Now is the best time in history to start a web-based businesses. Whether you are interested in launching an eCommerce store, a SaaS application, a Podcast, a profit generating blog or you want to build a web-based service business, the best time to get started is right now.
Some would argue that the best time was 6 years ago, or 10 years ago. That argument has two flaws.
- The technology and the audience has never been more ready for your web-based business
- You don’t have the option to go back ten years. So get started!
Actually, there is good reason to believe that startup opportunities are diminishing and ten years ago was a better time. Venture Capital firms are tightening their budgets, their are major players dominating the web-based technology industry and frankly the majority of technology challenges now have solutions. Of course, not everything has a solution. Self-driving cars, Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality, space exploration – each of these industries currently needs innovators, but many of the challenges related to the beginning of the technological revolution (file sharing, mobile data transfer, search, content management systems, online payments, etc) have been solved.
That’s not what I’m talking about in this article. I’m not telling you that now is the best time to start building self-driving cars. If you’re into that, go for it. But I’m not talking about building the next billion dollar business. I’m talking about building a web-based business that can help you make large sums of money so that you and your family can live the kind of lifestyle you want to live. There’s never been a better time in history to build a small web-based business that brings in enough money for you to live a great lifestyle. Millions of people are doing it already. Here are 5 reasons that support this argument.
Note: There are a lot of links included in the content. To make it easy I’ve re-listed all the links at the bottom of the article in a Resources section.
1. Technology for building a web-based business has never been easier
It’s never been easier to launch a website, build an eCommerce store, start a podcast or build any other type of web-based business. The tools and services are more easily accessible and cheaper than ever. I’m confident that a person with little to no skills in coding or building websites could, on their own, build a web property with web-based tutorials and services like Shopify or WordPress (on Pantheon or Bluehost) in a month or less. Personally, I’ve worked with many content management systems (CMS) and eCommerce platforms and I can’t believe how easy it is to get started. Now more than ever.
Want to build a website or a blog – use a service like Pantheon or Bluehost to quickly launch a WordPress site. Find a free theme that you like and fill in all the blanks. Even if you’ve never built a site these two hosting platforms have “click an easy button” installations for you to get started.
If you are building a bigger business look into the Rainmaker platform. This is a WordPress distribution that was built by Brian Clarke and his team at Rainmaker Digital and CopyBlogger. It’s made for bigger organizations that want to go live fast and easy.
If the Rainmaker Platform is too expensive for you, then go to Squarespace. Just remember, you don’t fully own your Squarespace property. If you decide to move on you can’t simply download your Squarespace site and launch it on your own server. (I’ve never personally used Squarespace but have heard good things).
My point is, you don’t have to be a developer to build a site. Just stop thinking about it and get started.
Want to build a web application – head over to UpWork and find a talented and well reviewed developer that can build apps using Ruby on Rails or Python or whatever your app may need. You can use tools like Google Docs to write up the projects requirements and you can pay the developer with services like PayPal or Square. Additional tip – Write thorough requirements for your project before you talk to a developer. (Don’t understand what I mean? Read this article.)
Want to start a podcast – Head over to EOFire.com and listen to everything John Lee Dumas has to say. He’s been helping people get podcasts started for years and he literally gives away the majority of his knowledge for free. Amazing!
There are many other resources as well, but EOFire.com is the best place to start.
The only thing holding you back are ideas. The technology is no longer a barrier. If you think it is, you either haven’t done the research or you’re making excuses.
2. Knowledge, tactics and solutions for growth are proven and shared
Millions of people are already building and managing web-based businesses. The path is cut. They’ve been doing it for more than a decade. Just walk down their path.
There is an interesting trait that many of these people have….they love sharing everything they know. It’s counterintuitive of everything you learn about competing businesses. The people that are making the most out of their web-based business are literally writing instructions on how others can succeed as well. Some even share their monthly financial reports with the world to prove what they are saying is true. (John does this at EOFire.com)
There are a ton of resources, podcasts and books about the topic. These leaders discuss what works, what doesn’t and how to make a web-based business successful. So many people have walked this path before you, there is no reason for you to learn things the hard way. Of course you want to be innovative and have an edge, but you don’t have to worry about falling on your face. Just find a leader and follow them. Here are my favorite resources for inspiration.
- Read everything Joe Pulizzi’s written. Content Inc and Epic Content are my favorites. Also, checkout the Content Marketing Institute
- Rainmaker.FM network – a network of invaluable podcasts. (Click on Shows in the main menu). Unemployable and The New Rainmaker are my favorites. I suggest starting at episode one and going through everything. The first three or four episodes of The New Rainmaker opened my eyes to the new world of web marketing!
- Read all of Seth Godin’s books. His guidance is amazing. The Purple Cow and Permission Marketing are great places to start.
- Also, checkout the “Marketing Book Podcast“. Every week Douglas Burdett interviews the author of an important marketing book.
- Not familiar with the term “Growth Hacking”? Google it.
- Create an account at GrowthHackers.com and consume as much as you can.
- Read the book “Growth Hacking“
Starting a Podcast
- Like I said before – checkout EOFire.com. Best place to start. John has a 20 episode podcast series on getting started. He also has a paid community where you can speed up the process and build a network. I’m not a part of that community but I’ve heard great things.
3. The Technology Adoption Lifecycle is now in the late majority stage
This, I believe, is the most important point. I haven’t read this anywhere… this is my own opinion. I’ve been seeing signs of this for months now.
If you know anything about the technology adoption lifecycle (I wrote another article on this topic if you need a primer. This idea came from the book Crossing the Chasm) there are several stages that new technology goes through when being introduced to the masses. The idea is that technology, over time, is adopted into society be different types of people in different segments. At first, the early adopters are eager to try new things. Then the early majority adopt technology once it’s proven. Later, the late majority begin to use the technology when it becomes the norm and lastly the laggards finally begin using the technology because it’s their only option.
Think back to when you first heard about hand-held devices and smart phones. Think far back to the Palm Pilot days in 2000 or 2001. When this technology first came out it was new and exciting and somewhat mysterious. Today, if you are still using a flip phone you’re amongst the laggards. The technology has gone through stages from “This is new and neat” to “This is so common that everyone uses it”.
The internet as a communication, marketing and business tool is now in the late majority stage. People have been buying products online, researching products, finding vendors or listening to podcasts for long enough that it’s now the norm. The masses are accustomed to doing business online. It seems that in 2014 or 2015 we finally crossed from the Early Majority segment into the Late Majority segment. Buyers are simply more acquainted with using the internet to buy products and services. Eventually doing business online will be so normal that anything else is abnormal.
Also, if you think I’m nuts and you believe we’ve been in the Late Majority stage for nearly a decade, stop and think about 2 things. Think about the use of the internet on a global scale and think about a farming family in the plains of Kansas. If you’ve ever done business in mid-America, I’m guessing you’ll know what I mean.
4. It’s cheaper than it’s ever been
I touched on this before, but the fact is it’s cheaper than every to launch a web-based business. Want to start a podcast? You need about $500 and a good idea. Want to launch a website? That’ll run you about $10-25 a month (starting). Want to run an eCommerce shop? That could cost you from $25 – $75 a month (plus inventory) but you can buy all your merchandise for next to nothing on Alibaba.com.
Honestly, if you have a few grand in the bank you can be up and running easily in no time. Just solidify your concept and get started!
5. The internet is about to go through another phase of growth
Okay, this is another argument that I’ve been pondering for the last few months. I believe that we are about to see another major spike in internet growth. I think that a few things are going to happen.
I think podcasting is going to blow up into something bigger than anyone could have imagined. Especially when a technology company figures out how to make it easier for people to “tune in” to podcasts in their car (there’s your big business idea). Also, a tech company needs to improve the experience of finding and subscribing to podcasts (sure…have another one!).
I think small web-based businesses (service based and product based eCommerce shops) are about to explode which could start to bring big box brands to their knees. I think that more and more people are going to turn down traditional jobs and start their own consultancy or freelance business (currently more than 38% of millennials are working as freelancers).
I think globally the internet usage is going to increase as internet speeds increase and countries like China lighten up on internet usage laws.
Plus, as mobile connections get faster and cellular plans get cheaper we are going to see even more mobile based media consumption. People will more easily access and consume media through the internet on their tablets and cell phones at locations outside of their homes. Yes… more than they already do. Honestly, I could imagine a future where families don’t sit and watch TV together. Instead they sit and watch their own devices together. This time spent surfing will include product searching, shopping and a lot of education online.
Now, if you are reading this and you’re still not convinced, I don’t think I can help you. Perhaps you’re just not seeing what I’m seeing. But I’m confident that over the next 5 to 10 years we are going to see the United States economy go through a major transition where there are less full time workers and more freelance consultants. People will be leading “rich” lifestyles and finally enjoying the freedoms that we deserve. I believe we are going to see large corporations slowly shrinking in size and replacing them will be small boutique style businesses. Privately owned companies will grow against the big box competition.
If this sounds attractive to you, now is the time to get in on the action. You can either get on the train or you can stand on the sidelines and watch the action happen. It’s up to you. The only thing holding you back is finding your “great idea.”
Resources and Links
Here is a list of all the resources and links I’ve included in this article.
Want to build a web application – find a developer and/or designer at UpWork
Learn to write thorough requirements for your project – Read this article
Want to start a podcast – Head over to EOFire.com
Web Marketing Resources
Growth Hacking Book
Starting a Podcast
Technology Adoption Lifecycle
Another article about this topic
Book about this topic (great business book) – Crossing the Chasm
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