Digital Entrepreneur, Part 1: Should You Run Your Business Online?
I don’t mean to brag, but being a digital entrepreneur is kind of awesome. We run our businesses online. We can work from home, and we can have a glass of wine while we work without getting fired. It’s pretty much the life.
Promote Yourself and Build Relationships
According to Whitney Hansen, millennial money expert and entrepreneur, “Being a digital entrepreneur means focusing heavily on marketing and promotion.” She also emphasizes that when it comes to making money from online sales, digital businesses “require a significant amount of relationship building.” So if you’re interested in this kind of lifestyle, make sure that you’re willing to put in the work on that front.
Do Your Research
Of course, you can’t worry about marketing and promotion unless you have a website first and understand how it works. J. Money, founder of Rockstar Finance, says to first “start a blog and get used to how the internet works. There’s a lot to learn – from publishing to marketing, technology, growing a community, and just really finding your ‘voice.’”
But how do you become a digital entrepreneur? I talked to some highly successful ones to find out.
John Rampton, founder of Due, agrees. “I think anyone who wants to become a digital entrepreneur needs to put the hours into researching and studying what’s involved in the process, how online marketing works, the benefits of social media and SEO, and what the target audience wants,” he says. “It takes considerable time to get started, but doing this research and truly understanding what you are doing is a large part of the battle.”
Who Are You Helping?
When you’re trying to build an online business, it’s important to have a clear purpose of who you want to serve. It’s not enough to just want to work online so that you can make money from a home office. You must have a strategy of who will be buying your services and products and how you will reach them. Liz Theresa, an accomplished online business expert and web designer, emphasized this as well. “When I decided to start my own online business,” she said, “the idea that actually came first was who I wanted to be working with in this business.”
“I love women-owned businesses and blogs, so that’s how I started.”
Similarly, Kevin L. Matthews II credits his success to knowing who he wanted to work with and understanding what his customers wanted. He advises to “make sure you sample your market before you start to spend money on a fancy website and logo.”
He also says that he got “into the habit of asking what information people wanted from me and why. Those two questions alone turned my blog into a business.”
Invest in Yourself
Lastly, it’s important to invest in yourself if you want to become a successful digital entrepreneur. As others have stated, there is so much to learn when it comes to building online businesses that growing one can be incredibly overwhelming. Sometimes taking a course or finding a mentor can cut your learning curve, allowing you to make money faster. That’s what Rosemarie Groner did. “When I started my blog, I had no idea how a blogger even made money,” she said. “I made the decision to invest heavily in education, and it paid off quickly. I took Elite Blog Academy and completed every single action step in the course. It took me nine months to complete. By month 10, I was making a full-time income. I still invest heavily in training.”
So there you have it! As you can see, there are many components to creating, building, and running an online business – it takes a significant amount of work and persistence. But as successful online entrepreneur Michelle Schroeder-Gardner says, “So many people are nervous and afraid of starting a business, but you won’t know if you’ll reach success unless you try.”