Once you get looking around in the world of building an online business you discover there is a pound of hype and fluff for every ounce of solid value. One of the big reasons for that is people’s susceptibility to stories of ‘get rich quick’ and ‘get rich easy.’
The reality is that no honest business is robust and durable unless it offers something of obvious value to people eager the spend their money for that product or service.
Another reality is that if we want to feel a sense of freedom in our lives, we need to be making our money doing something that is interesting and meaningful to us, instead of something that feels like drudgery or chosen for superficial reasons. And that’s another aspect of durability — the enjoyment of the business decade after decade.
The critical elements of finding the right online business for you are illustrated in the diagram below.
Things That Interest You and Have Important Meaning to You
There are 10,000 different ways to make online income. That estimate is probably low.
Remember the old Yellow Pages? In some cities those books were four inches thick with thin pages, over a thousand of them, listing every business in the city. Thousands of businesses. Today, many of those businesses, plus all the ones computer technology has created since, are operating online.
The online economy is the fastest growing economy in the world, it’s value is in the trillions of dollars and that’s more than any city you could live in. The old Yellow Pages look like a relic next to what is available to all of us with an online business.
My point is that with all those possibilities available to you, why not choose a business that is interesting to you and, ideally, provides a real sense of meaning and satisfaction?
Your Skills, Experience, and Aptitudes
Finding a business that allows you to leverage your existing skills, experience, and aptitudes not only increases your probability of being successful, it reduces the your stress and increases your confidence.
That’s not to say that you can’t be doing something completely new. It’s just to say that if you developed great skills of, for example, relating to people, listening well, and finding creative ways to get past problems in a brick and mortar career in real estate, you could leverage those same personal skills in an online business helping people with some form of coaching or counseling.
Most people who have spent many years getting good at their regular job never really think about how those same skills can translate to other businesses. That’s another reason why working with a pro mentor is so helpful when starting your own online business.
Business Model That Suits Your Lifestyle
When you’re building a business that is engineered to deliver many years of reliable, predictable, and durable online income you need to make sure it will be a business that allows the lifestyle you really want.
You can operate an online business from a sailboat in the Caribbean, but you can’t operate all of them that way. Some online businesses absolutely, positively require a constant and reliable internet connection and you won’t get that on a sailboat.
Perhaps you enjoy interacting with people. Perhaps you’d prefer to be almost anonymous in your business. Those objectives will require different business models.
It pays enormously to lay out a good blueprint from the beginning so that you know you are building an online business that is not only something you’ll enjoy, but also something that will operate in a way that gives you the lifestyle you really want.
Proven Lucrative Sub-Niches
The other critical element for durable success is making sure that what you want to do and how you want to do it can actually be lucrative enough to satisfy your personal requirements and aspirations.
There are several ways to verify that a sub-niche is financially robust. The nice thing about online commerce is that so much of it is transparent. There are many metrics that measure the activity in every niche and sub-niche.
Again, because so many businesses have verifiable metrics, it’s always possible to find successful examples of enterprises doing something very similar to what you want to build. If you can’t find any, it’s a serious yellow flag and an indication to reconsider your premises.
Your Durable Income
When you pay attention to all of these elements, and engineer your online business to satisfy your goals and lifestyle objectives, you create a durable income stream that you own and control.
You operate in a sub-niche that is not only personally rewarding to you, it also has the promise of sustained viability and growth in the years ahead.
This is a combination that allows you to sleep well at night. Reliable, predictable income at a level above your requirements. Moreover, the important elements of the business, your product, pricing, expenses, marketing, and more, are all under your direct control.
You can tweak elements of your business without consulting bosses, co-workers, policy manuals, or the other impediments of work inside a company that employs you. And if you work twice as hard or twice as smart, you can double your income.
Finally, with almost all online businesses, you can earn the same annual income whether you live in Boston, Bangkok, or Berlin. So you suddenly have to ability to travel and live where you want. A cherry on top if there ever was one.
The truth is, there are no real “secrets” or “hacks” to make all of this happen by a miraculous shortcut. The fundamentals still apply, you need to deliberately engineer a business that delivers something very desirable and useful to people eager to buy it. It was true 100 years ago and it will be true 100 years from now.
But it’s also true that we live at an amazing time in technological history where this ability is available to the little guy. Every person reading this has the opportunity to create his or her own durable online income. You just have to take the first step.