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How long did it take for your site to generate income?



1:58 am on Nov 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

How long did it take for your site to generate income? Also, what was your first year of sales like compared to now? How much money did you invest in SEO at the beginning?

My goal is to have a grounded set of expectations for the first year of operating my ecommerce store. I know it all is subjective and there are many factors effecting the outcome such as product, price, store functionality, SEO techniques, etc so I will take everything like a grain of salt.



3:36 am on Nov 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I knew going in that it would be nearly a year before I'd see a dime from my site because of the way I generate revenue. Even when the site did start making money, it wasn't much. Now it's at the point where I'm able to do this as a full-time job, and have a middle class income. The potential is unlimited as far as income goes.

I didn't invest anything in SEO because I'd already been doing it on a freelance basis for a hosting company, and it wasn't as hard six years ago as it is now.


5:12 pm on Nov 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Depends on your niche. I have had success instantly with PPC, but that does take some luck. I have had sites that had to wait about a year to start making money.

The key for me is to start a lot of project and like the saying goes "throw !@#$ at the fan and see what works", you will be surprised at what works and what doesn't work. Test, test, test!

In terms of scaling up to a full time income, I have had projects that took 4-5 years, but was lucky with one particular project that took 8 months. Of course, a lot of projects that never made more than $200 in a year.


8:57 pm on Nov 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I think it depends on what you mean by making money. I've got 3 different sites that makes ok side income money, but none of which I would quit my job over at this time. I'm getting close though. Of those, it took the first nearly 3 years to start generating decent income, another took about a year, and the final business was successful almost from the start.

I think it depends on the niche your in, how much time and money do you have to spend, and what your current skillsets are.


9:40 pm on Nov 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member henry0 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

To be more precise, please specify where revenues are coming from.
Great thread, hope you will get many more answers
as I would like figuring if I will ever make anything out of a project of mine :)


4:26 am on Nov 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I would like figuring if I will ever make anything out of a project of mine
That pretty much depends upon both the niche you're in and the type of site(s) you have (not to mention the amount of time you put into it). I started in 1995/96 as a hobby more than anything else, but it took about 6 years before I made enough money to not have to 'work' (I am a semi-retired business consultant).


9:47 am on Nov 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

My goal is to have a grounded set of expectations for the first year ...

It's not unlike a brick & mortar business. Typically, 50% of businesses fail within the first 12 months. Of those that make it, 50% of those either give up or fail the second year.

It takes 3 years for an average B&M business or eCommerce site to have a positive cash flow. Even at that point, profits (if any) depend on the niche your in.

A good grounded set of expectations would be to set a 3-year goal to turn the corner, and not expect a positive result the first year or two.

Focus on cash flow, rather than profits. Even profitable companies can go under if they don't have cash on hand.

Manage your inventory-turns, fine-tune your shipping charges and costs (it's amazing how much shipping boxes can eat away at your margin), and keep your payroll costs low (or zero).

Forget paid-placement ads (way too expensive), and instead focus on free inbound links, positive reviews on message boards, and free product feeds like Google Merchant Center.

My source of information: Years of experience, both failing and succeeding. (I'm now working on making my 4th million... gave up on the first 3 ;-).


4:02 pm on Nov 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Forget paid-placement ads (way too expensive)

This may or may not be true. Believe it or not, there are still wide opened niches out there with little or no competition. Or sometimes, your competitor might have no idea what they are doing with PPC, leaving room for competitors to squeeze in. I purposely look for these opportunities to enter any niche markets and it has worked out for me.

Overall, I would say not to rule anything out and test everything within your budget.


5:49 pm on Nov 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I had the opportunity to work on my Ecommerce shop for 6 months straight. At about the first year mark after that I'm able to employ a couple staff and make a decent living from just that. I however would never keep all my eggs in just this basket because Google is the devil lately.


11:54 pm on Nov 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks for the all the good posts. Well, I am very excited to launch my store and it looks like I am only a few months away.

My store's product I manufacture myself and there is nothing like it on the market so currently I have no direct competition however there is unlimited indirect competition.

I invested $14,700 into R&D and shop equipment for my product line. I will need another $12,000 for initial clerical supplies, inventory, and shipping supplies. (rent/utilities not included or needed) With that I am set up for 500 sellable units and I will need to sell 425 units to break even. If I sell eight units a week it will take one year to break even thus recouping my R&D, equipment, and initial inventory. However, a considerable percentage of income generated will be reinvested into inventory so breaking even is a bit further than a year away, perhaps two years.

I hope my numbers don't bore you all, I always enjoyed reading other peoples' numbers.


12:58 am on Nov 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Made a sale the first week of operations, but then there wasn't much competition in 1996 ;~). Didn't spend a dime on SEO, did it all myself, as for PPC, Nada, there wasn't any back then and I still don't use it....


10:18 pm on Nov 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

It's going to be hugely different for everybody. I started as a hobby to make extra money. Technically sold stuff right off the bat, but maybe just a couple things a week. Was actually ready to quit because it didn't seem worth it after about 4 years. Then for some odd reason it started to take off. I figured I'd put a little more into it, since I had more time. I pounded the pavement online, working the forums and stuff. Good thing I kept with it, because now it's full time, and my old job is basically gone. But it took ten years to get here, which is an OK living at this point. But could be better. Growth means more products, so just need to find time for that. It's a lot of work. Too much. Almost 7 days a week. But it is what it is. I do a little AdWords, but that's it. It's basically all word of mouth and back links. And maybe there's some search stuff going on, but I have no idea how much. I don't obsess over the SEO type stuff. I'm more traditional. I figure if I build it right... They'll buy. I've put a huge amount back into it. Anytime I order other makers products, I try to add a new item or two. I always try to add on new things. I try to make as many items from the same basic materials as possible, so as to offer as much variety as possible, without having to have a million parts. I try and do positive things with the money, which is important.

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