Every time I publish an article on entrepreneurship that encourages my readers to start their own business, I find myself tiptoeing across a very fine line.
On one hand, starting an online business is simple, relatively risk free and doesn’t require a lot of start up capital.
But on the other hand, running a successful business requires a ton of hard work, perseverance and a little bit of luck.
The problem is that when I emphasize the enormous amount of work that is required to launch a company, I tend to turn people away from starting a business.
However when I emphasize the simplicity, people tend to harbor unrealistic expectations and expect a quick path to riches.
It’s unfortunate, but many would be entrepreneurs choose what business model to pursue based on how “easy” it is to start as opposed to considering the actual probability of success.
In fact, every other day I get emails from people asking me why they should go through the hassle of selling actual products when they can just be an affiliate.
Why should they stock their own inventory when they can simply drop ship all of their goods? Why should they bother setting up a shopping cart when they can just put up a blog and sell advertising?
Easy Is Not Necessarily A Good Thing
Have you surfed the web lately? If so, you’ve probably come across a bazillion blogs out there. Why are there so many? It’s because it’s pretty darn easy to launch a blog.
All you need to do is signup for a webhost, install WordPress and you are good to go. In fact, you can literally launch a blog in about 15 minutes flat if you have a general idea of what you are doing.
Not only that, but there are many courses on “blogging for income” out there that supposedly teach you how to “monetize” your blog for long term “passive” profits. Bingo! Sounds easy and it’s risk free too!
But why do you think that 99% of the people out there don’t make jack with their blogs? It’s because while it’s easy to launch a blog, it’s extremely difficult to make any decent money off of it.
The same goes with affiliate marketing. Whenever I get asked why I even bother selling my own products when I could just become an affiliate instead, a big smirk appears on my face.
Sure on paper, being an affiliate sounds infinitely better. You don’t have to ship any product. You don’t have to provide any technical support. You just refer the sale and get paid.
Sounds like a great business model and indeed it is. But why the hell do most people fail at referring even a single sale? Setting up an affiliate site is easy. Actually getting people to click on your referral links and attracting an audience is hard to do.
Most people give up at this point because their website is so easy and cheap to setup that they simply cut their losses and move on to something else. What requires very little work to start requires very little work to abandon.
The result of something being “easy” also means that there is usually a ton of competition if you choose to enter the market. One of the main reasons I like running an online store that sells physical products is because the barriers to entry are higher.
Because I have to source products and establish relationships with vendors, that is one extra task that a competitor has to do in order to copy my business idea.
Because I manufacture many of my own products and control my own website, it’s much more difficult for someone else to carry the exact same products that I carry or to copy my site. The additional barriers to entry means that once my business is off its feet, it has more staying power in the long run.
Business Ideas That Come Too Easily Are Usually Too Saturated
I’ve been running my course on how to create a profitable online store for about 6 months now and every time a new student joins the course, they inevitably want to sell something in a highly saturated and highly competitive market.
“I want to sell t-shirts”
“I want to sell baby clothes”
“I want to sell wedding favors”
“I want to sell electronics”
What’s wrong with these product ideas? Nothing really, except that they are easy products to come up with. In fact, most newbies usually think of these exact same product ideas until they realize that there are a bazillion companies out there selling similar products.
The best online store product ideas tend to be narrow and extremely focused. All of the big commonplace products are already being sold by established players. The best product ideas are obscure, harder to come by and require a good amount of niche research.
Easy Is Often Not Worth Doing
The problem with easy is that it’s easy for everyone and not just you. As a result, what is easy is often not even worth pursuing at all.
Therefore, your criteria for starting a business should not have anything to do with how “easy” it is to launch. Instead, you should focus on what needs to be done and how much money there is to be made.
Forget about the difficulty of implementation. Is your business idea even realistic? Do you even have a chance to make a decent profit?
Think about the major hurdles involved and focus on those problems instead. Fundamentally speaking, the hardest part of any business online is how to get traffic to your website. And the less saturated the market, the easier it will be for you to stand out and grab your customers’ attention.
- Starting A Blog Vs Niche Affiliate Site Vs Online Store – A Comparison Of 3 Online Business Models
- Starting A Business: Convincing Yourself To Take Action And The Key To Behavioral Change
- The Right Way To Decide What Products To Sell Online
- Dropshipping Vs Affiliate Marketing: Which Online Business Will Make You More Money?
- Pros And Cons Of Starting A Niche Affiliate Site Vs An Online Store
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- How I Was A Neurotic Mess When Our Business First Launched
- Entrepreneurship: What Is Your Definition Of Failure?