Say you’ve got an idea you want to turn into a business. Perhaps something like you see on Shark Tank. Something you can produce yourself or have someone else do so. The only thing holding you back from getting started is an online store.

Two ways you can go about the solution; 1. Hire someone to build an ecommerce website say via Craigslist or 2. Do it yourself.

1. Hire someone to build an ecommerce website
The pros are that you can focus on other things, you’ll end up with a more customized look, the only per purchase fee will be the payment processing fee (usually 2.9% for PayPal and Stripe), and assuming your developer is experienced; you’ll have the peace of mind that everything is taken care of.

The big downside to this will be cost. The more experienced the freelancer or firm is, the more your cost will be. On top of this, you’ll have to pay for support if down the road you want things changed.

2. Do it yourself
Yes, this is entirely possible even if you’re not very technical. We now have tools like Shopify and BigCommerce. Both of these providers are essentially website builders, with everything built in. Modern design, payment processing built in, a panel for you to manage everything, etc. All that you would get from a custom site, you’ll get here as well. From a security standpoint, the site will be hosted on their servers so you don’t have to worry about your server getting hacked.

The downsides are that there will be a monthly charge to use the service, you’re limited to what you can do with the design, and some will charge a small transaction fee.

Most providers like the ones above will have guided tutorials, videos and a community to help you if you get stuck. It’s almost like setting up a profile on Facebook, drag and drop things, enter name, enter price, the overall setup does not require you to be technically versed. Shopify even has free tools (actually you don’t have to be a Shopify customer to use these) for generating things like privacy and refund policies.

In a nutshell, though #1 will be an easier route but it will end up costing more. With #2, you get everything you need, your initial startup costs will be far lower, and you may even be able to launch faster. So, you don’t have to be technically savvy to start your online store, just a little bit of time investment will do. Best of luck.

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