Monthly Archives: May 2003

One thing at a time…

One of the biggest mistakes that new online entrepreneurs make is trying to do too much at once. The problem is that the Internet is so full of opportunity that it is easy to start a project and then find something that appears to be better a few hours/days later – the first project gets shoved in a drawer and you make a start on the new project.  Only trouble is that the next day you find something even better and the cycle repeats itself.

I have a friend who tried to get started online and when I spoke to him on the Monday he was building a website for his new business.  By Tuesday, he was doing something completely different and by Friday both of these ideas were in the pan and he was doing something else altogether. This went on for a few weeks and in the end he just gave up, announcing that it was impossible to make money online (even though he knew that this is exactly what my business does!)

One of the best pieces of advice I can give any ‘newbie’ is to focus on one thing.  Get one website/idea/project/eBook or whatever, up and running and then move onto the next.  Don’t stop and start or you will never get anywhere.  I know how hard it is – I get side-tracked myself all the time (and I should know better!).  I try and control the urges to drop everything and fly off in another direction by making a note on a ‘Post-It’ pad every time I come up with an idea.  I keep all of these notes and when I finish one project, I pick a new one.  I also review the ideas every few weeks to see if I still think they are ‘winners’.  Often I have changed my mind and can simply throw the note away – instantly saving me hours of potentially wasted time.

Now my system isn’t foolproof and occasionally I do decide that an idea is so good that I must do it right now, but I am much more controlled than I was when I first started out – back then, I was trying to do everything because I figured that the more I did, the more chance I had of making some money.

Remember, regardless of how many great ideas you may have, it is unlikely that you will be able to put them all into effect – it takes time to develop a website and a business.  Stick to one idea, get it working and then move on.  You have much more chance of being a success if you build your business step by step, in a methodical fashion, rather than rushing to do everything at the same time.

Focus on niche markets

Ok, so you have decided that you want to earn a living online, but what do you do? Well, let me start by telling you what NOT to do…

Don’t do anything that is already being done successfully in a big way by many other people.  For example, don’t try and set up an online auction – it’s already been done a thousand times over and if you want to sell on online auctions, don’t sell computer equipment or console games or any one of a hundred other products that everyone else is trying to sell.  The profit margins are too small and the competition is too big – way too big – for you to ever make any decent money.

The way to earn serious money online is to find a small niche market. Now, when I say a ‘small’ niche market, I mean small in terms of the Internet. Small could easily mean several million potential customers – the Internet is a big place.

There is no point trying to chase a market of zillions that is already being serviced by a major player such as eBay or Amazon etc. Instead, find a much smaller market – one that the big players wouldn’t be interested in and build your business around that. It is much better to have a potential customer base of 100,000 and little or no competition, than a potential customer base of 10 million, but all the competition in the world (most of it considerably more established than you).

So, find a niche, think about what people in your intended market might want, do some research to back this up and then provide it.

Corey Rudl (probably the best known Internet Marketer in the world) tells an interesting story which illustrates the above point perfectly.

One of Corey’s hobbies is racing cars and one day, whilst reading a forum board in a Ferrari website, he noticed that a lot of people were asking if anyone knew of a cheap source of Ferrari badges and  emblems (the ones that go on the back of the car and on the wheel hub caps).  Turns out that a full set of these badges can cost up to $600 and owners were finding that kids were stealing the badges as souvenirs and to use as belt buckles.  So Corey found a supplier in Italy that would sell a bulk quantity of these emblems and badges to him for a discounted price and he then built a website selling sets of badges for $300 – half the normal price.

He then got the Ferrari enthusiast websites to link to his site (which of course they did because it was going to save their members a lot of money) and the last time I read an article about this website, it was bringing in sales of over $100,000 a year, targeting a relatively small niche market!  Not only that, but Corey arranged to automate the ordering process and outsourced the packing and shipping, so in effect he doesn’t have to do anything to keep this site going.  And don’t for one moment think that this is a super high-tech website – it isn’t and this just goes to prove that it isn’t the site design that is important, it is what you are offering.

There are thousands of similar opportunities out there, so don’t fall into the trap of going after the obvious targets as lots of other people will be doing the same. The way to be a success online is to think outside of the box and remember that ‘small’ on the Web can still mean big.