What makes a truly successful digital entrepreneur?
Thanks to the internet. We are now at the age where we see a robust growth of digital millionaires in the world. Coupled only with bright ideas and concepts, one can already start a company from the comforts of their homes and grow these businesses into multi-million dollar companies. It is no wonder millennials are expected to be five times wealthier in the next decade.
Last year, there were 618,000 millennial millionaires in the United States only. And almost all of them are digital entrepreneurs. According to a study, the up and coming digital entrepreneurs will create 10 million youth jobs in the G20 countries.
However, it will take more than a good idea to reach success. And so, we cooked up this guide to help you achieve your goals more efficiently. But first, what is a digital entrepreneur?
The Digital Entrepreneur
Digital Entrepreneurs are business owners who are using digital technology to start, launch, and scale their businesses.
There is no stopping to what they can do and provide. Billions of people across the globe are already utilizing the Internet. The Digital 2020 reports from We Are Social highlighted that as of January 2020, there are already 4.5 billion people that are using this enormous network of networks.
Data from Oberlo showed that an estimated 1.8 billion of these people have purchased goods online, while 63% of these individuals started their purchasing decision online. Thereby, it only says a lot on the shift of how consumers’ purchasing behavior is influenced by everything digital.
Gone are the days that consumers visit the physical store location of a business in order to purchase their products and services. Instead, they only need to search for the information from that business online, look for the details, check the customer reviews, and decide whether to purchase or not.
Due to this shift in the purchasing decision of the worldwide consumers, millions of businesses across the globe have also shifted to marketing their businesses online by building websites, creating awareness in social media and running digital marketing campaigns for their brand to build awareness, engagement, and ultimately create sales online.
This is the trend that a digital entrepreneur taps into.
What is Digital Entrepreneurship?
Now considered as a branch of science, Digital Entrepreneurship is a study focused on understanding the characteristics and behavior of entrepreneurs in the digital era. It is also referred as the “creation of new venture from opportunities presented by new media and internet technologies.”
Personally, I define digital entrepreneurship as the holistic approach to finding opportunities using the web to generate revenue and commerce opportunities.
If you have started an online venture that aimed at creating awareness with the future of creating leads and sales for your business, you are already a digital entrepreneur.
Digital Entrepreneurs vs Traditional Entrepreneurs
Slowly the line that differs both of the traditional and digital entrepreneurs is becoming blurry. Almost all of the ventures now are assisted by technology and something digital. With the growing acceptance of the internet as a right and part of a lifestyle, digital entrepreneurs will just be called a regular entrepreneur.
Technopreneur vs Digital Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs are those who identify opportunities, convert products and services, estimates earnings and profits, and build a successful business with it.
Digital Entrepreneurs are those who do what the entrepreneurs do with the element of the internet and anything digital.
Digital entrepreneurs leverage the Internet to conduct their businesses and generate income through this network. Some of the Internet-based businesses include business coaching, online reselling, e-commerce products and services, and digital marketing services such as content marketing, paid advertising, and others.
Hence, as long as you provide services that mostly revolve around any online platforms, you are called an online entrepreneur.
Technopreneurs and Digital Entrepreneurs have more similarities than regular entrepreneur. Most of the technopreneurs I have met and researched for years are “developers” first who have nothing but ideas and used these ideas in solving existing problems and ultimately change the way something is traditionally done.
Example, Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings of Netflix thought of a different way of making movie rental convenient and affordable, used the power of technology (built a super fast cloud that can easily allow you to stream video anywhere you are) and completely changed how the movie and tv industry economics.
I hope the discussion made it clear the difference between the three.
Benefits of Becoming a Digital Entrepreneur
Becoming a Digital Entrepreneur is not a walk in the park.
However, the benefits of becoming one are worth all the effort… plus more.
I have listed some of the benefits of becoming a digital entrepreneur:
Build A Business Around YOU.
Do you want a business that is built around your lifestyle? As a digital entrepreneur, you can do it that way.
In building your business online, you are given more opportunities to choose the path that you want. You don’t have someone else push you to choose something that your values are not aligned with.
You won’t be following a certain employer to tell you what to do. You won’t be working 9 – 5.
The most important fact here is doing what you love the most. Instead, you can freely choose what skills you want to pursue, the business model that you want to build aligned with your passion and purpose. After all, those are the two things that can make your life worthwhile, right?
There is nothing wrong with starting as an employee. I get that. I have been there. But, if you want to have a life that is designed around what you want to do with people that you love, and then earn from it, it would be a blessing, right?
Online entrepreneurs choose to build their own brand as they have more power on what they do and most importantly, they love achieving it.
Freedom to Meet the “Right” People
There are millions of business-minded individuals who are utilizing the Internet to build their own business which means that you are most likely to meet online entrepreneurs who have the same values as yours.
Whether it is through Internet platforms or conferences and personal meetings, you will meet people who will motivate and inspire you in continuously building your brand.
Apart from that, some of these individuals also offer coaching for new entrepreneurs in the field so whether you are new in marketing online or don’t have any background in any marketing field, you can certainly find an online entrepreneur to be inspired with.
Take into account the statement from Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker, that you are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.
In this case, as you are becoming more aligned in becoming an online entrepreneur, you need people who have the necessary understanding and experience. Hence, surround yourself with like-minded individuals that will help you become a better person in order to achieve your goals.
Become a Leader in Your Niche
In building your business from scratch, you are honing your technical skills in building your brand and at the same time leadership skills. Regardless if you have any background in online marketing or not, you will gain more wisdom in becoming a leader in the industry in both personal and professional manner.
This is one of the most positive aspects of becoming an online entrepreneur because you have dreamt of managing your business one day and as soon as you achieve it, you will be motivated to inspire others as well.
Because you aim to reach more goals for your brand, you become an inspiration for your employees and other like-minded individuals to achieve their goals. Apart from that, as you have the background of an employee and how it feels to follow rules from a boss, you are more aware of the impact of every action that you take.
In this case, you will always be enlightened to motivate your team and reward their achievements and actions accordingly. Hence, you become a leader in front of your employees and other like-minded digital entrepreneurs.
More Skills and Learnings to
The Internet is such an enormous media that offers a wide variety of options for business-minded individuals such as yourself to leverage. Remember that this network of networks is home for millions of active websites that include search engines, social media, e-commerce, blogs, forums, and email platforms.
Most of these platforms are free to use even for businesses so you can utilize these to advertise your business towards your target market and continue building your brand. Apart from that, most of these platforms also offer entrepreneurs and business owners to leverage their marketing strategies by using the tools that are within the platform.
For instance, Facebook which is the largest social networking platform, allows businesses to build a business page and use tools such as insights, analytics, and publishing tools to promote their products and services and learn about their strategies and target market.
Although some platforms don’t offer these kinds of tools in their platform, you can still use a wide array of tools depending on your marketing strategies that can be either free or paid.
Regardless of what platform and software you choose, the key here is to utilize these effectively in order to efficiently strengthen your marketing strategies and to continue building your business.
Constant growth and development.
Whether you finished a degree in entrepreneurship and other related studies, you will still learn more aspects about this field. Your background won’t reflect about the success of your online business but your persistent will.
No online entrepreneur said that as they graduate, they already have the necessary skills in building their business. Besides, in most cases, regardless of the industry, no one has ever been prepared in the field. This is why, it is a must that you are always persistent and motivated to learn.
It is also key to remember that learning equates failure. The more failure you have, the more needed for you to learn so that you won’t face the same mistakes again. Besides, failure is the best way to grow and learn as an individual. From using a type of business until the management process, you will face more challenges but this will also lead to more learning.
Remember that you are not fully knowledgeable on everything you do, so constantly learn, challenge yourself, and expand your skill set. Hence, in order to achieve your goals, don’t be afraid of failures, instead use this as an avenue for you to learn and develop your online marketing strategies.
Live on your own terms.
One of the most obvious benefits of becoming an online entrepreneur is living and working on your own means. Because you won’t be working with someone to tell you what to do and give you deadlines, you will have more time to choose what to do and where and when to do it.
You can choose your own hours and work in places that suit you such as your home, cafes, and other places as long as you have an Internet connection. Hence, you gain more freedom on pursuing the things that you love the most whenever and wherever you want.
However, you should also be reminded that although you have the free choice, you still need to map out and put a clear line between your personal and work life. As you will be working mostly at home, you need to put a borderline on the things that you need to do to keep your life in place without disregarding your business.
Keep in mind that although working at home provides freedom, don’t let this rule all parts of your existence that you won’t be able to experience every day of your life.
Opportunities for Digital Entrepreneurs
Building your own business using the Internet opens up to a handful of opportunities for your growth as an individual and as an entrepreneur. There are billions of people and millions of businesses whom you can sell your products and services with.
Regardless of the platform, tools, and the strategy you aim to use, you can call out a broad range of target market. For this reason, you can learn a lot about your prospects and use this for the future campaigns of your business.
However, it is also key to consider that because our focus here is for you to become a successful digital entrepreneur, freelancing jobs is not part of it. Freelancing is quite a constant topic when someone wants to build an online reputation but this job is different from being an entrepreneur.
The latter sells its products and services to other businesses and consumers while freelancers offer a specific set of services. Take it this way, freelancers are mostly self-employed individuals who are hired to work and execute a particular task for different businesses.
Meanwhile, online entrepreneurs are people who use their money and other resources to open a business that could fill the gap on what the market needs in order to generate profit. Hence, these two are quite different.
As an entrepreneur, you can utilize the background that you have in a specific field to build a professional consultancy business. You can market yourself as a professional consultant who assists in helping businesses to grow their brand. With your track record, you could offer in-person consultations through virtual or personal meetings.
Also, consider that because you are a consultant, you are tasked to advise those with less knowledge and experience about a certain field. For this reason, you need to have solid proof of your background and experience.
Most consultants actually have a master’s degree or even a Ph.D. and even with these backgrounds, they still sign in to online courses and other online certifications to learn more aspects in the industry. Also, you need to have a certain experience with the services that you offer.
For instance, if you offer digital marketing consultations, you should certainly have worked with companies or performed digital marketing before. In this case, you can achieve this through putting up a website with your past client’s testimonials and an in-depth case study. This way, if your target market is still doubtful about your business, you have proof to do the talking on your behalf.
Online Business Owner
The Internet offers aspiring business owners like you an opportunity to build your business with just a click of your fingertips. There are a ton of businesses that you can open regardless if you have the products ready or don’t have the necessary resources to fulfill it.
For craft makers and other individuals who want to sell their products, you can simply build a store in any ecommerce platforms such as Etsy, Shopify and WooCommerce. You can even create a business account on any social media platforms and start selling there.
Also, there are other platforms such as Redbubble, Zazzle, and Teespring that offers artists and any creative individual a chance to sell their designs in any canvas without having to create and send the overall product on their own.
Apart from that, you can also build a brand of your own by building and selling ebooks, online courses, and other products that can be obtained virtually through your website or platforms such as Skillshare and Udemy. These are only some of the platforms and the things that you can offer for your business.
Regardless of what you choose, consider that there are a lot of ways that you can sell your products on the Internet. The key here is to ensure that these products are of quality so that your customers will refer your products to others which in return will increase your profit.
Online Agency Founder
Apart from providing products, you can also provide services for other businesses and other like-minded individuals. In this case, you are building an agency. This is quite different from becoming a professional consultant because you are the ones executing the service.
Also, the difference for this one and normal freelancers is the fact that you are not working for the company but with the company. Thereby, you are providing the services that other businesses need in order to achieve both of your goals.
In most cases, the most common agencies that are built online are digital marketing agencies that offer a wide array of Internet marketing services such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, website design and development, lead generation, email marketing, and paid advertising.
If you still don’t have the necessary resources to open a big company or employ a huge number of employees, you can start with your own and if you have these already, you can then expand your business.
Also, it is preferred to focus on one service first and expand only if needed. This way, you can ensure that you have the necessary aspects that are needed in order to fulfill your services.
Sky is the Limit
As soon as you are able to focus on what you know or what you are best in and you can create a way of
How to Become A Successful Digital Entrepreneur
There are things that you need to consider if you want to become a successful digital entrepreneur.
You should be certain in the process of building your brand’s online reputation so that you will be able to target a wide array of audiences and sell your products and services better.
For this reason, read this article further to learn the step-by-step process of building an online business and the benefits and the opportunities for being a successful virtual entrepreneur.
Setting up an online business is advantageous as this offers you an enormous opportunity to market your products and services. However, in order to gain your desired benefits, there are certain aspects that you need to learn such as website design and development and how marketing on each platform works.
You need to hone your skills and abilities in business and marketing as these are strongly required and if you have no idea about these matters, there are a handful of platforms that offer courses and training about online marketing.
Just keep in mind, that if you gather all the courage and to give more time in strengthening your skills and continue building and managing your online business, you will gain more benefits in exchange.
Nowadays, everyone can become an online entrepreneur as long as you have the courage and persistence in building your business. Regardless if you have graduated with a degree or not, you can easily build an online platform for your desired business but the key here is your determination.
Without the willingness to accept failures and use this as a benchmark for learning and executing other aspects of your business, you won’t become successful. However, it is also important to note that there are some aspects of becoming a digital entrepreneur that you should follow in order to not prevent failure.
For this reason, we have listened to the important factors that affect your goals on becoming a successful digital entrepreneur.
Undergo business and technical training.
The Internet might welcome people without a degree to build a business but in order to stay in this ever-changing industry, you must have an in-depth understanding and experience. Consider that even those who graduated with a marketing degree still find it hard to cope with the industry of Internet marketing.
So, whether you know anything about these matters, you still need to undergo business and technical training.
You need to at least have an idea of the background of the industry that you will take. For instance, if you want to market products that are handmade, then you should at least know how to create materials that are hand-crafted.
Apart from that, you still need to understand digital marketing. Take into consideration that marketing products and services in the traditional path is extremely different when you perform these using the Internet. So, it is best to know how to market your business in any platform you choose using a wide array of Internet marketing strategies and tactics.
In order to do this, you can take courses at your nearest school or online classes. A huge number of universities across the globe are already utilizing the Internet to increase their reach and teach students regardless of their location.
These universities mainly offer courses and classes that are relevant to marketing which you can benefit from. Also, there are hundreds of platforms that specifically teach entrepreneurs how to market online and use various marketing tactics along with it.
Still, the key here is to get training in the strategies and how to utilize new forms of technologies. Thereby, it is a must that you learn these aspects beforehand and continue learning as you go.
Define your goals and objectives.
One of the factors that affect the direction of your business is how you define your goals and objectives. In building and marketing a business online, you need to identify a certain achievement that you aim to attain within a certain period. This should also have a necessary set of objectives that acts as a stepping stone for you to achieve these goals.
It is important to note that before establishing your business, you first identify your goals and strategize the necessary steps that you aim to take in the future. Apart from that, you should also consider that both of your goals and objectives serve as the core values that will guide you in delivering your products and services towards your clients.
Because of this, these should be made specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. This way, you won’t find it hard to move your business forward and achieve your specified company direction.
Identify your target market.
The other factor that you should also consider is your target market. Because these individuals are your desired customers, you need to strategically curate your products and services for them.
However, you cannot do these without understanding their background and preferences. Thereby, you need to learn more about your target market and you can accomplish these through buyer personas.
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers. It is of utmost importance that you gather this data through existing customer data, surveys, and thorough market research, because this will help you gain more information about your target clients, analyze the threats in the market, and fill spaces for opportunities.
In doing so, you should include a combination of your target market’s demographic and psychographic information. The demographic data is the quantitative information of your prospects which includes their location, age, and income while the psychographic (qualitative information) includes their goals, hobbies, interests, and priorities.
Keep in mind that all of these details are important as you still need to analyze all of these details. It is key to search for similar backgrounds and information and segment these into groups.
This way, you will gather the necessary input that will represent your target market which you can use afterward in curating and providing the necessary products and services that are targeted towards your preferred market.
Create a business plan.
Now that you already gain enough knowledge and understanding about your target market and the path that your business needs to take, you are now ready to create a business plan. It is of utmost importance that you find the right business that is appropriate for your desired market and you focus on this.
There is a wide variety of businesses that you can dwell on but it is recommended to focus on one so that you have your full attention on making it successful. For this reason, focus on a business that you are passionate about as this motivates you to move forward and help your business to grow and become a success.
In doing so, you also need to focus on little details. What platform will you use? Where will you get the startup money? What are your products and services? What are the processes that you aim to follow in order to provide your products and services? These are only some of the questions that you should answer.
Apart from that, you should also answer other questions that identify the things that you will do or will happen in the future. This way, you are making yourself and your business ready for unplanned circumstances.
Most importantly, cover all of the details of your agency through a written business plan. Include the executive summary, market analysis, company description, organization and management, marketing and sales, services, funding requirements, financial projections, and appendix.
Don’t worry about certain changes in the future as this information can change over time so it always needs revision. Just remember that you need to constantly update this business plan.
Register your business.
After the planning stage, you are now ready to make your business official. Part of this process is by building your platform or your online store. Also, you need to take into account all the legal aspects that are part of building a business such as tax and others.
Primarily, you need to establish a platform for your business. You can do this by creating a website and adding the necessary plugins that businesses should have such as WoCommerce and Shopify.
However, if you still don’t have the resources and manpower to build this website, you can just create a store in marketplaces such as Amazon, Rebubble, and others. Regardless of what you choose, consider that you still need to step up your online visibility by incorporating a wide array of effective Internet marketing strategies.
Still, it is of utmost importance that you take a legal step for your business. Register it to the legal department in your region and apply for the necessary certifications, licences, permits, bank account, and tax ID under the name of your company. Also, protect your intellectual property through patent, trademark, and copyrights.
Take into account that even if you are still starting your business, you should protect it by complying with all of your government requirements and also keep a copy of all of these in case of any unforeseen crisis. This way, if something happens, you have proof to back it up.
Market your business strategically.
In order to increase the traffic and sales of your business on the Internet, you need to promote it online. Remember that the Internet is filled with thousands of platforms that are used by billions of people across the globe. For this reason, you need to maximize these platforms and target more customers by incorporating it with your marketing strategy.
There are various effective marketing strategies online. Firstly, you can use your website as a tool to increase your online visibility by making sure that it is SEO-friendly. With this, you are ensuring that your website is optimized for search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing and to your target market. Also, you can maximize the benefits of the biggest platforms across the globe which in this case are social media. These platforms are the giants in the Internet as these are home for 3.5 billions of people who are active on a regular basis.
Whatever marketing strategy you choose, remember that the key to increasing your sales is your process of guiding your prospects into the endpoint of the sales funnel. Most people on the Internet might not know about your brand but they will learn about your business when you provide them engaging and sales-worthy content and sales pitch.
It is also recommended to utilize more than one marketing strategy so that you can maximize its benefits but you don’t have to execute everything as you might not possess the time and resources for it. Just keep in mind that the key here is how you manage your strategies to increase your online visibility and sales. This way, you can still leverage its benefits for your future business campaigns.
Learn how to manage money.
In building a business and a brand of your own, you need to have the necessary resources to execute your marketing strategies so that you will gain success in the field. However, if you don’t know how to handle your money properly, this will lead to bankruptcy or worse, debt. Hence, it is a must to learn financial management so that you will still be able to expand your business and achieve more success.
In doing so, you need to have a cost structure or the expenses that your business will incur. This will act as a structure that will help you determine the prices of your products and services, wages of your employees, and other administrative and production overhead. Just keep in mind that there are two accounts in using the cost structure.
Primarily, there is what we call fixed structure that is incurred on a regular basis and is unlikely to change over time that includes property taxes and interest rates. Meanwhile, there are variable costs that vary depending on the production output such as bonuses and the expenses of your marketing tactics.
Apart from that, you should also consider that there are various pricing models. If you offer services and consultations, you can ask to be paid on an hourly basis. There is also a flat retainer pricing model where you and your client agree on a flat monthly rate. Moreover, you can also price your products and services depending on a certain percentage to your overall spending budget.
Lastly, you can price your products and services based on your commission or performance wherein you only got to be paid depending on the results. However, if you find it hard to follow these pricing models, you can just use the most common formula which can be calculated by adding all of your cost and multiplied to your brand’s desired margin percentage.
Just bear in mind that the most important factor in here is how you manage your finances. Regardless if you follow these cost structure and pricing models or not, without proper financial management, your business will strongly fail. Consider that in becoming an entrepreneur, you need creativity and management. You need to acquire new and innovative ideas for your target market.
However, these ideas will become unsuccessful if you don’t know how to manage your business financially. Besides, in every strategy and every campaign you will do, you need to invest your money. Apart from that, you also need to sustain your business so that you will be able to expand in the long run. Hence, it is key to learn how to manage your money.
You might also want to read Characteristics of Successful Digital Entrepreneur here.
In this new era, everyone can become an entrepreneur by just utilizing the Internet but in order to sustain a business, you need to be willing to have a concrete business process and consider the legal steps that you need to take.
There are lots of opportunities for aspiring digital entrepreneurs and this includes building a professional consultancy business, an agency that offers online-based services, and a business that offers a wide range of products.
Regardless of the business that you want to build, there are important factors that you need to consider. You may have an idea on how to create a social media account but creating an online reputation for your brand is quite different. You need to be strategic as well as creative.
This is why, even for those who graduated with a degree in marketing and other relevant fields, it is still important to undergo business and technical training online and offline.
Moreover, it is also key to have the necessary idea on the business that you want to build. Define your goals and objectives and identify your target market clearly. This way, you won’t have a hard time establishing your marketing strategies and your overall business online.
However, you should also keep in mind that although you are establishing an online brand, you still need to follow the legal procedure in your region. Primarily, you will build a platform for your brand whether it is through your own website or through an e-commerce platform.
But remember that it doesn’t just end there. It is also key to consider creating an in-depth and carefully-detailed business plan that encompasses all aspects of your business. Most importantly, you must also comply with all the government requirements and protect your intellectual property through patent, trademark, and copyrights.
Still, consider that you should also maintain your business so that you continue to provide products and services for your target market. For this reason, you need to be strategic in increasing your online visibility.
Incorporate the needed Internet marketing strategies for your brand and utilize the data that you gathered for your future marketing campaigns. Apart from that, you should also manage the financial aspect of your brand.
Check every aspect of your business such as your cost structure and pricing models. Hence, make sure that you are carefully managing your business in both creative and financial aspects.
Ultimately, as a business-minded individual, you need to consider both the growth of your business and yourself. The more knowledgeable you are, the more you can expand your business. You will become the founder of your business and for this reason, you need to be an expert in your field. Learn the necessary things that you need beforehand and incorporate your experience in managing your business.
Moreover, even though you have started your brand already, continue to learn and incorporate new ways into your business. Take into account that your brand reflects a lot about your personality as a digital entrepreneur. Hence, be an effective as well as inspiring individual in the field of online marketing.
Remember that in order for you to become a successful digital entrepreneur and leverage the wide array of benefits and opportunities, you need to be a person with a heart and mindset for branding yourself and your business. This way, you will continue to grow your business, achieve more goals, and become an authority in the industry.
Are you an aspiring online entrepreneur? If so, then use this article as a benchmark for you to start your business!