I never knew I had the ability to be an entrepreneur, better yet a graphic designer. Credits goes to.. you got it! The internet.
I didn’t get to appreciate the internet when we we’re still on prepaid, the famous ISP Bonanza, if that rings a bell. Opening the browser feels like it’s taking years to load. Watching videos and downloading songs online wasn’t possible. Until, after long and jargon-embezzled talks, my brother and I had finally convinced our parents to subscribe to PLDT dsl.
Having the ease of fast internet connection and in turn, fast loading websites, the cyberworld opened a lot of opportunities or a much proper term, “rakets” for me. I ventured in online businesses starting from selling accessories online, to a wholesaler and now a layout designer on Multiply.com.
As an online seller, I enjoy the perks of having a capital-free business. I don’t have to pay anything to put up my business but then I get a whole lot back. This indeed poses a problem for the government because we, online sellers, don’t pay tax. But this is basically the reason why more and more people venture into online business, we don’t have to deal with paying the government crazy-high taxes. We get the sum of money as it is, full, no strings attached. The internet enables the smallest of the entrepreneurs to start with the most basic materials and amount of money that they have on hand and expand from there. This is the present and future of commerce.
But don’t get me wrong, I don’t favor the not-paying-the-taxes scheme, I am just saying that having an online business provides small entrepreneurs a venue to save up and then expand in time. This is the goal of every serious, micro level business that I know. Point is, online sellers will not be forever parasites refusing to pay taxes. I, myself, is considering putting up a real (by that I mean going beyond virtual and seriously having an office) design studio after college.
But having an online business is not all good, so is the whole of cyberworld. Like every information shared over the internet, we jeopardize security. For an online seller, the security of every transaction is not an assurance, so trust is crucial. Based on experience, while trying to be vigilant in making sure that every transaction made is with a responsible and trustworthy client, I can’t take away the welcoming-air-and-open-arms kind of personality when dealing with them. You can’t really tell when a client is bogus until that person suddenly pops like a bubble, leaving all bills unpaid.
On the other hand, it’s not just the sellers who should be always on the look out but as well as the consumers. Since putting up an online business is now considered up-for-grabs, not every online business has a face behind the website who can vouch for the store’s authenticity. I’ve known people who have been fooled by sellers. I even heard about a bogus seller who bothered to put up a fully customized site to top up her carefully planned trick. Telling her clients that they need to give a down payment to reserve the imported bags she was selling, she was able to collect P70,000 in cash and then disappeared. It’s really difficult to identify as well when a seller is real unless he/she already has a record of positive feedback and agrees to share personal but authentic information enough to tell that the person you’re transacting with exists.
This is exactly what we’ve been talking about during our comm classes. This have long been the problem with computer mediated communication. It’s 2010 but still, nothing beats face-to-face communication if we want to relay our message clearly and precisely. I have experienced a lot of misunderstandings and usually get into fights because I transact with clients only through e-mails and SMS. Oftentimes, if I forget to put a smiley or if my message becomes too direct because I was in a hurry, my clients find it offensive and reply with angry messages. I always had to explain myself, a lot of times so I could get my message across. But our client-designer relationship has already been tainted.
There’s so much to say about the internet but I focused on its e-commerce side because this is where I can relate to the most. I am more than grateful that the internet has been invented or I wouldn’t be having the extra bucks that serves as my saving grace in times of financial crises. The internet, too has helped me discover a skill I never thought I could, it’s graphic designing, as I mentioned in the intro part of this post. I learned to use Adobe Photoshop solely through the help of the different websites and blogs offering tutorials which then became my business. I am basically living half of my life online.
But of course, just like any innovation or any good thing for that matter, it’s always up to us, the users to dictate what effect these would have on us. There’s always the need to control and the need to know when to stop. It’s only by choice that we can make sure every good thing remains good. Let’s try not to overuse or overestimate.
Thoughts of a digital painter on the article “Shaping the Internet Age” by Bill Gates Read the full article here: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/billg/writing/shapingtheinternet.mspx