People are making LOTS of money through all kinds of online ventures. The big questions are, could I, should I and how would I? While I do have the drive to build some kind of business, does it have to be something online?
Maybe you’re in the same place and want to do something online to generate a secondary, primary or passive income. Before you quit your job take some time to research exactly what it means to be run an online business.
There is no easy push button to create a profitable online business. While there are some exceptions to the rule, in general it will require a tremendous amount of dedication and time. Lots of people have tried, some have mild success and even fewer find the right combination to make it work. A few of those individuals are kind enough to share both their failures and successes so others can learn from their experiences.
Failure is Always an Option but Never the Final Solution
I get a lot of inspiration from my faith but also from reading about others who have had success in this online arena, like Spencer Haws at NichePursuits.com or Pat Flynn over at SmartPassiveIncome.com. It can be easy to read about their success, get glossy eyed and make the leap yourself. But be warned, a successful internet business is much like safe cracking. Unless you know the code it can be frustrating and in the end, un-fruitful. In my experience for every one person that figures out the right combination for producing a profitable online business, there are 20 others that tried the same and failed.
As of this writing, I have created a total of 3 authority sites, 8 smaller niche sites, 1 software product, 14 Android apps and 2 IOS app. While many of those projects were not profitable, I learned a lot! I consider them my “learning projects”.
I will be covering a few of my past projects in some upcoming case studies that will outline what I did right and what I did wrong. Mostly the wrong. One of the last major lessons that overshadowed the failures of some of these projects was how important it was to do proper keyword and marketing research first. Just because the idea sounds cool doesn’t mean it will be successful. That was the hole I found myself in many times.
With failure comes redemption. Learn from your mistakes and try again.
Thomas Edison made over 1,000 attempts at inventing the light bulb before he finally succeeded. I believe one of the keys to success in this arena to not give up, keep tweaking and trying.
When to Pursue an Online Business?
Being in the right place at the right time can dictate success in a lot of cases. Some people’s success seems almost like a fairy tale while others have to fight every inch of the way. If you are one of the latter (as I consider myself) then you’re in the right place.
Everyone’s case is a little different. The most common situation that will dictate when to pursue your dreams will be gated by the financial aspect of the reality. How will you support yourself, your family and pay that mortgage payment??
The simplest way to figure out when to pursue your online ventures is when it can support you financially. This means working on your business now while you still have a day job. You will be working two jobs, your normal day job and then your new venture in the evenings and weekends. Once your side income comes close to equaling your business income, it’s time to step away from the day job. This is the safest bet.
If your idea or business plan is good enough, you could try your hand at some kind of “crowd funding” solution to help come up operating costs to not only help develop the product but to also live off of while you do so. Some very popular crowd funding sites that a lot of entrepreneurs use are Kickstarter.com and GoFundMe.com.
If you are good at championing ideas you could even try your hand at raising money through venture capital.
What to Pursue?
The first steps I had to take for any online ventures is to figure out exactly what you want to pursue. I will cover this at length in a future blog post but in essence you want to pick something that complements your creativity, skill set and passions. My creativity and skill set allows me to write content, market, SEO, build IOS and Android apps, software and websites. My passion is entrepreneurship.
In short, here are a few of the items that you could pursue online that generate a decent income:
- Sell your services. Through online entities like ODesk.com, Elance.com or Fiverr.com. This could be writing articles, doing design work, general development, marketing and so much more.
- Write an EBook. Sell in the Amazon Kindle market place.
- Sell some kind of service online. These kind of sites sell intangible products. Like Fotolia.com or IStock.com. Or perhaps a site that sells access to a cool new marketing tool only accessible online? Lots of possibilities here.
- Create an affiliate or AdSense based site. This can be through either a niche or an authority site. Easy to set up, no need to know how to program. More on this in a future blog post.
- Start a Blog
- Develop IOS and Android Apps
- Develop Software
- Develop Websites
- Become a consultant and sell your expertise
How to Pursue?
So you now have an idea of what you would like to venture into, how do you start?
The first step will always be research. Research, Research and more research. Live, breath and eat the venture you’re interested in. Find similar blogs and join a community. Gleam experience from others that have gone before you in the same field. Being able to do a proper Google search will save you A LOT of time ; )
For me, I know what I want to pursue and even know to get there. My main problem comes down to delegation (or lack of). I can build a website from the ground up. I can content write. I know SEO. I can build both Android and IOS apps natively. I can also build Windows applications. So, why pay someone else to build something I know I can build myself and to my perfect specs? The short answer: time, which then in turn comes down to a budget.
A good example would be cutting fire wood. Now I could go out and spend an entire day chopping firewood to save some money or I could hire it out. What’s more profitable? My initial reaction is to save money by cutting the firewood myself rather than hiring someone to do it for me. But is it really beneficial for the end game? If I can make more money during that day than the money I would save if I cut it myself, then it’s more beneficial to just hire the job out. The same can be said when it comes to building your own products and in general, your business.
Don’t let developing apps, websites or even software products scare you. You don’t need to understand how to develop or program, you just need to know how to manage the people who will be doing the programming and development. In a future blog post I will be outlining exactly how to do this.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
Once I made the decision to build my business online, I spent a good year learning everything there was to know about online entrepreneurship before quitting my job. I found some great online marketing blogs with a fantastic community to gleam real world experience from. While I’m not an expert, it gave me a great foundation of knowledge to take those important first steps.
This post just touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to venturing into the online arena. Once you start researching and breaking down your ventures into their lowest common denominator, they will start to appear more accessible and doable. Baby steps.
Have any thoughts? Have you started your online venture yet?