It was in 2006 when I finally plucked up enough courage to leave my comfortable corporate life and do something totally different.
Freedom is such a prized possession to me so I can pursue my interest, be with family and basically being able to do whatever I wanted to do. I explored all kinds of online business ideas so that I can operate it wherever I go but as a beginner, it was never an easy journey.
My first website started in 2006, inspired my hobby in paper craft. It was a content rich website with crafting tools, techniques and supplies. I was fortunate that being a beginner niche site owner, I was able to grasp the SEO concept then. But honestly, the web sphere in 2006 isn’t as crowded as today and when you have a good website offering value to people where people spend considerable amount of time on it, Google knows and Google tracks and that helps in bumping up your site to the top of Google Search Page.
How did I monetize my website? It was all through advertising fees, referral fees from sale of craft supplies from online craft merchants I worked with as well as my own downloadable ebook of paper craft.
As the niche is quite an ever-green topic, the content stays relevant, useful and revenue generating. If I were to condense all effort put in, it took about 400 hours in total including the weekly updates to get the site functional but it served about 140,000 hours of having people visiting from all over the world and buying craft supplies 24/7 recommended through my site. I sold this site at Flippa just to test it’s worth and yes, someone from Canada actually bought it.
I started searching for more online business ideas and my second site came about when I was looking for barefoot running shoes in 2008. I worked with 3 top online shoe merchants then and was able to build a humble shoe site to the top of Google page and that generated passive income from the 3rd month.
More online business ideas came about as it was almost an addiction and I branched out to bigger ticket items such as hepa filters, appliances, etc. I was trying to scale up the revenue this way but it was not the best strategy.
There were success and failures in all the sites I have put up. I wouldn’t classify as “failures” as I think of them as lessons I have learned.
Now…10 overs years later since the day I started, the dynamics of the online world is very unlike before. The above business model may not work as well today due to the over flooding of sites and how Google ranks websites. But if you Google for “Travelpreneur”, hey…it’s me on the top! So…it is still possible!
Lessons for online business ideas seekers
Through these years, I started to see the success model will have to be a membership based model to be able to scale up the revenue in the long run.
Another important point is to partner and leverage on expert key players to form a complete business model. When I was running my sites, I only partnered with reputable merchants so they can take care of the ordering, processing, delivering and customer service. But there were other areas I could have outsourced but I didn’t. Just imagine several tasks are outsourced such as marketing efforts, it would have a wider reach versus one source of effort – the power of reach! Remember…there is only “so much” one person can do.
Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.”
And true enough, I found a gem of all online business ideas I have ever come across.
In today’s world where technology can truly make a difference, I recall what Bill Gates said, “The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.”
And so, if a technology can help you build an online business that can make a difference to everyone yet it is already part of your everyday life, isn’t that a good mix?
As a lifestyle entrepreneur, entrepreneurial journey has to revolve around the lifestyle! And whichever kind of lifestyle you are currently having, I am very certain this technology is already part of your everyday life.
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Feel free to run through this 5-page mini guide on how to spot good online business ideas by looking at things differently.