Are you thinking about starting a business but you don’t know where to start? Would you like to become an entrepreneur and be your own boss?
The idea of running your own online business is really attractive because of the freedom it offers, but don’t get the wrong idea that it’ll be a breeze: many businesses close down within the first year.
And that’s why this post will attempt to explain everything you need to take into account if you want to become an entrepreneur and start your own business.
Read it carefully – prevention is better than cure in these cases. ;)
👉 What does being an entrepreneur even mean?
The first thing to know is the definition:
An entrepreneur is a person who spots a business opportunity and organizes the necessary resources to get it up and running, launching a project on their own.
There are three key elements to this definition:
- Business opportunity
- Necessary resources
- Setting it up
We’re going to explain these three points throughout this post, so don’t miss a word!
👉 The 3 key elements to starting an online ecommerce business
Even though we’re talking about how to launch an online shop, these key factors hold true for any type of digital business.
✅ 1. Business opportunity
Remember this: if it’s not profitable, it’s better to pass.
It’s essential to identify and validate your business idea to avoid wasting your time (and money).
A. Look for a profitable idea that you like
For your mental (and monetary) health in the medium and long term, our advice is to start a business related to something you like. You’re going to spend a lot of hours on this project.
If you want to launch a business but you don’t have any ideas, here you have some post to get inspired:
More than anything else, don’t lose sight of this key idea: your product must add value for clients.
If you don’t cover any of your buyer persona’s needs, it’ll be almost impossible to make sales.
B. Try to validate your idea before spending a single euro
Let’s start with an extreme example to understand it.
Imagine that you love crocheting and knitting crochet covers for iPhones.
You don’t think it’s a bad idea because you love it and you know that loads of iPhone users buy phone covers.
But, would they buy hand-made crochet ones?
To find out, the best option is to analyze the market:
- Look into who your competition would be.
- Ask other sellers in the sector.
- Get input from potential customers.
- Try out a prototype.
If there’s no market for crochet-type covers, toss out the idea before you spend even a single euro.
✅ 2. Available resources: The business plan
If you’re thinking about how to become an entrepreneur, we’ll warn you now that doing the math is key.
Being a good entrepreneur implies planning and analyzing available resources.
Don’t launch a business if you don’t have some savings in the event things don’t go as planned (and we’re not only talking about money). It’s absolutely essential to create your business plan to precisely define the following:
- The initial investment that you’ll need
- Channels to get clients and suppliers
- Your strengths and weaknesses
- And many other factor
Your business plan is so important that we wrote a not-to-be-missed post dedicated to exactly that.
Once you’ve calculated all that, here you have 3 extra tips:
- Learn how to be organized and disciplined: Even if you’re your own boss, it’s a job that requires lots of working hours.
- Balance your personal and professional lives: Spending time doesn’t mean being a slave. Don’t be your own worst boss.
- Learn how to say “no” if things don’t go well: Establish your maximum assumable risk: a temporary or financial limit.
Becoming an entrepreneur doesn’t mean your whole world has to revolve around or is conditioned by your business; there’s always a time when it’s OK to switch your work phone off. ;)
✅ 3. Setting it up: Don’t mess around with the technology
From the moment you have your idea until it becomes a reality, there’s loads of work to be done. The most important thing when you delve into digital entrepreneurship with ecommerce is, obviously, selling.
And to sell, you need clients.
It’s better to invest a biggest portion of your budget in getting clients than in a CMS platform.
That’s why the best way to become an entrepreneur without spending too much money is with a simple online shop.
The easiest methods are to launch a shop in the cloud (Shopify) or with a CMS such as WordPress (WooCommerce). However, if you have a lot of products at the beginning, you may need to start with PrestaShop.
And if you have a good budget, you can always go for Magento.
👉 Options for starting a business with an online shop
Opening an ecommerce seems like an extremely attractive option to everyone who doesn’t know how to be an entrepreneur, but the digital world also requires having prior knowledge.
Before your start, you need to know what you’re getting into.
Lucky for you, we already explained what ecommerce is along with the different types out there.
Once these ideas are crystal clear, we can move on.
✅ 1. A classic online shop
This is the idea that comes to mind when you think about an online shop: a shop that buys products from suppliers and sells them to clients via the Internet.
This is also the type of shop that most of our clients have, like Bulevip, for example, who has gets products from suppliers in the nutrition and sports markets and then sells them to their clients.
Lots of these businesses only have a digital version, but it’s also common to have a physical shop. If that’s your case, don’t forget to tell your clients on your website about your physical location, as our client Arca Planet does.
If you only have an online shop but are interested in a physical one, you can try it out with a temporary shop or popup store to get a feel for the experience of selling “in the real world”.
✅ 2. Ecommerce with your own products
This is the option for craftsmen and artists that want to launch a business to sell their own products.
Be careful with the expenses – a lot of people make the mistake of not including the time spent creating their products, so the math isn’t an accurate reflection in the end.
Before you start:
- Carefully calculate the costs of making your products.
- Calculate the time that you spend creating them as well.
- Calculate the profits that you can obtain.
If you’re wondering whether or not it’s worth opening up your own shop, you can always start by offering your creations on the biggest handmade product marketplace: Etsy.
If you’re not sure why you might want to sell on a marketplace, take a look at this post explaining the advantages and disadvantages.
✅ 3. An online shop for digital products
Don’t confuse services with digital products.
A digital product is an intangible good (i.e., nonmaterial) created with information technologies that can only be acquired online.
An eBook is an intangible good, as is any other type of downloadable item: templates, themes, music, online courses, specific software, and so on.
For example, Amazon has many books that can only be bought in their digital version.
If you create digital products, you only “create” them once, but the selling potential is essentially infinite.
✅ 4. Starting out without stock
What if you could start a business without spending a single euro on products and without having to worry about or deal with shipping or delivery dates?
Being an entrepreneur without (much) money is possible and here you have not one, but two options:
A. Affiliate marketing for other shops
First and foremost, this is the cheapest method of becoming an online entrepreneur.
You don’t need to have an online shop – you just need a website, blog, or profile on social networks to recommend products. If you manage to sell something, you get a commission from the supplier.
You have a “traditional” shop in which you sell products. The secret here is that you’re selling products from a supplier’s catalog. If you sell something, the supplier handles the shipping and you get a commission.
✅ 5. Selling through a marketplace or on Facebook
As we’ve seen before, it’s not necessary to have a website with an online shop to run a business from home.
If selling without stock isn’t your thing and your idea is to run an ecommerce without spending too much money, there are other options.
A. Opening up your shop on a marketplace
In case you’re not familiar with the word:
A marketplace is a virtual shopping center that provides access to different stores selling online all in one place.
The most obvious example is Amazon, which allows you to open up a shop and start selling if you follow the steps that we explain in this post.
There are other less crowded and more specialized marketplaces as well and you can choose them to begin your adventure as an online entrepreneur (we’ve already mentioned Etsy for handmade products).
B. Activate your Facebook shop
It’s a super cheap option (free) that offers good visibility for your products since we all know that most people have an account.
If you choose Facebook, you need to read this post about F-commerce.
Both options are good to start, but they have one big inconvenience: you depend on third parties that could shut you down (and remove access to your own clients) whenever they feel like it.
The idea is that as soon as your business grows, you create your own online shop with which you can manage your clients yourself.
👉 You already know how to become an entrepreneur (now you just need to get into action)
Without losing sight of the 3 key factors and by following our advice, your dream of becoming your own boss has never been closer.
Analyze your options, evaluate your results, and… Who knows, maybe you’ll be one of our successful clients that we mention in a future post ;)