If you are here, you are probably interested in earning an income online. The activity of earning an income is a process called entrepreneurship. Getting started as an online entrepreneur would include some basic understanding of entrepreneurship and the following 7-Steps to become an online entrepreneur.
History has shown the earliest entrepreneurs were traders and merchants. Some historical records show the first known instance of humans trading comes from New Guinea around 17,000 BCE, where locals exchanged obsidian, a black volcanic glass used to make hunting arrowheads for other needed goods. I am sure you will not be surprise these early entrepreneurs exchanged one set of goods for another.
Wikipedia describes Entrepreneurship as designing, launching and running a new business.
Who is an entrepreneur?
Today's entrepreneur would differ from those that we read in history. I like the following description of an entrepreneur.
An entrepreneur is an initiator, an innovator and a driver that creates something new, either an initiative, venture, business or a company to earn an income.
We have described entrepreneurship as the “capacity and willingness” to develop, organize and manage a business initiative or venture along with any of its risks to make an income.
A word of caution I have to raise is, while definitions of entrepreneurship typically focus on the launching and running of businesses, there are risks involved in these initiatives which involved lack of funding, bad business decisions, an economic crisis, lack of market demand, or a combination of these.
Who is an online entrepreneur?
Now that we understand entrepreneurship, we can describe an online entrepreneur.
An online entrepreneur business initiative or venture takes place via the internet. This definition encompasses many types of digital business models: affiliate marketing, digital products, drop shipping, online retail, online marketplaces, B2B services, SAAS and more.
The 7-Steps to getting started as an Online Entrepreneur
Step 1: Identify the right business model for you.
The first challenge when getting started as an online entrepreneur is understanding all the business models and opportunities available to you. You can be an entrepreneur in just about any area because of the myriad of online opportunities and platforms. Therefore, you need to decide which business model and field to work in and business to start.
Finding a business that won’t only be successful, but is something that you are passionate about will go a long way. Entrepreneurship is hard work, so you want to focus your attention on something you care about.
There's not a single business model, and there's not a single type of electronic content. There are really a lot of opportunities and a lot of options and we just have to discover all of them.– Tim O'Reilly
The most basic decision when getting started is whether you will be:
- Selling your own product
- Selling someone else product
The easiest way top get started without a product of your own is to sell someone else product. Affiliate marketing is a business model to earn by referring a product or service to someone and getting paid.
Step 2: Determine if you need to get an education
You need not have any formal education to be an entrepreneur, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore education entirely.
Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.– Jim Rohn
You need knowledge about the market, the product, and the skills necessary to take action.
If you want to start a software company, experience in business, computer programming and marketing could all be valuable. Also, some industries will probably require some education or certification, such as medical or healthcare related.
Online entrepreneurship training often includes business and technical knowledge about how to operate an online business. These skills are useful as every business is moving towards a digital economy.
Step 3: Setting Goals
The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.– Bill Copeland
The reasons for goals are simple, you cannot score without a goal. Let's use archery as an illustration. Imagine having to shoot an arrow without being given a target. Where would you aim?
And say you aimed at some random thing (out of sheer perplexity). Why would you aim there? And what would the purpose be? Get the idea? This is a literal example of what life is like without a goal or target in mind. It’s pointless and a waste of energy and effort.
Goals help realise your potential by applying your abilities and talent in the right place.
In summary, Goals
- are COMMITMENTS we make with ourselves
- helps us FOCUS
- keeps us MOTIVATED
- allows us to measure PROGRESS
- help us overcome PROCRASTINATION
Step 4: Plan your business
Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.– Pablo Picasso
Before you begin your business, you need to have a business plan. A business plan lays out any objectives you have and your strategy for achieving those objectives.
Business plans are strategic, therefore it makes sense to prepare a written description of the future of your business. This document tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it together with some information about the business environment and critical success factors.
If you are planning to get investors (even if the investor is your spouse or family) on board, have a business plan to articulate the vision of how successful this business is.
Step 5: Find your niche market
The term “niche” is one that often used in today's digital marketing world. Every Internet Marketing “guru” will tell you to discover your niche before starting your online business.
While the concept may be well known, the number of online businesses that get it and do it right is small.
Just so we agree, here is a working definition.
“denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.”
When you are niche, it focuses you on being the best at what you do and whom you do it for. Everything else doesn't matter. This means you don't chase trends or worry about the competition. You hone your skills and serve your niche.
Chose the niche that you enjoy, where you can excel and stand a chance of becoming an acknowledged leader.– Richard Koch
Not everyone is interested in the same things or has a similar interest. Age, culture, education, experience, gender, income, interest, race and region will play a large role in determining which niche they belong to.
Research which group fits your business model best and then gear everything to attract that audience or market.
REALTED: How To Choose A Niche Market
Step 6: Know your unique selling proposition (USP)
Charles H. Duell was the Commissioner of US patent office in 1899 and uttered the following quote, “everything that can be invented has been invented.”
Whether that quote is true, may be subject for a debate. However, the point is anyone can buy anything from anybody.
The question is, Why should they buy from you?
Before you can sell your product or service to anyone else, you need to sell yourself on it.
This is especially important when your product or service is similar to those around you. Very few businesses are one-of-a-kind. Just look around you: How many clothing retailers, hardware stores, air conditioning installers and electricians are unique?
The key to effective selling in this situation is what advertising and marketing professionals call a “unique selling proposition” (USP). Unless you can pinpoint what makes your product and business unique in a world of homogeneous competitors, you cannot target your sales efforts successfully.
Your job as an entrepreneur is to convince people that whatever you’re selling is unique and the best option available.
What is your Unique Selling Proposition? What makes you different than your competitors? Wrap your advertising message around that USP and communicate it in a clear and concise manner.– Author: Lynda Resnick
Step 7: Marketing is essential to success
Ignoring marketing is like opening a business but not telling anyone.– KB Marketing Agency
You should be focused on marketing before, during and after you start your business. This is true for any business, whether online or traditional brick-and-mortar business. You may have the best restaurant in your city, but nobody will visit if they don't know it exists.
Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.– Beth Comstock, Former CMO & Vice Chair, GE
In the online world, we say all roads lead to Rome. However, there are many roads and some roads change quickly, therefore if you must be able to focus your marketing efforts on your target audience to be successful.
The above 7-Steps of Getting started as an online entrepreneur would help one understand entrepreneurship and take the first step to move forward.