Your endeavors and projects are only an accumulation of your activities. Most of the time, those will be websites with various degrees of complexity. While planning for your next project remember: Creating, managing and improving services is the core of your online business.
1. A Brilliant Idea Worth Nothing
I can have 100 brilliant ideas per minute. And I’m not joking. I know a guy who can have his brilliant ideas in his sleep. Guess what: he’s not an entrepreneur. An idea without action is worth nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Focus on your immediate resources to make something plausible working as fast as you can rather than waiting for something allegedly brilliant to grow by itself. It never happened and it will never happen.
2. You Sell Processes, Not Products
In the online business, what you are selling is not a product, nor even a service. It’s a process. You sell an entire experience, regardless of your niche. From a personal blog up to a link directory, what you are offering is not atomically identified as one single product or service but as a unique process. Is this unique combination which creates the value behind the business, not the parts. Look at the whole experience, not only at the most visible pieces of the puzzle.
3. If They Copy You, You’re Good
One of the most accurate proofs that you’re doing a great job, is your clone trend. If your site / product gets cloned, you are in for something. If you’re not cloned at all, something must be wrong. Many young entrepreneur have this fear of not being copied. In fact, being copied is the only surefire sign that you’re good. Of course, you WILL have to deal with all the legal hassles of content theft or copyright infringement, that’s for sure, and I’m not advising in any way to ignore that. I’m just telling you this is a sign of success and should be treated like this.
4. Don’t Look For Traffic, Look For Trends
One of the most present obsession among online entrepreneurs is related to traffic. How much traffic I could generate with this project? In my opinion, traffic is overrated. At the speed of the Internet, traffic is becoming really volatile, users are bombed with loads of information each hour, so rough numbers are not a reliable way to judge your product impact. Instead of numbers of visitors, look for trends: how fast is the site growing / slowing down? Think in percentages, not in thousands of users.
5. The Network Effect
If you want to launch an online business, think twice. It may be worth to launch 5 online businesses at the same time and link them in a network. Maybe your flagship idea will consume most of your focus and resources, but having 2-3 satellite websites / projects orbiting the main product will have a bigger impact. Not to mention the learning advantage: you will incorporate much more knowledge from a network, than from a single product.
6. If You Don’t Like It, It Usually Won’t Work
If you don’t like your idea, but you ”feel“ it will generate lots of money, usually it will won’t work. It might generate lots of money, if it exploits some market uncovered niche, but without your enthusiasm fuel, it won’t be there for long. It will be extinct faster than a passion fueled idea. A good project must give you the thrills, not the only the money as empty numbers.
7. Fall In Love With Your Project
If you experience familiar sensations, like chills and butterflies in the stomach, whenever you’re thinking at your project, that’s a sign you’re falling in love with it. No, it’s not awkward. No, you don’t have to block those feelings. Let them express and treat your project like you would treat your beloved half. I’m not joking.
8. Measure, Measure, Measure
Always use all the available metrics to see where you are with your project. Don’t be fooled by your imagination nor let those wishful thinking episodes get in your way. Measure your impact. Watch your money, trends, team, partners and see what’s happening. Keep your eyes opened and be ready to cut if things are not looking as you would expect. Better sooner than later.
9. Manage The Break Up
Sometimes, your projects won’t work. Accept it. Even more, manage them carefully. Closing a project is a skill in itself, a skill that you’ll have to master. Each closed project may (and it should) give you resources for the next one. Just leaving debris floating around in the web universe will not make you popular, on the contrary. Not to mention the hidden costs of keeping those projects around.