Decades ago, the thought of creating a profitable business was a distant dream. Now with the internet, the possibility of digital entrepreneurship is open to everyone.
You can connect with millions of people globally for only a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. Plus, finding and connecting with your target audience is easy with social media.
If you want to fully take advantage of digital entrepreneurship, then strap in. We’ll cover everything you need to know about starting an online business and digital entrepreneurship examples to help you along your journey.
What is digital entrepreneurship?
Digital entrepreneurship refers to online business functions like selling a product or service. Since all transactions, marketing, and other tasks are done online, virtual businesses don’t require a physical location.
Digital businesses include ecommerce companies, blogs, social media influencer accounts, software solution development, and marketing firms.
If you become a digital entrepreneur, you’ll find many opportunities to work your way up. With a little time and dedication, you can star in your own success story like the ones below.
The Benefits of Digital Entrepreneurship
Is digital entrepreneurship a valiant cause or a risky endeavor? Well, like every way to make money, there are risks. You’ll likely have to seek loans, investors, or fund your business initially from your savings.
You’ll also have less certainty than your traditional nine-to-five. Get ready to learn about healthcare, contracts, and accounting — all of which have their own departments in larger companies.
However, entrepreneurship offers increased satisfaction and a sense of ownership. If you’re still on the fence about whether to try your hand at starting a digital brand, keep these benefits in mind.
You can benefit from a rapidly growing market.
Digital marketing is expected to reach $786 billion by 2026. This growth has been added by the rapid adoption of online business and the pandemic’s impact. Customers now expect a digital element in every business.
That’s especially true in retail. In the second quarter of 2022, ecommerce accounted for 14.5% of total retail. Plus, this number is rapidly increasing, showing a 7.4% increase year-over-year.
You don’t want to miss the opportunity to get your piece of what’s known as the “digital gold rush.”
Social media marketing is the king of connectivity.
With a few clicks, you can send a message millions can see instantly. Intuitive algorithms of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to easily find your target audience. You can then present your offer directly to potential buyers.
In 2021, there were over 4.26 billion social media users, which comprises about half the world’s population. Marketing in such a massive pool of people would be like finding the needle in a haystack with conventional advertising.
Digital marketing lets you pinpoint individuals interested in your brand and connect with them.
Startup costs are cheaper.
You can start an online business for much less than a physical business. You don’t need to rent a storefront to get started.
Marketing costs are also lower. You can start a YouTube channel and build social media accounts for free.
Once you have your initial creative ready, you can pay to boost your posts. However, you choose the amount you spend. That could be tens of dollars or thousands, depending on your access to capital.
Starting an online business is more viable for those without millions in capital. Failure too can be easier to recover from.
How To Become a Digital Entrepreneur
You might be ready to jump in and start your own business. Here are some basic steps to help you get started.
Step 1: Determine your business idea and target audience.
You need more than a vague concept to get the ball rolling. Determine what you’re selling, who you’re selling to, and why it’s something people would want.
It’s not enough to go on a hunch. Every business idea should be backed by market research. That includes:
- An industry deep dive.
- Consumer data to determine market size.
- The projected growth of the market.
- Social media insight and engagement information for similar offerings.
Overall, researching target demographics and competitors can help you determine what type of market you’re going into and your growth potential. From there you can determine if your potential investment is worth the payout.
Step 2: Develop a winning business strategy.
Once you’ve got the concept and research down, it’s time to structure your business plan. This detailed document lays out both the mission of your business and all the steps you need to get started.
Be sure to mark any associated costs for your business — that includes web hosting, manufacturing, shipping costs, etc.
In this process, you’ll also list the potential risks, rewards, and growth potential, which will help steer your course of action.
Step 3: Untwist the legal kinks.
First, you’ll need to identify which business structure your brand will assume. There are four main types of legal structures:
- Sole proprietorship.
- Limited liability company.
Each type of business requires different paperwork. Research which model works for you and what your state requires new businesses to file.
If you choose a more complex structure, like a limited liability company or corporation, consider legal counsel. A lawyer can help you complete all paperwork correctly the first time.
As a business owner, you’re also responsible for complying with legal requirements such as:
- Registering your business.
- Getting a seller’s permit.
- Obtaining a business license.
- Understanding your tax requirements.
Make sure you have a plan to tackle these requirements. That might involve asking for counsel or taking courses to help you learn missing skill sets.
Step 4: Create a website.
Making a company website has never been more critical than it is now. After all, a website can replace the need for a physical location.
Your main website is where all marketing diverts traffic, and it’s the face of your digital business. So you don’t want to skimp out on the design or ease of navigation.
You don’t need a computer science background to build a beautiful site. You can always hire a professional web designer if you’re looking for a custom interface. You can also consider using a customizable WordPress theme.
Step 5: Start marketing on social media.
Social media marketing is the cheapest and most effective method of rapidly expanding your business. Not only does it create brand awareness, but it also allows you to reach your target audience through SEO.
The most popular platforms for digital businesses are Instagram and Facebook, but there’s also been a rapid boom on apps like TikTok.
Remember, going viral can lead to sales. The only way to gain internet popularity is through posting.
Step 6: Set up shop.
Whether you’re selling your products on a personal website or a platform such as Amazon or Shopify, you’ll need a place where customers can browse and purchase.
This step primarily applies to ecommerce companies but may include influencers and creators.
For example, many popular “internet celebrities” sell their merchandise to their fans to turn a profit.
Just make sure you have all the payment, shipping, and manufacturing procedures in place before officially opening up your online store.
Step 7: Market, market, market.
The process continues once you open up shop. You’ll have to continue creating marketing campaigns and push new products throughout your brand’s existence.
The key to creating a successful digital business is your ability to market efficiently. Make sure you have a roadmap to keep your marketing plan strong.
Digital Entrepreneurship Examples
If you want inspiration, look no further. Here are a few examples of digital entrepreneur niches and success stories within them.
If you’re keen on writing, launching a blog offers a natural segment into entrepreneurship. All you need to do is find your niche. The most popular topics in this category are travel, fashion, beauty, personal finance, and entertainment.
Many bloggers make money through either affiliate marketing or selling their products. Others expand their video offerings, generating revenue from YouTube or Patreon.
Pro tip: If you’d like to launch a blog, start by developing a comprehensive strategy.
You may start by just writing blog posts, but you should know what you’ll sell longer-term. Will you be making merch? Offering ebooks? Selling courses? Brainstorm early and implement your plan as you grow.
Case Study: The Financial Diet
This personal finance business started as a personal finance blog in 2014. The blog discussed Founder Chelsea Fagan’s personal journey with money management.
Since then, the blog has evolved into a comprehensive media business. The site still features posts with finance tips and tricks. However, visitors can also watch videos, join online classes, sign up for events, or watch videos on the site.
What we love: The Financial Diet leveraged the power of YouTube to grow the blog. Today their channel has over 99,000 subscribers.
Other Success Stories
Digital Marketing or Consulting Agencies
If you have in-depth knowledge of marketing, business, and SEO, consider creating your own digital agency. Here, you can help other businesses find success.
Before you dive into this realm of business, remember: Clients want to hear from experts. Be sure to highlight your qualifications. That can include:
- Large companies you’ve worked for.
- Executive titles you’ve held.
- Statistics that show your value.
- Social proof from colleagues who have worked with you.
If you have a unique framework or business ideology, consulting may also be a great fit. Not only can you blog about your method, but you can also offer courses or speaking engagements on the subject.
Case Study: Tamsen Webster
Tamsen webster is a keynote speaker and message strategist. She offers workshops on taking brands’ messages and amplifying them with her Red Thread approach.
Tamsen’s website is full of valuable information. You get a sense of her background — she has 20 years in marketing and four years as a TEDx Executive Producer. You can see which businesses she’s worked with, including Johnson & Johnson, Harvard Medical School, and Intel. You can also read more about her approach in her recent book.
What we love: Tamsen’s website offers both consulting services and speaking engagements. Contacting or booking her is easy from her site.
Other Success Stories
An ecommerce business can be a great fit for artists, crafters, and lovers of DIY projects. The most important part of getting started is finding your niche.
What skills do you have to offer? What do you know how to make? And what makes your product different from other options on the market?
You may have a special skill or talent you want to showcase. Or perhaps you’re using organic materials or fair-trade products. Highlight whatever makes you stand out.
Especially as a small business, people want to know your story.
Case Study: Peachybbies
Peachybbies founder, Andrea O. started making and selling slime in 2017. Today, she has grown her business from a one-woman operation to a team of 20.
Peachybbies has also developed a cult following through the power of social media. The business’ TikTok has over 4.5 million followers and has become the slime of choice for the Kardashians. Products sell out constantly and are restocked weekly.
The key to Andrea O’s success? Entering a niche market early and perfecting her slimes’ formulas.
What we love: Andrea and her team know the power of marketing. Their TikTok videos show off the texture of the slime. You can easily imagine yourself playing with the product.
Other Success Stories
Becoming a digital entrepreneur has never been easier and more accessible than now.
Nothing defines what a digital entrepreneur can be, and anything is possible with the internet. The trick is to do what you love and stick with it.
Do you want more tips on digital marketing and online business startups? Check out HubSpot’s blog for useful resources and insights to help you become your own digital success story.