I have always had entrepreneurial blood running through my veins. My father has been an entrepreneur since his teens. These days he is a property investor; before that he was in parcel distribution; and before that, believe it or not, he was a stamp auctioneer.
I was packing stamp auction catalogues for £1 an hour at the age of seven. I was doing 10 straight hours of data entry for my father’s parcel distribution company in my teenage years. When I was working through my A Levels at school, I worked 8-16 hours a weekend at my local newsagents. I even had a stint as a landscaper. And during the summer holidays when I was at university, I would be clearing out rat-infested alleys and painting his properties.
The Formula For Success
I was extremely fortunate as a result of my upbringing to gain a sound understanding of what is required, on an foundational level, in order to succeed. All those odd jobs as a kid taught me that you can get paid a wage for doing almost anything, but that is all you will get – a wage. I recognised that in order to make something of yourself, you need to be the one handing out those jobs – like my father has done, and continues to do.
But I could also see that in order to be an entrepreneur, you had to open yourself up to enormous levels of risk. If you had the day job, yes, you may not have earned as much – but your security of earnings was probably far more stable.
One thing I always struggled with when dreaming about making millions was how I would do it. And not only that, how could you do it without exposing yourself to unacceptable levels of risk? If you have read my About Me page, then you will know I have tried a few things in my past – none of which led to any real success. I have dabbled, but nothing has yet stuck.
I always considered the ‘template’ business plan to conceptually be a very simple four step process:
- Find a problem that people want solving
- Solve that problem
- Tell people that you have solved the problem
- Monetize the resulting exposure
Whilst the plan in itself is simple to understand, in reality, the execution is very difficult (otherwise everybody would be doing it).
A Traditional Business Building Model
For instance, consider a bricks and mortar retail business. First of all, you carry out extensive (and expensive) market research in order to ascertain that the market is calling for whatever it is you plan to provide. Then you have to make various long term commitments, such as a lease on a property, rates and taxes, investment in stock, and so on. You open your doors, and hope that your initial projections were conservative enough to keep you afloat.
But we now live in an unprecedented age where you can build an online business, slowly but surely, from the ground up and with minimal exposure to risk. Moreover, you can be rather scientific about your approach. For instance, consider the steps above, with niche sites in mind:
- Find a relatively low competition, high traffic keyword with good monetization prospects
- Build a website full of relevant, quality content that addresses the keyword
- Optimise your onsite SEO and build quality backlinks in order to achieve a high Google ranking
- Monetize the resultant traffic with AdSense, affiliate marketing, product sales, or a combination of the three
No longer do you have to make huge investments on a wing and a prayer. You can commit limited amounts of time and money based upon sensible calculations from real life data in order to make your start. From there, if your idea is a success, you can leverage your business and continue to build your earnings with minimal exposure to risk.
What has always been a problem for would-be entrepreneurs in the past has been the starting point. It is often said that your first £x is the most difficult to make (some say it’s £100,000, others say it’s £1,000,000 – the precise figure isn’t important). We live in an age where that excuse no longer applies.
Over To You
So with us living in such a fortuitous time for entrepreneurs, what are you doing to advance yourself? Or if you feel that you are stuck in a rut and don’t know what to do, what is stopping you?
Photo courtesy of Theen Moy