Digital entrepreneurship is a type of business that uses the global reach and power of the digital world to build and grow their online business.
It is the act of pursuing opportunities made possible through digital technologies and encompasses using new technology to create, launch and/or run a business, consulting project or other venture.
Many people dream of the day they can work for themselves and be their own boss. We’ve all fantasized about the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, be a small business owner setting our own hours, and making extra income while we sleep.
But it can be hard to know where to start. There are so many options out there! What should I do? How will I get started?
The good news is that today there are more opportunities for digital entrepreneurship than ever before. And if you aren’t sure how to get started, this article will help you figure out what type of online business might suit your skills best.
It gives you a good idea of some steps you need to take at the very beginning, as well as how you can leverage technology in order to create a sustainable business.
Digital entrepreneurs have all the same characteristics of traditional entrepreneurs but also a number of other key traits that enables them to leverage the inexpensive technology and resources made available on the internet.
While many of their business are “born digital”, increasingly there are many existing offline business owners who want to change or pivot their current business model and to take their business online.
Either way, the opportunities available to the digital entrepreneur, together with their entrepreneurial spirit and sense of adventure gives them awesome power to use the fast-changing environment of the internet to their advantage.
The digital economy and entrepreneurship
It’s the age of the Internet and online entrepreneurs. The future is now! These new technological advancements have influenced a great many people to become interested in starting “digital ventures”. Due to this large influx of entrepreneurs, a new wave of “digital professionals” has emerged. Countless websites exist for almost any topic you can think of, but because of the huge changes there is always room for new and better ideas.
To take advantage of the opportunities this brings, digital entrepreneurs need to be able to identify the potential in what they are doing and knowledge is important for this. A willingness to continue learning is absolutely essential for their success, not just at the start but throughout their entrepreneurial journey.
They also need to be passionate about what they are doing because it will show in their work. And they need to be patient. A digital entrepreneur must be patient with themselves and their process of growth, learning, and experimentation.
With these available online opportunities there are plenty of new businesses being started. However, there is also more competition than ever before. This means that it’s important for an entrepreneur to distinguish themselves while they’re still in the early stages of their company.
You need to find a way to market yourself effectively and use social media correctly. It is essential to stay on top of all the new advancements in technology. The Internet is constantly changing, and it’s important to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in order to succeed.
For many digital ventures, it’s difficult to gain profits immediately and turn a profit right away. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible though and there are many people who have been able to do so by selling their own products or services online.
The power of digital entrepreneurship
Digital entrepreneurship is a disruptor, and that’s a negative only if you choose to ignore it, or try to fight it. Kodak was a really good example of what can happen if you do.
However if you embrace it, you’ll find that it can be a huge benefit to your life and your business in many different and often unexpected ways, all contributing to your success.
Digital disruption is a transformation that happens when you merge digital technologies with business processes. The result is innovative new technologies and business models that create value that can’t be created any other way.
The huge benefits of being a digital entrepreneur are being able to reach a global audience, generate new prospects and customers as well as the ability to increase your revenue generation.
In today’s economy, digital entrepreneurship has become one of the most popular methods of starting a new business as well as for changing business models. The enormous impact of digital transformation includes:
- 89% of all companies already have, or are planning to adopt a digital-first business model
- 60% of companies that embraced digital transformation have created new business models
- 55% of startups (vs 38% of traditional companies) have adopted a digital business strategy
- 40% of CEOs reported digital transformation has improved operational efficiency
- 36% reported a faster time to market which made them more competitive relative to their competition
- 35% found it improved their ability to meet, and often exceed customer expectations
Benefits of being a digital entrepreneur
There are numerous benefits from digital entrepreneurship, including:
A digital entrepreneur has the ability to work when and where they want. This may be great for someone who wants to spend time with their family. Perhaps you like the idea of time shifting and prefer to work nights or weekends to free up time during the week.
Digital entrepreneurs can choose to create a business that fits their lifestyle so they can follow their dreams and build the digital business at the same time, eg travel the globe while working .
Digital entrepreneurs tend to feel that having a job is very a very insecure way of living, especially in the gig economy. However, owning your own business means you have much greater control over your future.
- Income potential
There is the potential to make a lot of money as a digital entrepreneur if the business is successful. A digital entrepreneur has the ability to make more money working for themselves than for someone else.
Being a digital entrepreneur means competitive advantages because you have the opportunity to build relationships across the internet with clients, partners, vendors, and employees all across the globe.
- Startup costs
The startup costs for digital entrepreneur are usually very low, with little to no overhead. You can start as a small business until you grow larger. Through your relationship building it is easy to secure collaborative work arrangements, ie no in-house staff.
Examples of digital entrepreneurship
Digital entrepreneurs use whatever skills they have – from research, computer programming, graphic design through to writing and marketing – to turn their ideas into products that can be marketed online.
A digital entrepreneur may be an employee who has identified that there is a business opportunity within his or her company, organization, or community that could be exploit, also known as an Intrapreneur.
Alternatively, they may take advantage of technology to create their own jobs, start an online business of their own instead of waiting for someone else to hire them or give them a job opportunity.
Some digital entrepreneurs run a one-person business on a shoestring budget, others have thousands of employees. But the goal is always to have a digital strategy and use information and technology to their advantage for them to make money.
Digital entrepreneurship can include creating new models for the creative industries like writing books and music, designing computer games, developing websites for businesses or programming software.
Digital entrepreneurship can mean starting a company based on already developed technologies or based on digital technologies the entrepreneur has developed at their university and has licensed this technology from them.
Or it may involve using one of the many online marketplaces to buy and sell goods and services. The options are limitless and only limited by your imagination.
Top 10 digital business models
Digital entrepreneurship has evolved into a diverse set of new and existing business models focused on enabling digital commerce and digital platforms.
Some of have been around for a very long time but have been refreshed or enabled by technology to enter new markets. Others can only exist because of digital entrepreneurship and business models.
10 of the most common digital business models include:
- Business Ecosystem model
The business ecosystem is the network of suppliers, customers, and competitors in which a company operates. It includes all of these entities as well as their respective interactions with each other. It can be thought of as an environment where businesses have a high degree of reliance on one another.
- Freemium model
A freemium model is a business model that is based on giving away a product or service for free, but charging for premium features or functionality. Freemium models work because they provide users with instant gratification and allow them to experience enough of what your product/service can do so that they might be convinced to upgrade to the full paid version.
- Hidden revenue generation model
The hidden revenue generation model is a business model that is mostly adopted by the online companies with the free products. The reason why the products are offered free of cost is to attract more people to using the product, and it is the user data that is the actual source of revenue for the business. In other words, it is the Users who are the real Product, or to be more precise, the Users’ Data that is the Product.
- Subscription model
The subscription-based business model is a way of creating a sustainable revenue that is generated by getting recurring fees from customers for products or services. Customers will pay a monthly or yearly fee for a product or service and they will be able to use this for as long as they have their subscription in place. The major advantage of the subscription based business model is that it creates an automatic revenue stream. eg used for content, software, and memberships.
- Experience model
Technology has changed the way we live. That’s why today, marketing and technology are coming together like never before. We call this new phenomenon an experience model because it brings together the power of human insights with digital innovation to create something that is both meaningful and memorable for your customers. The best experiences seem to make life easier and can offer convenience, delight, entertainment, education, or inspiration — and they always aim to solve problems in some way.
Electronic commerce or E-commerce is a business model that lets consumers and businesses buy and sell things over the internet via an online store. E-commerce operates in all of the main market segments: Business to Consumer (B2C), Business to Business (B2B), Consumer to Consumer (C2C). Being successful in e-commerce means different things to each business or consumer. Success could mean more sales, higher revenue, global reach, or the best customer experience. A good example is Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer 
- Digital market model (Peer-to-peer, two-sided marketplace)
A digital market model is a type of marketplace that connects buyers and sellers through an online platform. These markets are often referred to as peer-to-peer, two-sided or multi-sided markets. A customer can either be a buyer or seller in the market. The Peer-to-Peer model allows one person to offer a good for sale and an other person to buy that good at a mutually agreed upon price. The Two-Sided marketplace provides sellers with the ability to offer goods through a business which then handles marketing, customer service, shipment and returns.
- Free-model (Ad-supported model)
The free-model offers services or products without charge and delivers ads instead. Businesses who use this model are able to generate revenue through ad sales, while also getting more customers because they’re not asking people to buy anything up front.
- On-Demand model
The on-demand business model is just one of many different types of models that are available to businesses. The on-demand economy has a few different features to understand before you can use this in your business model. These features include the ability for customers to order goods and services at any time, anywhere with an internet connection, as well as the instant fulfilment provided by these services.
- Open-Source model
The open-source model is a software development model in which the end product of this process is typically available as an open-source license, meaning that anyone can use, modify and distribute it. This allows for greater collaboration. Open source refers to the act of sharing knowledge, information or content for free to everyone who wants it. Revenue is generated by offering ancillary products and services, ed training, consulting etc
10 Steps to becoming a digital entrepreneur
- Find a niche market that you are passionate about.
- Find out what others in your field think of this passion and if they feel the same way as you do.
- Research what other people’s problems are or how it may be solved, and find solutions for them.
- Figure out how much money is being spent on solving these problems.
- Determine if there is a gap in the market by comparing all of the above information together – does the problem need to be solved? Is spending high enough? Are there any gaps that you can fill?
- Create a business concept or business plan around your business idea
- Create a product that gives your market what it wants
- Create a website, e-commerce store and email marketing
- Create a compelling and powerful sales message around your product
- Bring traffic to your website through marketing on social media or paid ads
Luckily there are more opportunities than ever before to become a digital entrepreneur. If you’re looking for a way to break into the business world without investing too much time and money with little experience, digital entrepreneurship may be your answer.
It is possible to start with relatively low investment costs when compared to other types of businesses. Digital entrepreneurship provides the opportunity and flexibility for those who want to work from home or on their own schedule. Using the power of the internet to build, leverage technology and online resources so that you can build and grow a successful online business.
 StartupTalky, Why Did Kodak Fail? | Kodak Bankruptcy Case Study
 PTC, Digital Transformation Report
IDG, Understand How Organizations Evolve to a Digital Business Model,
 Investopedia, 10 Biggest Companies in the World
 Owler.com, Atlassian
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