The Case for Online Businesses
- Written by Candice Elliott
This month is dedicated to starting a business. In this episode, we make the case for online businesses.
We want to motivate you to get started creating an online business. The idea behind this month’s suite of shows is that with part-time, but a focused effort, in one year you can build an online business that earns $1,000 or more per month.
It’s not undocumented workers coming for American jobs; it’s automation. Driverless cars are coming which means the 3.5 million truckers in the US will be out of a job. We might not all like using the self-checkout when we go shopping, but soon they will replace the 3.4 million cashiers in the US.
Telemarketers retails sales, accountants, typists, and real estate agents are also jobs that will be among the first to be lost to automation.
It’s been predicted that by 2025, 30% of jobs will be automated. That sounds like a long way off, but it’s only eight years. Another four years later, 2029, it’s predicted that robots will have achieved human levels of intelligence.
Jobs are being automated, and because of that, it’s been predicted that by 2020, 40% of the US Workforce will be freelancers. Do you want to be late to the party or arrive early and get the best seat?
Security, Freedom, and Fulfillment
To drift is hell, to steer, heaven. There is no worse feeling than the feeling that you don’t have control over your life. No one who works for someone else is immune from a job loss.
It could be due to anything, a shady owner, an incompetent owner, the place burns down, the economy crashes again like it did in 2008 and you’re laid off. None of those things is your fault, but none of them are within your control either.
One of our most popular episodes was Money for the Love of Freedom. It touched a nerve because freedom is the most powerful thing money can buy you. When you have money, you have the freedom to leave a job that you hate, to move if you’re tired of where you live, to leave a relationship you’re no longer happy in.
Be fulfilled; there will be nothing more fulfilling in your life than creating something that other people can enjoy and appreciate. That could be impacting three people a year or 10 million a year. Doing something that matters is what counts.
We want all of you to have security, freedom, and fulfillment and the best way to get those things is to be your own boss.
Okay, we want you to start your own business. By why are we advocating for an online business? Because a brick and mortar business only goes so far. You have to physically be present, and there is a logical maximum you can earn based simply on space restrictions. Restaurants can only turnover so quickly; clothing stores can only fit so many people inside at a time.
The internet is infinitely scalable. It has almost limitless reach. There are people from every corner of the world who hear what Listen Money Matters has to say. An online business also gives you the freedom we all want.
You aren’t tied to a location. You can work anywhere that has an internet connection. I’m working right now, writing this from a cafe overlooking St Charles Avenue. Beats a cubicle!
The nature of the internet is not linear progress but exponential as network effects deliver your message to ever larger audiences. As a result, in year two you should grow at a faster rate than year one, and so on.
For the past three years, Listen Money Matters revenue has doubled every year while the effort has remained surprisingly consistent and much time has been spent on vacation or simply taking a break from the business.
Your entire business doesn’t have to be online, but there should be at least some online component to your business even if 100% of your revenue isn’t internet based.
We all have them. The marketplace is too crowded; it’s already been done. There are already such big players; I can never hope to be #1.I don’t have the time or energy after working my regular job. I don’t know anything about building a website, and I don’t have any extra money to start one. People who have started successful businesses just have something I don’t.
Those things might all be true, but none of them need to be barriers to starting an online business.
If the marketplace is saturated, you just need to niche down. LMM is an example of this. There are dozens and dozens of podcasts and websites devoted to personal finance. But there wasn’t one with two kind of nerdy guys talking about money while swearing and drinking beer and burping (Laura and I made Andrew stop doing that).
So we found a niche. Money is a pretty boring topic to a lot of people, but LMM makes a dry topic fun and entertaining. We wanted to appeal to a certain audience, younger who didn’t already know a lot about money. We found them and then they found us.
If you’re afraid that you won’t be #1, get comfortable with being a nice, solid B student. You don’t have to be the best at everything; you just have to try your best. Do you think Amazon is the only online retailer that makes money? No, they make the most money, but Walmart and Apple are doing okay in that arena too.
Not having time and energy to devote to a business is probably the biggest obstacle for most people. Trust me; you’re not as busy as you think you are. In 2014, the average Facebook user spent more than 40 minutes a day on the site.
That’s more than 240 hours a year! That’s over 240 hours! Imagine what you could create in 240 hours! Switch from being a consumer to a creator.
Carve out time. What could you be doing during your commute to further your business? Exercise can be meditative and a time when you get some of your best and most creative thinking done. Try to wrangle some flex time at work.
You’ll be amazed at what you can get if you just ask. If your boss balks at letting you work from home one day a week or at letting you work 40 hours in four days rather than five, ask for a trial period. Promise to be super productive and then be super productive.
When you don’t have to get dressed up, commute, make small talk with your annoying co-workers, you can get a lot more done in less time. We recently did a great episode on negotiating that can help you get a yes from your boss.
We found you the time, get your ass off Facebook. Now, where will the energy come from?
You want to work on your own stuff before you’ve spent the whole day being dragged down working on someone else’s stuff. Because too often, we promise ourselves we’ll start when we get home from work, but you know how that goes.
You make dinner, help your kids with their homework, spend some time with your spouse, and then it’s time for bed, and you haven’t done anything to further your own goals.
Sorry late sleepers, this means early in the morning. Some people claim to be more productive at night, but they’ve still had the whole day weighing on them before they can start on their own stuff.
I challenge you to get up an hour or two earlier than normal and use that time to work on your business for one week. Compare your morning productivity with your evening productivity.
If you don’t know how to build a website, Thomas has you covered. He has created a guide in such minute detail that anyone can follow it and successfully build a site. It’s cheap to do too.
Well, that’s great you might be thinking. But I’m not Andrew or Thomas. There are a lot of special things about both of them, but none of those things were the reason they built successful online businesses. Largely they just tapped into something that is available to any of us, discipline.
I can’t speak to Thomas but I have been at LMM almost since the beginning, and there is a lot that has happened behind the scenes that almost killed this whole project and more than once. And sometimes LMM took a hiatus. But Andrew always rallied and pulled it back together.
It wasn’t motivation that kept LMM going; it was discipline. Motivation waxes and wanes. Discipline is what keeps something going, a workout, a diet, a business when you’d really rather just throw in the towel.
Not every episode or article on LMM hits it out of the park. We always put forth our best effort, but no one hits a home run every time. But we have produced so much content that some of it is pretty awesome.
That’s the Equal-Odds Rule. The more output you have, the better chance that you’ll create something great. The Equal-Odds Rule is another reason it’s not fair to compare yourself to someone who you see as successful. You don’t see all the mediocre stuff they did or the stuff they thought was so bad it was just tossed before anyone saw it.
So push it out there, as much as you can. This is all a pretty fancy way of saying “practice.” Practice when the stakes are low, in the beginning when no one is watching and no one will be disappointed by a failure.
Starting a business means creating uncommon value, which means it requires uncommon effort. It’s going to be hard but just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s beyond our ability to do it.
We’re going to bring you lots of good stuff this month including:
– An interview with Corbett Barr, a major inspiration for us on growth, starting from nothing and having others have a stake in your success.
– Andrew’s dad on business planning so that you focus on what matters, have the best chance of success by exploring multiple paths.
– We’ll be chatting on Monetization, Pricing, the various business models/types to choose from (you don’t need to do what we do) and what you actually need to focus on and what you can safely ignore.
Kentucky Ryed Chiquen: An amber ale brewed with rye malt and aged in rye whiskey barrels.