If you watched Netflix’s Master of None with Aziz Ansari (Dev), you might remember his first
love interest Rachel.
Their relationship is a complicated one that starts out with a pregnancy test in the first episode,
winds through a trip to Nashville, and ultimately ends when Rachel decides that “she’s moving
to Japan to salvage the rest of her young adult life.” Just like that.
Excuse me, what?
Hollywood often makes it seem like you can move to any country whenever you want to work,
live, and travel.
Not so fast.
As any traveler knows, moving to another country requires lots of planning. There’s the actual
research part, then the load of paperwork, finding a place to live, and how you’re actually going
to make money.
While you can find various options such as English teaching, working locally, or working under
the table, they all pale in comparison with starting your own online store.
Going that route is anything but easy, but below are the steps you want to take when getting
Step 1: Research Your Niche
How do you go about choosing a niche?
The easiest piece of advice would be to choose something you’re passionate about and you
have a bit of knowledge.
You wouldn’t look to sell vintage clothes if you don’t have the slightest idea about fashion or
So, you’ve got to choose not only what you’re going to sell but who you’re going to be selling to.
Of course, you’re going to want to choose a niche that’s competitive but not overly saturated.
If you research a niche and see that there isn’t really a market for those items, it’s better not to
get your hopes up. Even though you may be the world-leader in velociraptor oil paintings, there
probably isn’t a market out there.
Finding a trend can be tough, which is why Google Trends is a great tool to help you. It can help
you find products that are on the rise in popularity, letting you hitch your wagon to them on the
You want to choose something that will have plenty of return customers, so you can retarget
them in the future.
Make a list of possible niches and do your Google Trends research as well as your own
research into trends and general public view.
Step 2: The Business Plan for an Online Store
Now that you have an idea of what you’re going to be selling, you need to decide how you’re
going to be selling it.
While it’s true that opening up an online store requires much less of a financial commitment than
your typical brick-and-mortar store, you still need to lay out a budget. Not just the budget, but
also the marketing and advertising plan.
A big part of your business plan will include whether or not you’re keeping the inventory yourself
or dropshipping, where you act as a third party between the manufacturer and the buyer.
As a digital nomad, you should definitely go the dropshipping route. Can you imagine lugging
your inventory with you wherever you go?
Not only are costs lower, but managing your online store is much easier with dropshipping.
Step 3: The Business Structure
Yes, another red-tape “boring” step but one that’s highly necessary.
Business structures can be confusing, but thankfully the IRS has a handy list explaining the
different types of structures.
In short, there are five different business structure options:
● LLC (limited liability companies)
● S Corporations
● Sole Proprietorships
As a digital nomad, you’re going to want to look at partnerships and sole proprietorships more
so than the others.
Each of these structures has its own tax rules, limitations, requirements, advantages, and
These could all change depending on which state you’re from, as there are some versions of
LLCs that are only available in certain states.
It’s best you do your research with the IRS or talk to an expert who can answer all these
questions for you. You don’t want to be penalized when April 15th rolls around.
Step 4: Finding Insurance
Many people often wonder whether or not business insurance is necessary as a digital nomad
who is working with eCommerce.
Is it necessary?
Yes, it is.
Insurance, obviously, is the main way to protect your business from risk. Even though you might
not be carrying around your inventory, your equipment may be stolen or the apartment you’re
working at may catch on fire.
The type of insurance you will need may vary depending on the exact nature of your business,
but you’ll want to look into the following:
● Liability insurance
● Property insurance
● Transit insurance
Once again, it’s best to speak to a professional or at least talk to others in your business area to
see which route you should take.
Step 5: Building Your Site
Now, we’re finally to the more enjoyable part of eCommerce, where you can start selling!
Of course, you can’t sell anything if you don’t have a website up and running.
You’re going to want to invest in an eCommerce website builder instead of a platform such as
Wordpress, which is more specialized for blogging and text-based websites.
There are a lot of steps to building a site, but you’re going to have to start by choosing a domain
name and site location. It’s best to choose a site location that’s in your home state. This will
make taxes and all the other red tape easier for you.
These website builders will give you the tools to help with the layout and design, so you can
start making an ideal website even if you don’t have a ton of experience.
Building your website is going to take a while to find the perfect layout and design, so don’t be
afraid to go through testing phases or even have friends take a look and give honest opinions
on the matter.
Step 6: Building Your Online Store Brand
While this could be seen as Step 5 or 5A, building your online store brand is how you’re going to attract
customers while also building up brand loyalty.
When you researched your niche and target audience, you were probably able to locate internet
“hotspots” where you could market your store and build your brand.
For example, having a social media presence is vital. Depending on what your target audience
is, you may want to focus your efforts more on Instagram or Facebook instead of trying to be the
master of all.
Many people think that you need a Google My Business account but unless you have face-to-
face interaction with clients, then it isn’t necessary.
You can also start email marketing campaigns with CTAs (call-to-actions) by telling consumers
of specials or products.
Building up a brand is all about maintaining consistency across your message, looking for how
you can serve your customers, and encouraging interaction.
The brand may take weeks or even months before you feel like you’ve got a firm grasp on who
you are as a business, but the best thing you can do is have a goal set out ahead of time and
keep working towards that main goal.