So, over this past week, I have written a new article each day on the topic of achieving success as an entrepreneur. I have offered advice to you on what works for me. I have talked about what I am doing and how I do it. What about you? Are you an entrepreneur? If you are already an entrepreneur, I’d love to hear from you to know what you are doing, what strategies are working for you. What kind of things have you tried that proved successful? What about things you have tried that flopped? Nothing to be embarrassed about if you have had failures. In fact, if you were to argue that you have never had a failure, I would say that you are either not being honest, or you have forgotten about the things that did not work out. I believe that every entrepreneur fails a lot. It is only natural. Not everything will work, no matter how good of an idea you think it is. So, how about it, go to the comments below and share with you what works for you, and if you are brave, also share what has not worked! It is something that would help me, and probably other readers as well. I am looking forward to hearing some ideas here, and also some things to avoid!
If you want to be successful as a small entrepreneur, you really must be in front of the curve. Don’t be late in arriving to something new! If you have a niche that you participate in, watch it closely. If you see something new, consider carefully if you think that you should do it too, or do something similar. If one of your competitors starts something new, and you don’t adapt and jump on it, you may well get left in the dust. If you get left in the dust more than a couple of times, you may be permanently left behind.
Do you watch the news & current events?If you don’t watch the news and current events, you should. How else can you keep up with what is going on in the world? Why is it important to watch the news? What does it have to do with business or making money? Well, believe it or not, I get a lot of great business ideas by keeping up with the news. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a news story and quickly bought a domain name that is related to something currently in the news. The phrase catches on with the public, even if it is only for a short time, and owning the domain can make you a lot of money in a short time!
In addition to the newsAlthough the news is a good way to keep up with current trends, there are so many other ways to stay ahead of the curve. Here are a few that I recommend:
- Follow social media to see what people are talking about.
- Follow your competitors to see new things that they are doing. If a competitor does something really good, consider how you can put the strategy to work for yourself.
- Watch TV shows and Movies that feature pop culture type events.
- Watch TV shows like “Shark Tank” and other business oriented shows. You can come up with some excellent ideas through these types of programs.
- No matter where you go or what you do, always listen, watch and learn from what you see, and consider how these things can help improve your business success.
Act QuicklyWhen you see something that you think might make you some money, act NOW. Don’t wait a few weeks to take action, or a few months. The new “hot thing” might have already faded in a few months, and you have lost the opportunity to capitalize on it! In particular, if you see something on the news that might spark a new word or phrase, something that you can buy as a domain name, do it NOW, don’t wait until tomorrow. If you wait, you will almost certainly lose it! The whole key to staying ahead of the curve is by acting quickly. If you don’t act quickly when opportunity arises… you will completely miss the curve.
You are ahead of the big boysThe “big boys” in business take a long time to make decisions, even simple ones. If you are ahead of the curve, you are acting quickly. If you do something quickly, your big competitor will have not even had time to hold their first (of many) meetings on the “hot new thing” – while you will already be doing business on the new thing! So, stay ahead of the curve, act quickly, and “get ‘er done.”
If you want to be a “small time” entrepreneur, you really have to be flexible. What do I mean by “small time”? Well, most likely you are not going to be reading this if you will be a “big time” guy. If you have the means to open up the next “Ford Motors” or “United Airlines” you probably are not reading this site! Those guys are “big time” business people. People like you and I can still do well, but it is unlikely that any of us are going to be opening up a Fortune 100 business any time in our lifetimes. Anything can happen, of course, but I think it is safe to say that most of us would fit into the “small time” category. Nothing wrong with that.
NichesFor a small time person, we can hit it big if we are smart, and play our cards right. One way that we can hit it big is by playing niches. A niche is a small part of a market. A tiny sector of a market that might not be profitable for a big company to target. But, for a small guy, even a tiny niche might be enough to make us relatively rich! Lately, I have been exploring a new type of business with a couple of partners. We are close to getting into this business, and we would be getting into a niche within the business. I was talking with another friend about this, and he said that we were focusing on a tiny niche and doubted that we could make enough money in this niche. Well, we have done our research, and the niche is about 10 Million people. In general terms, that is a tiny niche, but in real terms, for a guy like me, the potential is huge. If everything went perfectly (which never happens) we could be producing gross revenue of more than $15 Million per month in this “tiny” niche. We could net probably a couple hundred thousand per month. Well, for a big company like Ford, that is nothing, but to 3 “regular guys” like me and my partners and I, well.. it is very significant. When you go after these niches, they can, in my view, produce great income for the smaller player, but they are just too small for a large business to go after, it would just be too much trouble and cost too much.
FlexibilitySo, this article is about being flexible. But, I have been talking about niches. How are they connected? Well, to me, chasing niches is flexibility. If you watch your business, and see areas of business that are under served, be ready to go after them! Another thing about big business is that those types of companies take a long time to change things or go after a new market. There will be meetings, committees to study things, etc, etc, etc. It can take years for a large company to “strike” at a new market. Also, it is the long process that makes it too expensive for a big company to even pursue these small niches. If you are a small entrepreneur you are the perfect candidate to look for small niches and pounce on them. If the niche gets big enough after a few years, or if larger companies see that small players are doing well in the niche, those larger companies will come in. Two things might happen when larger companies enter that market niche:
- You may already be well enough established that you can still keep doing well in the business niche, or
- The big players may totally take over and you will need to move on.
In the introduction to this series of blog articles, I mentioned about my belief in streams of income. I said that each stream was a tributary that would feed the river of income that you would want to create for yourself. If one of the streams experiences drought and the water flow slows down, that’s still OK, because if you are diverse, the other tributaries will still feed the river and leave you an income that is adequate to fill your needs.
How do you create the tributaries?I am sure some people are wondering just how you build these streams so that your river will be strong. Well, the answer to that is diversity. But, maybe you are asking what diversity is, or what I mean when I say diversity? Well, “diversity” can mean different things. But in most cases it generally means having a variety, having different things. For example, in society, diversity can mean that the population consists of all different kinds of people. Maybe it is diversity in race, so there would be Caucasian people, Africans, Asians, Hispanics and ever other hue of the rainbow. There is also diversity in other area. Having males and females is diversity. Having people of different sexual preference is diversity. Whatever you can imagine. In this case, I am talking about having diversity in terms of the businesses that you have. If you are going to follow my strategy and have multiple streams of income you need businesses of different types that all earn money for you. So, you need to be involved in diversity in your businesses.
Can you give an example?Sure, I can tell you what types of businesses I have. Most of my businesses are online enterprises, but not all. I am currently getting into a few different brick and mortar (non-online) types of business. Here is a list of various businesses that I am currently doing:
- I have an online eCommerce business called WowPhilippines which sells gift type items that we will deliver to any address in the Philippines.
- I have a Web Development company called CurvePress which does web design, site hosting, maintenance and such for websites.
- Blogging. I have a number of Blogging sites that I earn money from. My biggest site is Live in the Philippines, but I have many others including this site.
- Investigative Services. I have a business called PointmanPI which does background checks for people.
- I am a writer, and I have more than 100 books on the market. I have eBooks and also Paperbacks. I sell my books on Amazon, and also on my Expat Island Bookstore.
- Language instruction. I offer courses for those who want to learn to speak Philippine Languages. From 2007 until 2011 I studied and learned to speak Cebuano, the language of the area where I live in the Philippines. After becoming more or less fluent in the language, I developed a course to teach others, and also added other language to my website.
- Amazon FBA. I sell products on Amazon using the FBA program, “Fulfillment by Amazon“. This has been a very successful stream of income for me.
- I do “X Deals” with local businesses where I trade my services to them in exchange for their products or services. I have some “X Deals” or “Excange deals” that have been highly successful for many years.
- I do consulting for those who are considering making a move to the Philippines, or becoming an expat in other countries.
- While it is not me, it is still related.. my wife does relocation consulting and also helps people moving to the Philippines find apartments, homes or whatever information they need about residing in the country.
- For the past couple of years, I have been doing Santa Claus in the Philippines. I quickly learned that this is a very lucrative thing to do, and I also enjoy it greatly. The income potential on this is huge. This is my first brick and mortar business that I am involved in at this point. I do work for many malls, hotels and other types of businesses.
- I am just getting into the call center business. I have several partners and even though the enterprise is very young, we are already seeing some real nice success in the business.
You don’t have to do that many!Don’t worry, even though I have 12 different things listed, and I have other stuff that I didn’t even mention, you don’t have to be doing that much! It depends on how much income you can earn from the things that you are doing. Be sure that you can earn an adequate income from the things that you have in your stable. And, be diverse.. have services of different kinds that add to your river of income.
ComplimentaryAnother thing that keep in mind is that it is great if your various businesses are complimentary to each other. They can be totally different things, but they work together to multiply your income. A good example is my WowPhilippines gift business. Last year, during December, we added the Santa Claus business to the WowPhilippines. We offered, for a premium price, that Santa Claus would be the delivery person for gifts ordered through our service. So, by offering this, it encouraged people to order from my company instead of my compatitors, because my competitors did not have Santa delivering the orders. Also, it brough more business for my Santa service. it was a double win for me. I have many examples of using one of my companies to compliment another of my companies, and with great success, it is something that you should consider too!
Diversity works for meI do highly recommend diversifying your business offerings. It has done great for me over the years, and I am sure it will do the same for you! Plus, being an entrepreneur means that you probably enjoy developing and running a business, and having multiple businesses is fun for me. I bet it will be for you as well.
About a year ago, I started dabbling with Membership Websites, particularly with Online Learning courses which were sold as membership sites. I found it fairly successful. I mean, I don’t have any single course that produces thousands of dollars per meonth, but I have multiple courses that produce income in the hundreds of dollars each month. The great thing is that these sales of hundreds of dollars are sales that are being produced only through my own sites, not from an outside source. My niche is a very small niche, and my sites are not juggernauts. Because the income produced is through my own personal site, I have always felt that if I could get my course on to a large site, I could probably turn these courses into fairly good earners. My problem was, though, that I needed a way that I could get these courses set up in a format that would allow me to sell to customers using larger websites! I never quite figured out a way to do that, and especially being able to do it where I could easily sell the item in the USA and other large countries, and to do that while I was living in the Philippines!