There are so many different ways to start a business in our modern era that it’s a wonder more people don’t try it. The days of needing a brick-and-mortar establishment to set up your company are long gone. Nowadays, it’s entirely possible to start a business and keep everything online, especially if you’re not running an ecommerce operation (and even if you are). In short, if you’ve ever entertained dreams of starting your own business, there’s never been a better time to try.
One of the terms you might have heard while you’re researching online business ventures is “interpreneur”. It’s not a misspelling of “entrepreneur”; rather, it’s a word that carries its own meaning. So, what exactly are interpreneurs? How do you become one, and what are the challenges and pitfalls of entering this lifestyle? Here’s our rundown on what interpreneurs are and how you can make your own way down the path of becoming a successful interpreneur.
What exactly is an interpreneur?
1000Ventures.com gives the definition of an interpreneur as “an entrepreneur, an owner and/or a leader of an internet-based business enterprise”. It’s hard to disagree with that definition; in a nutshell, an interpreneur is simply someone who owns an online business. That business could be in any industry or area; e-commerce website operators are interpreneurs, as are online casino operators, those who run blogs that are profitable, or anyone who has any other kind of online business venture.
The term “interpreneur” is not to be confused with “intrapreneur”, which is an employee within a company who takes it upon themselves to learn more about their job, impress their boss, and go above and beyond their duties. Of course, there are benefits to being an “intrapreneur” as well, but we’re talking about interpreneurs here, which is all about internet businesses.
There are also, it must be said, competing interpretations of what the word “interpreneur” could mean. This presentation from Kreston Global defines interpreneurs as those who expand their businesses internationally, while a 1988 definition by enterprise advisor Ernesto Poza gives the definition of “interpreneur” as someone who nurtures business and growth within a family unit. For the purposes of this article, we’re focusing specifically on the concept of an interpreneur as an online business owner.
What are the advantages of being an interpreneur?
As you can probably imagine, interpreneurs enjoy myriad benefits and advantages that more traditional business owners don’t enjoy. Here are some of the advantages that you’ll notice if you decide to become an intrapreneur.
- Lower overheads. The biggest and most obvious benefit of setting up a business online is that you won’t have to worry about physical overheads. You’ll be free to conduct your business however you like without paying rent on a property (apart from the one in which you’re living, of course).
- Wider potential product base. As an interpreneur, the world is effectively your oyster. You can decide to stock whatever products you feel are best for your business, and there are plenty of solutions out there that will even let you store your products, like Fulfilled By Amazon.
- Unconventional business hours. Interpreneurs can set their own hours, working whenever they like. If you’re a night owl and you work better later, then you can absolutely do that, while a more conventional entrepreneur might be limited by daylight hours for practical reasons.
Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to become an interpreneur, but these are just some of the more compelling ones. If you set up an online business yourself, you’ll quickly realise just how beneficial it is for you and your dreams.
Are there any drawbacks to being an interpreneur?
As with anything in life, there are, of course, potential pitfalls and challenges for budding interpreneurs. Here are some of the drawbacks you might face.
- Fierce competition. Since the internet is such a breeding ground for great business ideas, you’re going to be battling a lot of other businesses for dominance in your chosen industry.
- Big business. Companies like Amazon already have a huge presence online, and if you’re running an e-commerce business, you’re inevitably going to brush up against them sooner or later.
- Marketing is hard. Marketing an online business with no local presence is very difficult indeed, because the internet is full of billions of websites, many of which will be vying for the public’s attention. You need to make sure your marketing campaigns stand out to be noticed in a crowded field.
How do you become an interpreneur?
Becoming an interpreneur isn’t easy. Many people have attempted to set up online businesses and have failed at one of the many hurdles along the way. Becoming an interpreneur first involves coming up with a great online business idea. Note that it doesn’t have to be a new idea; many think that in order to start a business, you need a killer innovation in an industry, but the fact is that you just need an idea that’s going to work within a chosen niche or demographic.
Once you have that idea, it’s time to build yourself a website and buy a domain. There are plenty of services out there, like Squarespace or Wix, that will help you to do this if you’re a complete web design novice, and you can also hire a web design professional to create your site for you. This has the added benefit of having someone on hand to address problems when they arise or to help you troubleshoot potential issues with your website ahead of time.
If you’re running an e-commerce site, your next step is to figure out where you’re going to store your products and how you’re going to ship them to customers. Ideally, you need to have this step figured out before you actually open for business, because otherwise, you’re going to have a lot of angry customers on your hands. Once you’ve got that process in place, you need only create a marketing campaign to get the word out about your business and your interpreneur venture is truly underway!