Starting a New Home Business
In Praise of Thinking Small
© 2013 Elena Fawkner
All your life you've probably been beseeched to "Think Big!",
the idea being that if you think big you achieve big, while
thinking small gets you nowhere fast.
That's probably good advice as a general rule but it
shouldn't be taken literally when it comes to creating an
Internet-based business. The Internet is one environment
where thinking small generally leads to greater success
than thinking big. In fact, thinking big in the wrong way can
definitely get you nowhere fast!
The temptation when first starting out is to sign up for as
many affiliate programs as you can. Somehow, you figure,
the more programs I have to earn a commission from, the
more money I will make. All you end up doing in the process,
however, is diluting your focus with the end result being a
web site that attempts to be too many things to too many
As urgent as it seems to get your web site up and out there
and attracting as many people as you possibly can as quickly
as you possibly can, the smarter approach is to spend
considerable time, before you even start, seriously thinking
about what it is you want to contribute to the Internet and
the market you want to attract.
Many people, for example, think there's money in "Internet
Marketing". There is. But Internet marketing is not an end
unto itself. It's a set of skills you need to master once you
actually HAVE something to market.
Sure, there's a large army of so-called "gurus" out there who
profess to be experts in Internet marketing and have made a
tidy sum from people who believe them. But you're not one
of them and neither am I. (Neither are they, actually, but
that's another story altogether.)
So, when you think about "making money with my computer"
or "making money on the Internet", understand that there's
not some parallel universe out there that will allow you to
generate an income simply by connecting to the Internet.
You have to create something of real value to a very specific
audience to get them to visit your site in the first place. You
have to continually add value to your site to keep them
coming back. Only then can you even begin to think about
maybe making money.
So, let's start with the basics. What is your web site going to
be ABOUT? Hopefully you realize now that it's NOT going to
be about Internet Marketing. It's going to be about something
that you know something about, something you have a special
interest in or passion for, an interest or passion that others
share and in sufficient numbers that they constitute a good-
size target market.
That's where the beauty of thinking small comes in.
If you set out to create a site all about Internet Marketing,
the subject is simply too vast to do justice to. And unless
you're an expert (and 99% of you reading this are not), you're
not going to be able to create anything of true value to
attract repeat visitors. The competition's just too great.
So, think small. The smaller the better. The smaller the
less competition you have. What is it that you're interested
in, good at, expert of, that others may also be interested in?
Maybe you're mad for old lamps. Create an auction site just
for old lamps. Maybe you were a grief counselor in a previous
life. Create a web site devoted to helping people cope with
and transcend grief. Perhaps you're a stay-at-home parent.
Create a community-style web site for other stay-at-home
parents who are looking to connect with other people in the
same situation. It doesn't matter. Just think small. Think
about what pushes your buttons. Then take that and create
something fabulous that's all yours. Something unique.
When it comes to generating an income from your web site
you have a few options. Affiliate programs are a good choice
for a site that generates decent traffic but make sure you
select programs that are relevant to the subject matter of
your site and your site visitors. Sure, you may have fewer
of them to choose from, but because of the specialized
nature of your site and, hence, your site visitors, your
market is much more highly targeted than a more general
audience. Therefore, the conversion rate (the ratio of site
visitors to purchasers) will be commensurately higher. (It's
also, I might add, a LOT easier to achieve a high search
engine ranking for keywords that aren't being competed
for by 99% of the webmaster population!)
In addition to promoting relevant affiliate programs, it's
a natural extension to your site to start publishing an
ezine on a regular basis. Because the subject matter
of your ezine is NOT Internet Marketing (which nine out
of ten of everybody else's are), you are more likely to
produce a worthwhile read for your targeted audience
(include a sign up form on your web site so your site
visitors can subscribe in addition to marketing your ezine
as a separate "product"). You can advertise your
affiliate programs in your ezine, accept paid advertising,
and promote your own products. Just three ways to
generate an income. Another is to charge a subscription
Finally, once you've been going awhile, it's time to start
thinking about creating your own products. E-books and
other products that can be delivered electronically are
always a good choice but your product line will depend
on the subject matter of your site. You may sell beaded
jewelry, for example.
The point is, whatever you choose as the subject matter
of your site, the narrower you keep your focus the better.
Trying to be too much to too many only guarantees you'll
be too little to too few. Including yourself.