Whether we use it as way to connect or a tool to simplify day-to-day tasks, the internet has fast become part of our everyday lives.
However for some, the internet is more than a mod con; it’s a business opportunity. From bloggers such as Zoe Elizabeth Sugg (Zoella), through to cyberspace kings such as Mark Zuckerberg, the World Wide Web has fostered a new breed of aspiring entrepreneurs.
So why has the term ‘Internet Entrepreneur’ entered our vocabulary? What is it about cyberspace that makes the possibility of building a global brand accessible to anyone with passion and drive?
1. Cyberspace has an equalising power
When it comes to starting a business, it always helps to have money – no surprises there. However, the internet has a sort of equalising power when it comes to online start-ups; it’s possible to make it big even if you don’t have a lot of money to begin with.
Unlike a ‘bricks and mortar’ business that requires a commercial premises to operate from, an online business has very low set up costs and overheads – often all that’s required is a website. Setting up a site in this day and age is extremely affordable. There are a number of great website builders out there that are free, and they don’t require extensive coding or web design knowledge. Setting up the basics of an online business can certainly be done on a budget.
Small start-ups also have the ability to compete with big name brands in the online sphere. Consumers don’t know that you’re running your ecommerce business from your basement – and frankly, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re offering great products or services, are able to deliver a high level of customer care – and that you develop online visibility.
Take Jeff for example. Tired of his job at a hedge fund, Jeff decided to turn his passion for computers into a business. Jeff was an ideas man – one who was intrigued by the opportunities on offer out there in cyberspace. One day, on a long drive from New York to Seattle, Jeff formulated an ecommerce-based business plan – and it wasn’t long before he began operating out of his garage. Being an online store, Jeff’s overheads were very low – so he didn’t need a fortune to set the wheels in motion.
2. When you find your niche, marketing becomes achievable
Thanks to the internet, marketing no longer means you have to fork out tens of thousands of dollars for a TV ad. Cyberspace has made marketing achievable and targeted, especially if you’ve carefully selected your niche market and know where to find them.
Between Google and social media, it’s possible to promote your brand around the world at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising methods. Appearing in Google’s organic search listings is free, although it may cost a bit to get there if you’re unable to perform SEO yourself. Niche key phrases are far easier to rank for, so if you’ve carefully considered your product/service and identified a niche market, a high search engine results page ranking for relevant searches could be easier than you might think. The cost of social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is also scalable – you can set up a business page for free, and only pay for as much advertising as you can afford.
Jeff harnessed the power of the internet to market his business on a global scale. A trailblazer who launched his online business in 1994, Jeff was ahead of his time and therefore faced a little less competition. However, there’s no doubt the power of online marketing helped him to build his brand in the online sphere.
3. Things happen quickly online
The brilliant thing about the internet is the fact that ideas can gain momentum very quickly. Videos turn viral overnight, controversial Tweets complete a round of the blogosphere within hours and touching stories melt hearts on the other side of the world in an instant.
Although it can take some time to build up website traffic, once word begins to spread things can happen fast. From a business perspective, this is great news – if you don’t have a lot of money to begin with, the sooner your idea takes off the easier it is to become financially sustainable.
Jeff Bezos business – selling books – was bolstered by the speed at which word can spread online. Within 30 days of the website going live, books had been sold to consumers not only across the United States – but also 45 other countries.
4. The world is your oyster
What happens when you want to follow your passion in business – but your target market is on the other side of the world? Do you pull up roots and haul yourself halfway around the globe?
Not if you’re an internet entrepreneur; cyberspace means that you have the world at your fingertips. The internet makes it possible to reach – and provide goods or services to – consumers around the globe.
Of course, companies such as PayPal make the process a whole lot easier. PayPal allows consumers to pay securely in different currencies, making it quick and easy for them to pay for your goods/services no matter where they are in the world.
The unparalleled reach of the World Wide Web proved instrumental in Jeff’s success. Via his online store, he was able to reach consumers across the globe – giving him access to a much larger market than a ‘bricks and mortar’ bookstore could attain.
The Age of Online Entrepreneurs
In 2015, Jeff Bezos topped the list of the richest internet entrepreneurs. His online business venture, Amazon.com, did pretty well – so well that Jeff is currently worth approximately $19.1 billion.
If you have the vision and drive, cyberspace makes it possible to succeed. Whether you’re a blogger, digital marketing consultant or a tech-savvy individual with a grand idea, the age of the Internet Entrepreneur means that success may only be a click away.