Top Six Tools for the Online Entrepreneur
It is safe to say that 2017 will easily be remembered as the year of the entrepreneur, and for a good reason. Never has it been easier than now to take an idea and build it into a success story. This is evidenced by the sheer volume of people who have made the jump from traditional employment towards fulfilling their dreams.
As more individuals decide to try their hands as entrepreneurs, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to write the movement off as a passing trend.
The thousands of individuals creating their own vision of success through entrepreneurial endeavors are indicative of a major shift in attitudes, felt across the world, towards what it means to work. With each new individual, the movement continues to grow.
The vast increase in popularity of entrepreneurship due to the overall ease of beginning your own independent path today and further the movement that has already been progressing rapidly.
It almost seems safe enough to claim that all that is necessary to take an idea and transform it into a functioning business is essentially a computer, internet connection, and a passionate vision for your future.
It certainly helps to have a few tools in your repertoire as you move forward in creating your own success story. To help you begin your journey, here are the top six tools every entrepreneur should use
Building a Dynamic Online Marketplace with Shopify
The way the average consumer shops have begun to shift away from traditional brick and mortar locations and instead towards favoring online offerings. As consumers’ preference for the availability and convenience afforded by online shopping has grown, the sector has surged into becoming a large market with an estimated value of nearly $400 billion.
The only thing an entrepreneur needs, besides a product, is a way to enter the online market place, once you have secured your location and have built visibility, sales are certain to follow. However, building an online payment processing system is riddled with potholes that could destroy a business.
For the less technically inclined, building a digital storefront complete with strong online security and an easy to navigate UX/UI can be a bit challenging. Luckily the developers of Shopify have created an easy to use online tool that readily integrates into your existing website. It breaks down the barrier preventing you from entering the online marketplace problem by using technologies that provide you with a user-friendly platform that is perfect for entrepreneurs. The platform is easily manageable; even if you do not have any kind of web or software development experience.
Besides providing you with everything you will need to design a digital storefront, a subscription to Shopify’s services allows online entrepreneurs access to a full range of tools you may need as you transform your online store into a steady source of income. From online inventory management tools to vending apps, each service provided by Shopify is created to help you reach your audience easily and securely.
Easily Implement Your Social Media Marketing Strategy with Buffer
As it has become increasingly easier to become a digital entrepreneur, the industry has exploded with individuals all looking to bring their vision to the digital marketplace. To combat the flood of competitors within your industry, it is essential that you execute a well thought out social media campaign to increase visibility and build expertise within your chosen niche.
Though this is sometimes more easily said than done, often at times it can be difficult to fully take advantage of the benefits of a well implemented social media campaign without a bit of outside help. There are many aspects to social media marketing that may not be considered by someone that isn’t accustomed to the practice. Knowing when is the opportune time to post content, how to reach the demographic you are targeting, or finding the time and remembered to post your content manually can prove to be a difficult process.
Buffer was created as a tool to help entrepreneurs take full control of their social media marketing by allowing them to schedule posts in advance across every major platform. The team behind Buffer have not only made it easier to post content but have also given online entrepreneurs several tools within its platform to build and design content that attracts customers. Utilizing their wide range of web tools, digital entrepreneurs can turn any post into a sleek addition to their marketing campaign.
As a strong social media presence requires constant content to continue garnering the attention of prospective clients and customers, being able to create content on your own time while slotting posts at strategic moments give you a significant edge over your competition.
Manage Your Finances Effectively with the Open Source Program GNUCash
As a digital entrepreneur, you must be well-versed not only in creating profits but effectively managing the influx of income your business will generate. There, of course, are spending reports, budget reviews, and accounts management to contend with among a bevy of obstacles that accompany the expansion of your online endeavor.
Handling each disparate portion can prove quite the challenge for most entrepreneurs. Dwelling over financial components such as your bank accounts standing, stocks, income, and expenses can prove to be daunting even to those with experience in the field.
To help you manage your business’s finances, the developers of GNUCash have created the perfect solution to all your online financial woes. Created based on professional accounting principles, the program is here to help you effectively handle the entire scope of your new endeavor’s finances. GNUCash gives digital entrepreneurs all the tools they will need to effectively manage their growing business, all in an easy to use and free platform. In addition to being a completely free and open source accounting solution for entrepreneurs, GNUCash has an active developer community allowing the platform to adapt, without costly updates or subscriptions continuously.
Create a Professional Website with WordPress
An impressive and professional appearing website is a critical part of any digital endeavor, more so that website must be accessible across the entire variety of devices consumers use to navigate the web. Before a few years ago, it took a great amount of skill in programming, design, and search engine optimization to be able to produce a website to a professional standard of quality. The alternative would be to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to hire a web developer to build an attractive website for you.
However, before you enroll in a coding camp or shell out any big bucks you could be using to grow your business; it pays to consider creating your own digital space utilizing one of the most popular CMS providers on the market, WordPress. By building a professional site within the WordPress platform, entrepreneurs can easily drag, drop, and launch sleek looking web sites with minimal coding.
For those that have a true aversion to code, WordPress allows users to implement add-ons, extension, and tools to simplify the entire process, so whether it is designing responsive pages, streamlining a subscription funnel, or simply creating a UI/UX that engages visitors, WordPress can help a digital entrepreneur build websites with relative ease.
Adding to its widespread use, WordPress has been the driving force behind many industry leaders’ own websites, with clients that range from BBC’s American branch to the official site for the country of Sweden, the platform lends itself to a variety of successful uses only limited by your own creativity.
Delegate Your Daily Tasks and Reap the Benefits of the Freelance Market
As a digital entrepreneur, you will often encounter problems beyond your abilities, and this is no failing of your own, being a great entrepreneur means being able to recognize your shortcomings and work around them. As a visionary with a great business idea in mind, focusing your efforts on establishing your brand and getting your product or service out into the market can be bogged down by rudimentary tasks or projects that require a substantial amount of time to familiarize yourself well enough to do an acceptable job. These kinds of obstacles can be very time-consuming.
There may come times when your growing business requires a web developer to debug a web store complication or a marketing analyst to devise new strategies. Rather than looking to bring a permanent member onto your team, you can take advantage of the vast market of professional freelancers available to help you complete whatever task you may have.
Several platforms have emerged over the years to help connect digital entrepreneurs with expert freelancers, each with their own unique benefits and downfalls but created with the same purpose in mind, helping you find freelancers within a safe environment. Platforms such as Freelancer, UpWork, and PeoplePerHour have built a sustainable business model around safely connecting entrepreneurs and businesses alike with talent across the world.
This has made successfully navigating the freelance marketplace one of the most important tools for the modern digital entrepreneur. Navigating the digital freelance marketplace is much easier than most entrepreneurs may think.
All you need to do is create a profile, and you can begin taking advantage of the vast breadth of expertise on many of these platforms, often with considerable financial savings. Learning to utilize the vast benefits of a global freelance market can often prove to be the most important asset available to a growing online endeavor, doing so ensures you will never be without quality talent as you tackle the challenges of being an online entrepreneur.
Familiarize Yourself with Cyber Security Practices
It may be easy to overlook proper security precautions when starting up as an entrepreneur or opening a small business, or even be blind to the dangers that lurk around almost every corner of the internet. As your success grows, you will become the target of more malicious online users that want a slice of your pie. However, this is a common mistake many individuals make while making decisions on where their funding should go.
Studies show that 60% of all small businesses that experience some form of cyber-attack are out of business within 6 months.
Understanding what you can do to avoid being susceptible to these attacks is not a difficult task if you are familiar with the options you have for protection online.
DDoS attacks are a common strategy for hackers to deny you page traffic, which can result in a loss of revenue. Even considering basic DDoS protection through online services can protect you from your standard attack, as well as speed up the performance of your website in general.
When contacting individuals that you may be sharing sensitive information with such as freelancers or partners in your business, it is recommended you use some form of encryption chat service to keep what you are discussing confidential. If you are meeting in person but using technology to collaborate, be sure to consider a VPN to ward off hackers trying to intercept valuable information.
Another typical error small businesses and entrepreneurs make when it comes to security is backing up all their information in one crowded place. Creating multiple back-ups spread over several different locations will help you distribute your sensitive information, which will make it more difficult for hackers to intercept. Automated services that will back-up your data at a recurring rate will also give you more peace of mind and one less thing to worry about.
Moving Forward with Your Future Endeavors as a Digital Entrepreneur
Becoming an online entrepreneur takes a fair amount of patience, hard work, and of course vision but by utilizing all the available assets at your disposal, you can give your endeavor the best possibility for success.
It is important to remember that despite the numerous challenges that may stand in between you your vision, countless others have made the same decision and found success. You are selling yourself short if you do not have full confidence that you can be a part of this demographic.
Learning to fully embrace each new solution may take a bit of adjustment as you learn to implement each into your business strategy, by choosing to master, or at the very least, utilize, these six tools you can move forward into the future secure in knowing that no matter what challenges you face in your endeavors, you will have the tools to turn your vision into a steady stream of profits.