Digital entrepreneurship: what it is, reasons to invest, how to start

Digital entrepreneurship happens when a business is totally, or at least mostly, set up and managed on the Internet. The model does not require physical space and face-to-face service, being ideal for those seeking flexibility and a lower initial investment. Currently, it is an outlet for entrepreneurs to profit during social isolation.

There is no shortage of reasons to act digitally, even more so in this adverse moment that we are living in the face of the pandemic and social isolation. Check out!

Like the good Capricorn I am, I spent my teenage years trying to scrape together savings. I sold bracelets at school, worked at an aunt’s cosmetics store, gave private “lessons” and all sorts of other things. What always put me off, however, was having to offer my products. The job at the cosmetics store was precisely my favorite because, at least there, people came in knowing what they were going to find, and often already looking for something specific.

That said, I’ll never forget the first few changes I made on the Internet, in the thrift store Facebook groups improvised by the girls in my town. It was all so simple (and, looking back, so archaic!). The year was 2011 and it was enough to post photos of the detachment, find interested parties (or interested parties) at a bus terminal, at the college itself or wherever it was more favorable.

I even remember that the members used to do several “hand raises” : “I’m looking for a long skirt”, “I’m looking for Adidas Superstar sneakers”… making everyone’s life easier.

Currently, Facebook has its own – and giant, by the way – marketplace . With everything you can imagine, from vehicles and electronics to gardening and clothing items, sorted by price, city and other various filters. Today, many companies need digital to survive .

Long, long before we even considered the internet, we were already trading and selling. Long before we talked about Digital Transformation, e-commerces were already online. And, after talking, many other types of 100% digital businesses have emerged – totally detached from rents and physical spaces that are, in most cases, the entrepreneur’s own home.

And that’s what we’re going to talk about today, online business – or, if you prefer, digital entrepreneurship . What is it, how to start, how to succeed? Keep reading to get all the answers!

For starters, what is (actually) digital entrepreneurship?

Digital entrepreneurship happens when a business is totally, or at least mostly, set up and managed on the internet.

This business model, therefore, dispenses with physical space, rents and face-to-face service, being ideal for those looking for flexibility, a lower initial investment and independence – that is, people who seek to be their own “boss”.

However, anyone who thinks that digital companies are mostly small and simple to manage is wrong. It is possible to grow a lot, increase the team and obtain great results, however, as long as you know how to invest in personal and professional improvement, studies on the market in which you are inserted and tools that help in management.

And of course, for those who work online , technology and innovation are watchwords.

Here are some examples of digital businesses :

  • Ecommerces;
  • blogs;
  • YouTube channels;
  • Course portal;
  • Any service that can be provided online.

The scenario of digital entrepreneurship amid the Covid-19 pandemic

If you’re interested, you’re probably also asking yourself: “ok, but what about the crisis?”. So I thought it best to do this little parentheses before we move on to the “how”.

The fact is that, at this moment, online solutions are being a lifeline for many entrepreneurs, a matter of survival , as I said at the beginning of the post. Companies that previously only operated offline are migrating online, looking for ways out while social distancing is necessary.

In addition, totally new companies (yes!) are being created from scratch to help those who want to be on the internet, software is being improved, new tools are emerging.

According to Abcomm (Brazilian Association of Electronic Commerce) , during the pandemic, consumer goods categories grew by more than 100% in online commerce , such as health (111%). Beauty and perfumery and supermarkets showed increases of 83% and 80%, respectively.

Amazon , for example, has already hired more than 100,000 employees to meet the high demand for online shopping. No wonder, after all, in April the giant reached its record market value: 5.9 trillion . Okay, okay, I know that, as I mentioned, Amazon is a “giant”. However, the numbers serve to give us a (good) idea of ​​how the online sales market is doing.

More than that, I would like to show an example of the impacts of this company in Brazil. As of yesterday (1/6), two Brazilian malls started selling through Amazon Brasil . According to the president of the mall’s administrator, Ancar Ivanhoe, the expectation is that 50% of customers will continue shopping online after the pandemic . And he also pointed out, in an interview with Folha de S. Paulo, “malls and retail as a whole needed to accelerate digitalization”.

There are many marketplaces that can help you become a digital entrepreneur. And if you prefer, you can also set up your own e-commerce and sell your services and/or products.

“But is this business model really for me?” Don’t worry, I’ll tell you about the advantages of digital entrepreneurship , so you can draw your own conclusions!

Advantages of starting an online business

Reach (almost) limitless

According to the Synthesis of Social Indicators (SIS) made in 2018 by the IBGE , 79.9% of Brazilians live in homes with internet , mobile or fixed. There are many users, which makes it much easier for your business to reach different people, from different places – there are few barriers!

Low initial investment and lower costs

As there is no need for infrastructure, that is, a physical location to act as a digital entrepreneur , the initial investments in rent and expenses with electricity, furniture and equipment, for example, do not exist .

You can even work from anywhere in the world. After all, in most cases all you need is a computer and/or smartphone . Even if you later need a team, adopting work from home can be a great attitude to embrace Digital Transformation once and for all .

Flexibility for the entrepreneur and customers

The internet never stops. That means non-stop sales, transactions made instantly , at any time of the day, any day of the week.

Also, shopping doesn’t necessarily need you to be attentive at all times to happen. Many people even run digital ventures alongside other jobs, college, etc.

Promising numbers

As you may have already noticed in this post, when we talk about internet sales, the numbers are positive. We have already seen that online purchases from various sectors continued to grow even in the midst of the pandemic and the number of Brazilians with internet access grew.

For the avoidance of doubt, I also cite a study carried out by NZN Intelligence , which pointed out that online shopping is the preference of 74% of Brazilian consumers .

How to become a digital entrepreneur?

Well, creating a business – whether online or offline – is not so simple. It will take commercial and marketing strategies, a lot of planning and dedication. In addition, of course, to obtaining the National Registry of Legal Entities (CNPJ) in the category that makes the most sense for your endeavor.

We are not going to go into details here about how to open your company, which you can find on the website of our Sebrae partners . However, we bring effective actions to start a digital enterprise . Come on?

1. Benchmarking

Benchmarking is a process of studying and analyzing competitors. The idea is precisely to discover the best practices used by companies in the same sector as yours and that can be replicated in your enterprise. You may ask yourself:

  • How am I doing against the competition?
  • Are the results I am achieving satisfactory?
  • How do I increase the productivity and efficiency of my processes?

And how to do it? As fair as possible, looking for the companies in question to talk to, for example. There is also the possibility of field research, events, mentoring, face-to-face visits…

Also read → Needing to break bad habits? See the best apps

2. Choose a niche market

Choosing a market segment or niche is not so simple. You need to think about the pain you will solve with your specific product, service or solution for a specific part of the population. After all, despite the internet being a huge sea of ​​people, trying to impact all of them is boring (and impossible, right?).

It still needs to be something you can identify with, that sparkle in your eyes, you know? When I worked in a surf shop myself, I had one of the best performances of my life as a salesperson. Because? I loved all that, I used the clothes from the store in my day to day and I really believed that they all carried style, comfort, in short… Making it very easy to pass on that same feeling – and knowledge – to everyone who visited.

In short, you need to be your first customer and really believe in your solution ! So ask yourself: what do I like? What do I imagine myself doing for a long time? What am I good at? It is also worth listening to the opinion of those who know you well, family, friends.

3. Count on good planning

I’m suspicious to speak, because here at RD we are fans of good planning. And modesty aside, that’s because it works!

It is necessary to establish guidelines, objectives, calculate your first actions. And also, of course, that all this is thought of in a unique way, with the face of your business. In this way, each step taken will help to further consolidate your brand’s culture and name .

To analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your digital venture, I strongly suggest (in conjunction with other methods) the SWOT analysis. Simple, easy, intuitive and revealing. To learn more, visit → SWOT Analysis: what it is, how to do it and more!

And the profit?
It may seem obvious, but knowing beforehand how you are going to get an income that covers expenses and still generates a profit is essential. As we are not just talking about e-commerce, think about it: if you are going to act, for example, on YouTube, you need to be aware that not all subjects can be monetized.

If you are going to work with infoproducts (video classes, eBooks, infographics, etc.) how will the payment be made? Will you go with the monthly subscription, pay per unit, bundles model?

These are very important details that need to be thought through and rethought hard. After all, it is your investment and possible livelihood that we are talking about.

4. Digital Marketing for Entrepreneurs

Here at RD we are fans of good Digital Marketing . And modesty aside, that’s because it works! (Don’t give up on me we still have valuable tips coming out there).

On second thought, it makes perfect sense, does it? If you’re going to work in digital, it’s only fair that your marketing strategy is also online . And the good thing is that we have here many free and educational materials on the subject, from managing a blog and social networks, going through paid media and Email Marketing to the famous Marketing Automation – which, as the name says, aims to automate large volumes of work, however, in a humanized way.

“But do I really need this?” Look, I say with all the sincerity in the world that I do. It may seem easy to promote yourself on the internet given the high volume of people present on it, however, this same factor also plays against you! Reaching the right audience with the right message and in the right channel is for few, and as a reward it brings truly good and palpable results .

5. Be data-driven

Being guided by data is another essential point. We have used meteorological, date and behavioral information to guide us for years, often managing to avoid catastrophes, correct routes and even hit the nail on the head!

It is likely that the very place where your website will be hosted (if any) already provides interesting data – just as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other networks offer. And speaking of a website, if you’re going to create one, don’t forget to pay attention to its domain .

You can also invest, over time, in analytics tools that provide hot insights into your audience and your sales.

Another interesting tip is to follow research and intelligence sites , which are always releasing market trends and data from previous years. So, for those who work in digital, this can be worth gold, just know how to cut.

Final tips

  • Always seek to learn about Marketing and Sales . These are very important topics that are constantly changing. So updates are always needed – for you, and of course, for your business.
  • Don’t be discouraged at the first failure . We have no way of measuring his size, but at some point your first mistake will happen. It’s normal and happens in any business, and the best of them use the opportunity to review processes and grow.
  • Network . In addition to benchmarking, you can take the opportunity to create true partnerships with your fellow digital entrepreneurs. Thus, it is possible to exchange services, contributions, make joint promotions, whatever creativity – and budget – allows.
  • Go further with Content Marketing . Despite being already encompassed within Digital Marketing, many leave the content strategy aside – it is a common but disastrous mistake. But why? It’s from your content that users will be drawn to your site, and it’s through your content that many people who are not yet ready to buy will learn about your solution and reconsider.
  • Dedication and love to the shirt . Finally, assume the entrepreneurial stance and go for it! Even if your digital venture is just something to supplement your income, there is still an audience to be served and people counting on you, probably. And as cliché as it is, that extra dose of love and care for your project can work wonders , believe me.

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By Best Learning Academy Team