Successful entrepreneurs know the importance of lifelong learning. Whether you’re new to the business world or a seasoned veteran, you should always be looking for new information about entrepreneurship and trends in your particular industry. If you’re looking to learn and grow your business this year, here are some insights from members of the online small business community.
And in the new economy you can achieve financial independence on your own terms. You have the power to be as successful, perhaps even wealthy, as you want to be. This is a key insight for any entrepreneur, and a driving force in my own life. Owning my destiny, particularly my financial destiny, is scary at times — but it’s also empowering. Use the fear to power yourself to new heights.
Join a startup accelerator: Another great option is to apply to a startup accelerator like Y Combinator, 500 startups, or TechStars, where a group of investors will help coach you, connect you with potential partners, and provide startup cash in return for a small stake in your company. The competition is tough to get into these, so don’t rely on them as your only path forward.
These mega-sites make it easy to set up shop so customers can browse your products, and there's no need to build your own website. Also, you’ll find a built-in search feature so that interested buyers can easily find your online storefront. Plus, you get to use the site's shopping cart. In short, you avoid a lot of the expense and hassle of setting up an independent e-commerce website.
You can start with making sure your check out page looks legitimate and secure. Be as transparent as possible and make sure that there are no hidden fees. It’s a bummer for customers to get all the way to the end of the check out process only to be hit with a large shipping fee. Make sure your check out process is optimized from start to finish. The less abandoned carts, the more sales for your business!
Better yet, you can even upload your own book to one of the world’s largest book sellers: Amazon. With Amazon self-publishing, you set the price, retain the rights to your book, and get access to Amazon’s massive audience. For every sale, you keep 70% with Amazon taking the remainder as a fee. If you want to get started, check out Leslie Samuel's great guide to selling eBooks online or follow Tara Gentile on CreativeLive as she shows you how to use your existing body of work to write an eBook within the next week. Who knows, you might just write one of the best business books of this year!

Multi-vendor marketplaces, like ThemeForest, can be very successful. Chose a niche and create a vendor website for it. Your marketplace could be anything, from a platform for local artists to sell their work on, to an online digital product store. Once set up, invite people in that industry to sell their products on your site. You take a percentage of their profits when items sell.
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