Opportunity Knocks on the Worldwide Web
Despite a struggling economy these last few years, business on the internet has grown significantly. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, a non-profit research center that studies the social effects of the Internet on Americans, between 2000 and 2002 (the latest data available), there was a 63% increase in online shopping. In fact, the number of Americans who made purchases on a typical day online doubled during this period from 3 million to 6 million per day. This helps explain why every woman I spoke to recently about the potential for business success on the internet expressed a firm belief that wide-ranging possibilities for success exist for anyone who truly puts her mind to it.
All agreed, too, that the Internet offers the simplest, least expensive option for starting and running a business today. The reason is most logistical and overhead issues related to brick-and-mortar stores are eliminated when you do business in cyberspace. Plus there are many powerful and affordable tools and resources to help you start and run your business with just a few clicks of your mouse.
Women Who Know how to Work It
Debbie Schnaidman of Hackensack, New jersey started giftbasketsbygrandma.com in 2003. To Schnaidman, “This is the best time to start an online business. For one thing, it doesn’t require thousands of dollars to start. I use Yahoo hosting, which provides a shopping cart as well as hosting. And you get so much help from other people and companies.”
Internet Strategist Jamila White of Bowie, Maryland (jamilawhite.com) recalls when she started her first Internet-based business in 1996: “At that time there were no shopping cart programs or ready-to-use online stores like there are today. I was cutting and pasting customer information from my database into Word documents to create invoices! I also had to manually transfer information written in my UPS Log Book to my computer files. That left lots of room for errors to occur. So, from a logistical standpoint, it’s so much easier today. [Even] the carriers who deliver the goods are now enthusiastic about helping [you], because they’ve benefited so much from the growth in online business.”
Aside from low cost and simplicity, Rosemary Carr, of Orlando, Florida likes the profit potential and the convenience of the internet. Says Carr-who runs an online real estate investment company-“There is no cap on earnings or on time involved. You can do the amount of business you want to-a little or a lot-and you don’t have to retire! I’m almost 63 years old and having the time of my life! ” Carr was in Real estate for over 25 years before she began marketing her services online via go2homesandloans.com.
Helen Bassett, of Tasmania, Australia launched that country’s second web site back in the early 1990s. After attending a workshop in Sydney last year, she launched b2bwomen.com, an online women’s network. Says Bassett, “Doing business on the Internet is perfect for women because you can work right out of your kitchen. It gives women a lot of flexibility.”
Anyone who’s built a successful business on the internet will tell you not to work in isolation. Bassett notes, “In this business you’re working from home, so you can be very isolated. That’s why networking with other women is important to me. Also, things change so quickly on the net. I network with others and go to offline events because it helps me keep focused and on track. ”
You can learn a lot reading books, listening to audio programs and attending online and telephone trainings offered by successful marketers. But, without a doubt, the best investment you can make before (or after) you start your business is to attend a workshop or seminar, live and in-person. Nothing beats the live experience because it’s absorbed and retained on a much deeper level. Also, the connections you make with, both, the attendees and presenters at live events are invaluable. They can, and do, lead to new business ideas, joint ventures, mentor-protégé and teacher-student relationships. The short- and long-term benefits that result can influence your success tremendously.
If you’re a woman who is thinking of starting an online business, an online business workshop will be held in Denver, Colorado, this September 10-12. The Women’s Web Workshop (W3) is being sponsored and produced by the Women’s Internet Association, along with InternetBasedMoms.com. W3 is a first-of-its-kind event, organized by women, for women. The three-day program will feature live, interactive trainings by ten women who have built highly successful web-based businesses. Attendees will be taken through the steps of choosing, planning, launching and running an Internet business. Among the list of Internet Marketing standouts are “Tech Tamer” Jeanette Cates, Loral Langemeier, finance coach and founder of LiveOutLoud.com, “Marketing Maven” Denise Michaels and W3 organizer, Barbara Drazga In addition to the daily sessions, participants will have multiple opportunities to interact with the trainers over lunches and dinners. You can get full details by visiting the W3 web site at http://www.womenswebworkshop.com.
When Schnaidman, White, Bassett and Carr started their online businesses, there were no such workshops to show them how. Says Schnaidman, “I was no computer wiz when i started. The majority of what I know now came from trial and error. If there had been something like the Women’s Web Workshop when i first started, absolutely, I would have attended. ” Carr agrees, “For those just starting out, it’s especially important. But even if you have experience, you can get discouraged. You can sit there and tell yourself to keep going. Or you can find a supportive friend to talk to. ” Which is a big bonus you can take home from a group event. You meet people with whom you share a common interest, and who face similar challenges, to yours. Who knows? You could meet a perfect joint venture partner. Or, maybe make a lifelong friend?