Online Business – Starting a Startup
As a young aspiring entrepreneur, who wishes to start a business online, the question I have been pondering for the past few weeks is – where do you start?
Since I was young everyone always said follow your passion and that is what I did. I guess you can call me the “regular guy” went to college. Studied Information Technology (my passion) and got 1 or 2 job offers which you can call “okayish”, took 1 of them worked as a web developer for a year and one day in the middle of my shift (true story) just decided, “this is not for me.”
No not the actual job, since I love development and generally anything that covers the broad field which is Information Technology, but rather the fact that I am working to make someone else rich. You see there is a bit of a clash, I also have an overwhelming passion to start my own business, but not just any business an online business.
As I am sitting here writing this on a Saturday evening still pondering – “how and where do you start?” The only surety that I have, and which is an overwhelming driving force within me, is the fact that I am not willing to be a grave digger for the rest of my life. Albert Einstein summed it up perfectly when he said – “most people die at 25 but only get buried at 60” Me, at the age of 27 , call it grave digging driving to work and back day after day after day, digging your trench deeper. Look I am not saying there is anything wrong with it, if you love what you doing great, but working for someone else is not for me. I guess you can say I was always a bit of a rebel, questioning rules – wanting to make and break them rather then follow them.
Again – the million dollar question for me at the moment is where do you start? Remember I want to start an online business. Option 1: Pick any idea and you will find dozens if not 100’s of businesses competing for the same niche – not a very promising option now is it?
Option 2: Think outside the box and start something amazing, brand new – “wow Tim this sounds good.” Problem refer back to option 1 pick any idea and it has been taken, being a realistic guy I know I am not a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates…yet anyway. Thus I guess the way to go is with option 1 and become competitor number 101.
Becoming Competitor 101
I am writing this as I am going so please excuse if I am jumping around. Okay so we are going with option 1 and I am going to create a business in an existing Niche. If, and this is a big if, I am going to compete with an existing online business. I don’t just want to be competitor 101, I want to be the very best. I want to be nr1.
Sure you may think of this as unrealistic if you are targeting a big online business but, capital aside, I have one advantage which the other online businesses does not have. I have a very, very high work ethic and, perhaps most importantly a burning desire to succeed. Heck as I am writing this post on a Saturday night it is now exactly 21:45 my friends are out having a good time, yes I do have a few of those, but I am sitting here trying to figure out how to start an online business. I hope, in a couple of years, I can come back to this post and say – “it was all worth it.”
I guess at this point I need to finally, decide in which niche or online business category I’m going to compete in, back to my childhood and the biggest lesson my father ever taught me – “follow your passion – Tim.”
With that being said I have a passion for the internet, and all things related to IT and Business (heck Neil Pattell is one of my Hero’s) thus, and remember I am writing this on the fly, I’m going to start an online Digital Marketing and Web Design business, my passion!
It sounds great but I can’t help feeling as I typed that sentence that I just ran into a brick wall. There are so, so many companies doing the same thing. In the same sentence even though it feels like I just ran into a brick wall, this burning desire within me to succeed makes me feel like I want to run again, and again until I finally break through and find my success.
Time for Some Research
As mentioned earlier Neill Patel is one of my role models, rumour has it he was the man behind the infograph so I thought I will create my own little infograph based on some very basic data I found.
I’ve left my job I’m 27 and need to get moving. I am not going to bore you with the obvious. It’s needless to say for my; online marketing and design business, let’s call it future partners for now. I am not going to rank page 1 on Google, since that is where the majority of my business will come from. As can be seen on the infograph. In my research I have found that while it may not be possible to rank number 1 instantly. You do however have a friend in the form of online advertising, which is growing at an enormous rate. The down side of this is you do need to through in some money. The average online start-up has less than $5000 in capital. In my case I will take an online advertising approach and the majority of that will go to advertising. This all sounds nice and good, however that damming grim reaper you see at the bottom, left of your picture says it all. Only about 3% of start-ups make it. If you are planning on making it, boy oh boy, you will need to put in some hard work. The average online entrepreneur spends about 14-hours per day working on his business. However hard-work pays of and if you are smart enough and willing to work hard enough you just maybe might make it, and if you make it. Well then that white dollar sign says it all, the sky is the limit. You can then give yourself a pat on the back saying – “I am actually one of the 3% who made it”, but let me not get ahead of myself!
Making Sure You Sell Correctly – A lesson Learned
Since I have made the decision to throw my whole savings account into online advertising with the hopes of getting a foot in the door with my online business, it is logical that you would want a website that converts, and converts bloody well at that – since not each conversion will result in an acquisition obviously.
I recall one interesting story while I was still working for my old employer, or rather while I was still employed (ouch!). I was working on a particular difficult customers website, God was he an awful man, the website was designed to perfection. Simple yet futuristic. Perfectly optimized to convert, yet perfectly informative and not at all in your face with – “we want your details” around every corner. This is not just my opinion but rather the overall opinion of a bunch of unbiased, industry experts.
The strange thing is the website was converting very, very poorly even though it got a fair (good) amount of relevant traffic. We needed to get results fast, since this was one of our major customers. We then decided to start a Google AdWords campaign with Unbounce pages. We had a meeting and I was totally opposed to the idea, because of 2-reasons:
1. I did not believe AdWords was the way to go and strongly believed it will just result in more money being spend on the client’s portfolio. Rather I was pushing for even a more SEO approach where we try to get the client ranking for more keywords driving more traffic – which in turn will logically lead to more conversions (or so I thought)
2. If I was opposed to the AdWords idea you should have seen me when the suggestion was made to focus the AdWords campaign on an unbounce landing page rather than the newly (perfectly optimized) website. I did not believe in landing pages, I saw them as intrusive and too much in your face!
Anyway trying to keep a long story as short as possible, we needed results and needed them fast thus I was out voted, and the next day the AdWords campaign was started. To my astonishment within an hour – on the hour, the leads starting rolling in. Without exaggerating in the 1st couple of hours the mail box was beeping at rate of about 4 leads every hour. It is probably worth mentioning at this point that this was a high spending client so his results was always going to show up in the top 3 ad slots. Regardless this taught me a valuable lesson as I sit here pondering how to get my online business of the ground.
Your online business Friend – AdWords and Landing Pages
You see I always thought AdWords doesn’t carry any merit in the sense that most people just scroll past them. While this perhaps used to be true, more and more people are nowadays treating the top 3 AdWords’ positions like they would treat the top-3 organic results. Meaning they actually click it. While it is not yet the case where the top 3 AdWords rankings has become more clickable then the top-3 organic rankings it is fast approaching that stage.
Back to the high profile, dushbag client, his AdWords campaign was running phenomenally well, and while, I slowly got to terms with – “yes, I guess AdWords can…no does work.” I still to this day cannot see how a landing page can generate more leads then a perfectly developed website.
I have a theory that users who clicks AdWords are looking for something very specific, with just a glance of the eye, hence the success of the dushbag clients AdWords campaign. This is just a theory though and perhaps in the future when my business is up and running (hopefully) and I have more time and resources (hopefully) I can experiment a bit more with this theory.
To this day I maintain my claim, that a well-designed website will generate more leads for your start-up then the best landing page in the world.
However my case in point is the following: to get your online business quickly out of the blocks Google AdWords and a good landing page, can go a long way in giving your start-up a major boost. Especially in the early days while you will be struggling to get customers and will probably continuously be working on improving your website and its SEO. AdWords and Unbounce Landing pages as much as I am opposed to it (should I say it again….I don’t like landing pages) I will definitely add this to my online business ammunition since I have first-hand experience in terms of seeing its results and how good day work.
Yes, the odds are stacked against me, and my online business. Yes 97% of online businesses fail and yes I am going to compete in one of the most competitive niches there is. To make matters worse capital is not exactly on my side either. But hear me when I say this, don’t ever underrate a hard worker with a burning desire to succeed because maybe just maybe that guy can make it. With a little assistance from Google AdWords and unbounce that is.