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There are a ton of benefits when you become an online entrepreneur: location independence, flexibility, freedom around how you work, and, of course, being your own boss. Making the transition from a day job to your own online business can be a tricky process. With some planning in place, though, it’s totally possible to quit your day job and become an online entrepreneur.

Read on for a handy guide from initial plotting to growing your business over time.

Preparation Is Key

To start, find as many areas of your life and work as possible that you can prepare for the shift. Think product research, financial planning, and connecting with other entrepreneurs. Going in “cold” is possible (I did it!), but it’s not always ideal.

Becoming your own boss is an amazing experience, but the transition from paid work to self-employment can be bumpy if you are unprepared.

Shifting your mindset

Begin to get into the mindset of a self-employed online entrepreneur even while working at your day job. Start mentally preparing and consider:

1) Places you would like to work from

Consider which cafés and co-working spaces might be great to work from. It can be a lonely time otherwise! Being around other people can really help you feel connected and give a change of scene. The PJ’s and laptop dream is great for a while, but it may start to hurt your productivity over time is you’re not careful.

2) Cash flow and spending

Be financially prepared for your business to take some time to get off the ground. Begin saving money as a buffer long before you actually make the jump to become an online entrepreneur, and know that it will take time for sales to build up. Look for work from home positions to shore up your savings. Working on your online business as a side hustle when you’re just getting started can be a great way to get the ball rolling before you transition to working for yourself full-time.

3) How do you motivate yourself, and when do you work best?

As an online entrepreneur, you can work to your strengths, so think about when you are most focused and productive in the day, then plan your tasks and activities accordingly.

4) Connect with other online entrepreneurs

Begin to connect with other online entrepreneurs for insights, support, and camaraderie. There are many online communities and groups which you would find beneficial as you start out, and of course, Selz is an ideal place to begin.

Have a look around on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for online support and chats, and for local gatherings of entrepreneurs to support you.

Some other great places to connect with like-minded people as you become an online entrepreneur are:

Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Community (Facebook)
Kimra Luna’s Freedom Hackers group (Facebook)
Becca Tracey’s Uncaged Life group (Facebook)
The Freelance Lifestyle site
Brilliance Ignition Power Moves group (Facebook – this is my group, so come and say hi!)

5) Learn on the move

Start learning and absorbing information as soon as you decide to go your own way. Make your commute more productive by listening to podcasts and reading books, websites, and other resources that help you to learn and grow your business.

Some great places to start are:

Being Boss Podcast and Community
Smart Passive Income Podcast
Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast
Amy Porterfield Podcast

The Big Idea

Of course, the biggest thing to consider is what you are going to sell when you become an online entrepreneur.

Brainstorm where your skills and passions lie, and what you would love to provide around those areas. Then, think if you want to offer a physical product, digital product, or even a service.

Remember, you need to be able to sustain your own interest in what you are building, so make sure you are passionate about what you choose and how you deliver it! Need some inspiration? Check out our enormous list of 105 side business ideas.

Validating your Product

Investigating whether consumers would want your product or service before creating it can go a long way to making sure you have an idea that will sell. A great way to do some quick market research in real time is to use live video – you can also invite some people in your target market to jump on a Skype or phone call with you, or to answer some q’s as you validate your idea.

Identifying your market

Knowing your market is a huge piece of the online entrepreneurship puzzle.

Spend some time delving into where your ideal customer hangs out, what they read or listen to, how they spend their money, where they can be found online, how to communicate and what their pain points are. How can what you do help them, entertain them, teach them, or add value to their lives and businesses? This information will go a long way in helping your business to fly. Plus, it gives you a solid foundation so you can be confident in your decision to become an online entrepreneur.

The beauty of selling online is that you have flexibility to test, trial and tweak with very small overhead, especially here on Selz where it’s super quick and easy to test and trial a new product or service and be ready to sell in minutes.

Making Your First Sale

Setting up your eCommerce store is a piece of cake – you can be up and running in no time at all, testing your ideas and getting them out to the world.

Making your first sale is an incredibly exciting milestone, and should be celebrated as the first of many! The work doesn’t end there, though. Building a successful business is a continual process of building, revising, and trying out new ideas.

First step: start building up testimonials from happy clients, and invite them to give feedback on the areas in which you can improve.

Content To Grow Your Business

Content creation is KEY for growing your online business. Create content that adds value to your audience, lets them see behind the scenes of what you sell, and gives them a sense of the humanity and personality behind the brand.

Making the content super visual and easy to connect with gets you more shares, likes, and eyes on your work.

Keep Growing and Evolving

The entrepreneurial journey doesn’t end when you quit your day job and make the leap. It’s a long haul process. You will learn, evolve, and grow as your business grows; there will be highs and lows (but more highs, we hope!).

Keep learning, keep getting feedback, keep improving and building your online business.

Taking the first steps to live your dream and become an online entrepreneur are the hardest, so get started! We’ll be cheering you on.

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About the author

Jo Gifford

A widely read contributor to Huffington Post, Selz, Regus, Prowess, YFS Magazine and many more interwebz rabbit holes, Jo is a respected UK voice on life as a pocket-sized enterprise owner.

Jo’s background – a seasoned blogger, copywriter, podcaster, and graphic designer with an MA and research interest in creative thinking for small business – makes for an eclectic and colourful killer content approach.