April 22, 2015

5 Tooltips for E-commerce entrepreneurs that I had to learn the hard way

I you made it to the front door, but now the real work begins, you'll end up adding many skills, and then some. But even then you'll be stop by hundreds of tiny issues. That's part of the entrepreneurship personal evolution, but what if I could speed up a little that process by telling you 5 ways to earn many minutes a day, and be more productive?


(Whether you use wix, magento, prestashop, or wordpress...)

1. EXCEL: 

Yes, that tool will never be old fashioned. But there is a difference between common user and professional needs. And that's performance, simplicity, and effectiveness. Which in other words mean:

  1. Use of PC resources (Don't burn out your CPU). The simpler formulas the better.
  2. Make it simple to understand it at first glance.
  3. Get the results you need, as fast as you can.

The formulas might get a little mixed up once you start switching references between sheets, or even documents. I'd recommend you try to divide the information as follows: 

  • Page 1 > Your_products (and info): SKU, name, description, stock, sale price, normal price, etc.
  • Page 2 > Third party services and prices: Shipping, taxes, ...
  • Page 3 > Providers intel (Since this sheet will be changing very often): Retail price, administrative costs, etc.
You need to review a personal dashboard for 4th page which shows a summary of all the data: # of products, how many are out of stock, etc.

Once you finish the first draw of these system, go step by step trying to simplify the formulas, or even eliminate some, specially if you use more than a few thousands of products, so your pc doesn't freeze on each update or modification on the cells. (If you try a sort it could even kill your S.O. and a reboot losing everything could be dramatic, which takes me to the next point).

I use Open Office (Linux in Ubuntu), and it works just fine. You can find help files in the network to learn how to improve your knowledge, and do some macro programming in Visual Basic, if you need to. (I had to).


No matter what you tell yourself, you are gonna forget to do them periodically, specially when you accidentally crashed the program before saving it, or even downloading some viruses which would force you to reinstall the operative system. 
I'd recommend you 2 things: 
  • Save it online
  • Backup that online file system to another one, and do it automatically
If you don't know how to even start, use some free cloud storage, or if needed pay for a bigger space, and then look out for tutorials on how to program each day/week or whatever you need.

(In my case i backup every 4 hours my webpage and the SQL tables, automatically, but i have a secondary backup each week, in case my hosting auto-backed system fails. My physical files are backed up every day and uploaded to my dropbox storage, but i save them to an external HDD). 

By using that link to dropbox you'd be getting a free account, and helping me, at the same time. It's completely FREE, and you can automatize processes and sharing some files with friends.

It's never too much, even paranoid level, when it comes to safety.

3. PYTHON (or whatever other language you know)

Sometimes information doesn't come as easy and nice as you'd like it to do. It can be a CSV file out of shape, not using titles, or traversed. Python is what I used to traverse a CSV file, with no titles but 6000 columns that I couldn't even open in 'Lib Office Calc'.

If that's your problem, I'd be glad to pass it over to you (the code), by private message, or email. Just contact me.

It can do much more things, but this isn't a Python tutorial, you can find thousands of online courses. I recommend Coursera.org platform, or open2study.com.


If you don't know anything about programming, and don't intend to in a short time... You ARE WRONG. Future is (as Winter...) coming, and you need to be prepared. You can't be an online entrepreneur if you don't know the language of computers. At least one... (More will follow).

But even that won't be enough, and you'll search for external services that do some operations for you. It could even be your own web service for others, if that's your business.

Web Services are like "cloud programs" (some with interfaces) that interact with incoming data, and might or might not return some transformed data: Other file extension, other language, etc. 

You can read more >> here <<.


I know it sounds unnecessary to say, but It needs to be reminded. Organize all the important links dividing them in CLEAR, CONCISE and structured folder trees in your browser bookmarks. 

My personal advise is to divide the web pages you need to open at the same time in the same folders, so you can right click and select: Open all bookmarks inside the folder. (This works like a charm and will save you many minutes a day).


For instance, I open a bookmark of folders to do the next: 

First I use a WS that transforms very big file in JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) language into CSV (comma separated value). then I traverse it using Python, then I open the file in Lib Ofice Calc, to add the titles, and... voilà! Half the work is done. 

Once i finish all the process I can upload it to my website.

I hope you enjoyed the article and that you can put it to work for your benefit. If you think I missed some important information, or want to add your opinion, please comment below.

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Hilarious image. I had to share it! 

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