WiseGuide 8: Microentrepreneurs and collectives – Have you met Behance, Etsy and Shopify?


Never has there been a better opportunity for becoming a creative entrepreneur. The ecosystems for developing unique ideas into small commercial enterprises are thriving today. As products and services increasingly align themselves to a social graph and mobile portability, a series of networks dedicated for interest graphs (Hello Pinterest!) are making their presence felt of late – and this would be great news for the commercial minded enterprises to discover access to new markets.

Image credits: Alex

This WiseGuide post examines how some very niche practice areas and unique crafts, are now finding an easy way to get off the ground and become more entrepreneurial.

Behance is a network for professional artists and designers. If you have been even remotely interested in the world of design, chances are you have visited the portfolios of a number of professional designers in Behance networks. The company has its early roots in being part of discussion forums for creative artworks with the likes of DeviantART but has slowly evolved into a portfolio management platform that can even be integrated with LinkedIn. A main draw of the website is the high number of Job postings it attracts because of the availability of good talent and talent showcasing. The evolution of the web calls for an increasingly far-reaching set of design skills and portability and designers are now doing business worldwide and delivering on projects remotely. Wise, of course, is here to ensure that if you’re a designer or professional trading across borders on a global project, you don’t end up losing money on currency exchange!

Etsy is one of the darlings of the new media age in the way it has captured the imaginations of a number of small scale creative entrepreneurs and given them a platform to get up and running with a pre-built ecommerce store. What sets Etsy apart, of course, is the fact that it caters only to handmade and vintage artefacts. What would’ve been thought to be a rather tiny market at first is clearly understated as the company has a staggering 800K sellers and more than 12 Million buyers in it’s marketplace. A result of the web’s transition from ‘search’ to ‘discovery’? We can only expect quirks to become cult as the social graph now becomes de-facto and interest graphs are the hot new segment in the web. Buyers and sellers on Etsy can use a variety of payment methods including transfers to bank accounts.

Shopify is a get-up-and-go online commerce solution for individuals and businesses. Of course, the argument will continue over what happens with the players when competing with those that have the with the Lion’s share of the market. But there’s a big reason even in the physical world why independent stores in London are a far cooler place to visit than the overwhelming Selfridges store. For the same reason, independent shop fronts with exclusive inventories will continue to do well – aided by such personalised platforms. The most interesting story has to be that of someone who set up a Shopify store, selling himself for a marketing job! With Shopify! With some really interesting stores – this one’s definitely worth checking out. Did you say ‘Wise integration’? – Well, not yet, but we are hoping that it would have a payments system that would benefit international buyer-seller agreements through the best currency exchange service provider – Wise.

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