Peter decided to use Shopify to start his store.

Shopify is a highly recommended ecommerce platform, built specifically to quickly and easily create an ecommerce store online.

You get a 14 day free trial to set up your store and start selling. After that the basic plan (which is all you’ll need) is $29 a month.

The goal is to make your first few sales as you go live (as Peter did), so you can easily afford the $29 a month fee.

Setting up your Shopify store is simple and you can find many step by step tutorials all over youtube or in the Shopify help section.

To add products to your store, simply use dropshipping app Oberlo to make finding suppliers and adding products seamless.

If you choose the print on demand route, each company has their own app which integrates directly with Shopify and makes setting up products a cinch.

NB: If the print on demand model appeals to you, then for absolutely no cost whatsoever you could also go down the route of getting started using a marketplace like Etsy or Redbubble. However neither of these marketplaces work for dropshipping so bear that in mind.

3. Find a Product/Create Your Brand

The recommended method of choosing a product to sell is to use Amazon to determine popular, high demand products.

Here’s how;

  1. Go to Amazon bestsellers – https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers/zgbs
  2. Pick a niche/product line you like the look of
  3. Search for products between $20 – $50, under 1lb in weight and a best seller rank of under 1000 (the lower the number the more popular the product)
  4. Create a list of potential products to then start looking for suppliers and costs etc.

amazon best seller rank details

Peter, however, simply chose a product he liked the look of, so as usual there are no hard and fast rules. Only recommended best practices.

Some things to think about however are;

  1. Can you markup the product by at least 5 – 10x to ensure a good profit margin? (If it costs you $5, can you sell it for at least $25)
  2. Is the product small, light, easy to ship with few moving pieces/breakable parts?
  3. How can you differentiate yourself from others selling a similar product?

Once you’ve picked your awesome product, use a free image creation tool like Canva to create your logo’s and store images and go live!

4. Create Your Social Media Presence

The benefit of using Shopify is that it integrates with Facebook and Instagram, easily allowing you to sell directly on both those platforms.

Simply create a page/profile in both platforms and add to the ‘sales channel’ options in the backend of Shopify.

start an ecommerce business - shopify sales channels

Set up your social media stores and do what you do best! Start posting!

One of the fastest ways to get your ecommerce business off the ground is to get your products in front of ready made audiences.

Make a list of influencers in your niche, who have already built a following and DM them, asking if they’d be happy to review and talk about your product if they like it.

You can even give them a unique sales link so that when their audience purchases via their link, they get a small cut of the profits.

Win win!

5. Tell the World Your Brand Exists!

Grow your audience on Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, even Discord if that’s where you hang out.

The hardest, but most important part of building a successful ecommerce business is the ongoing promotion.

At the start you won’t have the money for advertising or sponsorship deals, so good old hustle is required!

Make videos, create images, tell stories, contact influencers. Whatever it is you need to do to get the word out about your products and brand.

In your journey learning how to start an ecommerce business as a teenager, this should be the part that you find the easiest!

In time as you make sales you’ll be able to invest in adverts and reach an even wider audience.

How to Start an Ecommerce Business as a Teenager – Summary

Online shopping is set to grow massively in the coming years and if you start now, who knows you may have a prime spot in the metaverse a few years from now.

Don’t delay. Don’t allow self doubt, fear or negative family members stop you from going for your dreams.

Watch or listen to the interview with Peter as many times as you need to inspire you to start your own online business and find other teens running successful online ecommerce businesses and follow their stories.

Most importantly, take action!

You know just as much as an oldie like me if not more about the online world.

You have the basic skills to start and grow a successful online business simply by virtue of the fact you’ve been brought up online!

It’s your time to shine, take control of your destiny and build the future of your dreams.

Who knows you may even create the next Amazon!

You can read more here if you’d like a very detailed step by step guide to starting and growing your own online ecommerce business.

Good luck!

Please share with anyone you think this might benefit. Thank you 🙂