I’ve been working my website for a year now and it still isn’t making any money. I’ve been in business for over twenty years and I don’t put much faith in websites. They’re nice advertisement, but I’ve never seen one make any real money. There’s no way that I can afford to pay someone to just write stuff on my website. I can’t afford the overhead.
Have you ever heard or said any of those things? I hear them all the time from people who don’t really understand how websites work. These folks fall into two main camps – Business Owners and Moonlighters. This week, I’m going to share the struggles of each group and how they can break free to find real progress. This series is called Differences Between Websites and Businesses.
Business Owners are just that – people who own established businesses. It isn’t that they can’t understand websites. They are just busy running their businesses and don’t think they have the time to learn. They became acquainted with the popular advertising methods of the day back when then started their companies and have simply stuck with what worked and brought them to where they are. The problem lies in the fact that they, now, want to grow, but the tried and true methods of years past aren’t getting them there. Things have changed while they’ve been nose-and-grindstoning it, and they need to know how to kickstart their plans for the future.
Moonlighters are people who are working a regular hourly or salaried job for someone else and trying to make money from a website on the side. Many of these folks have plans to eventually quit the job they’re working when their website business takes off. Some of them like the jobs they work and just want to make some cash on the side. Moonlighters often have a working knowledge of the web and many have even written some blog content or created an online store of some kind. You’ll find these hard-working dreamers on eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and other buy/sell or affiliate sites. Armed with their ClickBank and Paypal accounts, they eagerly await the fulfillment of promises made by authors and make-money-online gurus.
In order for their websites to truly help them, Business Owners need to first believe that it is possible for those little gizmos to create income – because they totally can. Then they need to apply the same principles to their sites that they apply to the rest of their business. If the internet is not yielding any measurable results, they are missing one of the key elements that separate a website from a business.
Moonlighters don’t need to be convinced of the cash-generating power of the web. They know there’s income out there, it just hasn’t found it’s way into their pockets yet. This is because they are often missing one of the key elements that separate a website from a business.
So, what are these key elements? They are People, Product, Plan, Price, and Profit and here is how they work. Remember: If you’re missing any of these key elements, you have an idea – not a business.
Key Elements: People
Both websites and businesses need people – even internet businesses. Someone has to create the content, source the products, process and fulfill the orders, respond to customers, and dream up where to go next. Also someone has to order, purchase, recommend, and use the product. This gives us two kinds of people: Inside People and Outside People.
Inside People are the ones who put the time in daily to make the business run. They are owners, employees, contractors, and the like. Business Owners may have several of these kinds of people whereas Moonlighters may be a one or two person show. It doesn’t really matter how big or small your enterprise you need Inside People to make it work.
Outside People are the ones who provide the revenue that your business need to run. They are customers, clients, network contacts, referrers, etc. While Business Owners may have an established customer base, those buyers aren’t always connected via the internet. Moonlighters often struggle to obtain that initial customer base. This creates a different problem involving Outside People. They don’t have any.
Questions: Are you struggling with a People Problem? Do you have the right Inside People? Are they doing the right things? Do you have too many or too few Inside People? Do you have Outside People? Are people visiting your site, consuming your content, buying your products? How would your business look if you solved your people problem?
Remember: Both kinds of people are necessary in order for you to have a business online.
Key Elements: Product
Both websites and businesses need a product. That product can be physical or virtual. It can be a service or an experience. There are many kinds of products. And you can have a product without a business, but not the other way around. Trying to operate a website business without a product is like opening a store with empty shelves. People might stop by once out of curiosity, but they won’t be back.
For Business Owners, the issue of product can be tricky to understand. Meet Phil. He owns a carpet-cleaning business. When I talk to Phil about having a product on his website, his eyes glaze over. “The product is carpet cleaning,” he says. “In that case,” I say, “It isn’t a website. It’s an advertisement. An outdated, poorly written, billboard placed where no one will see it.”
For Moonlighters, the product (or lack thereof) holds them up and keeps them from seeing any money come in. This is why so many of them start with pages full of affiliate links just trying to get a trickle of cash started. That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with having affiliate links to things that your Outside People want and need. Just know that you need a long-term plan for creating products of your own if you want that trickle to become a stream.
Questions: Do you have a product on your website for Outside People to buy? What kind of product is it – Information, Physical, Virtual, Educational? If you don’t have a product, what could you offer through your site that your customers want and/or need?
Remember: Think of your website as a store where Outside People come to transact business. They are buying either with their money or their time. If you don’t have something for them to take away from the experience, there’s no reason to return or refer anyone else.
OK, I covered the first two elements today. In Part 2, we’ll talk about the next one which is Plan. Then, we’ll finish up with Price and Profit.
Are you a Business Owner or a Moonlighter? What has your website experience been? Share a comment about your People and your Product – let’s talk about it.