5 Ways to Become an Entrepreneur

Becoming an entrepreneur means finding a problem that one would like to solve and finding a solution for it by creating their own business. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to start a business and find ways to allow it to thrive, however there are platforms available to jump-start businesses and give them the platform they need to be successful.


Shopify

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that was launched in 2006. It allows vendors to have an online storefront where they can sell in-person or online through other social media platforms. It allows businesses the ability to access their e-commerce platform from anywhere around the globe. They pride themselves on their app’s flexibility and ease of use.


Although you have to buy a membership to use Shopify, they have free templates, marketing tools, and payment options to give support to vendors who need help getting started. Entrepreneurs who use their website also have access to business courses, guides, podcasts, community events, and their business encyclopedia. Shopify has a small variety of plans, but their most basic plan is


$29 per month.



Wix eCommerce


Wix eCommerce allows entrepreneurs to sell, manage, and grow their business using Wix’s tools and support To sell a product, they have more than 50 payment providers, access to gift cards, and high level transaction security. To help manage a store, they provide automated sales tax, custom business reports and analytics, and a mobile app to access a storefront anywhere in the world. Wix also provides access to multiple sales channels, advertising through social media apps, and the ability to live chat with customers.


Their platform has three pricing models, the most inexpensive one being their “Business Basic” plan, which is $27 a month. It has access to all of their features and customer support, however it only allows for 5 hours of video and 50 gigabytes of storage space when creating your storefront with them.



Etsy


Etsy was founded in 2005 and has gained popularity since then because of the handmade custom gifts they offer through their vendors. Starting your shop on Etsy is completely free, however they do charge a listing fee. Etsy allows entrepreneurs to increase their shop’s visibility by allowing a small business on their platform to switch over to their own website one day, when they are large enough to be independent.


Etsy’s pricing is a little more difficult to understand. It is completely free to start your own shop on their website however they have listing fees, transaction fees, and payment processing fees. Listing fees are just $0.20 per listing, transaction fees are 6.5% of the total amount each order makes, the payment processing fees is a set rate, based on what country you are in.



SquareSpace


SquareSpace is another platform that gives entrepreneurs the space to create a website, have access to tools, and market their business. By creating a website with SquareSpace, entrepreneurs are able to have access to e-commerce website templates and can manage their storefront, schedule appointments, and sell their products or services. After building a storefront, vendors are able to start email marketing campaigns and have access to other social media, video maker, and creator tools. SquareSpace also offers blogs, help centers, forums for professionals, and webinars to provide expertise and help for those using their platform.


SquareSpace offers a bigger variety of their pricing plans. They have a personal plan, which includes some features and is only $16 a month.Their most popular “Business” plan is $23 a month and has many more features, such as accepting donations, gift cards, and selling unlimited items



Apex Center for Entrepreneurs


This is a free resource that is offered by Virginia Tech. The Apex Center attracts students who are interested in starting their own business and gives them the opportunity to connect with other professionals, build their business, and launch it with the help of scholarships and awards. Apex offers “The StartUp Hokies Community” where people new to entrepreneurship can start and speak to others with similar interests. Entrepreneurs and others just learning have the ability to meet with other peers and professionals during “office hours” to draft out a business plan. After making their business plan, entrepreneurs will apply to pitch their ideas and gain some feedback, while having the opportunity to receive funding from equity-free seed grants. Apex also offers weekly workshops for entrepreneurial skills and “incubators” to meet with other Hokie entrepreneurs. Lastly, they have access to alumni-entrepreneurs, who mentor students.



These are just a few examples of the platforms we have access to when becoming entrepreneurs. When starting a new business, it is important to take advantage of the resources available, like the Apex Center for Entrepreneurs. If you’re looking to start your own business, please check out the Apex Center for access to advising and funding.



By Emma Newman