Before talking about how to become an internet entrepreneur why would you want to become one in the first place? Well, the internet is used by lots of people every day, including new customers for your business.
About a third of all product searches start on Google. In fact, most people will do internet research before deciding on what product or service to buy.
Your competitors are using the internet to acquire new customers, customers that may well prefer your product if only they knew about it…
Not being on the internet is severely restricting the number of potential customers who will see your offering.
Table of Contents
- What is an online entrepreneur?
- There is more than one way be a digital business owner
- Starting an online business
- Final Thoughts
What is an online entrepreneur?
What do we mean when we say online or internet entrepreneur?
We mean you make most of your income online. It could be a digital service you offer such as copywriting or web design. It could online sales commissions or running an online shop.
There are various ways to make money online. It’s popular with an increasing number of people because it doesn’t cost much to start with few overheads. You don’t need to rent an office or hire people (at least at first, you may want to hire people online if your business grows).
There is more than one way be a digital business owner
Okay, you decided you like the idea of running a business on the internet. Now what?
Well, you need to decide what kind of business and how you plan to make money.
An independent entrepreneur
It’s possible using the internet to be independent of other people. By that, I mean you don’t have clients or bosses. Of course you still need people to pay for your services or products but the payment is indirect.
For instance, affiliate marketing or drop shipping can be considered independent. Don’t worry if you don’t know what those are yet, I’ll explain later in this article.
A web design agency is not independent because you are working directly for people – your clients.
Client based internet business
You have clients and work directly for them on projects. Examples of client-based digital business owner would be:
- Web design agency
- SEO consultancy (or any kind of consultancy done online)
Play to your strengths. If you are a people person a client based internet business would be better for you.
For those not extroverted or you don’t want to be dealing with clients, meetings and zoom calls an independent entrepreneur would be preferable.
Starting an online business
First decide what kind of digital business you want to start. Here are a few options you can consider:
First, let’s define what blogging is. According to Wikipedia:
A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries. Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page.Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog
So, if you like writing you can consider making a living by writing informational and educational content on the internet.
Just imagine working from anywhere in the world (assuming it has good internet connection). In the morning, after your coffee, you can work for an hour or two on your website, then the rest of the day is free for you to relax or spend time on leisure activities.
Make money while sleeping or on vacation. Sounds a great way to live! Of course, it’s not easy to make money this way without spending time honing your skills. You will need the following skills to excel:
- Consistently write high quality, informative and educational content
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) skills, see 29 SEO tips and tricks for more on this
- Some technical skills – maybe, it depends on your blogging software and hosting provider
- Patience, determination, discipline and consistency of effort
If you are still keen on blogging here is a list of software and hardware requirements to get started:
- Hosting account – provides a web server to “host” your website
- Blogging software
- Software to help you find keywords to write content about
Many hosting accounts are available that will allow you to set up a blogging website quickly and cheaply. I wrote about using WordPress on a Siteground hosting account previously.
WP Engine is a highly regarded hosting sites for running WordPress websites. Prices start from $23/month.
WordPress is the most popular choice for running blog websites. It can have a learning curve, especially if you have no technical skills.
If you familiar with WordPress then I recommend using it for blogging, it’s what I use for this website. Hosting providers usually have a simple installation tool to setup WordPress websites for you, usually with a one-click installer.
Many providers will optimise their servers for hosting WordPress, because it is so popular, so your websites should load quickly – assuming you use a fast WordPress theme.
A simpler alternative is to use a drag-and-drop website builder such as Weebly. There is no need for any technical knowledge and you can have a website up and running in an hour – or less.
Software for keyword research
How do you know what content to write? Easy, you need to write content that answers questions your potential customers have. Address any concerns they may have about your offerings.
To find out what potential customers are asking you use a keyword research tool. These tools crawl millions of websites and analyse the content to find the best keywords to use for any query.
The problem though is they can be expensive, typically over $100+ per month for the premium tools. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far more affordable keyword research tools are available.
My favourite tools is SE Ranking, it’s an affordable mid-tier keyword research tool that’s great for people starting with keyword research. You can start a 14 day trial for free:
Example: How to make money with a travel blog
Provide affiliate links for travel (flights, hotels, attractions)
Include ads on your travel blog
Build relationships with tourist destinations and get paid to write articles for them.
Lifestyle blogs that make money
Choose a popular lifestyle that you can research and write about. Ideally, choose a lifestyle you already do or are keen to start.
You will need to write a lot of content to be successful so think careful before you decide.
Write about the lifestyle using the following techniques to make money:
- Partnerships with existing companies
- Sell products for the lifestyle (e.g. yoga mats if you are writing about yoga)
- Affiliate links for services or products for your lifestyle
- Ads on your website
Market other people’s products or, from the other side, get other people to market your products and only pay them for sales. There are a few popular affiliate networks such as share a sale.
Affiliate marketing is a way to get a commission fee for a sale made online. If someone buys a product or service online via one of your links you get a commission fee.
Commission fees range from just a few percent, typically for physical products, to 20-30% or more for software services.
Affiliate marketing is competitive so you will need to have good SEO and keyword research skills to succeed.
You will also want to think carefully about what niche you want to target. Smaller niches have less competition but less traffic and sales potential.
Interested in affiliate marketing? I wrote an article on a popular affiliate marketing site here: ShareASale Review: Drive targeted traffic to your Website.
Even if you don’t want to do affiliate marketing you should consider using an affiliate platform to get other people to do affiliate marketing for you. Think of it as performance related pay. You get a free group of marketers for your products and services!
Run a small shop online
You can sell your own products or services online. It’s cheaper than having a physical store, no rent to pay. You don’t need to pay staff or have all the overheads associated with a physical store.
It’s also easy to start. Choose you preferred platform for an online store.
Online selling tools
You can research for other e-commerce solutions as well.
First, let’s define drop shipping. We will use Wikipedia again:
“Drop shipping is a form of retail business wherein the seller accepts customer orders without keeping stock on hand. Instead, in a form of supply chain management, the seller transfers the orders and their shipment details to either the manufacturer, a wholesaler, another retailer, or a fulfillment house, which then ships the goods directly to the customer. As such, the retailer is responsible for marketing and selling a product, but has little or no control over product quality, storage, inventory management, or shipping.”Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drop_shipping
So, for this business you act as an intermediate between the original seller and the customer.
You are responsible for marketing and selling the product via your website but are not responsible for shipping, customer service or returns. The original seller will handle that directly.
This is becoming a popular way of making money online. Just think about it, you can run your business from anywhere in the world. Don’t need to hold any stock, don’t handle returns or speak to customers.
You need to be skilled in marketing and promoting products for this business to work for you. The skills you need to work on are:
- keyword research
- website skills possibly – depending on the platform and software you choose
Do you like to craft custom items by hand? Maybe your handy work is good enough to sell to others?
Etsy is an online platform where you can sell craft items to people who appreciate custom made or boutique items. Examples of the items that are popular:
- craft supplies
And many more items.
You get your own storefront and can sell items for a commission fee of $0.20.
It’s never been easier to run an online business owner. Whether you want to be an independent entrepreneur or run a client-based online business, you have many options.
You can choose from blogging, affiliate marketing, online sales and many other ways to make online money.
You will need to learn some skills though, such as good writing, SEO, keyword research and then apply those skills consistently day-after-day until you start to see success. Good luck!
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