Answered by Dan Lawrence, SEO and e-commerce specialist
It was hard because the infrastructure just wasn't there.
When I started, I was selling everything from microscopes to high end IT for audio/video studios and sold to everyone from the BBC to the Beatles - and that's just the 'B's'. :) Things went nuts when i started selling iPod accessories and got to no 1 on google for 'iPod accessories'. The business was going very fast, and it reached an objective valuation of £2 million by 2006.
This is where scaling came into the equation. Initially I just went from £50 per day to aprox £700 pretty much overnight, and then I got swamped with admin work. This happened especially as I started selling iPod accessories and moved from being a B2B (where one invoice can cover a massive value) to a B2C (where the same value is made up of hundreds of customers and all the customer service and admin required to facilitate that).
Back then no one had heard of outsourcing back office processes to virtual assistants - they simply did not exist at the price levels they do now. That all required big budgets since shops needed a local supplier and that was not much cheaper than hiring people. I was hiring up to 5 people working form my tiny flat in Islington in North London at the time 2002 to 2008 and carrying sacks and sacks of packages up to the local post office and causing queues around the block.
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