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How to Become a Digital Entrepreneur

Digital Nomads, or more accurately, Digital Entrepreneurs, are a growing breed of business entrepreneurs who focus their efforts on utilising digital resources to create, promote and sell products.

This is partly due to lifestyle preferences (wanting the freedom to live our lives the ways we want), and partly because standard 9 to 5 jobs are no longer stable or reliable sources of income. Most digital nomads start their remote lifestyle as a side hustle to create extra income. Others start so they can travel full time.

However there seems to be a common misconception that it is easy to build an online business, that all you need is a smartphone camera and an Instagram account.

The problem with that is our social media is filled with photoshopped images of people advertising lifestyles (and looks) that don’t exist in real life. It becomes a vicious circle of the same images being promoted, with genuine, authentic stories and photos being pushed to the bottom of the scroll page.

What many end up learning is that is takes hard work, time and energy to build and maintain.

It also takes authenticity and personality to convince people to not only read, but to also buy what you are trying to sell.

No matter how many people try to tell you that it is easy and that they have the ‘secret’ to fast track success, the truth is that you still need to build it first.

Digital entrepreneurship is broadly defined as creating new ventures and transforming existing businesses by developing novel digital technologies and/or novel usage of such technologies, (European Commission, 2015)

So what are the ways to become a digital entrepreneur?

There are any number of ways to build a digital empire and become a digital entrepreneur.

From leveraging existing skills and hobbies such as photography and digital design, to creating online courses and educational guides, or setting up e-Commerce using drop shipping and affiliate marketing.

The trick is to utilise every aspect to cross promote. 

For example, my travel blog allows me to use affiliate links. Pinterest helps me advertise my blog, and also advertise affiliate linked products. Instagram lets me show off photos I’ve taken on my travels and I can link the page to my blog and create a online store through Instagram. 

And that is just the beginning, if you have multiple blogs you can leverage them off each other to increase your audience and income opportunities.

All ideas grow from other ideas

Leveraging the Internet and Social Media

It is almost necessary to have a blog or website to provide proof to potential clients, at the very least it provides an avenue to promote your knowledge and experience. And then there is the social media aspect.

Social media is time consuming (after all it was designed to be) and none of them target the same audience. You need to know your target client and where they will most likely spend time online. Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter or TikTok (and those are just the mainstream ones!). 

So, before you waste time setting up a profile on all of them, do some research and find which platform your ideal client will use the most.

Leveraging social media

Determine what your goals are

Deciding what your goals are is critical to being able to determine the path you need to take for success.

Once you have decided on your long-term vision (5, 10 years), it is much easier to break it down into smaller ‘short term’ goals. i.e. 6 months, 1 year etc.

Your goal could be that you want to travel the world. That is a great long term vision, but it needs better definition and smaller goals on how you are going to travel the world.

  • Travel the world – when do you want this to happen? How long are you going to travel for?
  • Finances – are you wanting to save up enough to travel, or do you want to earn a passive income that will help fund your travels while you are on the road?
  • How will you create that passive income?

It honestly doesn’t matter what your dream goal is, everyone is different and there is absolutely no right or wrong answer (unless your dream is to blow something up, then that is definitely not a good goal!).

Some people want to be millionaires and have trophy partners, other just want a comfortable life where they don’t need to worry about how they will pay the rent next month.

Decide what is right for you and focus on that. Anyone who tries to persuade you otherwise does not have your happiness and wellbeing in mind.

All the money in the world won’t matter if you are not happy, or at peace with yourself and your actions.

Writing a checklist of goals

How can you build your online presence?

There is so much information online that it can be hard to know where to begin… so begin by listing your skills and passions.

From there we can explore the options available.

Take photography for example.

You can sell ‘stock’ images to a number of stock image sites. From Adobe, Shutterstock, istockphoto, Getty Images and many more.

Use print on demand services like Society6 and RedBubble. These sites allow you to upload your image and choose which items from their ‘stock’ that you can have it printed on. When customers buy clothes, furniture and products with your image on it, you get a commission.

Create a blog, Instagram or Facebook page and sell your own images directly.

Turn your images into logos and designs and sell them on Etsy.

Promote your photography skills and have customers commission you for photos.

Create a course or tutorial on photography and sell them to online ‘schools’. Sites like Udemy will pay a commission when someone purchases your course.

You can choose one, or all of them. The choice is completely up to you.

Of course the suggestions I have listed above aren’t just limited to photography. Many of them can be used across any number of skills.

Photographer taking a photo

Why not start with a passion project?

The reason I suggest starting with something you are passionate about is because it provides motivation.

When starting it can be hard to stay motivated, in fact it is incredibly easy to become demotivated and give up.

By starting with something that you already feel strongly about, you are more likely to want to keep going, to learn everything you can and to push.

You will also ultimately become more successful in whatever field you choose. Simply because your passion will translate through your work.

Passion can also translate through customer service. When you feel strongly about something your will naturally put in more effort…

From the captions you use, the presentation and the communication you provide.

It also means you will start inspiration all around you. When I first started into the world of digital entrepreneurship it was with a simple blog about travel and history. Two subjects I am incredibly passionate about.

I honestly didn’t care if my blog made no income, I just wanted to share my experiences with the world. It took time, but it is working and while it won’t make me a millionaire, It more than covers the costs to make and maintain it.

Man painting outdoors

Filling a need

You may not realise it, but some of the biggest and well known products (and even the smaller but no less unsuccessful ones) started as a way to fix a problem?

Take Facebook for example… started by friends who just wanted a way to meet girls

Triangl – a swimwear brand started from a desire for a bikini that would be simple, but look amazing and not be ridiculously expensive

Amazon started from selling books

Coco & Eve – a hair product that helps all types of hair made from completely natural products

I can continue, but the lesson here is that no matter the product, it all started somewhere.

Often people create products or solutions for themselves, not realising that it is a marketable idea. Usually friends or family will start asking for it or using it and it grows from there. So look at what you are doing now and start from there.

Woman sewing a dress

It is time to start

The future waits for no one, and the only way to succeed is to fail first.

We all make mistakes, it is after all the way we learn. But it is whether you pay attention to the lesson that will determine how successful you become.

If you start now, even with something as small an image on a stock photo site, then you are on the path to your success and to creating your future.

So what are your goals? What is your passion?

Krissy

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