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by Jill A. Chafin | Updated May 26, 2022 – First published on May 18, 2022
Image source: Getty Images
Have you ever dreamed of starting your own business? It’s a common aspiration — the flexibility to create your own schedule, the freedom to drive business in the direction you desire, and the possibility to earn more than a standard, salaried job.
Yes, it takes concrete planning and a hoard of resources to launch your idea, but your timing couldn’t be better. Due to the fluctuating work environment from COVID-19, the reasons to become an entrepreneur are plentiful.
We’re going to focus exclusively on starting an online business since the pandemic is driving more and more of life to the virtual domain. An online income source is a great solution for the immediate now, plus it’ll allow you a long-term work-life balance, something so many of us crave.
The only difference between a standard entrepreneur and a digital entrepreneur is where business is conducted. Some businesses operate entirely in-person, such as your local farmer’s market. A majority of businesses take a hybrid approach, such as a dine-in restaurant that also offers an online take-out menu. However, digital entrepreneurs rely exclusively on online commerce.
Some examples of digital businesses include publishing ebooks or podcasts, offering online classes, creating downloadable products such as games or software, designing websites, or selling products without a brick-and-mortar storefront.
There’s no denying that being your own boss totally rocks. Wearing pj’s all day and working during your most productive hours (even if that’s in the middle of the night) is only the tip of the iceberg.
Here are some more reasons to consider the entrepreneurial lifestyle:
Starting your own business means following your dreams. The work becomes more meaningful, more potent, and therefore more enjoyable. No longer do you have to answer to anyone else. This is your business — take it where you desire!
The freedom that comes with an online business is inspiring. Obviously your choices are limited right now, but eventually the world will open up again.
As long as you have a reliable WiFi source, you can work in a cabin in the woods, travel to Australia and beyond, or hop from funky cafes to quiet libraries.
With a standard job, you’re locked into a regular salary. Sure, there’s the hope you’ll get a minuscule raise here and there. But in contrast, your own business has no boundaries. You can grow and spread across the globe, or even downscale if you need more personal time.
It’s your business; you can do with it as you please.
Perhaps you don’t want the responsibility of running a full-time business, or at least not yet. That’s OK. Your online business can be a small stream of extra income while you keep your day job or while the kids are napping.
Or, here’s another thought: Start a few businesses! Perhaps you have several good ideas. Go ahead and dabble a little in each. You never know which one will take off and soar.
And sometimes you might choose to keep an online business alive just because it brings you joy — not everything needs to result in crazy high profits. However, we advise against continuing with ventures that are losing a lot of money, unless you’re confident a profit is right around the corner.
It’s easy to brainstorm on digital business ideas all day long. But putting them into action takes grit, determination, and some serious planning. We already have tips on how to become an entrepreneur. Here we’re going to take it further and consider what will succeed online given today’s volatile economy.
All successful entrepreneurs have something in common: They all adopt an entrepreneurial mindset. The list of key features varies, but here are the most common ones:
Take a look at the common types of entrepreneurship. Identifying the type of entrepreneur you want to be will help structure your overall business plan. It’s advantageous to think ahead to where you see your business in five, 10, even 20 years from now.
Here are a few examples:
If you’re still feeling stuck, here are our top 10 small business ideas for 2021.
Since you’re creating an online business, there won’t be an official office or a place for in-person meetings. Therefore, if you’re bringing employees or contract workers on board, you’ll want to establish reliable modes of communication to keep everyone on the same page.
Inspire your remote team with a color-coated project page. Image source: Author
We suggest focusing on these two:
Also, make sure to hone your skills on how to manage a remote team.
Even the most exciting dreams can fail if you don’t plan accordingly. It can be hard to launch a business with limited funds — but it’s never impossible. We suggest starting small, ensuring your business concept is sustainable before pushing full steam ahead.
If you’re taking accounting into your own hands, make sure to use top accounting software to keep your brain and bank account from fizzling out.
Lastly, poke around to see if there’s a definite need for this venture. The last thing you want is to pour all your money into a business idea that has no worth or value in today’s market.
Online success means being able to stand out among the flickering ads, banners, and enticing offers from more established businesses. It can feel daunting to even get started.
Here are a few ideas to consider as you launch your online business:
Strengthen your business’s brand with one of Mailchimp’s user-friendly email templates. Image source: Author
Once your online business is up and running, you’ll want to step back and take a deep look at what’s working. Luckily, almost all social media platforms offer insightful analytics. Sometimes you have to upgrade to a business account or pay extra for your advertising efforts, but it’s worth it.
Examine your business’s overall success with a detailed CRM program. Image source: Author
Most importantly, make sure to use analytical customer relationship management (CRM) software in order to streamline your marketing efforts, sales reports, and to improve your customer service relationships. As you can see above, having all this information presented in an easy-to-read format makes it a breeze to assess how your business is performing.
Remember, the key to a successful business is knowing what worked and how to successfully replicate it again and again. Don’t just keep stumbling ahead in the dark.
Becoming a successful online entrepreneur doesn’t happen overnight. It takes plenty of time and patience to build your online business. And sometimes you’ll see a lot of failure before the money starts pouring in.
Trust in your gut. If you’ve got a good idea, then try adopting the fake-it-until-you-make-it attitude. Soon enough, that mindset will become reality.
Above all else, make sure the world knows you exist! You might have the most brilliant idea of the century, but if you’re hiding in a lonely cave you’re bound to lose money. Get out there and post on every social media platform, blast those inboxes with amazing offers, and stamp your logo all across the internet. All businesses started from scratch. If they can succeed, so can you.
Jill A. Chafin is a small business expert writing for The Ascent.
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