Many solo entrepreneurs make good six-figure income living selling products and services online. If you’re a technical person, it’s even better, as you can create a highly-scalable cloud-based business. For non-technical founders, there are still many ways to make a six-figure or, even, seven-figure annual revenue.
Several years ago, I started an online publishing startup selling e-books written by myself and several co-authors. In one year, it started generating a six-figure income annually.
To me, that experience has been a determining factor for staying true as an entrepreneur. Today, I own several online ventures that sell both digital and physical products. Each of them uses a different business model.
During my journey to online success, I learned the following lessons related to running an online business:
1. Select products or services that you’re passionate about and the skills you’ve mastered
Only offer things that you’re already familiar with like the back of your hands. This provides you with the upper hand that other competitors might not have. You want your customers to be confident in your products by trusting you. This being said, don’t choose “the more trendy products” to sell. Don’t follow other people’s choices of products because what works for them might not work for you.
2. Find a proven business model that works for the specific product or service you’ll be offering
For instance, you want to sell women’s fashion, because you’ve had experiences in dressmaking or styling. Choosing women’s fashion products to sell is excellent, but you’d need to be more specific. You’d need a niche, because “women’s fashion” is such a huge category.
Let’s say you eventually choose to sell casual women’s apparel. Next, choose the business model carefully. Do you buy from a wholesaler in bulk and sell them? Do you accept consigned products from direct producers? Do you dropship products? Consider the pros and cons based on your strengths and weaknesses.
“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” – Thomas Edison
3. Be familiar with the tools needed for each business model
Choose the most suitable e-commerce platform for the niche chosen. For instance, since you’ll be selling fashion, the images must include zooming capability, so customers can see the products in more detail. Each type of product requires different e-commerce platform. Selling e-books, for instance, requires a different approach, as it involves digital product download.
It takes time to choose the most appropriate platform for your business, yet it needs to be done properly. Take note of all the features you’d need. Get inspired by popular stores, so you can find some ideas that would work.
4. Optimize the online store with the most updated customer service tools
Today, customers want every service to be speedy and accurate. Make sure that you’re familiar with the most updated technologies, including CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and chatbots. Learn the benefits of each new plugin and how they can be adapted to your business.
As a startup, the first year is always the hardest to go through. The following are proven ways that I’ve been practicing through the years in keeping my focus and enthusiasm as an entrepreneur intact:
1. Be extra aware of changes, no matter how small
Being aware begins even before you start the business. By following your passion, you’re supposed to be already extra aware of what’s going on within this scope of expertise. Competitors, technologies, consumer behaviors, business tools, references (books and other materials)
2. Stay focused and determined to grow the business
It’s easier said than done. Staying focused requires more than a wish. It needs the strongest will to make things happen at any cost. When you’ve decided to do something, stick with it. Give yourself deadlines to complete and finish them off in time with the highest quality possible.
While psychologists disagree with being a perfectionist, to be successful as an entrepreneur, it would require a dash of perfectionism. Your products must be perfect before they can be sold to the public. And there is no way around it than being a perfectionist.
3. Lead yourself well before you lead the team
If you begin the business as a solo entrepreneur, self-direction is key. Working by yourself doesn’t mean you can sleep late, awake at noon, and work only if you want to. Being a solo entrepreneur is a commitment, especially if you seriously want to grow the business and take it to the next level. By learning to lead yourself well, you’d be accustomed to thinking as a leader, which is useful when you’re leading a team.
“The first person you have to conquer is you. This is because when at last you win over million people, the first person to bring you down could be you. Discipline yourself!” – Israelmore Ayivor
4. Build a positive startup culture by staying relaxed and flexible as a leader
The best leader is someone who encourages positivity, adaptability, and flexibility with his or her relaxed demeanor. Remind yourself that your own and your team’s mental and physical health is much more important than anything else.
5. Only hire the right people with the right attitude that fits the culture
The right team comprises of people that get along with each other, who fit the culture, and have the right skills will determine the future of your business. Thus, never underestimate the power of cultural fit. You can always train people to be more skillful, but personality traits and characters can’t be taught.
At last, being successful as startup founder requires both understanding of the ins and outs of the business and how to maintain the soft skills needed to keep the enthusiasm running. Stay true to your choice as an entrepreneur and remain eager to continue progressing. You’re on your way to become a six-figure (or seven-figure) online entrepreneur.
Do you want to start a business? If so, how are you going to put into action these steps? Let us know by commenting below.
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
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