Horse before the cart?
We live in exciting times! The beginning of each new year is always filled with promise of starting anew. The economy is full steam ahead with many mentioning how the new tax cuts are empowering them to start thinking about getting new side-hustle websites up and running. All in hopes of possibly going full-time. The American Dream is back.
With the economy revving up emails arrive almost daily from interested folks who just wants to "put up a WordPress site" and start making money. You've seen the commercials touting how you can create a website in an hour, right? What is not mentioned is that before your website there are some very long hours of hard work that needs to be done -- by you!
No Passion, No Planning, No Success
I've been asked a couple times this month if I have any ideas for an online business. To which I respond, "so many I don't have enough time to implement them all!" Notice what I said; "I don't have time." Successful sites take a special mindset, detailed planning and time -- tons of it, bushels full, mass quantities -- more than most folks have or are willing to commit. Are you up to the inevitable challenge ahead?
Next we then naturally start getting into a conversation about ideas and what the plan is. Nine out of ten contacts don't have a plan! Not a single thing written down. They just know they have an idea for a website. They've heard WordPress is the way to go because it's "free and easy." As though having a WordPress website is all that is required to start raking in the coin.
If only it were that easy...
It simply doesn't work that way. Online business is still business; basically the same as off-line with the similar considerations and issues that need to be addressed -- before you even think of getting a WordPress website.
Don't be like the many I talk to that literally disregard the standard and customary concepts necessary to running a serious, healthy business as though they do not matter online. If you are serious about producing an income, of any kind, you had better be informed about:
- How will you do your accounting? What software?
- What is best for your business LLC, S-Corp or Sole Proprietor and what are the tax implications of each?
- What legal issues do you need to cover? Trademarks, copyrights or patents?
- What is your marketing plan? Pay Per Clicks, Social Media, forums and what off-line advertising can you benefit from? How do you expect to get exposure for your site and what are the costs involved? (Free search engine rankings should not be at the core of a realistic plan.)
- What is your USP? Your Unique Selling Proposition. What sets you apart from anyone else doing something similar? Have you searched for your type of business idea to see exactly how many websites are already online doing what you want to do? Can you compete? What will make you special/unique/better? How will you accomplish that?
- If you want to blog your way to riches, what are you going to blog about that is interesting, engaging, unique and that you can type about with passion and personality at least once every day?
If you are selling tangibles you also need to determine:
- Shipping and handling fees.
- Will you will track inventory and if so how?
- Policies: Ordering, Customer Service, Returns, Data Collection, Privacy
- Packaging and branding materials.
- Payments and Security: PayPal, Checks, Money Orders, Credit Cards through a Merchant account? How will you process these payments securely online?
You need to have the above details covered every which way from Sunday. You don't want any surprises or unknowns that can affect your new enterprise's chances for prosperity.
15 Years of WordPress
I've been working with WordPress since it's creation 15 years ago. Through the years it has grown, evolved and improved to become one of the most popular CMS platforms. And for good reason. But WordPress is just a tool, and while a mighty fine one at that it cannot replace basic business principles and standards that have proven the test of time.
No matter how great WordPress is; and I think it is in fact one of the best equalizers online for small business, online is not a build it and they will come. In today's environment you will not get found by virtue of simply putting a website online on WordPress or any other platform. You have to have a plan! The more detailed the better!
Create Your Plan in Excruciating Detail
From investigating your market to make sure you have a product, service or topic that is needed/desired (and not already being offered by millions of other websites in the first place), to making sure you have an viable business plan that covers all these issues in detail, is mandatory.
Make sure you get your new business idea off to the best start possible in this rabidly competitive environment. Take the time to do your due diligence and cover all the bases, then and only then should you start working on your WordPress website.
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!
~ Benjamin Franklin
Ole Ben was a wise man indeed.
At your service,