Why start an Online Business - Building Websites

by Phil Marks

I started out on the Online Business trail about 3 months ago. I've been wanting to do it for many years as it is a business I could run remotely from my boat (I spend a lot of time on my boat!). With no contract/job for over a year, I have been fitting washrooms and doing some private teaching (<$100/week), but it has given me time to get started.

Progress so far in my first 3 months

- 1 unique product developed and written 
- 5 websites
- 8 blogs
- sales £45
- costs ~ £500

I have learned how to use a lot of new tools and techniques, but having been in IT with some marketing background, I had some useful skills to start with. For a complete novice, I guess it would take 2-3 times as long as it has taken me to achieve what I have.

I guess I'm a little disappointed, but then I always set myself aggressive targets. This report came about as a result of reading some negative points of view about online businesses on a forum. I drafted what I thought might be a motivational reply, and it turned into this article. Some readers might find it useful.

So why am I in Internet Marketing? For many years, I have had a poster on my wall:

"If you want to succeed, then double your rate of failure - Tom Watson, Founder IBM".

What does this mean in this context?

1. I can accelerate my rate of failure and hopefully strike a rich seam soon
2. Low cost of entry (if you have basic skills)
3. Really cheap and easy scaleability
4. Low, Low marketing expenses
5. Easy campaign set up
6. Easy access to big markets, worldwide
7. Easy to measure the competition
8. Easy to tweak campaigns (and products if info based)
9. Great tools for real time performance measurement
10. Easy to project an image way, way beyond your reality

Most of these points address a basic business problem - you can have the best mousetrap in the world, but if you don't market it properly then you get nowhere!

I didn't take more than a few minutes to write out that list. The marketing is easier than ever, with all the potential of exponential cross-linking.

A limitation for me is that I don't really want to get into physical product fulfilment, so finding really good e-products is important. I developed one product myself, which took a lot of my first 3 months.

My gut feeling is that the affiliate marketing scene has peaked, and that vendors are cutting margins. Article marketing looks ok, but there's major competition on all topics. The lead author on Ezinearticles has 20,000+ published articles. I'm just starting. One other poster basically said stick to what you know - I'm still looking for what works for me, but only writing articles when I think I've got an original viewpoint or new angle. I've got about 13 articles published now on Ezinearticles and I'm starting to publish on other Article sites.

Remember that saying - 'a consultant is someone who knows more and more about less and less, until he knows everything about nothing'? Well, I can see that niche marketing is going that way, till niches are so tightly defined that you have 100 Internet Marketers chasing 100 customers worldwide.

I'm going to dig out some of my William Gibson books (he's the guy who coined the term 'cyberspace'), and remind myself what his ideas of the future were. There may be some clues there!

In the meantime I'll keep my workrate up. Plenty of ideas, not enough time.

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