JD Duarte


JD Duarte discusses what it takes to be a digital entrepreneur

Digital entrepreneurship can be very complicated if you are not equipped with good ideas and the experience of others who have already made it. JD Duarte, a successful businessman and lifelong entrepreneur from Costa Rica, provides expert insight into what it takes to become a digital entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship digitally implies doing it on the Internet. You no longer need physical spaces to develop your activity, just good broadband and software. You will have, in short, a business model framed in digital platforms, which will allow you great advantages:

The differences between the online entrepreneur and the traditional one, in principle, are not so many. Both will have to go through similar phases and processes, such as when defining their business model or obtaining financing.

To undertake is to have creative capacity and problem-solving capabilities with a positive attitude to changes. You have to know how to adapt to those changes, as well as how to generate them. The successful entrepreneur takes advantage of the circumstances that occur at all times in an innovative way.

An entrepreneur is characterized by his or her determined attitude, tends to take risks and seeks the viability of his or her project through innovation and creativity. Although many attitudes are innate in some people, skills can be acquired with appropriate training.

Those who decide to undertake must “dress,” above all else, with values such as commitment, perseverance and effort. You must be willing to work and believe in the project itself, especially in the initial phases, since it will probably be when you need it most. But, in addition, it will be characterized by what we collect in this decalogue of the good entrepreneur:

Know yourself, take the initiative and be persevering. The entrepreneur is born, but it is also made based on technical training and experience. It is essential to have a foundation of business management, constantly update and, if necessary, reinvent yourself.

Generate the change and adapt. Explains Duarte, “Your innovative vision will make you go beyond the present, looking for new ways of doing and new market niches to meet needs, but also to create them. You will seek to differentiate yourself by always providing added value.”

Know your sector. In order to differentiate yourself and improve your business (and your product or service), you will have to know what is happening. Get rid of your experience, but also of techniques such as benchmarking to delimit the competition.

Have a good network of contacts. Whether you work as a freelancer or as an employee, it is essential to weave collaborative networks, both to find people to help you and to show your product or service. Remember that the sum of talents is always profitable. And, if you are a leader, lead by example; spread your passion and delegate.

Be enthusiastic and patient. You don’t get to be an entrepreneur the first time, nor do you stop being an entrepreneur at the first misstep. Enthusiasm, at all times, should be your engine. Success will lie in him.

Be observant and take advantage of opportunities. You must be aware of what is happening in your neighborhood and in the world (digital business knows no borders) and take advantage of the existing support structures and aid to entrepreneurs.

Tolerate failure and manage uncertainty. Failure and uncertainty should be understood as part of a learning process. Even so, remember that every idea must pass the filter of acceptability (there is potential demand) and feasibility.

Be for profit, but with values. Money, obviously, is important and is what differentiates a project from a business. Still, the end of your business should go further: by undertaking, you can impact society in many ways. Don’t forget CSR! Ethics and honesty should be the benchmark values of your company.

Be passionate. Entrepreneurship requires effort but also a lot of passion. As in love, an entrepreneurial adventure without passion will hardly get you anywhere.

“As a digital entrepreneur,” adds Duarte, “you will no longer think about a traditional business model. You will be globally oriented and digital tools will allow you to know the needs, habits and behaviors of your customers and users.”

To the detriment of traditional entrepreneurship, digital allows you to maximize opportunities to attract customers (in addition, you will know them better) and minimize risks. This is also noticeable in the initial investment you make, since it is usually lower and its return is recovered in a shorter term. In addition, you can find interesting avenues for financing: business angels, accelerators, crowdfunding, venture capital and more.

The digital entrepreneur must decide what his or her income generation model will be in the event that he has not constituted an ecommerce. In the case of non-transactional websites, we will contemplate the possibility of obtaining income through subscription models, advertising on the website itself, affiliate programs or pay-per-view or download, among others.

Remember that, although the way we attract users, relate to our customers or implement business ideas changes, what moves the entrepreneur, both traditional and online, is a common essence. His or her ability to detect opportunities, understand the market and execute the plan efficiently and quickly.