In the age of the internet, starting your own business has never been easier. With the rise of online entrepreneurship, anyone with a laptop and an internet connection can build a successful business from scratch.
Since the pandemic hit and everyone was confined to their house, many people now have really changed the perspective on what really matters to them, especially in their working life. I think that one of the major things people realised is that the freedom means a lot more to them than a 9-5 job does.
One way for people to get that freedom is to start an online business, utilising an existing skill or learning a new to utilise in their online entrepreneurship journey.
But what exactly is online entrepreneurship, and how does it differ from traditional entrepreneurship? In this article, we will answer these questions and more.
Definition of Online Entrepreneurship
Online entrepreneurship refers to the process of starting and running a business using digital technology and the internet. With just a laptop, a phone and a Wi-Fi connection you can be set up relatively quickly and be on the way to taking back control of your time.
It can be extremely rewarding and a great way for people to get started in business with a relatively low entry point. Many online businesses you can get started without inventory or stock, unlike the traditional bricks and mortar businesses which often involves setting up a physical store or location.
Online entrepreneurship allows business owners the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. The use of technology, social media and digital marketing creates an environment for rapid scalability within your business.
Advantages of Online Entrepreneurship
Over the last few years there has been a lot of instability, with the pandemic and people being confined to their houses for extended periods of time and a lot of people losing their jobs. I think this made a lot of people think about starting an online business to allow them to make an income online, especially with all the advantages that it can bring.
One of the biggest advantages and probably the most attractive part of running an online business is the increased flexibility it offers. Online entrepreneurs can work from anywhere and at any time, giving them greater control over their schedule and work-life balance.
Another benefit is the potential for higher profit margins, as online businesses often have lower overhead costs than traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. Additionally, online entrepreneurs can create multiple streams of income by leveraging various online platforms and marketing channels.
If, anything like what happened 2020 happened again then operating a profitable online business would mean that you would still be earning income.
Key Skills and Traits for Online Entrepreneurs
While online entrepreneurship offers many benefits, it also requires the person operating the business to be multi skilled in a range of topics certain skills and traits for success. These include:
If you want to be successful with your online business it is important to understand at least the basics of digital marketing, ultimately your success relies on you being able to drive traffic to your website, whether it is a blog site, an e-commerce shop or even just a landing page. The best way for you to drive traffic is to be ranked on the first page of the big search engines and this relies on how well you market your site.
Social media management
This could be a whole blog post on its so will only touch on it briefly here. Social media can be a very powerful tool for your business if it is used correctly, therefore it would be very advantageous for online entrepreneurs to learn how to utilise it. You can target your preferred audience by creating targeted posts, this will help to drive traffic to your online real estate which can only be a good thing.
Undoubtedly at some point in your entrepreneurial journey you are going to “mess up”, whether that is a bad business decision, a failed venture or product. Lot of people will feel at this stage to give up but having that resilience to keep going is what will help you to succeed over the person that gives up at the first sight of trouble. Know that most of the greatest achievements have come just after failure. I have always loved the saying ‘you cannot fail if you don not give up’.
Now a day it feels as though you blink and things have changed and are moving in a different direction and this is almost certainly to do with how connected we all are these days. Therefore, it is vitally important that as an online entrepreneur you are will to adapt to the changing world because just because something worked in the past may not mean it will work in the future.
Willingness to learn.
I think a lot of aspiring online entrepreneurs fail to even get started because they are trying to learn everything before they start, where I think the best way to succeed is to just start and learn along the way. You will always be learning, if you are not learning you are not growing in my opinion and with the rapidly evolving landscape of online business, it’s important for entrepreneurs to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies.
Common Types of Online Businesses
There are various types of online businesses, each with its own pros and cons. Some common examples include:
Affiliate marketing involves promoting other people’s products and earning a commission when someone buys the product through your unique affiliate link.
Most affiliate programs offered are free to join and there are millions of products out there to be promoted, therefore it can be a very attractive way to get started online. If done correctly an effective marketing strategy can become very lucrative and earn you a great income.
- Low risk.
- Very little start-up costs.
- You can work from anywhere.
- Highly competitive.
- No guarantee of income.
- Can be difficult to track conversions.
E-commerce or electronic commerce stores involve buying and selling physical or digital products online. The products that are sold online can be sourced from a wholesaler with a mark up the product or they can be original products that you have created on your own.
E commerce stores can be a great way to earn a good income, especially if you have a great product that solves problems for your audience. To find a great product you will need to carry out some markets research, figure out what problems your audience are having and try to solve these problems with your products.
There are many platforms that you can utilise for your e commerce store, such as Etsy, Amazon or you can build your own store with the likes of Shopify. These platforms all have their own pros and cons, be sure to do your research and figure out what route is best for your goals.
- Sell internationally.
- Low financial cost for your store.
- 24/7 earning potential.
- Highly competitive.
- Customers cannot buy during a site crash.
- Customers cannot try before they buy.
Websites and blogs
Blogging is the process of managing a blog site and writing articles surrounding a specific topic, this topic is called your niche. Picking a niche is for a blog is where people get stuck, there are millions of niche ideas and a lot of people get overwhelmed and just give up. There is a lot of advice out there that anything can be a niche and that is technically true, however some niches are more profitable than others (check out my blog on picking a niche for your online business).
Running a blog can be a great way for you to educate people on your niche and build an online presence. Being consistent with your content is crucial if you want your blog to succeed and become profitable, producing great content on a regular basis will help you build your following, the more followers you have the more earning potential you will have.
You might be wondering how do you monetise a blog…? Well blogs can be monetised in several ways, such as affiliate programmes, paid advertising or sponsored posts (you do all three), if you are consistently producing great informational content there is the potential for uncapped earning potential.
- Flexibility to work anywhere.
- High earning potential.
- Low initial investment.
- No set pathway to success.
- Can take a long time for success.
- No guarantee of consistent income.
Service-based businesses offer digital services such as web design, content creation, or consulting, they are a great way to get started in online entrepreneurship, this is because the product you are selling is essentially your time and your knowledge. It is estimated at the time of writing that over 50% 18-25 year olds are already freelancers, with people now looking for lifestyle freedom.
Serviced based online businesses can be very hands on and therefore if someone is looking for their business to become a passive form of income then the serviced based online business may not be the one for you.
- No inventory.
- You are the expert.
- Pre-existing markets.
- Can be hard to scale.
- Hard to value your service.
- Time consuming.
The above is not an exhaustive list of online business, however it is a list of the most common types of online businesses. There are many pros and cons to all the above businesses. It depends on your skill set and what you are looking to get out of your online business that will determine what type of online business you will ultimately start.
Challenges of Online Entrepreneurship
While online entrepreneurship offers many benefits, it also comes with its own set of challenges. One of the biggest obstacles is self-motivation and discipline. Without a boss or set schedule, online entrepreneurs must have the discipline to stay focused and motivated.
Another challenge is standing out in a crowded marketplace. With so many businesses vying for attention online, it can be difficult to make your business stand out. Additionally, online entrepreneurs must be willing to constantly adapt to changes in technology and the marketplace.
To overcome these challenges, online entrepreneurs can take several steps. These include setting clear goals and deadlines, creating a daily routine, staying organised, networking with other entrepreneurs, and investing in ongoing education and training.
Examples of Successful Online Entrepreneurs
There are many successful online entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-dollar businesses from scratch. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is one of the most well-known examples. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is another successful online entrepreneur who revolutionised the way people connect and share information online. Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, built an e-commerce empire in China and became one of the richest men in the world.
These successful entrepreneurs share several common traits, including a willingness to take risks, a focus on customer experience, and a relentless drive to innovate. Aspiring online entrepreneurs can learn from their stories and strategies, including the importance of taking action, staying focused, and constantly looking for ways to improve and grow.
Online entrepreneurship offers many opportunities for individuals looking to start their own business, it offers lot of flexibility that comes with being your own boss, great opportunities to earn a lot of money, everything is going digital and there has never been a greater time to get started.
To become a successful online entrepreneur, it does take a lot of hard work, sacrifice and dedication. By leveraging digital technology and the internet, entrepreneurs can reach a global audience and build an online presence ultimately creating a profitable online business.
There is a lot to consider when starting any type of business and online business is no different and it is not all about making money (although it does help), you need to have passion and have fun whilst doing it.
I wish you luck in your online business adventure and hope you found this post helpful.
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