digital entrepreneurship

Digital Entrepreneurship vs Employment

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Entrepreneurship, simply termed, is self-employment. However, because of rising technological advancements, digital entrepreneurialism has become very common. It is the same entrepreneurial approach but on different digital platforms. Reliance on digital media and IT are key in this domain.

On the other hand, the most common alternative to entrepreneurship is employment. As opposed to creating a path of their own – as do entrepreneurs – employees seek direction. Similarly, employees do instead of listening like entrepreneurs. The major difference arises between the expectation of the two. Employees go to work to get compensation for their efforts, whereas an entrepreneur does not.

Understanding how the digital world caters to the two is important. The impact of digitization is different for both entrepreneurs and employees. However, both come with their own set of pros and cons. If you are someone contemplating which one is better suited for you, then you have come to the right place.

Digital Entrepreneurship

Self-employment has always been significant in all parts of the world, but digital self-employment is now on the rise. According to MGI research, about 20-30% of the working population use self-employment to earn. About 70 % of these people voluntarily choose to involve themselves, 30% opt for it because they are unable to find traditional jobs.

So, why do people pursue digital entrepreneurship? At a basic level, it involves looking for customers online, creating a business model for the idea, and using current data to improve on the idea. While starting or launching a new business idea in the normal world is very risky and extremely costly, the digital world reduces those. The barriers that restrict the business idea in the normal way are less aggressive online. Digital entrepreneurship keeps evolving as time goes by.

Benefits

Digital entrepreneurship enables self-employers to make use of marketing automation, analytics, software integration, cost-saving, brand awareness, and more. In a traditional setting, these are not so easy to attain. You can essentially manage your business no matter what part of the world you are in as long you have an internet connection.

·         Cost Saving

For most online businesses you will just need a computer and an internet. You will save larger costs such as leasing, expenses, utilities, taxes, etc. It can vary from business to business but it will overall be cheaper than a physical establishment.

·         Wider Reach

By starting a business online, you can easily reach people not just in your own country, but also globally. The geographic barriers found in traditional businesses are eliminated. 

·         Scalability

When you want to increase the production and sales volume without investing more money (and keeping your fixed costs the same) you want to increase your scalability. Scalability becomes easier to increase when it is an online venture as opposed to a physical one. Online courses are one great example. The material is already there, all you need to do is make it available to those who pay. It won’t ever be out of stock unless you decide to delete it. If this was your classroom, however, you can only teach to a limited number of students only to those that live in the city.

Disadvantages

As with technology, an unstable internet connection may make or break your day. For example, if your live chat support for the business goes down, customer feedback and interaction will also go down. This will impact the business in the long term. It is also easier for notorious or negative PR to get circulated on the internet. Thus, you have to be very careful and there is very minimal room for errors. Moreover, if you are using cloud storage, then it is of utmost importance to protect your data from hackers. You will need to have very strong IT support and this may raise your costs.

Digital Employment

As with entrepreneurship, digital workplaces provide opportunities to employees beyond the physical office. It is an effective way for employees to engage, and with the use of digital platforms, deliver business results. Digital employment involves the use of many tools such and social apps, communication apps, cloud storage platforms, corporate intranet platforms, KMS (Knowledge Management Systems), Document sharing, mobile device integration, and more. A digital workspace essentially becomes a hub for employees to carry on their work, that was otherwise only physical. This reduces barriers such as location, which in the time of a global pandemic become a risk factor for employees’ health.

Benefits

Digital employment provides many benefits. For instance, all work is made digital, so physical data is no longer needed. This also makes all operations easier to integrate and view holistically. Moreover, information is shared easily and global collaboration with others becomes extremely easy. It also allows for mobility and accessibility despite what the location of the employee.

·         Communication and Collaboration

In addition, communication becomes faster and transparent. With the use of instant messaging, real-time collaboration tools, intranet boards, online communities, and video conferencing, employees cannot miss out on important information. It saves time and increases transparency in the organization.

·         Employee Productivity and Engagement

What’s more is, employee productivity and performance also increase significantly. Senior management can more easily take into account the pace, feedback, and engagement of employees and more easily make it more efficient. They can then come up with ways that can boost the motivation, and engagement of their teams or employees. Employee engagement, after all, is crucial for all businesses.

·         Accessibility and Knowledge Sharing

In a traditional workspace, it is hard to keep all documents, data, emails, and USBs in one place. This can be a source of declining productivity. Corporate intranet, however, allows all data to be centralized. Information, documentation is organized in one place and easily accessible by those that need them. So, sharing of knowledge is also enhanced this way. Other digital tools, such as knowledge management systems can be used to document best practices, experiences, and how-tos for future employees as well.

Disadvantages

Naturally, remote working will reduce the interpersonal communication and human interaction that is often crucial for effective teamwork. Lack of face-to-face interaction might decrease the productivity and morale of the employees. Moreover, dependence on technology may become a weakness, since if the internet stops working, then the employee can’t do much but wait for it to get resolved.  This can lead to an increase in costs. Data security is also a concern in digital employment as it is in entrepreneurship.

Final Thoughts

So, digital entrepreneurship and employment are often two different ways of making money for people. Who chooses what often depends, on the person’s interests, skills, and resources. One cannot trump the other as they both are unique in their ways. Both do come with their pros and cons. If you are someone who is considering which one to choose, then you have come to the right place.

References:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309242001_Digital_Entrepreneurship_Research_and_Practice

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/employment-and-growth/technology-jobs-and-the-future-of-work

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