How to Become an Online Entrepreneur

Oftentimes I’m approached by people who ask me what I do for a living and when I tell them that I’m an online entrepreneur, their faces light up and they ask me a lot of questions.

Most of these questions are related to my daily work life, and then people explain that they would also love to be able to run an online business, but they can’t because they don’t have time, all of their ideas are taken, they can’t decide on the right topic, etc.

The truth is, anyone can start on the path of entrepreneurship, but it becomes really overwhelming to think about leaving the safety of a full-time job with health insurance and a salary to begin a start-up of their own.

I understand this because when I first started my own business, I had the same concerns.

Today I want to help you understand what you need to know about online entrepreneurship and help you understand what it takes to start and succeed as your own boss.

1. Understand Your “Why”

Before you begin down your path of online entrepreneurship, you need to understand why you’re looking to start your own business in the first place.

  • Are you looking for freedom?
  • A passive income lifestyle?
  • Earning potential?
  • To make all the decisions and be your own boss?
  • Do you simply hate your current job?
  • Do you want to work on something you’re passionate about?

Regardless of the reasoning, if you’re looking to go full-time there has to be a reason or a set of reasons.  For me, it was freedom and earning potential.  Figure out what it is for you, this will allow you to succeed when times get tough.

2. Don’t Leave Your Full-Time Job…yet

Personally, I’m not a fan of the idea of leaving a full-time job and betting it all on a small business of your own.  The reason is simple, online business or not, 45% of small businesses fail within the first 5 years.

Personally, I’m a fan of calculated risks.  And, given that so many business owners fail, I think it makes much more sense to keep your full-time job when you begin and start everything as a side-hustle.

Doing so will allow you to make better decisions because your finances won’t be strained.  Generally speaking, when someone is worried about money and makes that the main focus of their business instead of what their customers need, their much less likely to have a successful online business.

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3. Choose a Business Idea That Fits Your Lifestyle

One of the best things about online business is that it can provide you with significant passive income opportunities.  In fact, this is likely one of the best reasons to get started.

However, my years of experience have taught me that a passive income model isn’t always the best for people?  The reason?

It takes a lot of time to make enough revenue to replace your day job, as shown in my own income reports.

Understand that a business idea that’s great to someone else, doesn’t necessarily have to be great for you.  Choose an idea that’s fitting of what you’d like your lifestyle to be.

Here’s a list of some ideas to consider:

Start a Blog:  Personally, this is my favorite business model because it’s very passive once you understand how it works.  This model typically relies most on affiliate marketing and display ads to generate income. While it’s great to understand SEO and digital marketing to start, it’s not a requirement.   If you’re interested in hearing more, sign up for my free IGNITION course.

Become a YouTuber (Without Recording Videos):  This is my second favorite business model, again because of how passive it is.  While most people think YouTube requires an individual to sit in front of a camera and have a 60 hour workweek to succeed, that’s not true when you approach the process in a different way.  I call it a “themed channel”.  Meaning, you start making money online primarily with YouTube Adsense earnings.  If you’d like to learn about this business model, check out this webinar which explains more about how it works.

Become an Online Consultant:  There are many different types of consulting jobs you can begin when it comes to helping other small businesses.  You could work as a social media manager, general marketer, search engine optimization (SEO) specialist, web design expert, programmer, or anything else that suits your skillset.  While this may not be the ideal path to becoming an internet entrepreneur because it’s not passive, it’s a great way to begin if this is your first time.

Start an Ecommerce Business:  There are many different platforms where you can buy and resell products, or create and sell products from scratch.  This isn’t passive, and typically takes some capital to begin, but it can be very lucrative once you’ve had success. While there are many different platforms to start your new business, I’d recommend you read my guide on retail arbitrage or how to sell on Etsy to get started. Once you’re in the e-commerce game and have started email marketing, make sure to check out this page to learn about various email platforms.

Teach Other People Skills:  There are hundreds, if not thousands of online entrepreneurs who sell online courses for a living.  While it takes a lot of work to figure out a course concept and outline, this is a nice way to transition into being a successful online entrepreneur because you can leverage your professional experience to succeed.  To begin, you’ll have to find the best online course platform for your business, then you’ll develop and sell the course. If your courses have a lot of success, you can look into private labeling or PLR courses as an additional revenue stream.

4. Learn While You Go

If you’re trying to understand how to be an online entrepreneur,  realize that the “just-in-time” learning method will help you succeed.

In other words, information overload is real in this industry. To combat that, simply start your business first and then focus on learning everything you need to know.

You should do this because if you try to understand everything before you start, it’s unlikely you’ll ever start.

For example, let’s say that you want to become a blogger based on my recommendation. That’s GREAT!  But if you don’t know how to use WordPress or are just beginning in online marketing, it may stop you from beginning at all due to feeling overwhelmed.

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5. Get Started Now

A very common issue that aspiring online business owners have is that they spend their time stressing about the perfect business model and developing a business plan.

If you really want to succeed at being an online entrepreneur, the first thing that you need to do is simply get started.

I can tell you with certainty that the #1 regret of people who are successful in the field, including myself, is not getting started earlier.

I’m not sure why people don’t get started, but I think most people are too scared to fail and decide that the best course of action is to never get started…therefore they can never fail.

The truth is, you’re going to fail, and it’s okay, I give you permission to fail.  I’ve personally failed multiple times.

It sounds cliche, but it’s almost an entrepreneur’s right of passage to start something and fall on their face.  That “failure” is really just you learning what works and what doesn’t.

It only becomes a permanent failure if you fail and give up.  The best advice I can give you?  Don’t give up.  

6. Set a Schedule and Stick to It

Before you start an online business, you need to set a schedule for yourself and follow it closely.

This is even more important for those that have a family or are beginning their online business as a side hustle.

How many hours will you work each day on your business? What days will you work less? How will you manage all of the work with your current responsibilities?

Personally, I recommend a minimum of one hour per day during the week and at least 3-4 hours on each weekend day.  The key here is consistency.  If you’re able to work on your online business, even for as little as an hour a day, these work hours compound and lead to a favorable end result.

7. Work Extremely Hard

Work. Focus on being really efficient and work your butt off with your head down as hard as you can. Remember, every single second that you aren’t working, someone else is trying to beat you.

Also, remember that your online business is how you get out of your current situation.  Whether you’re working at a full-time job that you hate, or you’re unemployed and want to build your own business from scratch, hard work is the cure to the problems.

8. Don’t be Afraid to Try New Things

One of the things that I realized after becoming an online entrepreneur is that you have to try new things to diversify your income and see what you’re successful at.

I’ve created online courses on Udemy, on my own website, built numerous blogs/websites, tried my hand at e-commerce, dove into affiliate marketing, and done a handful of other things to try to increase my income.

Most of them were failures, but a few of them have been successful and it only takes those few to be able to sustain yourself as an online entrepreneur.

9. Set Short Term Goals 

Some people spend most of their time creating goals and I think that this is a little silly because you really have no idea what’s going to happen a year from now.

Me? I recommend that you set goals for the current month and that’s it.

Take out a sheet of paper or buy a whiteboard on Amazon and think about what you can realistically get done by the end of the month and write it down.

Once you’re done, put that paper or whiteboard somewhere that you work every single day so that you remind yourself and pressure yourself to achieve them.

That’s it.  Keep it simple and set/achieve your goals.

If you do this every month for a year, you’ll have made a ton of progress and start making money online.

10. Don’t Be Scared to Invest

How successful do you think Amazon would be if Jeff Bezos never invested anything into it?  What about Google?  How about Facebook?

Every single one of these companies required some investment at the start to succeed and the founders believed in their ideas enough to risk some of their own capital.

While you may not be able to replicate their success, understand that your business will require some capital, so don’t be afraid to invest within reason.  My advice is to create a budget from the start that you’re comfortable with every single month.

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11. Reinvest Your Business Profits

When you finally do start making money, reinvest every dime of it.  Don’t cut yourself a check for at least 6 months.

When you do this effectively, you can grow your business exponentially.

I’ve experienced this first-hand.  It’s very difficult to grow large if you spend all of your time blogging, filming videos, handling customer complaints, or doing whatever else you can outsource.

Get comfortable with outsourcing once you become profitable and be willing to invest in what you’ve created.  This will allow you to focus on the big picture problems and direction of your company.

Hopefully, this article helped you understand the realities of becoming an online business owner.  All of these tips are ones that I’ve learned from experience and hopefully they’ll help you on your own path.