Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. Many of us start
businesses on our own without the help of partners, mentors,
instructors or teachers and we fight our own way through the
hustle and grind that it takes to get a business up and
running.

Everyone who’s started their own business knows that it’s not
easy, and when you’re pursuing the journey alone it can seem
even more difficult because you may not have connections to
reach out to, mentors to guide you and other entrepreneurs to
share experiences with. It’s hard to start something and it’s hard to
even know what it takes to build a
business when you’ve never built one before or when you
think you’re not ready. Take us for example: we’ve literally
started from the bottom and
grown into where we are now, what we like to call A Better, Better Lemonade
Stand. We get it.

If you’re signed up to our weekly email newsletter you may recall that
we sent out our annual survey a few weeks ago to get some
general feedback and further insight into our audience. Since
hundreds of you responded, we thought we’d share some of our
findings so we can all get a glimpse into other people’s
journeys and see where we’re all at.

With these insights you can get a glimpse into what others are
doing, what they’re focusing their time and money into and just
some general insight into what the entrepreneurs around you are
up to. It can be difficult to measure progress when you have
nothing to compare it to, so we thought this information could
serve as a realistic benchmark for how others are getting
through their hustle.

It’s true that entrepreneurship can be lonely but when you go
through the information in this post you’ll be able to
recognize that you’re not alone: other entrepreneurs have
struggles, other entrepreneurs are hustling and grinding too.
Other entrepreneurs are bootstrapping their business, growing
their business, building their revenue streams, implementing
new systems or haven’t even started yet but want to
start. You’re not alone, and we hope this post can help
demonstrate that and create some realistic measurements for you
to benchmark your own progress against whether you’re at the
stage of building, launching or growing your own ecommerce
business. Let’s jump into it.

It’s true that entrepreneurship can be lonely but when you go
through the information in this post you’ll be able to
recognize that you’re not alone: other entrepreneurs have
struggles, other entrepreneurs are hustling and grinding too.

Initial Information

First, just some initial insight into our audience so you can
get to know who we’re talking about and where this data is
coming from:

Age Range

As you can see, over 40% of our audience is between the ages of
25-34, and just under 30% of our audience is between the ages
of 18-24. Collectively that means that almost 70% of our
audience is between the ages of 18-34, meaning our content and
resources are getting consumed by the part of the population
that’s likely just starting, building and developing their
lifelong careers.

We’ve discussed before why entrepreneurship is so
important, especially now that jobs, even specialized ones,
are becoming more and more automated, so it’s reassuring to see
that the demographic of individuals whose job security is under
the biggest threat is the most interested and engaged in
learning more about entrepreneurship – which is likely going to
be an important skill going forward in the decades to come.

Male/Female Demographic Breakdown

Our audience is divided into a 60/40 split of men and women who
consume our content. We expect and hope that this divide may
even out to an equal 50/50 split in the coming years.

Location of Visitors

As expected, the vast majority of our monthly visitors are
located in the United States and no surprise that the majority
of our monthly readers comes from predominantly English
speaking countries, as our website is targeted to English
speakers and Western business models and practices.

Have a Business vs. Don’t Have a Business Yet

The results of this question were a happy surprise for us as
the amount of our audience members who currently have an
ecommerce business since our last annual survey has nearly
doubled.

Our goal with A Better Lemonade Stand is to encourage our
audience members to start their own ecommerce business –
whether it’s just a side hustle or to fully replace their day
job – by providing practical and actionable advice, tools and
resources to help them build, launch and grow their own
business. The difference between last year’s result (20% of our
surveyed audience members currently had their own ecommerce
business) to this year’s, shows us that either directly or
indirectly we may be achieving our goal and helping our
audience members to start their own businesses. We hope that
this percentage continues to rise.

The Good Stuff

This is the information we discussed earlier that’s going to
give you some insight into what other entrepreneurs around you
are up to, where they’re focusing their energy and attention,
what their struggles are and more. Since you may have no
tangible way to measure your progress otherwise, we hope this
information can act as a benchmark for you to aspire to, work
towards or maybe just to help you think, “hey, I’m actually
doing alright.”

Startup Costs vs. Monthly Revenue Earnings

If you’ve actually never started your own business it can be
tough to gauge exactly how much it costs to start up a
business. Sure, you can learn from others who have done it
before you but depending on the type of business model you want
to pursue (making, manufacturing, wholesaling or dropshipping),
your product type (physical goods, digital goods, etc) and many
other factors, the cost of starting a business varies from
entrepreneur to entrepreneur.

These metrics from our audience can give you a realistic
insight into what to expect when starting your own ecommerce
business. As you can see, the majority of our audience had a
budget between $100-$500 to start their ecommerce business.
Then next most common budget range is $2501-$5000. Depending on
the type of business you want to create and the choices you
make when it comes to actually acquiring product and setting up
your business, you can see here that’s it’s possible to start a
business no matter what kind of budget you have to work with.

In this year’s survey we also discovered that:

35% of our audience make $0-$250/month from their ecommerce
business

13% make $251-$1000/month

13% make $1001-$2500/month

9% make $2501-5000/month

12% make $5001-$10,000/month

12% make $10,000-$50,000/month

6% make $50,001-$250,000/month

Since the majority of our audience members, 47% to be exact,
currently have a business that’s within 1-5 years old and 36%
have a business that’s less than a year old, this provides a
good indication of what new ecommerce stores can expect to be
making in their first 5 years of business. Keep this in mind if
you’re just building your business and want to know what to
expect revenue-wise when it comes to your first few years of
business.

Ecommerce Platform Provider

Unsurprisingly, the majority of our audience runs their
ecommerce store through Shopify. It’s no secret
that we think Shopify is the best ecommerce platform out there
(if you still need more convincing check out our Shopify Review) so we’re delighted
to see that most of our audience agrees. As for the 28% making
up the “Other” category, that’s comprised mostly of Amazon,
Etsy and some eBay sellers. Again, not surprising that a
portion of our audience chooses to sell on those marketplaces
as they can be a lucrative option and a good option for getting
traffic.

Building Businesses Around a Passion

We’re happy to report that 80% of our audience is passionate
about the products they sell and the market they serve. While
it isn’t completely necessary to sell a product or serve a
market you’re passionate, you can certainly be successful even
if you’re not, it’s helpful to be passionate about what you’re
selling and who you’re selling it to.

Just like entrepreneurship can be lonely, it can also be
difficult, and when you’re slogging through months of low
traffic, no conversions and high abandoned cart rates it can be
easy to give up. One of the main reasons entrepreneurs don’t
give up is that they’re selling a product they’re passionate
about that they want to share with others, or they have a
target market who they’re close with. You’re also more likely
to know where to find your target customers and how to speak to
them if you’re also passionate about it yourself. It’s not
necessary, but it’s helpful.

In this survey we also asked our audience what was their most
important reason for starting their ecommerce business was. For
those who don’t have an ecommerce business yet we asked them
what their most important reason for wanting to start
an ecommerce business is. Here are the top results for each
category:

For those who already have businesses:

23%: I wanted to make more money

21%: I wanted to be able to work from anywhere

18%: I wanted to bring a product/brand to life

For those who want to start businesses:

32%: I want to be able to work from anywhere

24%: I want to make more money

17% I want to bring a product/brand to life

As you can see, the general consensus is virtually the same!
Location independence, financial prosperity and creating a
product/brand remains at the top of the list for both parties.

Monthly Marketing & Advertising Costs

These metrics give good insight into how much it costs to
upkeep a business – besides general overhead such as ecommerce
platform/hosting subscriptions – every month. When starting a
business you have to take into consideration how much the
actual startup costs will be, but some of those costs will just
be one time purchases (like your domain might be, for example,
or your logo).

Other features, however, might cost you a recurring payment
monthly that you’ll have to factor into your running costs.
Just like brick-and-mortar businesses need to pay monthly bills
to keep the lights on and the water running at their business,
you’ll probably need to pay some monthly “bills” as well to
keep your business functioning in optimal condition.

These fees could include your business email hosting fee, the
cost of something such as Adobe Creative
Cloud which you may use to design your website’s
images or graphics, maybe it includes the apps you use to add
additional features such as recurring payments or monthly
subscriptions to your store, etc. Just whatever essential
services are needed to help your business run month-to-month.

When it comes to advertising, 30% of our audience spends $0 on
paid advertising per month. Yep, you read that right. Zero
dollars. This demonstrates to us that our audience is utilizing
non paid advertising channels such as SEO and social media
platforms over paid options. Since 18% of our audience informed
us that SEO is their most effective sales/advertising channel
and 16% say organic social media is most effective for their
store, this helps back up our theory.

It’s also worth mentioning that since the majority of our
audience’s businesses are less than 5 years old, it’s possible
that many businesses don’t have a budget to spend on paid
advertising and choose unpaid options in an effort to manage
their finances more efficiently. Unpaid options like SEO and
social platforms can bring in lots of traffic when used
consistently, so it’s not a bad option for stores who are
working on a bootstrapped budget.

Other advertising results:

13% spend $76-$150 monthly on paid advertising

12% spend $301-$600 monthly on paid advertising

25% of our audience say that Facebook Ads is their most
effective sales/advertising platform

17% use other advertising methods which mainly include
referrals and word of mouth.

Entrepreneurial Struggles

Lastly, it’s important for us to know where our audience’s
struggle spots are so we can continue to create content and
share tools and resources to help entrepreneurs work through
these trouble areas. Finding the right product to sell is
always one of the biggest struggles for individuals who are
looking to start their first business, and as you can see in
the above chart it’s one of the biggest struggles that our
audience deals with.

Also one of the biggest struggles our audience deals with is
how to build traffic. Again, this is another common problem
that new entrepreneurs go through when they’ve just put their
first ecommerce store live because as all entrepreneurs have
learned, and as the old adage goes, just because you build it
does not mean they will come.

And finally, the third biggest struggle our audience faces is
conversion optimization – essentially, once you start gaining
some traffic, how do you turn that traffic into customers.

Perhaps you’ve dealt with these struggles in the past, or maybe
you’re dealing with them now: First, finding the perfect
product to sell online. Second, driving traffic to your store
once you’ve found the perfect product. And third, actually
getting your traffic to buy your product. You won’t be the
first entrepreneur to struggle in these areas, and you
certainly won’t be the last. If you haven’t already, check out
some of our content if you need some fresh ideas to get you
through this struggle:

Finding the Perfect Product:

Getting Traffic:

Conversion Optimization:

For our audience members who haven’t started a business yet, we
asked them what was holding them back. Here was their response:

25% said lack of knowledge

23% said lack of product ideas

20% said monetary investment

If you haven’t started a business yet but you want to, you
likely fall into one, or all, of these categories. This is
normal when first starting your business. So few people have a
clear cut idea of what kind of business they want to start, and
even fewer have the exact know-how to start up a business
immediately without any trial and error.

Because that’s what it’s going to take, trial and error.

There are so many resources and tools out there that can help
you develop product ideas and knowledge about business, us
being one of them but also the Shopify Blog, Skillshare, Bench Accounting Syllabus, Indie Hackers, Sumo’s Blog, Ahrefs Blog and more, so if
you’re one of the individuals who make up any part of those
percentages above where lack of knowledge and product ideas are
holding you back, make use of the resources available to you
online to start bridging that gap and developing your skills.
No entrepreneur started out knowing everything, and many
entrepreneurs built, launched and grew successful businesses
when there weren’t so many valuable online resources to help
them get started, so if they can do it, you certainly can, too.
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Conclusion

You’re not alone. You’re not the first entrepreneur to start
their own ecommerce business and be faced with the accompanying
struggles, and you certainly won’t be the last. You might feel
like you’re alone in your struggles and like your the only
entrepreneur that you know of who’s out there hustling every
day, but as you can hopefully see by the data in this post that
you certainly are not. We hope these metrics have given you
insight into where other people are at so you can use it as a
benchmark to realistically measure your expectations for
yourself no matter where you are in the process of building,
launching or growing your ecommerce business.