The first time I launched an online business I got it all wrong.
I spent 9 months developing a WordPress plugin. I invested just short of $8,000 of my cash, spent hundreds of frustrating hours trying to find a good developer (far too difficult) and dozens of hours reviewing the plugin and offering feedback.
And at the end, after the marketing, creating the sales page, editing the video… Well, I felt good. If my life was a movie it would have been that moment when the montage stops and you know good things are about to happen.
We launched the product to an email list of over 30,000 people. I waited for the orders to come flooding in…
Slightly more than $100 bucks.
I’d wasted a year of my life on a big idea and had nothing to show for it. And while I know I’m not the first to experience that feeling, it sucks…
I spent the next week lying in bed binge watching TV series and wishing I’d made different decisions. Sometime during that first week I kicked myself for not creating a sales page at the start, driven some traffic to it, validated that it was a bad idea and flown to Hawaii (or something similar).
It left me feeling more depressed.
But you can’t let shit things keep you down. Which led me onto my next plan.
$17,260 in four days.
It captures the attention. More accurately my cut was $4,300 and change in four days. But the important bit is really this…
I launched a business with a one page website. And if you’re looking for extra money I know you could to. Here’s what I did.
For the last few years I’ve spent time around software startups (it’s a bit geeky, but I find it interesting). And I’ve got some pretty good marketing contacts. So I kept my plan simple:
Instead of developing my own software, let’s help developers market their software. We can come up with special offers then sell the offer through an email list.
It wasn’t what you call a brainwave…
To get started I bought a domain, launchspace.net. Then I made a landing page using software I already had.
Total cost, $12. A bit more if you have to pay for the hosting.
When the site was up and running, 5 hours work, I opened Google docs and created a database of software startups. There are about 200 companies on the list; I mailed 11 of them.
So far we’ve had 6 positive responses. That’s far more than I was expecting.
The first pitch my partner and I did on Skype could have been better was bad. But then we were pitching to the wrong kind of company, which was good.
The second time we pitched was a lot better. We arranged to run a promotion with the guys who created SmartMockups (it’s a good bit of software for creating product mockups).
After a few weeks of waiting around we ran the deal in March. They made money, our customers got a great deal and we got some cash as well. Worked out great and it’s easy to replicate. For me at least…
If you’ve checked out the website then I know what you’re thinking; “Nico, I can’t do this!” And that might be true.
I’m relying on my knowledge, network and experience to setup the business.
You could setup a one page website offering a service finding suitable affiliates for startups. It would involve a few hours on Google and a lot of reaching out to bloggers (I got offered a job providing just this service last week).
Alternatively, with a bit of knowledge about online marketing, you could setup a one page website offering marketing services to companies in different niches. I suggested this to a friend. He acted, setup a website and got a few leads…
Anyway, I’m just throwing out ideas here. The thing I’m trying to say is validate your idea before you spend too much time on it. Once you know there’s demand for your service, and you can get paid, then act on it.