Online Entrepreneurship has never looked so good. With the job market overcrowded and many of us struggling, it makes sense that more people are looking for alternative ways of working.
There are many types of online business to choose from too. From a wide range of ecommerce business models to virtual service-based options – there is potentially something for everyone to get into.
But how can you be sure if online Entrepreneurship is right for you? Some aspects of it come down to ability and interest, and other aspects come down to your personality and strengths.
Here are some questions to ask yourself.
Your personality type
Personality is a great place to start. It is highly important, as it affects what type of business would suit your strengths. Yet so many new Entrepreneurs overlook this.
Instead, they head straight to focusing on what opportunities are out there, and which ones look lucrative. Market opportunity is important, in fact it’s our next set of questions after this. But personality must not be overlooked.
Begin by thinking about the employed jobs you have had in your past. Some you may have loved, and some you may have hated. Aside from issues you had with a bad boss or a difficult colleague – think more deeply about the daily aspects that you both loved and hated.
- Did you enjoy interacting with customers?
- Or were customers a drain on your energy?
- Did you prefer doing quiet, focused tasks on your own?
- Or would you get easily bored by working alone on the quieter things?
You can find some clarification as to why you enjoyed some things more than others, when you look at a psychological assessment such as the Briggs Myers test. You can then look at the suggested careers based on your personality type, and think about how that might translate into a business that you would enjoy running.
The market opportunity
Now that you are clearer on where your strengths lie and what would make you happy, we can move on to look at opportunities.
Where do you see a gap in the market that you would like to fill? Maybe you are a passionate pet owner who dreams of selling pet products through drop shipping. Or maybe you care about helping others to find the way they want to spend their life, as a career coach or consultant.
There is a world of opportunity online. When you can identify a need that you are equipped to fill, you are thinking along the right lines.
- What kind of work are you passionate enough about to make your sole focus?
- Who would you serve?
- Is there enough demand for it?
If you know where your passion lies, but aren’t yet sure if there would be enough need for what you want to offer, then do some research. You could set up an online survey and begin to gather some data. Find out what your target audience wants, and also what they would be prepared to pay for it.
This information will be hugely valuable to you, if you decide to follow this path.
Working as your own boss in the online world can become overwhelming and lead to procrastination, if you’re not careful. Consider if you are set up for working from home in peace, or if you could manage it with some changes. Also consider if you have the focus to manage your own time.
- How will your time management be affected by family at home?
- How about motivating yourself and focusing on your work?
If you are planning to dive into full-time Entrepreneurship fresh out of an employed job – then you need to hear this. It will be a huge shock to your system. As an employee, you are used to deadlines and external pressure to keep your productivity on track.
When you are in charge of your own schedule, it can be overwhelming at first. If you are not careful, you might find yourself staring at your inbox and not knowing where to begin.
It is wise to create yourself a structure or a timetable to stick to, so you don’t get overwhelmed and lost. Plan out in advance when you are working on marketing, or your finances, or your stock management etc.
It can also help to block your time when it comes to answering phone calls, emails, and other interruptions. If you begin to feel as if you ‘can’t hear yourself think’, then block out an hour or two each day for silent, focused work.
Managing your time and staying focused is one of the harder aspects of online Entrepreneurship that can take new business owners by surprise. So go in with awareness of this.
The financial side
Of course, you will have thought long and hard about your day-to-day finances. Some Entrepreneurs will begin their business as a side-hustle to their day job, and others will jump straight into full-time Entrepreneurship. It is a very personal decision.
What I want to talk about here is the financial side of your new business.
- Do you know where you will need to spend in your business?
- How about where to save?
- What do you estimate your running costs to be?
If this is your first time building a business from the ground up, then don’t get caught out spending on services that you don’t need to pay for. Do your research, take your time, and be wary of advice from people who claim that you need their services.
In the online world, many things can be done on a small budget. For example, graphic design is an area where you could easily spend a lot of money. But you don’t need to.
If you have a basic idea of how you want your branding to look, and access to some free tools, then you can get started by yourself.
When it comes to building a website for your business, hiring a web developer is not your only option. Cheaper options, like building your own site with a hosted template site on Wix or SquareSpace is a great option.
Then there is advertising. Paying for ads can be a costly and short term marketing solution. Consider focusing on longer term, content-based marketing strategies like organic social media, sharing blog or video content, and email list building.
So is it for you?
If you have read this far and are still excited about the potential for you in the online world, then that’s an excellent sign.
Online Entrepreneurship is not the easiest route, and it’s not about making a quick buck. It takes time to set yourself up and grow your customer base.
But if you can find the focus to build a sustainable business, then you can create an amazing way of living and working for yourself. Just remember to work with your strengths and build a business that you enjoy working in for years to come.