The internet has given entrepreneurs so many new and affordable opportunities to start a business. Gone are the days of having to find premises, to pay rent and rates and pay for stock before being able to trade. Now you can create online shops, sell products, books, information and so much more. The internet also offers so many new ways to promote market and sell products online. It’s a great educational tool and enables budding entrepreneurs to link with mentors and to find help and support in the areas they need to know more about.
I wasn’t surprised to learn that Facebook’s ‘She Means Business’ campaign, headed by Nicola Mendelsohn, was set up with the sole purpose of empowering women to start their own business.
Their research reveals that 1 in 10 women in the UK are thinking about setting up their own business, but are fearful of doing so, with lack of confidence being the main reason stopping them.
Half of the people said it would be helpful to know more about digital technology, and others wanted advice on how to go about it. Those surveyed expressed a need to have a support network and a mentor or role model to help guide them through the process.
When I set up my first internet business in 2004, the internet was still relatively new. People were more reluctant to buy online and wanted lots of information before (usually) picking up the phone to speak to someone in person to place their order. Online shopping has evolved massively since then, with most buyers being in a hurry and needing to find what they want quickly and then being able to make their purchase easily, through a trusted, simple to navigate website. So if you plan to promote and sell your products through a website, it is important to establish trust with purchasers by giving them details of your background, proving that your website is secure to take payments (PCI DSS compliant) and by providing testimonials and reviews from existing customers, together with details on how they can contact you by listing both your telephone number and mailing address.
So what sort of business will you set up? Will it be solely web-based or will you also have a physical presence and use the internet as a research, network, sales and marketing tool?
Do you know what you want to do, or do you just know that you want to do something and be your own boss?
My advice is to veer towards something that excites you or that you are interested in. My first online business was promoting luxury spas. I had spent many years as a sales and marketing director for luxury hotels and spas, so had an in-depth knowledge of the industry, lots of contacts, and it was something I was passionate about. If the topic of your business interests you, you are far more likely to succeed – because it will be a joy to want to work at it.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all plain sailing, happiness and joy. Setting up a business from scratch with a small baby to look after wasn’t easy, and I made lots of mistakes along the way, but that is why it is so good to link with people who have been there and done it, because you can learn from their mistakes.
The aim of MindoverMoney is to hold your hand, motivate and guide you through the joys and pitfalls of entrepreneurship. If you have any queries or topics you would like me to cover or have any specific questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to help or put you in touch with someone that can.
In the meantime, have a think about what business you would like to venture into, and start believing in yourself – because YOU CAN DO IT!!!