As well as completely transforming our communications and leisure time, the internet has become an important source of income for many millions of people. No longer does a budding entrepreneur need access to a wealth of specialized knowledge or capital to start up on their own. The business opportunities available online are almost limitless, unrestricted by the local restrictions that might hamper a traditional physical business.
That’s not to say there aren’t challenges depending on your situation, for example if you want to sell Amazon products you’ll be out of luck in certain US states due to the tax laws. It’s also fair to say that setting up a digital business in some countries is much harder than others for a variety of reasons. For example if you started out in China, you’d have a lot of issues based mainly on various Chinese blocks and filters which operate across the country. These can make it difficult accessing all sorts of information, sites and even advertising portals, it’s easy if you target your business on the local Chinese market in this instance.
These sort of filters operate in lots of countries to an extent, yet there is generally a more extensive problem which affects many would be entrepreneurs in many countries. The problems are usually around payment, distribution, affiliate and advertising sites which are usually essential for running an effective internet based business. If you’re selling something for example you’ll need to get paid and although there are many options for this including the leaders like Paypal – it can be difficult to obtain these services from some countries. Setting up a usable Paypal account is much more difficult in India or Nigeria for instance than it is if you’re from Europe or the USA. Sometimes it can often prove almost impossible and many businesses suffer from having to accept lesser known payment processors instead.
There is a simple way however to level the playing field slightly if you are based in one these countries, simply pretend to operate from somewhere else. A US or UK internet business suffers few of the administrative and logistical problems that you’ll find from India for example so many seek to move their digital presence here. The most important step is to hide your online location which is normally found through your IP address – here’s simple option for changing to a US IP proxy, just watch the video.
So our entrepreneur can fire up this security program and establish a VPN from the US BEFORE they start using the web. This would mean that they would appear to be physically based in the USA allowing access to all sorts of resources that may be inaccessible from their home country. The connection is simply relayed through the server based in the USA and then relayed back, if you use a fast server then your connection is virtually identical. One person I know uses a VPN like this to allow her to post adverts of sites like craigslist which would effectively be blocked without the VPN service.
Of course you will need other resources to fully switch your digital presence, however things like mailing address and prepaid US credit cards are accessible with a little work. It still is a little harder work than for someone actually located in the US but at least there are options to level the playing field slightly.
James Collins, Author – Change IP Address Program, 2014