Digital entrepreneurship is low risk and has a high return potential. What are you waiting for?
You have had enough of your 9 to 5, enough of working for others, and are contemplating becoming a digital entrepreneur? It will be the best decision of your life, at least for now.
This is not a niche anymore, it’s not only for the fortunate ones or very tech savvy, it’s for everyone because everything internet business related has become so simple.
This does not mean everyone has guaranteed success, but with low investment compared with a brick and mortar business what’s stopping you from trying again and again until it pays out?
There are many ways of founding your own digitised business, and we’ll show you the best ones and how to.
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Any business which has a product or service fully digital is a digital enterprise, and the owners are digital entrepreneurs.
Let’s look at the oficial definition of the Digital Commerce Institute:
Digital entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs focused exclusively on digital commerce, and digital commerce is “a subset of e-commerce used to delineate companies that create digital products and services that are marketed, delivered, and supported completely online.”
Anything from e-books, courses, software, to membership sites, etc, is a digital product and if the business only deals with these it means it’s a digital enterprise.
- Flexibility – the most obvious advantage is very similiar to that of an analogic entrepreneur: you are your own boss so you decide your own working schedule. But a digital businessman gains extra flexibility because he/she can be anywhere, so traveling can easily become part of your new lifestyle
- Low investment – when you can start a business selling products all over the world with just 50 dollars, it speaks for itself: low investment upfront which, in a way, is a lower risk for your endeavour. Even if it is a capital-intensive business model, in most cases, you can use low-cost techniques to validate your idea with a high degree of confidence.
- HR access – when you work 100% online, you can have all your workers from all over the world which exponentially increases the chance of hiring great professionals
- Scalability – probably the biggest reason we are in the tech startup era, the scalability opportunities. When you sell online you have access to more than half of the planet. How many years does a brick and mortar business take to reach that point?
- Impact – because you have scale, that means you can potentially reach billions of people. If you start an ethical business with social or environmental concerns, your impact on society will be huge. Remember, with great power, comes great responsibility.
A digital entrepreneur is an entrepreneur at heart. Some skills apply across the board. Here we’ll focus on the skills more specific to the digitised world.
- Quick learner and continuous improvement – it’s a cliche saying that we should always be willing to learn new stuff to succeed, society does not stop and new things are always showing up. The problem is that in the digital world, the speed of innovation is staggering, one minute you are a master next you lost the train completely. You need to be humble and a fast learner because there is no time, when you finish reading this article what I’m saying here might be obsolete!
- Opportunistic and adaptable – as a result of the speed we spoke in the last point, “adaptability” needs to be your middle name, new rules of the game will come out and you need to be able to shift. If you sell on Amazon, tomorrow they may decide to change the commissions and you loose half of your returns in one day. The same way you need to see opportunities because the world wide web looks like it already offers everything we can think of but you are wrong, gaps still exist and are everywhere, pay attention and don’t loose opportunities.
- Grit and mistake growth – resilience is the key of the game, because the entry barrier is so low you will tend to experiment different approaches and most of them will fail. But failures are key important lessons, by learning why they did not work you will take valuable knowledge for what will work. Having grit is what will give you the energy to overcome all those failures until you reach success.
Ah, almost forgot, you also need a computer and a fast enough internet connection.
What are the best business models for a digital entrepreneur?
The field is vast, there are many options to start you own business with your current skills, or with skills you will soon acquire.
In the case you feel you don’t have skills yet, then you can start as a freelancer to gain experience and confidence and then jump on the entrepreneurship train. One of our recommendations is to Teach English Online.
Starting from the easiest and going all the way to the ones that require more skills and investment:
- Social Media Manager / Influencer – If you like and are comfortable with social media then this can be for you. You still need to get some hard skills because good social media marketing is much more than meets the eye, and the ability to manage different projects is not for everyone. Nailing those skills allows you to work for literally anyone that you meet on the street and has or wants to have an online presence. Individuals with personal brands included. It’s the modern equivalent of a PR agency.
- Affiliate Marketing w/ Website or Webinar – Creating a company website, doing amazing content to attract traffic or just pay for traffic, you will then promote third party products and services and get a commission for it. As simple as that. As an alternative for people comfortable with public speaking, doing webinars is a way of doing affiliate marketing. This is literally becoming a salesperson, without actually answering to the companies you represent, which is pretty awesome.
- E-commerce – Here we have many business models that go from dropshipping, where the investment is almost null, to private label, where you basically you create your own brand, design your own products, produce, store and sell them. It does sound like a classic business that takes ages to create and a lot of investment, but just the model is classic, the investment is not. A couple of thousand dollars is enough for you to start a full fledge brand in half a year. Sounds easy? That’s because it is.
- Digital products creator – Have you seen the millions of online courses and e-books around? Yes, anyone can make any of those with the help of platforms available today, so if you have a specific skill you want to share and make money with, this is the business model for you. If you don’t have, acquire it, perfect it, and after some time share it with the world.
- Digital Agency (web design, marketing, ads, SEO, etc.) – If you already are an expert in any digital work skill, like programmer, web designer, ads, you name it, then why not start an agency and hire more people to give you scale? You basically stop looking for clients to become a full business clients reach out to. You don’t even have to hire, you can become a one-person agency.
- Technical Solution – Are a savvy coder, or know how to do web or mobile apps? Why not solve a problem for our society? Think how great it would be to have an app to conveniently order a taxi to your exact location with the market price already established. Oh wait, that’s what the Uber guys did. Anyway, think again, find the gap and solve our problems, please.
- Digital businesses Investor / Flipper – Do you have some savings on the side? Have you managed businesses already, or had a high management position? Why not invest in already established businesses? You can quickly create some passive income for yourself. Or if you are willing to, buy them, improve them or hire someone to do it for you and sell it at a higher value later on.
There are many digital businesses you can have but the best, with more proven results and probably with more information out there to achieve are this seven. Feel free to reach out if you decide to pursue any of them and we’ll give you some guidance and contacts from our network to support you.
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Roadmap to start your online business
After you select your business model you need to know where to start, so we will share the main steps you should follow to become a digital entrepreneur.
- Pick your brain – remember the first skill we spoke about what one needs to become a digital entrepreneur? The internet is so full of information for any kind of business that there is no excuse for you not to be on top of your game. I know, too much information can be scary too. If you feel overwhelmed, drop us a line or comment and we’ll guide you through the process. At this point, just read generically about the business options we spoke above. Look for examples of success, try to look daily activities, and see if it is something you feel you could do it. Get a good overview of everything and move on to the next step.
- Follow the masters – with the research you did in the first point, you probably found some gurus on the topics we have been covering, so now it’s time to tag and follow them. Following experts is the best way to stay up to date with the trends and industry updates.
- Check your skills / passions – now we move into yourself, it’s time for you to x-ray yourself, do some brainstorming, get a coach or mentor, but find a way to identify your strengths and what motivates you. This is the key moment, everything else will move around this pivotal decision, make or break will most of the times come from a bad decision at this point. Take your time, but do it well and come back with all you’ve got. We can help you with some tool recommendations, if you need.
- Choose your niche – this can and should be a consequence of the previous point. You realised all your skills, you know what motivates you so which of them will you choose to focus on? You can always combine them, of course. Let’s say you absolutely love traveling and sustainability, why not create a project that mixes them? Oh wait, that’s this project!
- Choose your business model – From that list or other options you consider, it’s time to choose your business model. You can combine different ones, but you should focus on one at a time. You can start, for example, an affiliate website selling other people’s courses but, later on, produce your own courses and promote them, too. Choose one, stick to it and move on.
- Study your brain out again – Now we are talking about deep research, not just wondering about the subjects. I’m talking about taking courses, going to conferences, online summits, networking events, meet-ups, whatever it takes for you to become a master of what you want to do. Remember that a lot of people have already failed, learn with them so you don’t need to invent the wheel. You have no excuse, with all the information out there take your time and, when you feel confident, go to the next stage.
- Create a business plan / strategy – Now comes the classic part: create a business plan. We are not talking about 30-page financial simulations, maybe not even the simplified business canvas so used in the startup world. This is the part where you define your strategy: will you invest on paid ads, will you create a website right away? And all of them in a timeline so you know when you are going to need the cash. With this, you should be able to do some financial planning together with goal setting, to be sure you are on track. Remember this is for you, not for potential investors, so be honest.
- Implement and don’t look back – This is the moment you have been waiting for: kick off your plan, and this may mean months before you actually launch or start the business, but do it all the way without looking back. When it’s time, launch it and celebrate, you are now a Digital Entrepreneur.
Side job or total life control
At this point you may be convinced to step up your life and have your own business, either digital or not. If you are still unsure, check our page with less risky options for a digital nomad life.
But if you are still on the fence, then digital entrepreneurship has another great advantage over traditional businesses: you can easily and slowly start a side business, and wait for it to grow before you jump into it full-time.
I’ve just met a guy that started a small online consulting business on weekends and, after 11 months, he isnow working on it full-time and making 6 figures.
The options are many, information is out there, what are you waiting for?