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How To Become an Online Entrepreneur: Definition, Steps, and Skills

Updated: Jul 16, 2022

Entrepreneurship is an appealing goal for many individuals who want to have more control over their careers and enjoy more flexibility. Advances in technology have made this goal more accessible for businesses of all types through e-commerce and other digital platforms. If you're interested in starting your own online company, you may benefit from learning about the required steps to pursue this venture. In this article, we discuss what an online entrepreneur is, what they do, how to become one, and important skills for online entrepreneurs.

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What is an online entrepreneur?

An online entrepreneur is a business owner that conducts their business on the internet. Like other entrepreneurs, they often take financial or other personal risks to launch their own company. Online entrepreneurs may use a variety of business models to provide products or services. Some examples of online entrepreneurs include:

  • Bloggers

  • Content creators

  • Owners of e-commerce sites

  • Online consultants

What does an online entrepreneur do?

The daily tasks of online entrepreneurs vary based on their industry and professional goals but may include:

  • Writing or responding to emails

  • Updating website content

  • Writing articles or blogs

  • Communicating with current and potential clients

  • Contacting vendors such as graphic designers, wholesalers, copywriters and product photographers

  • Shipping products to consumers

  • Providing services to clients such as consulting, counseling or education

How to become an online entrepreneur

Here are the steps you can take to become an online entrepreneur:

1. Identify a niche

New businesses typically start with identifying a problem and developing a way to address that problem. If you're thinking about starting an online business, consider what areas align with your knowledge base, skill set, and interests. Finding a business niche that uses your strengths can help you stay motivated and leverage your prior training and experience.

2. Conduct research

Online entrepreneurs must spend time learning about their industry and the tools available for digital businesses. This may include studying:

  • Social media platforms

  • Website development and management

  • Digital advertising

  • E-commerce software

You may also benefit from speaking to other entrepreneurs about their favorite products, preferred platforms, successes, and challenges.

3. Take courses

Many colleges and universities offer in-person and online courses for entrepreneurs. You can also search online for entrepreneur certifications. These credentials may add validity to your proposal for potential investors.

4. Create a business plan

Many entrepreneurs must present their idea to a range of audiences, which can include:

  • Investors

  • Other business owners

  • Friends and family

  • Financial advisors

A sound business plan presents your research, strategies, and objectives in an organized, professional way so that readers can learn more about your long-term goals. Business plans generally have the following sections:

  • Executive summary

  • Company description

  • Market analysis

  • Competitive analysis

  • Organizational structure

  • Description of products or services

  • Marketing plan

  • Sales strategy

  • Funding request

  • Financial projections

5. Network

Connecting with other professionals in your industry and throughout the digital business, space can help you inform key people about your business. You can also meet people who can become strategic partners or vendors for your company. You can network by:

  • Engaging with brands or individuals on social media

  • Attending professional events, like conferences and workshops

  • Join professional and recreational organizations

  • Tell your friends and family about your endeavor

6. Advertise your business

Once you're ready to launch your business, create an advertising plan to inform potential customers and clients about your company. You may consider tools like:

  • Digital ads

  • Social media ads

  • Email campaigns

To make the most of your marketing budget, be sure to target your ads to your defined market. For instance, if you have an online boutique that only offers pick-up for orders, your ads should focus on customers in your geographic area.

Online entrepreneur skills

Successful online entrepreneurs often have the following skills:

Digital marketing skills

Online entrepreneurship depends on a solid personal brand, which you can promote through digital marketing. Because entrepreneurs often have limited budgets, it's important to understand how you can use digital marketing skills to increase brand awareness and generate leads in a cost-effective way. Identify the differentiating factors of your business compared to your competitors and focus on those elements in your marketing efforts.

Consistency is important when launching an online business. You should post frequently and engage with your social media followers and other brands. Digital marketing can also include:

  • Websites

  • Blogs

  • Digital video channels

  • Emails

Search engine optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to strategies that help your content appear higher in search engines. SEO can increase the number of visitors to your website, which can lead to increased brand awareness and more sales. Some components of SEO include:

  • Using popular keywords in your content

  • Regularly updating your content

  • Creating optimized metadata and other back-end descriptions

  • Analyzing user trends and adjusting strategies appropriately

Copywriting and content creation

Because you may perform many of your business functions with few team members, being skilled in copywriting and content creation can help you save money, enhance efficiency and promote your products or services. Regular updates to your web content, social media feeds, and video channels can improve your search rankings and increase customer engagement with your brand.

Time management

Working on a tight budget and with limited staff means that online entrepreneurs must be able to manage their time well. Successful time management involves:

  • Organization: Business owners must find strategies to track their responsibilities, important dates, and project status.

  • Prioritization: Entrepreneurs have to determine which tasks are most important and need their immediate attention.

  • Delegation: Successful business owners hire people they can trust and delegate daily tasks, allowing them more time to focus on higher-level, organizational planning.

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