this is exactly what I do i.e. running my own online store and working full time. It has been a year already and I still love it although it is not an easy thing to do. Sometimes I get frustrated expecially when you have to deal with dishonest customers.
I learned that it needs constant work and improvement if I want it to grow. I can't make living out of it yet but I believe it will happen one day (hopefully...:-)) Actuatlly my full time job still supports it in part. I read somewhere that it may take between 2-5 years on average before you start seeing income from online store. Of course it depends on your niche, competition, etc.
I would never quit my job before I know it brings constant income, times are difficult right now and one month is great and another is horrible. Many of my competitors started in 90's...so I know there is still a long way to go for me. It is defenitely not "get rich quick" thing.
Good luck :-)
Our online business is run by our family. I work a fulltime day job and then work in the evening/weekend for our online business. My wife stays home with our two kids and works fulltime for our business. My brother-inlaw works a day job and works evenings/weekends for our business.
We opened two years ago today. My wife and brother-inlaw are getting nice paychecks from the business now. I hope to be able to quit the day job and work fulltime with her and do other contracting work within the next 2 years.
Thanks you all for your useful advice, its given me a god insight. Thanks ;)
For my site the online store was a recent addition. I'd started my site over four years ago as a subscription-based advertising site for niche-related stores.
As traffic grew, I realized that the potential was there to make money not only from the subscriptions, but also from selling online.
Still, for the first three years I needed an income separate from my site to pay the bills. Once I acquired a serious banner advertiser and added the online store I no longer needed an outside source of income.
It's taken four years, but I'm finally making a good living from a website.
My fears are that I could lose my major banner advertiser, or my site could lose rankings in Google. It's difficult for me to know how to guard against those possibilities.
Consider diversifying your online activities before going full time
A shift in the winds of Search engine fortune can blow away everything, literally over nite
However, where you have more than 1 profitable site,,,,
I've had an online store for 4 years while working full time. I would never... and in the current climate i really mean NEVER leave a full time job unless the online site has given you enough savings that you won't need a full time job.
I have 11 years web and SEO experience and because I can't 100% control what search engines do I never have the complete control I need to make me think of leaving a full time job.
Hours are long, work in hard but I have my eggs in more than just these two baskets so if one fails I have backups in place. That lets me sleep more soundly at night.
I've been involved one way or another in writing and/or publishing since "computer" meant an IBM mainframe, and I think some what's said about ditching a day job to be a full-time freelancer/novelist/whatever can be translated to this new-fangled "internet" thing. Such as: "The best asset a full-time author can have is a spouse with a day job." - In the U.S. I'd add "a day job that has a good benefits package," as I'd have a hard time of it without group health insurance.
A more serious piece of advice often given about leaving a day job is to first have enough in savings to support your needs for six months (some people say a year). That's awfully broad, of course, and will depend on a lot of things: do you have other people dependent on your income, how stable is your living situation (rent, mortgage, own outright), and how easy would it be for you to jump back into the job market if it became necessary? It took me years to find a job that was a great match for me, and the one I finally found is close to being unique. Chances are I'd never find another one like it if the need arose, so I plan to hang onto it.
One advantage I've found with having a full-time job is that it's given me the freedom to plan ahead and to try out things that may or may not work. I'm currently starting a site to sell downloadables - something I wouldn't have tried a couple of years ago - with plans on how it can spawn sales of tangible products when I have time to set that up. But I don't have to do it so quickly that it's slapdash, and if it doesn't work I can still pay the bills - and try something else.
[edited by: Beagle at 2:57 pm (utc) on July 11, 2008]
Thanks guys for the useful info ;)
Ive been considering a similar thing as well recently and tend to agree with above threads.
I had a site that was taking around quite large sums monthly, however Florida update destroyed it all.
Really risky proposition
"Really risky proposition."
It's not risky when there's no other regular source of income. If my site falls out of favor with Google, I'll just have to get a McJob until the site returns.
No thats true, however I thought you were giving up a source of income to carry this one
Thanks all, I just find it difficult coming home from work in the evening and have orders to process, and post office is shut after 5pm so orders dont get sent straight away and its kinda bad customer service!
But im am thinking of the possibility of part-time employment!
Could you arrange with your boss for a longer lunchbreak during which you go back and ship orders; in return for adding extra time on the beginning or end of the day?
You need to have at least six months worth of outgoings set aside (mortgage, loan repayments, food bills, petrol, etc.); this should not be your general savings but in addition (i.e. you'll still have general savings if you have to spend all that cash).
Buy business insurance for sole traders or partnerships. It is very affordable and gives you coverage against your own unavailability through illness or other events which could easily ruin you at this stage. When you're larger; you can re-evaluate your insurance needs.
Personally, I advise you to build up additional sources of income which do not depend upon your daily processing of orders. Advertising is a classic example of this. Try to push this up to a level where it covers your most essential of outgoings (mortgage, food, toilet paper, electric, water). That way when you do quit your job you, even if business does badly, you should have that additional stream to stop you falling into real poverty.
I would add to this, while on the subject of the search engines, that you should never rely 100% on traffic from a search engine. Reduce the risk. There are many other ways of driving traffic, and that ought to be considered, too.
Happy to see you all tell others personal experience.