I`ve been thinking about a growing trend, what with the economy continuing to slide. It`s the idea of getting online, putting together a business, then replacing the income of a full-time job.
Internet Speedway continues to advertise their program, where all you have to do is send for their disk, and you`ll be in business. You`ll be selling products you don`t have to see, own, pay for, and do that selling even while you`re sleeping.
Then there`s eBay, and the continuing belief that you can jump into an eBay store, sell thousands of dollars a month worth of "something," and you`re on your way to millions.
And yet, stories seem to be coming together more and more about someone working as an employee, getting laid off or downsized, and suddenly needing money. They look at that "old idea" of putting together an online business, dreaming about how quickly it`ll all happen.
Think about the problem of visibility, just on its own. If you have a fabulous product, something nobody else is doing, how do you even become visible? Of course we have ongoing discussions about that, here on the SuN forums. But it`s a real problem, what with millions and millions of Web sites "out there."
Then there`s the problem of earning money, having a shopping cart, handling sales, and dealing with general customer interaction. What actually does it take to fulfill and order? Few people seem to think about that ahead of time.
Now is definitely the time to get started. An increasing number of places that "used to be" free, offering free store, templates, carts, and so forth, are starting to charge money for those services. Directories are proliferating like flies, and everyone seems to now be involved in SEO and other "tricks" to get visibility.
Domain availability isn`t what it used to be, and there may be a lot of Web site developers, but more of them seem to be amateurs trying to cash in on the growing e-commerce trend.
I`m filing this under "Cube Farmers" because if you`re working for someone, you should consider how much money you`re earning. Think about how you likely could cut your lifestyle by at least half, and although it`d be painful, you would still do okay. That would provide you with startup capital.
With the economy sliding, arguably never to get back to where it used to be, thousands of people are going to be jumping into the "make money online" idea. Few of them will have the time to come up with a really interesting, very different, unusual product that lends itself to "buzz."
To do that, it takes time. Time to imagine, contemplate, research, check out who`s doing what. It takes money to hire the developers, and it takes a vision of how the site should look, how it should work, and who will manage it. There`s the whole product photography problem, then there`s that customer interaction and service.
If you`re currently working, but you suspect you may not be working for the next 5 years or until retirement, now is the time to get going on a part-time business. Now is when you can afford to learn what works, what doesn`t, and what you need to know. It`s the time to invent, try things, see if they work, then abandon what doesn`t sell.
To try and put up a whole business AFTER you`ve been laid off, with money short and no new income is major pressure. And to try and replace your existing lifestyle entirely with a new business is highly unlikely. Diversify, don`t depend on a single source of income, and get going with that idea you`ve had in the back of your mind.