Every entrepreneur has a goal in mind, whether it be the freedom or lifestyle that a successful business can provide. But did you realize that this could be achieved by starting and running an online microbusiness? The various types of models include online retail, self-publishing, blogging, online training, web apps, niche sites or affiliate sites. Based on your skill set, resources, and comfort level of risk, there is a fit for everyone.
What is a microbusiness or microenterprise?
Basically, it’s a business that operates on a smaller scale. The terms microbusiness and microenterprise can be used interchangeably. The entrepreneur still has to have a business model, strategies, and goals, however, many of these businesses have no employees other than the self-employed owners. Additionally, microenterprises generally need less than $35,000 in capital and do not have access to conventional loans. Make no mistake, though, microbusinesses contribute incredible value to the economy by creating jobs, enhancing income, lowering costs, and adding business convenience. In fact, they make up 95% of the 28 million US companies. Let’s explore just a few microbusiness models and see what could be the right fit for you.
What sort of businesses translate to a smaller online scale?
Online retail. This is probably #1 on people’s minds when they think of starting an online business. But it’s certainly the most involved and most expensive to get up and running. First, you need an online platform for selling products – either a custom-built online store or an existing solution like Shopify or Magento that provides pre-built templates to easily organize your products. Next, you need to have products to sell. Will you make your own products or curate other people’s products? What will be your strategy for attracting customers and fulfilling orders? If you’re planning on making your own unique products, then setting up your store on a marketplace like Etsy or eBay might be beneficial. They already have policies and processes in place and provide plenty of guidance on fulfilling orders. We offer some valuable tips on how to drive traffic to your Etsy/eBay store and turn it into a sustainable business in a recent blog post. Lastly, you’ll need to determine how you’ll handle customer issues. Yes, packages will get lost and people will receive the wrong items. So how will you provide customer service? If you enjoy dealing with others, negotiating, and understand the market for your products, this might the best microbusiness model for you.
Online training. Say you have expertise in a certain field and you’re interested in sharing your knowledge about this particular subject. Well, you would have to decide how you want to deliver this information. Would it be via video, text, audio or a mix of all three? Would you offer a subscription- based online training course? Are people willing to pay to learn the skill you’re teaching? Do you have the time it takes to devote producing training material (i.e. videos, articles)? There’s some definite pros and cons to weigh here. Offering online training can be very lucrative if you find that you have a sought-after skill, are willing to set up a professional course, and can find an interested audience that is willing to pay to learn.
Self-publishing. This is one of the more recent and popular choices to make money online. Self-publishing is different than traditional publishing. With traditional publishing, the publishing company pays for your marketing. They also could be entitled to retain half the earnings an author makes on the deal.
With self-publishing, the opposite happens. The author retains all the profits and also assumes all of the risk. If there are any costs or damages that need to come out of the profit, the author is 100% responsible. This route can prove very financially beneficial if you’re comfortable writing and working alone. Go into this business with an educated mind.
Blogging is very commonplace these days. But a blog on its own is not a microbusiness – it could be considered an avenue for microbusiness owners. The two main keys for a blog are the frequency and quality of the blog. It’s not enough to have lots of ideas. The person must have what it takes to keep it up and running. Because high quality content is expected, all bloggers must have a profound love of writing or be willing to pay and manage a team of writers to create solid content. A blog is only as good as its usefulness to its readers.
Blogging is an audience-attraction machine. Some bloggers take their daily advice and content and turn it into something more substantial. It could lead to eBooks, products, online training, or selling ad space. This is why a blog is considered by many to be a mix in-between. Keep in mind, there’s a lot of hard work involved here. This can prove to be quite a resourceful enterprise, as long as the person is in it for the long run.
Do you have what it takes to run a microbusiness? Are you already doing so? If not, what microbusiness model is a good fit for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.