Have you ever dreamed about owning a business that continues to bring in a steady stream of income each month, regardless of how much you work? Are you tired of having to depend upon your employer for your livelihood? Do you fear being laid off from your job because the company you work for is downsizing? Maybe you’ve taken a pay cut or two in the recent economic crisis, and wonder how you can continue to make ends meet.
There are many reasons people dream of owning their own business, from having more free time to pursue their dreams, to having money for the things they want. And I will tell you that these are both real and possible rewards, if you do it right. But we also hear stories of those who try to start their own business, and fail, ending up in debt and worse off than when they started. Or those who build businesses and are so busy taking care of customers and administrating the business that they are more trapped by it than if they worked for an employer. No wonder so many people who think of owning a business are intimidated by the idea, and don’t even try. I want to help dispel some of these fears and give some practical guides for getting started.
I certainly don’t claim to know all the answers here. Over the past several decades, there have been countless books written on the subject of business building by people who have much more experience than I do. My experience may not be as well researched, or as broad, so I’m not going to try and offer a comprehensive guide. But in the past few years, I have built a business that now fully supports my family and takes me less than 5 hours per week to maintain (see my About page for more info). Therefore, I do feel like what little I have learned in this process is worth sharing.
Of course, there’s no way I can share everything you need to know about business building in a single blog post, even if I did know it. So I’ll be writing these tips out over a series of blog posts, each focusing on a certain principle. I also want to clarify that the type of business I know how to start and run effectively is “subscription based web applications for niche markets”, or software that runs on the Internet, and that people pay monthly to use, that targets a specific group of people. I also have experience creating a small (by choice) but successful freelance web development firm. While the principles I’m going to share may also work for an on-line shopping cart, an affiliate or information product business, or even a brick & mortar store, the practical tips I’m going to share will be most applicable to those interested in starting a web application business, or service businesses.
Why am I sharing this information… and for free?
I’m sure there are lots of marketing gurus out there who would scoff at me for sharing this information for free. They would probably encourage me to create an elaborate video training program and charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for it, or at least write an e-book I could sell for $97 or something. So why don’t I do this? There are a few reasons:
- I’ve never told anyone this information before, and I’ve never tested it outside of my own experience. So while I know it works for me, and am confident I could create another successful business using the same principles, I can’t really guarantee that it will work for you, since I’m not you. There’s a lot more that goes into creating a successful business than tips and tricks, and I’ll try to go into this. But this is my first attempt at helping people in this area. Maybe once I’ve had more experiences helping others through this process, I might create some kind of product. But who knows?
- I want to focus more on being “happy” than on being “rich”, and I believe that I will get much more satisfaction from knowing I have helped someone else become successful just because I’m a nice guy, than from trying to convince people to do what I do just so I can make money. Plus, I think it’s mostly my family and friends who are reading this blog right now, and I don’t want to charge them.
- I don’t really need the money. Okay, sure, more money is always nice. But I really am happy where I’m at financially and can provide sufficiently for my family. No, I’m not even close to being a “millionaire”, and while I may be one someday, it’s not a goal I care that much about achieving. For me, it’s not so much about the money, as it is about the lifestyle I’m living and freedom I have. I’ve already learned how to make money. For me, time and happiness are much more important – and elusive.
I’d like to post something on this subject once a week (or maybe once every couple weeks depending on how quickly I can organize my thoughts). And I’ll keep writing about it as long as I have something to share. If you have specific questions about building a business you’d like me to address, feel free to post them below and I’ll try to include my thoughts about it here or in future posts (or contact me directly if you want). If I can share something that will help someone else out, it will all be worth it to me.
16 Oct 2014