Online retail sales in the USA increased by 16 percent to reach $453.5 billion in 2017, compared to in-store sales growth of just 3.4%, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report, proving once again that the future of e-commerce is bright.

Besides the faster growth, an e-commerce business has many inherent advantages over running a traditional brick-and-mortar store, including lower overhead costs, the potential to scale very quickly and the luxury of outsourcing tasks to contractors so you can run a million dollar one-person business.

But why isn’t everyone finding success in e-commerce? One reason is that running an online store requires a different mindset and habits than those needed to run a traditional offline business. Many business owners have a hard time when their mindsets may be stuck in the offline world.

In addition, some online sellers may be doing this as a side hustle while working a full-time job, even approaching this new entrepreneurial endeavor with the same mindset as their 9-to-5 job, which doesn’t work.

Rather than talk about the latest tactics and endless shiny new objects, I’d like to take a step back and take a deeper look at the habits of highly effective Amazon and e-commerce sellers.

Why habits?

Because tactics, the latest new tricks and worrying about the competition and Chinese sellers will only get you so far. It’s habits and principles that will set the foundation for a strong mindset and a strong business.

Based on my experience selling online since 2004, masterminding with other successful sellers, as well as studying highly effective leaders in the business world, I’ve distilled it down to the following six habits.

1. Start with the finish in mind
2. Be proactive
3. Prioritize your work
4. Done is better than perfect
5. Pivot like a top gun
6. Never stop learning

#1. Start with the finish in mind
Rather than jumping in and trying every new tactic, what’s your end goal?

Let’s say it’s to build a million-dollar business, which is great, but then what? What will you do with your 7-figure business and how will you run it?

No matter what your end goal is you first have to define it. This way you can then map out how to get there.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Abraham Lincoln

So the builder must define his goal first and then sharpen the axe before he begins to hack away at it.

The architect has a clear image in their head before they start the hard work of actually building it. They can clearly visualize what the end goal looks like. With that image in mind and the blueprint on paper, they can then take the steps to build that dream house.

The same is true with growing and scaling an e-commerce business.

Ask yourself these two questions:

What is my end goal?
Is what I’m doing now going to take me there?

Take a second and ask yourself: is the ladder you’re climbing now leaning against the wrong wall?

If so, you better get off and get on the right path to your goal.

#2. Be proactive
There are two types of people in this world: proactive and reactive.

Reactive people wait for things to happen and then passively respond to them. For example, if you have a SKU that is selling 10 units a day, your feedback is 4.0 stars and you feel like it’s good enough so you don’t do anything to improve it.

Taken from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey

By doing this, the highly effective entrepreneur will instantly know where their tasks fall and decide how to take action on them.

They can also easily decide which tasks they should delegate.

For example, busy work such as answering routine customer service questions can be delegated to a virtual assistant or team member while you, the business owner, focus on ways to grow your business.

These can include making improvements to your product so you overcome your competition, planning your email marketing strategy so you can build a relationship with your customers and sell more to them and creating Facebook Messenger campaigns to automate customer service and save you time.

They also decide which tasks they can automate using software to save them time and money and which tasks they can ignore because they are not important and not urgent. We all have the same 168 hours a week and it’s up to us how to prioritize them so we can we most efficient.

The key is the quadrants they choose to focus the bulk of their time on will determine how effective and successful they are.

Now I have a question for you.

If there was one task that would make a huge impact on your life, what would that be? And how much time are you spending on that task per week?

#4. Done is better than perfect
Sometimes we can be perfectionists and try to make something the best we can before we launch it.

I know because that was me. I would constantly go back and try to perfect a product so it was 100 percent before I launched it. If the color was just a shade too bright on the fabric, I would tell the supplier to go back and re-dye it. This would delay the launch another two to three weeks. As a result, we missed out on the cutoff date for the holiday shopping season and we lost a ton of sales.

However, at the end of the day, we need to let the market (i.e. our customers) decide—with their wallets.

If we don’t ship we will never know—and the result is that we lose.

“Real artists ship.”
Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was notorious for telling his employees to deliver a product to meet his expectations and to deliver it by the ship date.

It was under these constraints and pressures that the iPod, iPhone and iPad that you are using every day were created and shipped.

In fact, if we were to look back, the iPhone 4 had a critical problem with its antenna where if you made a call and cradled the phone with your left hand you would lose all reception and the call would drop. In other words, the iPhone 4 was a phone that couldn’t make reliable phone calls. I remember this very clearly because I owned one.

And it’s not just people in your country. Sellers are joining from all over the world from the U.S. to the EU to Australia to China, the latter responsible for an estimated one-third of the newbies.

On the ground in China, Amazon even holds training events to help educate these new sellers. They get information straight from Amazon and many even get dedicated managers to help them get started.

Word on the street is that in certain parts of China like Shenzhen, everyone from barbers to taxi drivers is selling on Amazon. So what are you doing to stay ahead of your competitors?

As an Amazon FBA business owner who’s running a one-man or one-woman show, you might be working a full-time job in addition to your FBA business as a side hustle.

So time is your most precious resource.

You’ve probably watched Case Study, listened to countless Amazon gurus on podcasts and YouTube or taken courses like ASM (Amazon Selling Machine) so you have a basic level of knowledge.

You might have a couple of SKUs up and running. You may have up to $1,000 in sales a day from your one or two products.

Now your goal is to grow into a 7-figure business.

But wait. It’s not so easy to hit that monthly revenue goal.

You might be completely disorganized right now, contacting suppliers, trying to keep track of cash flow and forecasting when to reorder your products, running profitable pay-per-click campaigns, trying to figure out Facebook ads and influencer marketing and not having enough time to do everything.

So how do you plan to hit that goal?

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

Want to apply these habits to your business? Download a free worksheet here.

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