Netpreneur – that is, an entrepreneur in online ventures – is always challenged by one issue – how to build trust from other people online.
Despite all the potentials of starting up ventures online, there are certain downsides present – the Net is full of spammers and scammers. Not because people dealing with the Net are crooks :D – that would make me a crook myself – but because the nature of the Net itself.
When I’m talking about businesses online, I’m talking about a pure online business with no physical business on sight.
Anonymous, hidden, identity has two sides – on the plus side, you are safe from those crooks. On the neg side, you yourself will be considered as a crook.
How to build trust online
Sure, when joining forums or writing blogs, you are often asked for personal identity. But, come on now, how many of you use real identity on the Net? Not many, I suppose. Why? Because you feel insecure – You feel many prying eyes are on you, ready to stalk you and catch you off guard, and then steal your identity or personal information.
But then, there gotta be a way to build trust online! Yes,there is – not totally effective, but helping you and the people you are dealing with, play honest :)
- Never reveal your identity entirely – If you real name is already out there, at least keep your address and other sensitive info private.
- Join forums and blogs that govern their community well – reward good visitors, punish (or limit) spammer and scammer. A reputation based forums and blogs are better – deal safely with those with good rep.
- Enter a business proposition knowing who you are dealing with, by read their previous posts and comments and learn their profile.
- Always double check, even triple check, the background of your potential clients or partners online by asking others about them. Or, do a little search engine research to learn about them a bit.
- All in all, every business activity online evolves around one thing – money on the table. Have third party financial transaction company, such as escrow.com or paypal.com to add the legitimacy of your business transaction online. Better yet, sign a physical contract (the old paper and pen thing and lawyer thing) to seal the deal.
Those being said, you have to learn from experience – all entrepreneurs have to do this. You often have to trust your gut feeling – when you feel something is wrong with a seemingly legit business deal online, withdraw and run away from it.
Dont worry about losing a great opportunity – there’s always new, good, opportunities on the Net – tons of them.
Trusting your gut feeling